August 26, 2014

A Reluctant Yet Hopeful Conclusion

"And now it is once more with some feeling of reluctance that I lay down my pen. I cannot but fear lest the great truth I have sought to unfold should suffer in the estimation of some, through being divorced from practical exhortations to a holy life. But I take comfort from the hope that thoughtful minds will in no way share the prejudice. Valuable though exhortation be, truth has a power independently of the appeals we base upon it; and, therefore, no teaching that is truly doctrinal, can fail to be likewise practical. In dealing with this subject I have already gone somewhat beyond the due limits of my theme, which is the gospel, and not the Christian life, but I have struggled in vain to keep within them. The unusual interest which the doctrine of holiness now excites, combined with the fact that the great truth of sanctification by blood is absolutely unknown to our creeds, and little noticed in our religious literature, has not only made my task important, but vastly increased my difficulties in the effort to fulfill it. I now dismiss it with a parting word. Even by those who own it, this truth is sometimes spoken of as though it were a fiction or a theory. But with the Israelite his sanctification was one of the most true and solemn facts of his existence. Upon it depended, not alone his citizenship in the commonwealth, but his life itself. And shall it be deemed less real in this dispensation, when shadows have given way to substance, types to their fulfilment? If the sanctification of the Jew was a great and practical reality, how much more, the sanctification of the believer now. "If the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"

-- Sir Robert Anderson; The Gospel and Its Ministry
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