He Is Able to Cleanse From Sin
By Orson R. Palmer
"A message for believers and unbelievers alike"
Found in the October 1920 King's Business, Vol. 11, No. 10. Formerly published monthly by the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, CA.
How can men be delivered from the dominion and power of sin? A man may be constitutionally meek as the lamb, constitutionally kind as the spaniel, constitutionally cheerful as the lark, constitutionally modest as the owl, but these are not sanctification. No sweet, humble, heavenly tempers, no sanctifying graces are found but from the cross. - (Berridge).
Man at his best estate is altogether vanity. He may well cry with the leper, "Unclean, unclean." But deep conviction of our sinful nature, wrought in us by the Holy Spirit, causes us to see the pit from which we were digged and the hole from whence we were taken, and when we get a real sight of our true condition and the exceeding sinfulness of sin, how blessed the sight of a Saviour who can save us from our uncleanness and make us rejoice with "joy unspeakable" in His love for such as we. Oh that we may indeed know the full power of His cleansing blood!
A vision of Jesus Christ makes the repentance of saints even deeper than their repentance as sinners. It was the revelation of the Lord and His holiness that turned the comeliness of Daniel, the servant of God, to corruption and made Isaiah, the prophet of God, cry out, "I am undone." The sinner sees his transgressions; the saint sees the polluted fountain from which the transgressions spring. John Bunyan out of the depths of his Iniquities, cried out, "Nothing but a real Saviour will do for such a great sinner as I." Yet in the power of his Redeemer he wrote and preached, achieving a marvelous work and with his last breath he could say, "Hinder me not, I have borne a crucified heart, and I am bidden into the presence of the King."
Robert Murray McCheyne at his desk wept over his own sins, and in his pulpit wept over the sins of his people, and yet in the power of God, it was said at his death that he had done more for Scotland than any preacher of his day.
That pioneer missionary to India, Henry Martyn, said, "Still cast down at my execrable pride and ease of heart. Oh, I could weep in the dust with shame and sorrow for my wickedness and folly. My soul struggled with corruption, yet I found the grace of Jesus all-sufficient."
Such was the saying of that heroic missionary, Allen Gardiner, who, no doubt, in the sight of heaven, opened South. America to the true Gospel, though he preached not, but without a murmur died for the Saviour's sake-- "Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner Lord, I am laden with pride and selfishness. This is the sin that doth most easily beset me, save me from its galling yoke."
In like manner we read of the Scottish lover of Christ, Samuel Rutherford, with whom none could measure swords In showing forth the loveliness of His heavenly Lover, and whose love letters still charm those who love the Saviour, yet we hear him sob, "Sin, sin, this body of sin and corruption embittereth and poisoneth all our enjoyments. Oh, to be freed of these chains and iron fetters which we carry about with us." -Sel.
The Revelation of the Lord and His Holiness made David to cry out.- "Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean." Our Lord uses small vessels, but He seeks clean vessels. "Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord." Who of us would drink from an unwashed cup?
I shall weep, I shall pray, I shall never be silent until I know that my cry has been heard in Heaven. -(Luther) But is there not a way of escape from the bondage, the thralldom of sin? Hath not God said "sin shall not have dominion" over those who are under grace? (Rom. 6:14) Did not Paul thank God through Jesus Christ for deliverance? (Rom. 7:25) Have we not been promised a cleansing from all unrighteousness, as well as forgiveness for sins? (I John I:9) "Is there a way of deliverance from the power of sin? If so, how does it come?"
Well do we remember the painful experiences passed through after we became Christians, in our endeavors to live a life pleasing to God and to walk in holiness with Him. We know by sad experience what it means to seek to suppress evil. "When we would do good, evil was present" within us and what we would, that we did not, but what we hated, that we did. 'There was a"law of sin" which warred against us and brought us into captivity again and again. (Rom. 7) What struggles in our souls as we tried to keep sin down, prayed and agonized over it. It was like a tiger caged waiting for temptation to rouse it up; like a man possessed with demons, whose name is "Legion." At the time we seemed outwardly good, within us there were hidden fires of temper, passion, lust and pride ready to break out again and again, scattering desolation around. We were like whitened sepulchers, fair, polished and symmetrical on the outside, but within, full of uncleanness and dead men's bones. The little foxes spoiled the vines, for our vines had tender grapes. Fretfulness, peevishness and temper broke forth at the slightest provocation to remind us that our hearts were like a cage of unclean birds.
It is not in the natural man to see or know the real evil which is in his own heart, and even what he does see he cannot undo. Suppression is like sitting on a slumbering volcano which may burst forth at any moment. The flesh does not cast out the flesh. (John 3:7)
While many are immediately and graciously delivered from powerful temptation, as for instance the drink habit, and are never strongly tempted again, others have to resist temptation. We are all conscious that while still In the flesh we are walking in the midst of possible defilement, and even those who walk In sweet places of fellowship and holiness with their Lord, may grow careless, may sin, or may Iapse into the flesh-life. If sin were eradicated this could not be, and we should not then need our loving High Priest who lives to be a Mediator for those who may fall into sin after they are saved. (I John 2:1-2) If eradication of sins were ours we would have no need to confess sins (1 John '1: 9), no need to resist the devil, for his power would be utterly destroyed and no blessing would come to us for enduring temptation. (James 1:12).
If then, victory is not in suppression and is not in eradication where is the place which God hath given man where he can "fight the good fight of faith" in joy, victory and overcoming power? The secret of righteousness, of holiness, of victory is The Indwelling Christ, who Himself becomes our surety, our overcoming power.
"Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. (I Cor. 1:30)
The moment the sinner accepts the Saviour, God accepts him "in the Beloved" (Eph. 1:6) and he sees the believer complete in Him. (Col. 2:9-10) In Christ he is sanctified, separated unto God. (I Cor. 1:2) In the plan of God the believer is crucified with Christ, is dead to the law and married to the risen Christ, that in the power of His resurrection life he may bring forth fruit unto God. (Rom. 6:5; Rom. 7:4). Whenever this truth, that the believer is crucified with Christ and Christ now dwelleth in him, is apprehended, and the child of God through the Holy Spirit Is led to take his place, of crucifixion with and in Christ from sin, from self and from the world and to walk by faith in loving submission and obedience to the Holy Spirit in all things, he will prove the reality of his deliverance from the thralldom of the old life and the blessed power of the new.
"Sin shall not, have dominion over you." (Rom. 6:14) God has given us the victory, in Jesus Christ, and it is all of grace even, as Salvation is all of grace. It is not our holiness as if we possessed something of merit apart from the Holy One. It is the Holy One living out His life in and through us.
For us to continue to walk in sin and defeat is to dishonor our God and His Christ, but remember there is no safety for us apart from Christ. In Him we may walk in the full power of the cleansing blood (I John 1: 6-7) and in the mighty, enabling, victorious power of the Holy Spirit. Timid, faltering, backward one, "The Lord hath need" of thee. (Roman 12: 1-2) Will you not this very day let Him have entire possession of that for which He gave His life and seek His gracious, cleansing, enabling power? It is there in Him for you, just now, it you will but believe and put yourself in the place to receive. Put your iron into the fire and soon the fire will be in your iron. God has in and through Jesus Christ given deliverance from the power of sin, as well as the penalty of sin. Then today tell your Heavenly Father that you desire and accept His grace; that you take your place as crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20) to sin, to self, to the world, and that you will trust Him moment by moment through the indwelling Spirit to live out the new, divine, overcoming life in you. Through His life and indwelling presence to overcome death; through His light to expel darkness; through His grace to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. Thus will He teach you how to glory in the Cross, through which the world is crucified to you and you to the world. (Gal. 6:14)