Master Sermon List
A Sermon For Erring Christians
by B. H. Carroll
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves,
and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I
hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14
Plain directions to Christians who are out of the King's highway, telling them
how to get back into the way.
This text is God's answer to Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the Temple. That
prayer is remarkable for these three things:
1. A distinct recognition of the fact that all of God's people will and do sin.
2. That divine chastisement for purposes of correction will certainly follow
every such sin.
3. A petition that God would accept and honor as adequate provision for the
forgiveness of such sin, the Temple sacrifices offered by the Temple
These three notable characteristics of this famous prayer are very carefully stated
because they embody a great deal of doctrine. And doctrinal statements ought never
to be loosely and incautiously worded. Because, therefore, of the vital and
fundamental doctrines involved, let us elaborate somewhat on each characteristic of
this prayer, by enlarged restatement.
Observe carefully that the first notable characteristic is not a recognition of the fact
that some of God's people will sin nor the mere possibility that all of them may sin,
but that all of them will and do sin, all of them, without one exception. Not one of
them is without sin. If this statement be correct, it forever settles some things. It
forever negatives as unscriptural certain modern doctrines touching sanctification. If it
be urged as an objection that Solomon in his prayer continually said, "If Thy people
sin," the "if" implying contingency only, or mere liability, the answer to such objection
is obvious, conclusive, and crushing that he himself carefully guarded against such
construction of his language. The possibility or liability expressed by the "if" relates
only to the particular form of the sin and never to the fact that sin would come in
some form. It may be a sin against a neighbor or one against God, a sin of omission
or of commission. He foresaw no end to the variety of form or kind. The "if" was
designed to cover any or all forms. It is as if he had said, "If it take this form or that,
whatever form it may take and some form it will take, then hear Thou in
heaven and forgive."
I say the proof of the correctness of such answer to the anticipated objection is
obvious, conclusive, and crushing. Would you hear and consider some of this proof?
Then listen carefully:
We have two inspired records of this prayer. In both records is express proof that
the "if" is not designed by him to convey the idea of doubt or uncertainty as to the
fact of sin. Here are his precise words, twice recorded: "If they sin against Thee (for
there is no man that sinneth not)" 1 Kings 8:46 and 2 Chronicles 6:36.
The full import of this broad negative as to the existence of sinless men is emphasized by
its enlarged restatement by Solomon in another and much later connection: "For
there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not" (Ecclesiastics
7:20). This, for the present, at least, is sufficient proof of the correctness of the first
statement, that Solomon's prayer distinctly recognizes the fact, not that some of
God's people will sin, nor that all of them may sin, but that all of them will and do sin.
The second characteristic of the prayer is that divine chastisement, for purposes of
correction, inevitably follows such sin. There is no doubt here, no ambiguity. Every
element of uncertainty is excluded. You, O Christian, do certainly sin. So, O
Christian, are you certainly chastised. Chastisement is not the only inalienable and
precious heritage of every child of God, but it is also a distinguishing mark to
evidence the fact that he is a child of God. No chastisement, no child. What saith the
My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, Nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him;
For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, And scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If you
endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he
whom the father chasteneth riot? But if ye he without chastisement whereof all are
partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons. Furthermore we have had the fathers
of our flesh who corrected us, and we gave them reverence. Shall we not much
rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they verily for a few days
chastened us after their own pleasure. But He for our profit that we might be
partakers of His holiness.
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous
but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness
unto them who are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down,
and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet; let that which is lame he
not turned out of the way: but let it rather be healed."? Now, do observe how this Scripture
corroborates the first proposition that all God's people sin. "He scourgeth every son whom
He receiveth." All His people are partakers of chastisement. Any self-styled child of God
who is without chastisement is a bastard and not a son. He chastises to correct some wrong,
to heal some lameness. He chastises not willingly, but for love and for profit. And especially,
mark you, that the object of chastisement is that "Ye might be partakers of His holiness."
But our heavenly Father does not chastise the innocent. If you are chastised, you
have done wrong. If you do wrong, you are not sinless.
There is no escape from the logic. You may impale any modern sanctificationist on
the point of these questions: "Are you without a chastisement?" "Yes."
"Then you are a bastard and not a son, for all His children are partakers (present tense)
of chastisement." "I take that back," says he; "I am not without chastisement."
"Then is your doctrine annihilated, for He never chastises except to correct wrong-doing.
He chastens us for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness. If already holy,
why chasten?" So to claim to be holy as God is holy is to claim that you have passed out of
the realm of chastisement. But this earth and this life is the realm of chastisement and the
claimant is here and not yonder. The school of discipline for the spirit ends only with
death of the body or its glorification without death. Every stroke of the chastening
rod of our heavenly Father laid on one who here on earth claims to he holy either
proves that God is a cruel tyrant or that the claimant is a liar. Let God be true and the
man a liar. Death is the last stroke of discipline. With death all chastening of the spirit
ceases. Seen after death they are at last "the spirits of just men made perfect."
So testifies this same chapter that tells of the chastening (Hebrews 12:23).
The third characteristic of this prayer is that it petitions God to accept and honor the
merit of the Temple sacrifices and the office of the Temple priesthood as the ground
and means of forgiving such sins of His people. This third characteristic, like the
second, wonderfully corroborates the proposition in the first, that all God's people
will and do sin while in this life. Here is a Temple, and sacrifices, and a priesthood.
The argument is in no way affected, whether you refer to the Old Testament typical
Temple, typical sacrifice, typical priesthood, or to the New Testament antitypical?temple,
antitypical sacrifice, or antitypical High Priest. The doctrine is one. It is the
doctrine of mediation. The sacrifice atones for sin. The priest is a mediator, daysman,
or go-between. A mediator deals only between the parties at issue. When the issue
is settled, the office of mediator expires by limitation, of necessity. After that the
parties, now at one, deal with each other directly, face to face.
As long as the offender makes use of the Temple, or its sacrifice, or its priest, in
dealing with the offended one, so long he acknowledges that he is a sinner. When he
becomes wholly sanctified, or sinless, he no longer needs a mediator. There is no
longer an issue to be adjusted. Hence the Bible teaches that so long as the
mediatorial dispensation lasts men must approach God as sinners, through a
mediator, and that when the mediatorial dispensation ends, there will no longer be
either mediator or Temple.
As this proposition, if scriptural, grinds into fine powder the modern heresy of
sanctification, let us carefully consider "the law and the testimony." Open your Bibles
and turn with me to 1 Corinthians 15:24-28:
"Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to
God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority
and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He hath put all things
under His feet. But when He saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest
that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him. And when all things
shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto
Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all."
This Scripture unquestionably teaches that the resurrection of the bodies of the dead
and the final judgment of all reunited souls and bodies constitute the climax and
culmination of the mediatorial kingdom of Christ. All issues whatever, whether of
soul or body, between the sinner and God, the Father, are forever settled. The saved
sinner is now presented glorious, "not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but
is holy and without blemish." The commandment being now fulfilled, "Be ye holy, as
I am holy," he no longer needs a Temple, or a sacrifice, or a mediator, or a "throne
of mercy." God, the Father, is all in all. And from this time there will be no Temple
typical or antitypical.
Turn with me to Revelation 21:22: "And I saw no temple therein." And to Revelation 22:4:
"And they shall see His face." The last two chapters of Revelation show us the universe
after the mediatorial kingdom is ended. Now no Temple, no sacrifice, no High Priest, no
mediator or go-between; they shall see His face. In mediatorial days, or days of sin, to
see His face out of Christ was to die. "No man shall see My face and live." But now,
being sinless in soul and body, they see His face, because the apostolic prayer is answered:
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly: And I pray God your whole spirit and soul
and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
In the light of these Scriptures we may well inquire: Does any Christian living on the
earth before death and the judgment get beyond the need of the Temple, its atoning
sacrifice, the intercession of its High Priest and its throne of mercy? If he comes to
that Sacrifice, he comes as a sinner for cleansing. If he comes to that Advocate, he
comes as a sinner not daring to see God's face. If he comes to that throne of mercy,
he comes as a sinner to "find grace to help in time of need."
But if he be now sinless, he has passed out of the mediatorial dispensation as well as
passed out of the realm of chastisement. If for one single moment he becomes sinless
here, he has effectually disproved the necessity for a high priest after the order of
Melchisedec, for that necessity grew out of the fact that we could not he saved to the
uttermost without a Priest "who ever liveth to make intercession for us." But a sinner,
though he be a Christian, needs a High Priest "who ever liveth to intercede for him"
and who by that very power of an endless life" is "able to save him unto the
uttermost." But He never intercedes for the sinless. Hence the Apostle John's
1. "If we say that we have not sinned [past tense] we make Him a liar and
His word is not in us."
2. "If we say that we have no sin [present tense] we deceive ourselves and
the truth is not in us."
3. "And if any man [i.e., a Christian] sin, we have an Advocate with the
Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous."
Therefore, does this third characteristic of Solomon's prayer confirm the proposition
in the first characteristic, to wit: God's people will and do sin every day, and never
more heinously than when they say "We have no sin."
As this last point is a capital one, observe more particularly one of the facts already
brought out incidentally. Solomon's prayer connects every hope of Divine favor with
the Temple, its sacrifice of blood and the intercession of its high priest. He does not
ask God to meet the sinner anywhere else... "O Lord, let Thy name be here, and
Thine eye be here, and let Thine ears be here, and Thine eye be here, and Thy
power be here." So God answers the prayer just that way: "My name shall be there;?
Mine eyes shall be there; Mine ears shall be there; My heart shall be there; and My
power shall be there."
Thus God's people must meet Him in Christ. Meeting Him in Christ, they meet Him
as sinners. Committing any sin, and desiring to be rid of it, the way is plain; it is
through a mediator, and in that way is no delay. The first step in that direction, God
sees, for His eyes are there. The first trembling petition in that name, God hears, for
His ears are there. The motion toward the Father through the Son awakens His love,
for His heart is there, but not elsewhere, except as a consuming fire.
Whoever claims to be holy as God is holy should never approach a throne of mercy,
should never ask anything for Christ's sake. That throne is approachable by sinners
only; that place is for sinners only. Whoever, living here on earth prior to death and
the judgment, claims to be without sin, has passed beyond grace, beyond the realm
of chastisement and discipline, beyond the mediatorial dispensation, beyond the
necessity of the High Priest's intercession, if what he says is true. But as the realm of
chastisement ends only with death, as the mediatorial kingdom lasts until death, that
last enemy, is destroyed, as the glorious condition set forth in the last two chapters of
Revelation, where there will he no, Temple, no sacrifice, no need to see God's face
through a mediator.
I say, as this glorious state is after the resurrection and the final judgment, the man
who here claims to he sinless does not tell the truth. Nor does the world believe him
when he says it. He is less trusted and more suspected after he says it than before he
says it. He is universally regarded as a misguided enthusiast, or the unwitting subject
of a delusion, or a fanatic, or a hypocrite.
It was necessary thus to explain the text, which is an answer to the prayer. What
then is my theme today? It is this: Plain directions to Christians who are out of the
way, telling them how to get back into the way. The text contains the four simple
directions. What are they? Listen while I number them as I repeat the text: "If My
people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves" (that is the first
direction, humility), "and pray" (that is the second direction, prayer), "and seek My
face" (third direction), "and turn from their wicked ways" (fourth direction), "then
will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin."
There cannot possibly be a subject of greater practical interest to Christian people
than this subject. There is more involved in it than I could state in one hour if I
confined myself to the tersest wording of my propositions.?How far out of the way you
are I do not know, nor do you. That you are, not all equally far out of the way is self-evident,
but that every one of you is somewhat out of the way follows from the correctness of the
positions already established.
Now, if you are, to any extent, out of the way, it is of importance coextensive with
the degree of your departure from God that you get back in the way. Get back there
for peace. Get back there for power. Get back there for strength. And, getting back,
there is a revival. And a revival is a prelude to the conversion of sinners.
Now, then, how important it is to people who are out of the way, who are, for the
time being, astray, to have very simple, very plain directions how to get back in the
way, to know which direction to take, to know just what to do. In simple language,
"What am I to do to get back in the way?" Here is God's answer to it. What is the
first thing? Humble thyself. As soon as we come to this first direction, we are
instantly put upon a definition. What is humility? The idea of a thing is often brought
out by contrasting it with its opposite. "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to
the humble." Here are two things that stand over against each other and mutually
define each other. "Humility," then, is the antipode of pride, just as light is the
opposite of darkness and truth is the opposite of error. So that, when we come to
define "humility" we may know that we have never gotten to the true conception of it
so long as the ground occupied by our definition does not stand squarely opposite to
the ground occupied by pride.
Let us get a little nearer to its meaning. What is the etymology of the word? It is from
the word "humus," meaning the ground. Now, the idea of that word, derived from its
etymology, clings to it always, and we have never given a correct definition of
humility when we separate it from that basal, etymological conception-the ground.
So that in that definition must be the conception of putting oneself low down, on the
ground, next to the ground. To humble oneself then is not to be lifted up, which is
pride, but to put oneself down onto the ground.
Let us get at it a little more closely. If I were to try to analyze "humility" I would state
it somewhat in this way: That a humble man does not overrate himself, does not put
himself too high. Now, see if that be true. Listen to this from the twelfth chapter of
the Letter to the Romans: "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man
that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to
think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."
Whoever, then overrates himself, is not humble. Whoever thinks too highly of himself
is not humble.
Let us see the next thought in the analysis: That he does not overrate his ability. The
Scripture says, "Let not him that girdeth on the harness boast himself as he that putteth it off."
So then, when you find a man speaking of something yet to be done,
something yet an untried experiment, using great swelling words of vanity, overrating
his ability, priding himself upon his power, that man is not a humble man.
But we shall proceed in the analogy: When he overrates his possessions. Listen to
this Scripture, in the third chapter of Revelation, and this is about professing
Christians, and is what Jesus said to these professing Christians: "Because thou
sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest
not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Now,
when a man overrates his possessions, he underrates his needs correspondingly. If
he says, "I am rich," that means, "I therefore need nothing." But if it be true that he is
poor and blind and miserable and naked, in order for him to get a conception of his
needs, he must put himself down where he belongs. Get down on the ground! Get
down! Get down! Lower, lower yet. Get down until you touch the ground! Humus, humility.
Now, it is of vast importance that you notice this point: In analyzing humility you need
not ask a man what he glories in. Watch him and you will see what he glories in. If he
glories in himself, in his power, in his possessions, in his achievements; if you can see
self-complacency stealing over him, you may know that he is not humble. But if he
glories in the Lord, he will say, "I am well, but I glory in Him that made me well. I am
clean, but I glory in Him whose blood cleansed me. I am rich, but I glory in Him who
became poor that I might be made rich. I did this and that, yet not I, but God who
was with me; yea, in all things good, by the grace of God, I am what I am."
In that sort of way, you can get at the true conception of humility. But mark, if
humility is analyzed by looking at the rating whether it be overrating or underrating,
you must know that when you use the word "rate" you necessarily imply a standard.
Where there is no standard you can have no rate. Suppose I were to measure a
goblet by itself, what has been gained? If I measure it by itself, it is utterly impossible
to detect any defect in it, because nothing measured by itself will reveal a defect. If I
measure it by another goblet which is also imperfect, I never get at a correct result.
There must be some fixed standard by which both of them are to be measured.
And so, when a man begins to rate himself in order to determine whether he be
humble, he must not measure himself by himself, nor must he measure himself by
some other imperfect person, but he must measure himself by the true standard,
which is God. And whenever you can get any man, however proud and conceited,
however envious of superiors or contemptuous of inferiors, though his complacency
is as deep and wide as the ocean, to come and stand by the standard of God, you
will see him get down on the ground. He will humble himself before God.?Take Job.
How he did lift himself up when Eliphaz and the other two men discoursed with him!
How he did maintain his integrity! But when God Almighty spoke to him out of the whirlwind;
when the Lord came, Job said, "I have heard of Thee with the hearing of the ear; but now
mine eye seeth Thee; wherefore I abhor myself, and I repent in dust and ashes." He got down;
he struck the ground that time. Humus humility.
That is rightly rating oneself when placed by the side of holiness and purity.
Take Isaiah. He was a saintly man, a long way in advance of his contemporaries.
And yet one day he saw the Lord, whose train filled the Temple, and when he saw
the Lord, he fell as if he were shot. He struck the ground, and, striking, he said,
"Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the
midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eves have seen the King, the Lord of
hosts!" Now, here you get the true conception of humility rated by the standard
(which is God). It means putting yourself right down on the ground. That is humility.
Now, the next point is also essential. It would seem that it is not necessary to discuss
it. If there were not so many delusions; if the most intelligent people did not deceive
themselves; if the most intellectual people did not allow others to deceive them; if
they did not permit deceivers to come up openly and hoodwink them in the broad
light of day, it would not be necessary to discuss this next point.
What is it? That humility is not a matter of words or of dress. Did you ever read
Dickens' David Copperfield? Did you ever listen to Uriah Heep? There is humility
in words. Uriah and his mother were the humblest people in all the world. They
would crawl at your very feet in words; they would absolutely get down on the
lowest place they could find and flatten themselves out in words, the fawning,
cringing hypocrites, masking the pride and hate of hell under the word-garb of
Did you ever read Shakespeare's Julius Caesar? Look at Mark Antony. He
apologizes for his very existence. See how humbly he stands there: "I did not come
to praise Caesar; I merely came to bury him. You certainly will let me bury the dead.
I did not come to make any complaint against those who slew Caesar; they are
honorable men; they are all honorable men." Oh, how humble! And yet, under those
words of humility he proceeded to stir the stones of Rome to mutiny. I never knew
Shakespeare's genius to fail in but one thing. He should have represented Mark
Antony on the battlefield of Philippi, standing with a long face of mock-sorrow over
the cold body of Brutus, Rome's last patriot, whom he had hounded to death,
distributing certificates to prove that he had always said that Brutus was an
honorable man! No, my brethren, humility is not a matter of words.?Take another case.
There is Amasa, whom the king has received into favor, and here comes Joab. What does
he say? "Amasa, my brother, art thou in health, my brother?" and, while so speaking,
he stabs him under the fifth rib. Now, my point is, did the words, "my brother," did
the inquiry, "Art thou in health, my brother?" keep that deed from being foul assassination?
Yet take another case. Yonder in the garden is Jesus, and His enemies are coming,
and at the head of them is Judas. Look at Judas before he gets to Jesus. Hear him,
while he obsequiously bows: "Hail, Master!" See him kiss Jesus! Did the "Hail,
Master!" and did the treacherous kiss prevent that act from being foulest treason?
Did not Jesus pass upon it when He said, "Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with
Now, listen to what prophecy foretold about that. I read to you from the fifty-fifth
Psalm, which describes the very transaction. It is the Lord Jesus Christ speaking
through the prophets of that transaction. Here He tells who it was: One who had
taken "sweet counsel with me and walked into the house of God in my company." O
Spirit of Prophecy, O Bible, God's manual of parliamentary law, how do you decide
the point of order as to his words? Hear the divine ruling: "The words of his mouth
were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil,
yet they were drawn swords."
What I want to impress upon you is that humility is not a mere matter of words.
What is it then? "Serving the Lord with all humility of mind." Then humility is internal.
It is not a matter of dress. A man is not humble because he puts on a poor dress. He
may be as proud as Satan and yet be dressed in homespun. Or he may be an humble
man dressed in broadcloth. He may be a proud man and yet cringe and fawn in his
speech, like Uriah Heep. He may be a traitor when he obsequiously bows and says,
"Hail, Master!" Humility is internal. It is of the mind, and it is of the heart.
It is unnecessary to elaborate more. What are we after? We started out with the
proposition that all of God's people will sin. You do, and you know you do. And the
second proposition is: For such sins God will certainly chastise them. And then, with
the third proposition, that God has made adequate provision for the forgiveness of
the sins of the Christian and that in this text are the directions, clear and simple, that
tell you just what to do to get back into the way of the Christian.
The first direction is: Humble yourself. That is the first, and, let me tell you, there is a
relation between the first direction and the second, an essential and vital relation. I do
mean to say that you cannot take the second step first and that you will have to take
the first step in order to take the second. What is the second? "Pray." Prayer is the
soul's sincere desire. Now, if the man says, "I am rich, I need nothing," how can he?ask
God for anything? How can he? Will you tell me how he can? But if humility has
put him on the ground and he realizes in his heart, "I have sinned; I am needy; I am
wretched," that need suggests the petition that follows, and therefore, the second
In the great convention at Marshall one day, when everybody else had left my room,
I locked the door; I humbled myself. I got down on the ground in my spirit right
down on the ground and there I felt a need, and that need was transmuted in a
prayer to Jesus, and never in my life have I known a prayer to be answered sooner
and more certainly than was that prayer.
Now you brethren want another revival. I know what you want. I know that this
church wants a revival of religion. And I am giving you the directions as to how to
get it. First, humble yourselves. Do not say you know not how. See that Pharisee
and that Publican. Look at them, first one, and then the other: "God, I thank thee that
I am not as other men. I am not an extortionist. I am not like this miserable
Publican." Now the other: "God be merciful to me, a sinner!" There they stand right
over against each other pride and humility. You want no other instruction. Look
at the picture. That Publican felt his need; he got right down on the ground, and then
he prayed: "Mercy, mercy, mercy!" Oh, how sweet a prayer that is! I never knew of
such a one, nor did any man ever know of such a one, who failed to reach the throne
I do not care how far off you are today, O Christian; it makes no difference what
may be your guilty distance from God, if you get down on the ground in your spirit,
in your mind, in your heart, and not in mere words, and, being humble then pray, I
tell you, you are nearly back already!
What is the third direction? "Seek My face." You know when a man has committed
a sin,, he generally does not want to see the one against whom he sinned. When
Adam sinned, he hid in the garden when he heard God coming. It is the nature of
offenders to skulk out of sight of the offended. But here comes this direction of God
to the offender: "Seek My face." Do not run from it. You never will settle it by going
away. You only add to the distance. If you want to be fully right, being now humble
and praying, get up and go to your Father, seek His face, turn toward Him, and
keep on going until you meet Him. Look at that prodigal son. There is the whole
thing illustrated. "And when he came to himself [there is the humility] he said, 'I will
arise and go to my father.'" Just look at it!
But where do you, a sinner, seek to find God's face? You would seek God's face
directly if you lived on the other side of the mediatorial kingdom. There is no go-between
between you and God after that scene described in the Book of Revelation.?To seek God's face
then would be to seek the Father direct. But you cannot seek the Father directly now, because
you are a sinner, and, being a sinner, if you thus seek His face, you die. "How, then, can I
seek His face?" You must seek His face in the Lord Jesus Christ, the glory of God revealed in
the face of Jesus Christ: "I and the Father are one." "Show us the Father and that sufficeth,"
said Philip. "Have you been with Me so long a time, Philip, and have not known Me? Whosoever
hath seen Me hath seen the Father." So then, when you would seek His face, seek it in Christ.
You must come to the substitute. Seek His face in Jesus.
And now, what is the last direction? "Turn from your wicked ways." Do consider
this matter carefully. What has made this issue between you and God after you
became a Christian? What was it? Sin. What is the matter that now concerns you?
To get forgiveness for that sin. Well, now, can you conceive of being forgiven for sin
and yet retain it? "Can a man be pardoned and retain the offense?"
Dare you ask God to put you back in the way by forgiving your sin and let your sin
go back there with you? You want to go back. You say you do. And you want to
humble yourself and you want to pray and you want to seek God's face in Jesus
Christ; then, my brother, what are you going to do with the offense that made the
issue? What is your purpose? Would you sin the more that grace may abound?
Now, meet that squarely. Here is a sin that you have committed. God's Word says,
"Turn from it. Let him restore that steals, and steal no more. Let him that is drunk
sober up, and get drunk no more." Shall a man with maudlin speech ask God's
forgiveness for drunkenness?
But, you say "Your whole sermon proceeds upon the assumption that a man cannot
be perfectly sinless." That is true. But where is the difficulty in that? You must turn
away from that sin with your heart. In your heart you must hate it. You must turn
away from it by putting it on Christ, and that you do by faith. You must say, "Lord,
here is an offense; I committed it after my conversion, and now, O Lord, in my heart
I turn away from it; I know my liability to commit the same offense, but I hate it with
all my mind. I serve God in my mind, and I turn away from it, and I take up the
offense itself and I lay it right over on the substitute, Jesus Christ." Cannot I turn from
it that way?
How do I know that I have turned away from it? If I have, by faith, put that offense
on Jesus Christ, then its burden cannot crush me, for a thing cannot be in two places
at the same time, and if it is on Him and crushing Him, it is off of me, and I am free.
So you can turn away from it and yet retain liability to future sin. Put it on the Sin-bearer,
brother; then the burden of that offense will be gone, and it will be on Jesus;?by faith it
will have been put on Jesus. The love of that offense will be gone; in my heart I will hate it.
That is what God means by turning away from sin. He does not mean that you never
will in this life sin again. The whole theory of redemption is directly to the contrary,
and the provisions of it are all coexistensive with the mediatorial reign, and just so
long as that sacrifice and that High Priest remain, that long will you need the
application of the blood and the intercession of the High Priest. But let us suppose
that you have gotten to the point where you are sinless. What follows? If yesterday
you reached a sinless point, then yesterday you used up all that you needed of the
Priesthood to intercede for you; then so far as you are concerned, you do not need a
priest after the order of Melchisedec, i.e., an eternal priest. You only needed a priest
who would live and intercede until you became sinless. The sanctificationist virtually
denies the prevalence of the mediatorial kingdom, and he antedates the picture in
Revelation, in which after the resurrection and the judgment, then, and then only,
there shall be no Temple.
Now, brethren, I leave this matter with you. I do know that I would be ashamed to
give you directions that do not apply to myself, and I apply them before ever I bring
them to you. Let every one of us hearken to the four directions: humble yourselves.
Get down! Get down! Get down in the spirit. "Blessed are the poor in spirit." Get
down to the ground. Humus. Brother, get down today. Oh, humble yourself before
God. Lie down there: lower, lower, lower. Now, brother, pray, "God he merciful to
me, a sinner; O God, I need many things. Help, help, help!" And when you pray,
seek God's face in Jesus, and then in your heart turn away from sin. Turn from it in
loathing. Put it on Jesus: leave it there by faith and walk away from it forever. So
comes forgiveness, and so comes the revival you desire.