Christ Crowned within: Christian Purity
“Who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:14)
“I believe God has sanctified me throughout, soul, body and spirit; and I am willing all the world to know it,” wrote the sainted Methodist Bishop Hamline. “ He has sprinkled me, and I am clean. From all my filthiness and all my idols He has cleansed me.”
The King cannot make an unclean temple His permanent residence. He has redeemed it from the enemy and made it a part of His possessions at great expense; and entering it, He proceeds to apply the abundant resources at His command for its complete cleansing.
The stains of sin are so deep that nothing less than His own blood can make complete purification possible. For this reason He has shed His blood, and this makes it possible for His agent, the Holy Spirit, to come and apply the truth to submissive, trusting souls, and make them fit for His abiding home.
Prior to this, the soul gallery was filled with many paintings that appear unseemly in the presence of the Kingly Artist. Pride, envy, false ambitions, moral uncleanness, and similar copies from the hand of sin are taken down and destroyed. Sources of inbred depravities suffer the same fate. Sin pleads that these depravities be allowed to remain until the body dies, or at least that they be covered with some drapery of dead works.
But the King says, “No, they must all go.”
In one corner of the room are several poisonous weeds such as selfishness, impatience, petulance, and several others which sin, having cherished these house plants, would prefer to keep from the sight of the mighty Soul Renovator. But all is in vain. Then sin pleads first that these poisonous plants in the soul be simply cut off and not destroyed and then that future spiritual growth will change their nature.
But Christ’s answer is decisive: “I came to destroy the works of the devil.” The couches where vain thoughts and foolish fancies loved to linger must be ejected for holy imaginations.
As the Holy Spirit applies the “washing of the Word,” “all filthiness of the flesh and spirit” disappears. Questionable conversation is avoided. Natural appetites are governed. Unclean and injurious habits are banished. As the heart of Corvosso, the old Methodist class leader, expressed it when he reached this point in his Christian experience, “Emptied of sin and self and filled with God!”
Now the soul sings:
“Precious Saviour, Thou hast saved me,
Thine and only Thine I am.
O! the cleansing blood has reached me,
Glory, glory to the Lamb!
Yes, I will stand up for Jesus,
He has sweetly saved my soul,
Cleansed me from inbred corruption,
Sanctified and made me whole.”
So long as the soul remains submissive and trustful, the King who has cleansed it will keep it pure. When Frances Ridley Havergal, the famous hymnwriter, claimed Christ as her cleanser, she said:
“First I was shown that ‘the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.’
It was then made plain to me that He who thus cleansed me had the power to keep me clean.
So I utterly yielded myself to Him and trust Him to keep me.
As we may trust Him to cleanse us from the stain of past sins, so may we trust Him to cleanse us from all present defilement.”
Yes, the power of sin is broken! The love of sin destroyed! Yes, Christ is crowned within!
Rev. Martin Wells Knapp (1853–1901), a Methodist pastor, evangelist, and publisher, was the founder of God’s Bible School & College in 1900. This selection, abridged and updated by Larry D. Smith, is taken from Knapp’s book, Christ Crowned Within, published in Cincinnati in 1889.