Holiness: What Christ Does in Us
Many talk much about what Christ has done for us, but how little is spoken about what He is to do in us. He was incarnated, suffered, died, and rose again from the dead; ascended into heaven, and there appears in the presence of God for us. These were all saving, atoning, and mediating acts for us, that He might reconcile us to God and blot out our sins.
But His purpose also is that He might purge our consciences from dead works; that He might bind the strong man armed—take away the armor in which he trusted, wash the polluted heart, destroy every sin and abominable desire, and all tormenting and unholy tempers; and that He might make the heart His throne, fill the soul with His light, power, and life; and “destroy the works of the devil.”
These all are done in us but are consequent on the acts that He has done for us in His saving work. Jesus came to restore the divine image in us so defaced by sin.
For sin must have no triumph, and the Redeemer of mankind must have His glory. But if a man be not entirely saved from all sin, sin does triumph; and Satan will rejoice because it has left such terrible effects upon us that Christ either cannot or will not remove. To say He cannot would be shocking blasphemy against His power and dignity, but to say He will not would be equally against the infinite benevolence and holiness of His nature.
All sin, whether in power, guilt, or defilement, is the work of the devil. And Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil; and as all unrighteousness is sin, so His blood cleanseth from all sin, because it cleanseth from all unrighteousness.
The whole design of God was to restore man to His image, and raise him from the ruins of his fall—in a word, to blot out all his sins, purify his soul, and fill him with holiness, so that no unholy temper, evil desire, or impure affection or passion shall either lodge or have any being within him. This is true religion; and a less salvation than this would be to dishonor the sacrifice of Christ, as well as the great work of the Holy Spirit.
It has been no small mercy to me that I have met with many persons who professed that the blood of Christ had saved them from all sin and whose profession was maintained by an immaculate life. They were persons of the strongest faith, the purest love, the holiest affections, the most obedient lives, and the most useful in society.
I have seen them walking with God for many years, and I have had the privilege of observing their walk of life, and sometimes with their testimony at death, when their sun appeared to grow broader and brighter at its setting. They fully witnessed the grand effects which flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, namely, assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Spirit, increase of grace, and perseverance in the same to the end of their lives.
O God! Let my death be like the deaths of these righteous ones, and let my end be like theirs! Amen.
Dr. Adam Clarke (c.1760–1832) was a famous British Methodist minister, biblical scholar, and commentator. This selection, abridged by Larry D. Smith, is extracted from Clarke’s Christian Theology.
Rev. Dr. Adam Clarke (c. 1760–1832) was a famous British Methodist scholar, known especially for his massive commentary on the Bible.