I have been very deeply exercised in my soul, more so than in all the fifty years that Christ Jesus has been precious to me, a poor sinner, and this particular exercise of my soul you will learn in reading, what I now write, and which I hope will be of profit to you, and cause you to examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves how Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (2 Cor. 1.3:5).
Does sin still live in us? Ah, what a grief this is! “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness” (1 Thess. 4:7).
The called of God dare not, they cannot live in sin (Rom. 6:2). For the grace of God teacheth his elect that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts they should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world (Titus 2:12).
This blessed teaching of God’s grace continues all the days of the pilgrimage of the taught of the Lord, to the better, heavenly country. So they that are Christ’s are found, not living in sin, not making provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof, but “they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Gal. 5:24). If we are of God, we strive against sin (Heb. 12:4), we tarn from transgression (Isa. 59:20). But what a contradiction! A professor of godliness, and yet a worker of iniquity (Luke 13:15-17). They profess that they know Christ, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate (Titus 1:16). There were those who declared they had prophesied in His name, and in His name had cast out devils, and had done many wonderful works; and this to Christ’s face (Matt. 7:21-23), but saith Christ, “and then will I profess unto them, I never knew you, depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Never, until of late, did I so fully enter into the awful description of such ungodly persons who creep into churches and there practice their iniquities to the distress of those who are Christ’s, but unto their own damnation, which slumbereth not. The holy scriptures very clearly portray these ungodly characters; and, dear children of God, we are to have no fellowship with the works of darkness, workers of iniquity but rather reprove them.
The antinomian hypocrite can talk of faith, and that there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, that Noah was drunken, David committed adultery, Peter lied to save his life, that Christ said to the woman taken in. adultery, Neither do I condemn thee, and thus by handling the word of God deceitfully, and by their own graceless, carnal, sensual lives, in their doctrines and lives they turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 4). They talk of faith, and eternal life, and joy, and while their souls are destitute of all experience of the same. “Their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage” (Jude 16). “For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption” (2 Peter 2:18-19).
Such vile characters know nothing of crucifying the flesh with the affections and lusts, but license themselves to all sensual gratifications, and make provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof (Rom. 13:14). Such ungodly persons may talk about not being under the law but under grace, but you never hear them utter a word concerning the called of God being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ (1 Cor. 9:21). That the Lord in calling His elect unto the fellowship of His dear Son puts His law in their inward parts and writes it in their hearts, and declares, “I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer. 31:33).
Oh the pardon of our sins, union with Christ our crucified Redeemer, access unto the Father by Jesus’ precious blood, a broken and contrite heart, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, a daily cross, crucifying the flesh with the affections and lusts, the communion of the Holy Ghost who takes of the things of Christ and shows them unto us; these are in very truth some of the things found in the lives of those who are called by God’s grace. But how dreadful is the state of that presumptuous professor of Christ’s name who is an antinomian in spirit and libertine in practice, who in his teachings and life is turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness. The evil doings of some of God’s elect are not recorded in the scriptures to give the dear children of God license to do the same; but rather, these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted (1 Cor. 10:6-12). “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance; but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation, because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” 1 Peter 1:14-16). If we know the grace of God in truth (Col. 1:6), the word of the truth of the gospel will bring forth fruit in us. It is not that it ought to; but it verily does. The grace of God in the hearts of His people is not a failure, and continued new supplies each hour we need while pressing on to God. We are taught of the Lord to say unto Him, “Take away all iniquity!” (Hosea 14:2). “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me; then shall I be upright, and I shall he innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my month, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, my redeemer” (Psalm 19:13-14).
Sin is not that which those who are born of Cod roll as a sweet morsel under their tongue; but they loathe all iniquity, sin is not cherished and lived in. It is sin that causes the child of God to cry out, “Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” And our souls’ yearning is that our conversation may be such as becometh the gospel of Christ.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:1-5). Amen
ELDER FREDERICK W. KEENE
OLD FAITH CONTENDER,
February 1, 1953
Reprinted from ZION ’S LANDMARK,
May 15, 1922