Intro

This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I began the project on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed it on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. I still do that every once in a while.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Possessed by Christ

Guest blog by Thomas Cook (1860-1913).

It is impossible to emphasize too strongly that Christ must do all in us, just as He has already done all for us. Not that He and we are to do the work between us. Salvation is of God from beginning to end. Well might we despair if the life of holiness depended upon human strength or resources, but all the difficulties vanish when God undertakes the work. The whole ground is covered by provision and promise. Because Christ died we have life, because His life is in us we are dead to sin. It is not simply that Christ took our death, we must take His life. We receive Christ into our hearts by faith, and we keep Him there by a faith which produces holiness

But some have Christ who are not entirely possessed by Christ. Instead of the unbroken blessedness which accompanies the perpetual realization of Christ's continuous abiding, so far as their consciousness is concerned, His visits are short and far between, and their fellowship broken and interrupted. The reason is they have never consecrated themselves fully to Christ. It is of no use for such to pray for more of God. God wants more of them. When the self-life expires Christ will possess us fully for Himself as naturally as air rushes into a vacuum. We create the vacuum by dethroning our idols. Nearly all the delay, difficulty, and danger lies at this point, unwillingness to fully surrender to Christ and to have no will of our own. Self can assert itself just as effectually in a little as in a great thing. It may be some very trifling thing that is exempted from the dominion of Christ — some preference, some indulgence, some humiliating duty, some association to be broken, or some adornment to be discarded, but never until self is crucified can we learn the full meaning of being Christ-possessed.

We must have empty hands to grasp a whole Christ. St. Paul could never have said, "I am crucified with Christ; it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me " (Alford), had self been still alive disputing with Christ the throne of the soul. Self had been nailed to the Cross, and Christ had taken the supreme place in his soul. Luther testifies to a very similar experience. "If any person knocks at the door of my heart and asks who lives here, I shall answer, Not Martin Luther, he died some time ago, Jesus Christ lives here." Just as where the self-seeking Jacob died the prevailing Israel was begotten, so from the ashes of our self-life shall come the prevailing life. It is only when the last entrenchment of self-will has been surrendered that there can be a complete resurrection unto life. But when we are ready to say, "There is nothing that would dishonor Christ that I will not forsake, nothing that would bring glory to Him which I will not render or perform; I will give myself and all I have into His hands for time and for eternity; I will follow Christ whithersoever He goes," Christ will not be long in taking full possession. With all His blessings He will enter our hearts, purging us from our evil, and so revealing Himself to our inner consciousness, that henceforth, in an unbroken line of deep calm receptiveness, we may possess, and know that we possess, an indwelling Saviour.

Do any of my readers say what those two on the way to Emmaus said to the Master, "Abide with us, abide with us?" His answer is already given, "This is My rest for ever, here will I dwell, for I have desired it, even in this poor heart of thine."

New Testament Holiness (2nd edition, 1903) Chapter 8.