— The Gospel of the Comforter, Chapter 14.
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.
Friday, March 20, 2015
The Error of the Doctrine of the Two Natures
There prevails in certain religious circles the doctrine that in the new birth a new nature is created, while the old nature, or old man, continues till physical death extinguishes his life. It is said that the old nature is nailed to the cross, but he does not die so long as the human spirit acts through a material organism. Denial of the possibility of entire sanctification in the present life is an obvious inference. Another outcome of this error is that depravity is necessary, and that it is beyond the reach of the Holy Spirit in the application of the blood of Christ which cleanses from all sin. Hence the notion of two natures existing in every Christian, however consecrated, so long as he is in the body, the one a new creation and therefore sinless, and the other sinful and beyond all hope of change for the better, is exceedingly mischievous, palliating and excusing evil propensities. When we speak of the Holy Spirit as the indwelling Sanctifier we will examine the alleged scriptural proofs of this doctrine. We insist that the work of the Spirit in the new creation of the penitent believer in Christ is not the creation of new faculties, but the rectification of those already existing, weakened and marred by sin. He has no need of a new reason for even after the fall, reason in man grasps the same self-evident truths that exist in God, In fact, the modern teaching of philosophy is that truths of intuition are the activity of God immanent in the soul of man. His sensibilities, both natural and moral, have been damaged by the fall of Adam, and his will has become enslaved to his perverted affections and depraved desires. It is the office of the Holy Spirit to lift this yoke of bondage and to bring the newborn soul into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. He whom Christ Jesus makes free is free indeed. It is the slave that is emancipated and not a new being just created. Such a being would need no act of emancipation. It is the office of the Spirit to give the will the gracious ability to make holy choices, and to clarify the moral sense or conscience so that its decisions will all harmonize with ethical axioms or immutable morality. The "new creature" spoken of by Paul is a figure of speech for the vivid presentation of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in the renewal of a soul badly shattered by sin. Conscience is restored to full activity both in its power to discern and its power to approve or to condemn. The human spirit may well be compared to a skylight in the dome of his being through which he was designed to have a vision of spiritual realities. But sin has darkened the windows and intercepted the heavenly vision. The remedy is not in the demolition of the old skylight and the setting of a new one, but in the thorough cleansing of the original window by One who by taking up His abode in that dome can always keep it transparent by His purifying presence. The process seems to be first to cause the law of God to shine into conscience, the light of forgiveness, then the light of purity, "having no more conscience of sin."