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 started this on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed blogging from that book 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. Since then, I have begun adding material from his Bible commentaries. I also re-blog many of the old posts.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Called to be Saints

J. A. Beet writes: "The word saint is a very appropriate designation of the followers of Christ; for it declares what God requires them to be."

One has humorously said that Paul called Christians saints on the same principle that some small and struggling American schools are called universities, because the founders had large hopes. As objects of hope they are universities, but not in reality. The term "holy" points to our privilege and obligation to live lives free from sin and wholly devoted to Christ, who died that we might not live unto self. In every pulpit and prayer meeting the fact should be constantly rung out that all who have taken upon themselves the name of Christ are called to be saints, holy ones.

In this view of the subject there is, after entire sanctification, a growth in the positive element of holiness. This is taught by Wesley in the continual increase of love in a pure heart, as the spiritual life day by day develops in its utmost fullness, enjoying that real freedom in which obedience to God is not hindered by any inward opposition. Hence we insist that the believer's complete development is realized only by a supreme act of self-crucifixion, followed by a life of total self-abnegation; in the words of Wesley, "naked, following a naked Christ," whose holiness as the "Son of man" was evinced in his coming into the world, "not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."

This doctrine has always been disliked by self-centered men, whether nominal Christians or not, men filled with self-will, self-seeking, self-sufficiency, and self-righteousness. When the Church tones down or neglects to preach this essential and vital doctrine to please such men and gain their support, she betrays her Lord for money and commits suicide besides.

— From A Defense of Christian Perfection, Chapter 5.

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