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.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

On Sin in Believers

What is the difference then, between sin in a sinner, and sin in a believer? The same difference that there is between poison in a rattlesnake and the virus of that serpent injected into a healthy man. The venom is natural to the reptile. He delights in it, secretes and cherishes it with pleasure. But all the vital forces of the man resist the injected poison, and rally to thrust it out of the system.

We have shown elsewhere that the seventh chapter of the Epistle to the Romans was not designed by St. Paul as an ideal of the regenerate life, even in its lowest stages. But so true is the doctrine of sin in believers — inbred sin — sometimes breaking out against the enfeebled will, that a whole section of the Christian world have mistaken the struggles of an awakened legalist seeking Justification by good works, and failing through the ascendancy of depraved inclination, for the portrait of the Christian in his best estate in this life. This photograph of a Christless, convicted Jew, has, alas! been set before myriads of Christians as the masterpiece of that Jesus who came to save his people from their sins, the best specimen of his art as a Divine limner even when aided by the great transformer, the Holy Spirit.

This class of Christians do not need arguments to convince them of the possible existence of sin in believers. It is difficult for them to believe that they may live on the earth after sin is all destroyed. Since nature abhors a vacuum in the spiritual as in the physical world, the complete and permanent annihilation of sin as a state of heart must be attended by the infusion of perfect love, by which we mean love in a degree commensurate with the utmost capacity of the soul. Hence the coup de grace, the deathblow which ends the war of love against sin, is a negative and limited work, to be followed by a work positive and unlimited. The first is the removal of all impurity, whether inherent or acquired; the second is being "filled with all the fullness of God." It is the adorning of the soul with all the fruit of the Spiritlove, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, fidelity, patience, and temperance.

— From Love Enthroned Chapter 3.

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