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.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spiritual Crucifixion

QUESTION: The Telescope, my religious weekly, in an article on "Spiritual Circumcision" has the following sentences which I wish you to discuss: (1) "Paul makes no distinction between believers, saying that they crucified, while others are not." (2) "That spiritual crucifixion is in the past tense and refers to justification." (3) "There is no text in proof that a second work is required that the believer may be spiritually crucified."

ANSWER: (1) This does not harmonize with 1 Cor. 3:1-3, where "brethren," "babes in Christ," are described as largely carnal and very much in need of such a change as Paul testifies to in Gal. 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer (American Revision) I that live, but Christ liveth in me." Again, in Phil. 2:19-21, Paul sorrowfully complains that even in his company of Christian ministers only Timothy was like himself wholly consecrated to Christ and dead to selfishness, and that "all" the rest of them "seek their own and not the things of Jesus Christ." This very plainly teaches that there is a wide difference between Christians, some being dead to self, while others are in great need of self-crucifixion, having a selfish regard for themselves, obstructive of their highest usefulness in places where they may have abundant occasion for self-denial and self-sacrifice in promoting the glory of Christ and the well-being of his Body, the church. The Telescope has made the discovery that "crucifixion and death mean only separation." This is well said and it implies a separation from the bent to sinning sought and found by one who is already forgiven and inspired with spiritual life. (2) Justification or pardon is an instantaneous work done for us. It takes place in the mind of God while the new birth and spiritual crucifixion are definite and momentary works of the Holy Spirit wrought in us, the past tense (the Greek aorist) denoting that each of these works is an act and done once for all. (3) 1 Thess. 5:23 is a decisive proof-text which no opponent can explain away. The Greek word "wholly" is used in the New Testament only here. It signifies "perfect, complete in all respects." "Entire" is in the Greek used but twice in the New Testament, "denoting," says Thayer, "ethically, free from sin, faultless." The aorist tense of "sanctify" implies that the act of entire purification is instantaneous and decisive. A similar text is 2 Cor. 7:1, together with the four preceding verses. What sin can be left after cleansing all defilement of the flesh (sins through the body) and spirit (mental sins)? There can be no other kind of sins. Finally, all prayers for entire sanctification and all exhortations to seek it imply its absence in many believers and the possibility of its immediate obtainment, are such proof-texts.

Steele's Answers pp. 61-63.

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