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.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sanctification of the Body

The candid student of the New Testament, especially of the Epistles, which unfold the uttermost extent of salvation under the dispensation of the Paraclete, will not fail to discover the prominence given to the purification of the material element of human nature through faith in Christ. In Romans xii. 1, the body, in distinction from the mind (ver. 2), its spiritual tenant, is to be holy, not after death, but while "living." In chapter vi, 6, we read that the purpose of the crucifixion of the old man is, that the body "in so far as it is a sin-body" (Meyer) might be destroyed, "annihilated" (Cremer), "done away" (R.V.). In Colossians ii. 11, we are assured that "the circumcision of Christ," that entire sanctification of the heart (Jer. iv 4) which Christ provides for in the gift of the Holy Spirit, consists in ''putting off the body of the flesh" (R.V.), not merely the outward "sins of the flesh". The significant and weighty double compound Greek noun, "putting off," found nowhere else in Greek literature, is invented by Paul to express the thoroughness of this purging of the whole body from all sinful tendencies. Hence the meaning is, "a complete 'putting off' and doing away with this body 'of the flesh,' in so far as God, by means of this ethical circumcision, has taken off and removed the sinful body from man (the two acts are expressed by the double compound), like a garment which is drawn off and laid aside" (Meyer).

St. Paul declares (I Cor. vi 13) that "the body is for the Lord" (Jesus), inasmuch as it is a member of Christ, and "the Lord is for the body;" that is, He purposes to rule and use it as His member, and an instrument for His use, and a mirror for reflecting His glory. "The body is His due, for He assumed the body, and hath therein sanctified us; and we are joined to Him by the resurrection of the body." Thus says Bengel, who adds, "Quanta dignatio!" — "How great an honour!" This honour culminates in the nineteenth verse: "What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost," His peculiar and perpetual habitation, the last place which He hath chosen for the erection of His altar (Deut. xii. 14). How impressive the injunction which follows, when cleared, as it is in the Revision, of the gloss which diverts the emphasis from the body, the subject under discussion. "Therefore, glorify God in your BODY."

The strongest proof text (1 Thess. v. 23) for the entire sanctification of the body in the present life is found in that prayer of the Apostle Paul in which he makes an exhaustive analysis of man's compound nature, and prays that each specific part may be preserved blameless, after supplicating the very God of peace to sanctify the undivided whole. In his enumeration of parts, Paul descends from the highest and distinctive part, the spirit, the dome of man's being, wherein he is receptive of the Holy Spirit, to the animal soul, containing the passions and appetites in common with the brutes, the second part in the detail which needs the purifying power: thence he goes down to the material foundations of this divine temple and prays for the keeping pure of the sanctified body.

(We have not discussed "the flesh" in the Pauline sense of that term. We have attempted to prove that the body is to be sanctified and the flesh is to be crucified.)

Mile-Stone Papers, Part 1 Chapter 12.

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