In sanctification "we are God's fellow-workers" (I Cor. iii. 9, Revised Version). Hence the momentous import of the exhortation of Paul, "Carry out with fear and trembling your own salvation. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure." The occasion for fear and trembling arises from the fact that God's work in me may fail to reach perfection because of my failure to work perfectly with Him. It is indeed a solemn and awful thing to be fellow-workers with the holy God in the production of the most valuable thing in the universe, a holy character. In the work of purifying ourselves while God is refining us how careful should we be lest through lack of faith in His exceedingly great and precious promises we should mar the work of His Spirit in perfectly conforming us to the image of His Son. As a slight motion may spoil the image which the king of day is imprinting on the prepared plate, so a little self-indulgence or heedlessness or wavering of faith may blur the image of Christ which the Spirit is creating in me. I am responsible not only for all that I can do towards completed holiness, which is perfect consecration, but I am also responsible for all that the Holy Ghost can do with my co-operation.
The work of the Holy Spirit in the progressive sanctification of the newborn soul is indirect: in opening the heart to receive the truth, the instrument of purification; in giving vigor to the spiritual life; in strengthening the will to resist temptation, and in diminishing the power of evil habits. It is repressive of depravity rather than totally destructive.
The entire eradication of the propensity to sin is by the direct and instantaneous act of the Holy Spirit responsive to a special act of faith in Christ claiming the full heritage of the believer.
[J. A. Beet remarks:]
When we learn that God claims us for His own, and when, after fruitless personal efforts to render Him the devotion He requires, we learn for the first time that God will work in us by the agency of His Spirit and by actual spiritual contact with Christ the devotion He requires, and when we venture to believe, . . . we find by happy experience that according to our faith it is done to us. The experience thus gained becomes an era in our spiritual life. We feel that we are then holy in a sense unknown to us before.
— The Gospel of the Comforter Chapter 14.
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