By Evangelist B. N. Wire
Other Temptations Peculiar To The Sanctified
It is quite generally agreed that the temptations of the sanctified differ in many respects from the temptations of the unsanctified and the sinner. Hence we desire to warn and prepare all sanctified saints against all the peculiar temptations that may befall them, with the exceptions of those discussed in previous chapters.
1. The Temptation over Temptation Itself, is no doubt one of the first and strongest temptations that attack sanctified souls.
Why am I tempted and how could I be tempted if I loved God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength, and my neighbor as myself, as sanctified people do? This question as to the how and why of temptation after sanctification is fully answered in chapters one and two, but here we desire to discuss more specifically the difference between temptation and sin.
The presence and severity of temptation cause many to fall because they allow Satan to make them believe that this heaviness comes from carnality or a drawing away by inner impurity. When doubt enters, defeat is certain for "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin " Rom. 14:23. It is not at all necessary that the most severe temptation that may produce soul agony and manifold heaviness denotes sin even within as a condition. Always remember how the Holy Christ was sorely tempted though He never possessed the carnal nature. It is not necessarily a sign of carnality for one to be tempted, but sin is never committed no matter what state the soul is in until the human will chooses wrongly. Sin is from the choice of the individual. "Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin." Temptation is never sin. It has only the possibility of leading one into sin. Everything depends upon our attitude and decision.
II. The Temptation to Spiritual Pride is one of the first to present itself to the sanctified.
Immediately after one is filled with the Spirit one has clearer insight in spiritual matters than those who have not the fullness of the Spirit. His convictions are also finer and the deadness of some in the church is more evident. There is also more freedom and power in prayer and testimony. All these abundant revelations become a source of temptation to spiritual pride.
Paul had great natural, educated and redeemed powers. After he had found God's will and said "This one thing I do," Phil. 3 13, he became the chief of all apostles and did greater things than any of his contemporaries. Almost everywhere he went he stirred hell, made converts, and organized Christian churches. Paul certainly knew that he was doing greater things than others. In the midst of his marvelous ministry he found a distressing infirmity seemingly hindering him from being a greater man and doing more for Christ. Three times he prayed to God to remove this "thorn in his flesh". Finally, God answered his prayer by saying "NO!" Then he was informed that this thorn was divinely allowed to keep him from having spiritual pride. Paul said, "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong." II Cor. 12:7-10.
One has said that there are four main kinds of pride. They are: Face pride, Race pride, Place pride and Grace pride. The last is perhaps the most deadly and dangerous of them all. Beware of the suggestion of the enemy that you are a superior sort of a Christian, especially favored of God. Even though you are more blessed and see things more clearly and have finer convictions do not allow any or all of this to cause you to feel superior and beyond the need of reproof and advice lest, "Ye being lifted up with pride fall into the condemnation of the Devil." I Tim. 3:6.
This tendency to spiritual pride is evident in such testimonies as we often hear. "When I got saved, I really got it right." "I'm glad I got saved in the days when they really prayed through." Inferring that in these days they don't pray through - exalting self at the expense of the younger members of the church. "I tell you that since I got sanctified I have never had to ask anyone to forgive me." There is only one reason why we don't ask someone's forgiveness once in a while and that is because we are too carnally stubborn to do it. "Well I'm blessed if some folks do have it in for me." No one is truly blessed who makes such a statement unless he has been to those who have ought against him and has been reconciled according to Matthew 5 :23-24, "Therefore if. thou bring thy gift to the altar and there remember that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." The highest place in the kingdom of grace is low on your face at the foot of the cross. The first and last evidence of deep spirituality is HUMILITY.
III. The Temptation over changing emotions has caused about ninety-nine out of every one hundred to stumble after sanctification.
This is because when we entertain suggestions relative to feelings we are entertaining the suggestions of the Devil. The Holy Ghost would always suggest that we look at the unchanging facts and not the changing feelings. If "naked faith" is faith stripped of emotion then some times we have to live on naked faith. The Christian life from beginning to end is a life of faith.
The one great sin of looking at the waning changeableness of our feelings is that it destroys faith and diverts our attention from the cross, the blood, and the unfailing promise of God to our puny, failing human self. There is only one way to keep victorious. Rev. F. Lincicome says, "Look within and be discouraged; look behind and be defeated; look around and be distressed; look ahead and be dismayed; look at others and be perplexed; look to Jesus and be happy." "Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith." Hebrews 12:2.
The spirit of heaviness is not only compatible with the spirit of holiness but essential to our best spiritual welfare. Note carefully the following scriptures: "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." I Peter 1:5,6,7.
IV. The Temptation to be Indefinite in Testimony overcomes multiplied thousands of those who have received the Holy Ghost.
Satan always attacks us at the highest point of our profession and possession. If he can break us down here he will soon rob us of all we possess. He urges us to be silent about sanctification and show it through our lives. How plausible all this emphasis upon living holy! How interested the Devil is in anyone living holiness before his neighbors! We must remember that "with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10:10. M-O-U-T-H does not spell life. We cannot live what we do not possess and we cannot possess what we do not confess.
The presence of critics, Satanic suggestions as to our feelings, and to how much better others feel, often destroy definiteness and lead to defeat. Again here we must stick to the facts and be definite, "holding fast the profession of our faith without wavering." Hebrews 10:2 3.
V. The Temptation to become impatient with others is another stumbling stone for the sanctified.
Their vision is clearer and they have more zeal than others. Many seem so sluggish and dull of understanding - so slow in grasping the light and truth of holiness. People's dullness, carnal blindness and slowness to walk in the light make it hard not to doubt their honesty and impune their motives. But we cannot promote holiness by impatience and clubbing. "Be patient toward all men." I Thess. 5:14. The only way we can propagate holiness is to be filled with the Spirit, have many of the fruits of the Spirit in our lives (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, etc.) so that others will become hungry for what we enjoy.
VI. The Temptation to Depreciate the Former Experience of justification has overcome and cursed a large portion of the holiness movement.
We must never put regeneration in the basement in order to exalt holiness in the main auditorium. There are two great evils which I have seen in the holiness churches. One is to minimize the first work of grace, and the other is to exaggerate the second; both with an endeavor to exalt the experience of entire sanctification.
Never say, "When I was only saved", inferring that that experience did not mean much. "When they get sanctified they'll leave the world, and dress like pilgrims." No, all that has to be done in true Bible regeneration. "They are not of the world even as I am not of the world." John 17:14. Jesus also testified before Pentecost ever came that His disciples had their names written in heaven, were glorifying Him, and were keeping the Word. God grant that we shall never forget that "the grace which provides forgiveness of sins and quickens the dead soul into newness of life is a greater miracle than the cleansing of the christian", says Rev. C. W. Ruth. The great mystery of Godliness is how God maintains His justice and still becomes the justifier of the ungodly. All else is impossible without justification. If Jesus will raise Lazarus from the dead I can believe very easily that He will cleanse him from the disease that put him in the tomb. Certainly we need a revival of regeneration in many of our churches, even among the professors of the second grace.