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Character development is said to be the most important work ever entrusted to human beings. During the next hour, we will explore both our privilege and our responsibility to become Christ-like in character. Join us now for this powerful time of personal renewal as Pastor Stephen Wallace takes us “From Glory to Glory.”

Welcome back, dear friends. Thank you so much for the privilege of studying once again with you this evening. We have been looking at the opposition factor called the flesh. In the words of Paul, “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit;” {Gal 5:17} and the verb that’s translated “lusts” is in the present active tense, which means ongoing, continuous lusting. Indeed, as long as we have unholy flesh, the flesh will lust against the Spirit; and we don’t get holy flesh until when? …until glorification. So as we noted in our last reference that we had time to look at, the wrestling, the wrestling with inbred sin… {Review and Herald, Nov. 29, 1887}

What is inbred sin? It’s that naturally selfish heart with all of its inherited tendencies to evil.

The wrestling with inbred sin goes “from the cross to the,” what? “crown.” – symbolic language spanning the whole of the Christian life, commencing at conversion – that’s the cross – and culminating at glorification – that’s the crown. In fact, in the very statement, the servant of the Lord identifies the crown as the crown of immortality, and when do we receive that? “In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.” {1 Cor 15:52} Now, the implications of that fact are profound, and we need to consider those implications.

Now, I am about to tackle with you an extremely controversial subject; and, bless your hearts, I, by nature, don’t like to deal with controversial issues. But when I see controversy dividing us as a people, it really concerns me. Because, my dear friends, if we’re going to give the loud cry {Rev 18:1-4}, we’re going to have to be united in what we’re proclaiming. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} We’re going to have to be united; and it is the truth that unites. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} So I must, for the sake of Him who is the Truth, who I love with my whole heart, and for the sake of His church, who I also love, I must seek, by the power of the Spirit of Truth, to carefully present the truth that we might come to a mutual agreement on this controversial issue and find unity in the truth. That’s the only place we really have unity. It’s where? …in the truth. But I’m standing in the need of special prayer, and so are you, as we approach this topic. So let’s spend our time earnestly pleading for the outpouring of the Spirit of Truth to bless us as we proceed.

Father in heaven, I thank You so much that You are eager and ready to pour out Your Spirit upon Your people according to their need; and we need that Spirit desperately right now. We are in the closing hours of earth’s history. We have a message to take to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, and we are very much divided on many issues. We lack unity. Father please, by the Spirit of Truth, through the study of the Truth, may we find unity in Him who is the Truth. Lord, I want so much to lift up the Truth, to lift up Jesus; and I know, for He has said, “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all unto Me;” and the more we allow ourselves to be drawn to Him who is the Truth, the more we will inevitably become united with each other until we are one in the truth with Jesus. So please Lord, help me in a special way to speak very carefully and accurately the truth. Indite my words, guide my thoughts. I want to say what You want me to say, nothing more, nothing less; and what You are able to say through this poor earthen vessel, I pray would be understood and would be able to set us free from any misconceptions and bring us into unity. Please Lord, make this happen, for I ask it in Jesus’ name. Amen.

We didn’t quite finish Lesson 21; and there’s a very positive note that I wanted to end on, but I’ll begin with it. We have noted very clearly, and established both from Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy, that the Christian life is a constant conflict, a constant battle. In fact, inspiration says in Testimonies, Volume 3, page 253, you see where we are, “The Christian life is a constant battle and a march. There is no rest from the warfare.” Pretty clear language, isn’t it? That can be very clearly documented in Scripture as well. “The Christian life is a constant battle and a march. There is no rest from the warfare.”

Some of you might be thinking, “Well wait a minute. That’s sounds pretty grim. I mean, where’s the peace? Isn’t there supposed to be peace? Isn’t the Christian supposed to know peace? Well, how do you get that together with the whole Christian life being a constant battle? How do you fit that with there being no end to the warfare? ‘…no rest from the warfare?’ Where’s the peace?”

Well, first of all, please recognize who the peace is with. – very important, dear friends. Romans 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with,” self? Is that what it says? No. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Yes, there’s peace, but it’s peace with God! But hear me, brother, sister, if you and I are going to have peace with God, we’ve got to be at war with self. Are we all together on that? In fact, this side of glorification… Understand this; please understand this. This side of glorification, you and I only have two options, only two options. We can be at war with self and at peace with God, or we can be at peace with self and at war with God. Those are the only options you’ve got.

Why? Because the self that I’m talking about is never converted. It’s the old man, who we have to contend with daily until he’s finally eradicated, “In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.” {1 Cor 15:52} I don’t know about you, my dear friends, but this boy is looking forward to the day when that opposition factor is obliterated, eradicated, and “in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye,” this “vile body” is changed and “fashioned like unto His glorious body,” {Phil 3:21} and I no longer have an old man that harasses me every day. I’m looking forward to that; are you with me? {Amen}

Let me bare my soul a little bit. I’m amongst friends; I can safely do that, can’t I? There are times, there are times when my battle gets so intense that I have actually cried out and said, “Lord, please, would You let me go to sleep?” What’s the sleep of death to the Christian? What is it? Is it anything to dread? No, at times it’s a very attractive alternative… to an incredibly intense battle; and the next moment we know, “the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised,” what? “…incorruptible!” {1 Cor 15:52} And we won’t have this opposition factor; and we can lay down our sword and shield and study war no more, like that song says. Oh, I long for that day with my whole being! Are you with me, or can any of you identify with me? {Amen} But every time I ever say such a thing, I always hasten to add, “Nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done; {Lk 22:42} and if You want me to live until Jesus comes, then I’m counting on You to give me the strength to fight and win this incredible battle against my old man.” Oh, I long for the time when the battle’s over though. But it’s not going to be over, my dear friends, until glorification or death, whichever comes first. Please know that; and please know that though you must constantly be fighting the old man, you can know the joy of peace with God.

Indeed, Scripture refers to this peace as a peace that “passeth all understanding;” and you can better understand how, in the midst of constant conflict, to have peace would be a peace that passes all understanding, wouldn’t it? Yes. Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” I love that: “Keep your hearts and minds.” What do we have there, again? …heart and mind. What are we talking about? …thoughts and feelings. What are we talking about? …character! {5T 310.1} Do you see that? “…peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Signs of the Times, March 17, 1887: “It is our privilege to have daily a calm, close, happy walk with Jesus.” Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} “We need not be alarmed if the path lies through conflicts and sufferings. We may have the peace which passeth understanding; but it will cost us battles with the powers of darkness, struggles severe against selfishness and,” what else? “inbred sin.” There’s peace, yes, but if you’re going to have peace with God, you’ve got to be at war with self. Are we all together on that? We’ve got to be at war with self.

Now, my dear friends, the controversial issue that we need to address at this juncture. By the way, it’s conversations with several of you that have convicted me that I need to address this a little more fully than we usually do. What is it? What is this controversial issue? Bless your hearts, it has to do with the whole issue regarding the condition that God’s people must reach if they are going to be able to stand without a Mediator after the close of probation. Did you hear what I just said? What’s the controversial issue? It has to do with the condition of God’s people, the condition they must attain to by grace, if they are going to be able to stand without a Mediator after the close of probation.

You know, I trust, that probation closes just prior to the time of Jacob’s trouble {Jer 30:7}, and the seven last plagues. {Rev 15:1} You’re aware of that, aren’t you? There is a significant period of time, then, between the close of probation and glorification, which happens, “in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye,” when Jesus comes. Now, Jesus at the close of probation ceases His high-priestly ministry. {GC 594.1, PH098 13.2} His mediatorial role comes to an end. He sets aside His high-priestly robes and He puts on His kingly robes {DS, March 14, 1846 par. 2}, and He prepares to come in a short time, and praise God, it will be cut short in righteousness, {Rom 9:28} to come and take His people home.

Now, the question is though, what condition must His people, by grace, have attained to if they are going to be able to get along without a Mediator? From the close of probation to glorification, through the time, in other words, of Jacob’s trouble, a significant period of time. What condition must they come to? There are those who argue that they must be absolutely without any sin whatsoever. Is that the case? Bless your hearts, we are just about to traverse a theological mine field; and I want you to pray for me as you pray for yourself. Let’s proceed very carefully. Okay? …very carefully; and let’s stick very close to inspiration, that’s our safety net. Are you with me? Now, this may take more than one study, I don’t know, we’ll see. Lord, help me.

Let’s start out by reading a similar statement to the one that we already noted in the Review and Herald, November 29, 1887. Here it is, restated somewhat, in Signs of the Times, December 17, 1885: “Let us go forward; for we are striving for an immortal crown.” “We are striving for a,” what? “an immortal crown.” “Let us be diligent to make our calling and election sure. A slothful, languid professor will never secure an entrance into the kingdom of God, from the cross to the crown,” and how has she just identified the crown? It is the “immortal crown,” okay? “From the cross to the crown there is earnest work to be done. There is wrestling against,” what? “inbred sin; there is warfare against outward wrong. But we shall triumph at last, if we do not become weary in well-doing. Heaven’s portals will be opened for every one who does his best for God and his fellow-men.” Again, and this isn’t the only other time; there are still more places where we are told that we must be wrestling with inbred sin from the what? “…the cross to the crown.”

Now, question: When do we receive the crown, before or after the close of probation? – after the close of probation. The crown is what we get “in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trump;” {1 Cor 15:52} and probation has already closed, even before the time of Jacob’s trouble. {GC 616.1} So clearly, from the close of probation to glorification, according to inspiration, we are still what? “…wrestling with inbred sin.” Now, I’m not making this up. I’m simply thinking this through with you. Are we all together on this? We wrestle with inbred sin until the crown. The crown is the crown of immortality. We get that “in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trump,” when Jesus comes. So clearly, there is a period of time from the close of probation to glorification, where we are wrestling with what? …inbred sin – still, still! It started at the cross, but it goes right on past the close of probation, till glorification, still wrestling with what? “…inbred sin.”

Now, does that mean that we go right on sinning until we’re glorified? Does it? Oh, my dear friends, please understand this. For the love of Christ, and in the strength of the Holy Spirit, you and I must become such skilled wrestlers that we’ve got that old man in a death lock, pinned to the floor; and we would rather die than knowingly transgress God’s law. {Amen} Are you with me? {Amen} That is precisely what it means to be sealed, and we must be sealed before the close of probation. I want to repeat that. We must come to the place, for the love of Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, that we’ve become such skilled wrestlers that we’ve got that old man in a death lock, pinned to the floor, and we would rather what? …die than knowingly transgress God’s law. That’s what it means to be an overcomer. {Rev 1 and 2}

But, think with me now. Even having come, by God’s grace, to that experience, are we at that point and thereby sinless? No! Why? Because we still have what? “…inbred sin.” It doesn’t reign, but it still what? …remains. It doesn’t have us, but we still have it. Are we all together? According to inspiration, after the close of probation, indeed up to the moment of glorification, we still have inbred sin.

Okay, the question then arises, how is that covered after Christ ceases His mediatorial role? How is that dealt with when Christ no longer is interceding as our High Priest? …which He ceases to do at the close of probation. Do you see the challenge here? And there are many who recognize this as a challenge, and so they have come up with various theories – and that’s a kind way to describe them; it might be more accurate to call them various heresies – that are human efforts to resolve this problem. Throughout the history of our church, we’ve come up with various theories. One of the earlier ones, during the life of Ellen White, was called the “holy flesh movement”. It was called the what? “…the holy flesh movement,” which taught that we not only could, but must, if we were to stand to see Christ come, without going through what they called the “underground railroad to heaven,” which was the grave. If we were going to stand and be translated without seeing death, we had to reach a state of sanctification, be so totally free of sin that we had holy flesh; and Ellen White addresses that issue. {2SM 32.1}

My dear friends, why is it that there are these kinds of efforts to explain how we can be, in ourselves, righteous enough to stand without an Intercessor after the close of probation? I’ll tell you why. I remember very well; it was in Bible class in Academy. Bless his heart; he was doing the best he could. He was my Bible teacher; and he was teaching me what he had probably been taught himself; and he got up that day, and he said, “You know class, I’m going to be explaining to you how we are justified and how we are sanctified; and I need to explain to you the difference between imputed and imparted righteousness.” Bless your hearts, some of you sitting right here will be able to identify with this Bible lecture that I got as a student in Academy because you probably got the same lecture. Then he proceeded to go the blackboard. I can still see him do it, still see him do it; and he drew a rectangle on the blackboard; and this line here was conversion; this was kind of a timeline. He drew a little stick man down here and he said, “That’s us, that’s us;” and he drew a cross down here. Over here at this end, he drew another line, and that is the second coming. But then he backed up a little ways and he drew another line here, and he said, “That is the close of probation.” Then he proceeded to tell us this: “When we come to Christ and are converted, God imputes Christ’s righteousness to us, and that covers us. We are sinful, but when we accept Christ’s righteousness by faith, that is imputed to us and that meets the standard for us…” And this top line was the standard that had to be met in order for us to be justified. Okay? Then, he took his chalk down at this corner, and he said, “We begin, then, the sanctified life;” and he began doing something like this, kind of an irregular line, not definite stairs, but kind of an up and down, and its tendency was upward; and he said, “Class, we receive not only imputed righteousness, but we receive imparted righteousness;” and he said, “The more we grow in our Christian experience, the more Christ-like we become, the more and more imparted righteousness we have;” and then he said, “The less and less imputed righteousness we will need to meet the standard.”

By the way, this is deadly heresy, but I need to explain it to you.

“The more and more imparted righteousness, the more sanctified we got, the less and less imputed righteousness we needed in order to be,” what? “…justified;” and then he said, “Class, what’s very important for all of us to recognize is that when probation closes, Jesus is no longer going to be our Intercessor; and so we must have enough righteousness in ourselves to stand righteous before God without an Intercessor; and so this line needs to reach this point so that we have all the imparted righteousness and we no longer need any more imputed righteousness, because there won’t be any more righteousness to impute to us when Christ ceases His mediatorial role.”

Now, bless your hearts, some of you in this room have probably been taught that; and whether you consciously or subconsciously have embraced that, please know it is deadly heresy. It is what? It is deadly heresy, oh, my dear friends, for several reasons. What are they?

First of all, can you put a line up here to mark the standard that must be met in order to be justified? What standard is it? It’s an infinite standard, and can you measure infinity? No. It’s the righteousness of God that is required to justify us. So that’s one flaw just to start off with. You should put arrows here that go on up indefinitely, all right? The only righteousness that will meet that standard is whose righteousness? …the righteousness of Jesus Christ, freely imputed to us.

Please understand the second deadly error. Sanctification has nothing to do with gaining justification. I want to repeat that. Sanctification has nothing to do with what? …gaining justification. Hebrews 10:14, “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are,” what? “…being sanctified.” What is it that gains justification for us? It’s one offering; and how long are we perfected by that one offering? Come on, how long? Forever! Though sanctification, however, has nothing to do with gaining justification, it has a lot to do with retaining justification. Are you understanding what I’m telling you here? {Yes} Our Spirit-empowered, love-motivated obedience doesn’t gain justification, but it’s necessary to retain justification. Why? Because “faith without works is,” what? “is dead.” {Jas 2:26} We are only justified by faith in Christ’s righteousness, but faith in Christ’s righteousness will always evidence itself in a sanctified life of love-motivated obedience. Amen?

Let’s put it this way: We are justified by faith, not by works; but the faith that justifies always works. Amen? If there’s no works, there’s no faith, and if there’s no faith, there’s no righteousness by faith. But this sanctified life doesn’t gain justification for us. It’s not imputed righteousness plus imparted righteousness, because really the sanctified life is not ours so that we can thereby be justified and entitled to heaven. It’s ours so that we can be made holy and gain a fitness for heaven. It’s for a totally different purpose; do you remember that study? The sanctified life is not so that we can earn eternal life. The sanctified life is so that we can enjoy it when we inherit it as a free gift that has been earned for us by Jesus Christ. Are we all together on this? Do you understand what I’m saying? So to superimpose sanctification on justification is absolutely fallacious and erroneous. It’s a different program. It’s not part of what justifies us… and entitles us to heaven; it’s part of what makes us holy and makes us fit for heaven. It’s a different thing. Are we all together?

Furthermore, even this imparted righteousness, which is crucial, is only acceptable in the context of imputed righteousness. Remember, as we obey God and offer Him our prayer and our praise, passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, it’s what? It’s so defiled that unless purified by blood, it can never be of value with God. {1SM 344.2} Do you remember that statement? It {our worship} has to have Christ’s righteousness added to it. So even the imparted righteousness is only acceptable as it has Christ’s righteousness imputed to it and His blood added to cleanse it. Therefore, it {sanctification} can’t possibly be even a part of what earns our justification. Are we all together on this?

But the worst thing about this deadly heresy is that it necessitates one of two things: either despair or self-deception. What do I mean? Well, my dear friends, as we grow in our Christian experience, as we get better and better acquainted with the infinite righteousness of the character of Christ, we see in ourselves more and more what? …imperfections, shortfall, and if we think, if we think that we have to have within ourselves a righteousness that will stand us righteous in the sight of God, and yet the closer we come to Christ, the more sinful, faulty, defective, imperfect we see ourselves to be, what are we going to do? We’re either going to despair – and a whole lot of people do – in fact, I know some who have actually committed suicide.

You know, I shared this seminar not too far from here, not too long ago; and after one of these studies, a dear silver-haired saint came up to me with tears running down her cheeks; and she said, “Oh, I wish my husband could have heard this study;” and I put my arm around her and I said, “Sister, what do you mean?” And she said, “He was so conscientious. He wanted so much to have the righteousness that would make him righteous in the sight of God in his own life; and he believed that he had to have that before the close of probation; and he tried so hard; and one day I came into the garage, and I found him hanging from the rafters.” This is deadly heresy, brother, sister. For those who are conscientious and are honest, as they look within themselves, do they see a righteousness that will stand them righteous in the sight of God? Do they? No, and so what do they do? They despair.

Now, not all of them commit suicide, obviously, but a lot of them say, “I’m out of here; forget it, I’ll never have it. It’s not even worth trying.” Or the other alternative is to deceive yourself, and fool yourself into thinking that, “Yes, you know, you’re doing all right. In fact, you’re rich and increased in goods and have need of nothing.” {Rev 3:17}

But my dear friends, please understand that we must not take either of those alternatives; and the gospel allows us to be entirely honest regarding our own shortfall, and at the same time maintain hope because we are righteous in the sight of God not on the basis of what we are in ourselves, but on the basis of what we are in Christ. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen}

As long as we are pressing on towards the mark, and for the love of Christ, seeking to walk in the light that we have to the fullness of our ability, and not cherishing known sin, Christ’s righteousness covers us; and God doesn’t see our imperfections, He sees Christ’s infinitely perfect character. Amen? {Amen} That gives you courage to press on, and yet at the same time be honest regarding your shortfall. Does that make sense to you? Do you understand what I’m trying to explain here? Oh, I pray that it’s clear.

Please understand that this battle against inbred sin, for the love of Christ, we can learn to fight and win it on a consistent basis. We can indeed, we must, come to the place where we would rather what? …die than knowingly transgress God’s law {5T 53.2}; and when God has a people who are so settled into the truth that they would rather die than knowingly transgress God’s law, He can cease His high-priestly ministry. Why is He still there? Because His people still, because of want of watchfulness and prayer, get caught off guard and they stumble and fall, and they commit a sin.

But praise God, if we sin we have a what? We have an Advocate with the Father {1 Jn 2:1}, and we can take that sin to Christ; and as long as He is our High Priest, He can forgive us; and He takes that sin into the sanctuary, and I can’t explain further how it happens there, but you understand the process by which that is dealt with finally – being placed upon the head of the scapegoat {Lev 16} – but that’s not the topic of this study. But my dear friends, we must come to the place where we would rather what? …die than sin, and not knowingly transgress God’s law, for the love of Christ, in any area, even in the realm of our thoughts; because there is coming a time when Christ must cease His high-priestly ministry, and He will not be there to confess willful sin to any more. That’s why we must come to the place where we would rather die than willfully sin. Amen?

But, the question is, when Jesus ceases His high-priestly ministry, does He recall the robes of righteousness? {No} You see, this deadly heresy here, would suggest that the robe of righteousness is a loaner that you get when you’re converted; and it’s yours until you have enough in yourself, and you don’t need it any more; and at the close of probation, those robes are going to be recalled; and if you don’t have enough in yourself, you’re in big trouble. My dear friends, that’s deadly heresy. The robe of Christ’s righteousness is not a loaner, it’s a keeper. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} It’s a keeper, but who alone has the right to keep it? “For by one offering He has perfected forever…” {Heb 10:14} We can keep that robe of righteousness for how long? “Forever.” “For by one offering He has perfected forever,” who? “…those who are being sanctified.” It’s yours to keep as long as you are in the process of what? …being sanctified. Amen?

Or back to the other way that we tied those two aspects, imputed and imparted, justification and sanctification, together. Remember, we looked at the name of Christ. He is the what? …the Lord our Righteousness {Jer 23:6}, and He will remain our righteousness as long as we remain submitted to His Lordship. Are you with me? As long as we remain submitted to His Lordship, we can be covered by His righteousness. But if we choose to reject and rebel against His Lordship, then we forfeit His righteousness. You see, righteousness covers no cherished sin. {7BC 931.1} No what? …no cherished sin.

But it covers, praise God, all of our unavoidable deficiencies {3SM 196.1}, and it covers inbred sin. Did I hear an “amen”? {Amen} It doesn’t cover cherished sin {COL 316.2}, but, praise God, it covers all of the unavoidable deficiencies, one of which is inbred sin. Can you and I do anything about the fact that we have inbred sin? Can we? Is that a deficiency that we can do anything about? No, it’s not, and praise God that as long as we overcome it in the strength of Christ – we can overcome it in the strength of Christ – but we can’t get ourselves rid of it. We can keep it from reigning, but we can’t keep it from remaining. Are you following this? So it’s remaining presence is an unavoidable deficiency. But praise God that there is provision to cover that remaining presence of sin, as long as we, by the grace of God are overcoming it. This is what Paul is saying in Romans 8:1. “There is therefore now,” what? “…no condemnation to them that,” what? “are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” You see, as we choose to overcome the lusts of the flesh, and refuse to fulfill them, there is no condemnation for its remaining presence. Does that make sense to you? Because it’s covered by the blood and by the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Now, how does this all fit together? Please understand with me, that the condition that we must attain, by God’s grace and for the love of Christ, by the close of probation is not a state of sinlessness. It’s a state of love-motivated loyalty to God that would bring us to the place where we would rather die than knowingly sin. Are you with me? We would rather die than what? …knowingly sin.

By the way, is there going to be a test to prove whether or not we’ve come to that? Yes, there is; it’s on the fourth commandment; and there will be a death penalty attached to the keeping of the fourth commandment. {LDE 258.3} So clearly – and that’s entirely Biblical {Rev 13:15}, my dear friends. We don’t have the time to develop that. But clearly then, if we are going to be ready for the close of probation and the cessation of the high-priestly ministry of Jesus Christ, we must come to the place where we would rather die than knowingly transgress God’s law, for the love of Christ. Okay? But that is not synonymous with sinlessness, because we still have what? …inbred sin.

Now, I want to clearly establish that. Go with me to page 47, at the top there, My Life Today, page 52. Let’s work quickly here. “If you would battle against selfish human nature, you will go forward in the work of overcoming hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong.” Please notice, if we “battle against selfish human nature,” what must we gain the victory over? “…hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong.” How long will we have to contend with hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong? Counsels to Teachers, page 20: “There are hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil that must be overcome. Appetite and passion must be brought under the control of the Holy Spirit. There is no end to the warfare this side of eternity.” Are we all together? There is no end to the warfare against hereditary and cultivated tendencies this side of what? …eternity. When does eternity begin? When this corruptible puts on incorruption and this mortal puts on immortality {1 Cor 15:53}, in a moment in a twinkling of an eye, until then, there is warfare against what? …hereditary and cultivated tendencies.

Reading on: “But while there are constant battles to fight, there are also precious victories to gain; and the triumph over self and sin is of more value than the mind can estimate.” Now the reason for this, my dear friends, is because we don’t have holy flesh until glorification. That’s why there’s no end to the warfare. We still have this flesh that is depraved, that is unholy, that has this bent towards evil, this moral derangement called depravity, due to its being infected with selfishness. Okay?

Selected Messages, Volume 2, page 32: “The teaching given in regard to what is termed ‘holy flesh’ is an error. All may now obtain holy hearts, but it is not correct to claim in this life to have holy flesh.” Is there a difference? There certainly is. Reading on: “The apostle Paul declares, ‘I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing.’ {Rom 7:18} To those who have tried so hard to obtain by faith so-called holy flesh, I would say, ‘You cannot obtain it. Not a soul of you has holy flesh now. No human being on the earth has holy flesh. It is an impossibility…’ When human beings receive holy flesh, they will not remain on the earth, but will be taken to heaven. While sin is forgiven in this life, its results are not now wholly removed. It is at His coming that Christ is to ‘change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body.'” Are we all together? No holy flesh until when? …glorification, until this vile body is changed and “fashioned like unto His glorious body.” {Phil 3:21}

Note the next statement. Signs of the Times, March 23, 1888, “We cannot say, ‘I am sinless,’ till this vile body is changed and fashioned like unto His glorious body.” That’s pretty clear, isn’t it? Please notice, this is not a matter of modesty… humility. “We know we’re sinless, but we would never say it because that would be rather inappropriate.” If it were a case of humility and modesty, she would say, “We will not say I am sinless;” but she says we what? “We cannot say.” My dear friends, please note, we what? “We cannot say, ‘I am sinless’ till this vile body is changed and fashioned like unto His glorious body.” Why? Because though we can, by God’s grace, come to the place where we would rather die than knowingly sin, we still have what? …inbred sin. Are you with me? It’s still remaining.

Now, please notice, Acts of the Apostles, 561, “None of the apostles and prophets ever claimed to be without sin. Men who have lived the nearest to God, men who would sacrifice life itself rather than knowingly commit a wrong act…” Pause. That’s the condition that we must come to; that’s what it means to be sealed… Are you with me? …so settled into the truth we would rather what? …die than knowingly transgress God’s law. Back to our statement: “None of the apostles and prophets ever claimed to be without sin. Men who have lived the nearest to God, men who would sacrifice life itself rather than knowingly commit a wrong act, men whom God has honored with divine light and power, have confessed the sinfulness of their,” what? Their what? “…their nature.” They “confessed the sinfulness of their nature.” They’d rather die than sin, but they still confessed the sinfulness of their nature. Reading on: “They have put no confidence in the flesh, have claimed no righteousness of their own, but have trusted wholly in the righteousness of Christ.” Amen? {Amen} “So will it be with all who behold Christ. The nearer we come to Jesus, and the more clearly we discern the purity of His character, the more clearly shall we see the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the less shall we feel like exalting ourselves. There will be a continual reaching out of the soul after God, a continual, earnest, heartbreaking confession of sin and humbling of the heart before Him. At every advance step in our Christian experience our repentance will deepen.” Oh, that’s a profound thought. “We shall know that our sufficiency is in Christ alone and shall make the apostle’s confession our own:” What is it? “‘I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth,'” what? “‘…no good thing.’ {Rom 7:18} ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.'” {Gal 6:14} My dear friends, how many of us need to make that confession? All of us! There is no good thing, that is, in my flesh, and I depend exclusively upon the righteousness of Christ.

Daniel, what about his experience? A prophet, a godly prophet, a man whose life has no record of fault in Scripture, what did he confess? After he had gotten a glimpse, in vision, of the brightness of God’s glory, what did he confess? Daniel 10:8, King James Version: “Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me; for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength.” “My comeliness,” what is he talking about there? Listen: Reflecting Christ, page 90, “‘I Daniel alone saw the vision… And there remained no strength in me; for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption.’ …All who are truly sanctified will have a similar experience. The clearer their views of the greatness, glory and perfection of Christ, the more vividly will they see their own weakness and imperfection. They will have no disposition to claim a sinless character; that which has appeared right and comely in themselves will, in contrast with Christ’s purity and glory, appear only as unworthy and corruptible.” Do you hear and do you understand what he meant when he said, “All my comeliness is turned unto me into corruption”? Reading on: “It is when men are separated from God, when they have very indistinct views of Christ, that they say, ‘I am sinless; I am sanctified;'” and I might add, “I am rich and increased in goods and have need of nothing.” {Rev 3:17} You see, my dear friends, if the closer we come to Christ, the more sinful we see ourselves to be, what does that tell us about a people who think that they are “rich and increased in goods and have need of nothing?” What does it tell us about them? They’re far away from Jesus Christ. God help us; do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} God help us, brother, sister.

Signs of the Times, March 23, 1888, “As we have clearer views of Christ’s spotless and infinite purity…” What kind of purity? “…infinite purity.” “…we shall feel as did Daniel when he beheld the glory of the Lord and said, ‘My comeliness was turned in me into corruption.’ {Dan 10:8} We cannot say, ‘I am sinless’ till this vile body is changed, and fashioned like unto His glorious body. But, but if we constantly seek to follow Jesus, the blessed hope is ours of standing before the throne of God without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, complete,” where? “…in Christ, robed,” how? “in His righteousness and perfection.” My dear friends, when we stand before God, what are we robed with? …the righteousness of Christ. That is what gives us infinite worth for eternity. It’s the righteousness of Christ that elevates us in the sphere of moral value {ST, Aug 7, 1879 par. 8}, moral worth with God; and that is ours to keep forever. Amen? “For by one offering, He has perfected for,” how long? “…forever those who are being sanctified.” {Heb 10:14} That robe is not a loaner; it’s a keeper! If we are totally and irrevocably committed to the sanctified life and submitted to the Lordship of Christ, we will have that robe through the ceaseless ages of eternity, …ceaseless ages of eternity.

Now, we have just come to the place where I want to bring this all together, and we are out of time. So what are we going to have to do? We’re going to have to continue this tomorrow night. My dear friends, this is so very important for you to come back.

You see, I want to consider with you the last thing that Jesus does as our High Priest. It’s recorded in Revelation 22:11. What does He say? He decrees, He declares the irrevocable verdict for every human being on the face of the earth with this remarkable statement. “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still.” God forbid that that verdict should have to be given for anyone in this room. God forbid! God grant that the following be the verdict that He pronounces in your case. “He who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” The profound significance of those verdicts we have overlooked, my dear friends. We have got to really closely look at that, and understand what’s going on there. That’s why you must come back tomorrow night. Will you come back tomorrow night? Let’s stand for closing prayer.

Father in heaven, thank You so very much for helping us to walk through this theological mine field, and to keep out of both ditches, the ditch of legalism and the ditch of cheap grace. Father, please help us to recognize that though, for the love of Christ, we must come to the place where we would rather die than knowingly transgress Your law, before the close of probation, we must become such skilled wrestlers that we’ve got the old man in a death lock and pinned to the floor; and we won’t let him have his way for anything. But Lord, help us to recognize that even having come to that experience, we are not thereby sinless. We cannot say, “I am sinless,” until glorification, until this vile body is changed and fashioned like unto Your glorious body. That’s why all the way to the crown, we’ve got to be wrestlers. But help us to understand how it is that the remaining presence of sin is covered, even after the close of probation. Bring us back tomorrow night that we might come to understand this, is my prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen. God bless you, friends. Thank you so very much for your kind attention.

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