SINS OF THE; BODY AND OF THE SOUL
Even if the body has no moral quality, is it true that its practical power for evil is so great, that the Christian cannot be holy while living in it, but that he can be holy when out of it? This question raises the real issue and we must face it.
After careful consideration I have reached the conclusion that a person who cannot be holy in the body, cannot be holy out of the
body. The Bible is true to experience, and is philosophical in its statement in referring to the dead in this language: " He that is unrighteous, let him do unrighteousness still: and he that is filthy, let him be made filthy still: and he that is holy, let him be made holy still." A man who cannot, or will not, be holy in the body through the grace and power of God, will be equally unsuccessful when out of the body, even if the same Divine power is at his command.
There is a widespread delusion concerning the share the body has in causing people to sin against God. For many years I have been a careful student and critical observer of myself. I have watched the operations of my mind and body. I have analyzed the desires and aspirations of my soul, and the passions and appetites of my animal nature without conscious bias and without fear or favor, and as though I were watching another man. I have even made many experiments, and I have concluded from my investigations that it is not my body which controls me, when my heart is true to God; but that it is my soul; and when, alas! I have allowed my soul to be controlled by
my body, it has been when I would not allow God to control my soul.
I have also been a diligent observer of other Christians, and in a few cases have been able to get close to them; I have probed them as deeply as I was able in order to get at their inner experiences of these spiritual things, and with the same result as the naturally closer scrutiny of myself.
Now I find that these facts fit the Bible theory perfectly, for it places responsibility in the soul, and makes God the power that saves it from sin. The Bible also requires holiness as a condition of entering heaven, and God has made every provision for making man holy while here upon the earth, and while in the body.
But as a matter of fact, the so-called sins of the body are not nearly as numerous nor as powerful, as the sins of the soul.
The real deadly sins, and those that from a human standpoint, are the hardest to eradicate, are not of the flesh but of the soul. A soul without a body, living on earth, would have practically the same trouble to be holy as if with a body. I am aware that this does not appear to be so to the average
Christian, because the average Christian does not think deeply, but an examination and classification of sins will show us that, the sins of the body are less numerous, and very much less virulent, than the sins of the soul. Traced back to their source the so-called sins of the body are but two, and they are derived from passion and appetite, and may be called lust and gluttony, in which of course are included drunkenness and kindred vices.
But even these two sins, vile as they are, at their roots are not sinful, for they are but right things used in a wrong way, or are the improper use of a passion and an appetite, the proper uses of which are essential to life.
On the other hand, the sins of the soul are very numerous and most of them are at their roots essentially sinful. To see this clearly, I have but to mention pride, envy, anger, malice, hatred, jealousy, evil speaking, waywardness, rebellion against God, and in general the soul doing those things that the conscience forbids, and the not doing of those things which the soul knows it ought to do. These are the sins that inhere in the soul, and are woven into the warp and woof of the spiritual nature, and unless God performs the miracle of making a new creature, in holiness and righteousness, while on earth, I know of no way by which such a soul will find entrance to heaven.
It will be seen from what I have said that sin is not, as is popularly supposed, a disease of the body, but it is essentially a disease of the soul, and all those who are trusting to death to work out the cure of sin are doomed to disappointment, nor do I see any hope for those who are not able to live without sinning while in the body, of being able to do so when out of the body.
God has certainly made provision for his children to live without sin in this life, nor is such an experience, when properly understood, extraordinary. It must be that the great majority of true Christians really live such a life, even though through their false ideals they may not think so. When Christians love God with all their hearts, then all their thoughts and actions spring from, love, and there can be no sin in love. Error and infirmity there may be, and indeed cannot help but be, but a thought or an act born of love never is displeasing to God, and a life controlled by love is a life well pleasing to God.
To teach that people cannot live without sin, is, in fact, to give a license to sin, and such teaching is directly responsible for the unbelief which keeps people in their sins.
God certainly knows impossibility of each soul, and that therefore without controversy, can be attained, and when it is attained, God approves that soul and when God approves who dare condemn?
The salvation wrought out for us by Jesus is not defective; but it is a salvation to the uttermost. God does not slightly heal the hurt of his people but he entirely cures the wound. The grace of God is not limited, for it saves the soul from sin and keeps it from sinning. The Holy Spirit, in the heart of God's child, keeps that fountain of life pure and sweet and the fountain being pure the stream is pure. The Holy Spirit is more than a match for all the powers of darkness that combine to destroy the integrity of God's elect, and they are always made to triumph and sing a song of victory.