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It's a Far Different Lifeby Duane Mabee on July 21, 2022
In the book Wholly Sanctified: Living a Life Empowered by the Holy Spirit, A. B. Simpson talked about being conformed to the image of Christ. He wrote:
Implicit obedience to every voice of God and every conviction of duty is essential to a blameless life. One moment’s hesitation to obey, one act of willful disobedience, will plunge us into darkness, cause withdrawal of His conscious presence from the heart, and leave the soul disarmed and exposed to temptation and sin. Those who have become wholly sanctified have given up the right of self-will and disobedience forever. It is not to be thought of even for a moment that we should hesitate to say yes to His every voice.
There is a lot in that statement, and some of it can be hard to digest, maybe harder to accept. It is so counter to the “easy believe-ism” that is presented as Christianity today. Let’s look at what he was saying.
Not far from here, there is a billboard that says, “Real Christians Obey the Bible”. That’s similar to what Simpson meant. A Christlike Christian will obey everything God says whether it is about something the believer should do, not do or become. When God speaks, wholly sanctified believers will not hesitate to say “yes” to whatever He says. We may wrestle with what God tells us, because we’re human, but we know in advance that we will do whatever God says.
When we lapse into disobedience, which we will at times, we lose the conscious sense of God’s presence and power with us. Simpson describes it as darkness, powerlessness, and exposure to temptation and sin. Believers who maintain an attitude of disobedience over time, become so use to the absence of the Spirit’s influence and power that they don’t even miss it. They come to see their current state as normal.
The key line in Simpson’s comments above is “Those who have become wholly sanctified have given up the right of self-will and disobedience forever.” Note his reference to “self-will”. Believers often settle for a life that isn’t marked by noticeable disobedience, but that is completely self-directed. Christ wants more for us than that. He wants us to be so unified with Him that He fills, directs and empowers everything in our lives. For that to be the case, we must give up the right to self-direct our lives. We must surrender our self-will to His divine will. We can no longer call the shots. We must let Him call all the shots.
This is far different from what many believe Christianity to be all about. Many see it as a transaction where we get salvation from Christ and then go about our own business. Christ sees it as the unification of our life in His.