(Taken from God is Enough, Hannah Whithall Smith, p. 271)
Christ died to give me actual holiness as well as judicial; He died to make me really dead to sin and really alive to God in Him. He died in order that He might become my life — the only life I have — and , living as one, He might work in me that which is pleasing in His sight. I therefore die voluntarily that I may be alive in Him. I lay down my own life and declare myself to be dead in order that Christ may become my life. With Paul I say,
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I life; yet not I but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20)
So I am abiding in Christ and He is living in me. All I have to do now is yield myself to Him as one alive from the dead and allow Him to do with me whatever He pleases!
I do not always abide in Him. Alas, no! Satan sometimes succeeds in enticing me out and making me take up my old life in the flesh again. But thanks be to my might Savior, His blood avails to atone for even this, and again and again He forgives me and cleanses me afresh from all unrighteousness. I find that daily I learn more and more to hang on to Christ by a naked unfaltering faith, and as a result I find myself more and more confirmed in abiding in Him.
Any why should not the time come even for me, when I will be so established and settled there as to go out no more?
Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911) was converted in 1868, age 36. She and her husband were birthright Quakers and lived in a time of spiritually barrenness in the Quaker movement. America was experiencing what is now known as the Third Great Awakening (1867-1868), and the Smiths were among the many that found true conversion.
This excerpt was written nine year after Mrs. Smith’s conversion; she lived another forty-four years. Did she ever reach that level of perfection which she questions at the end of the devotion? Can we reach a point where the flesh has absolutely no control over us, and Satan is completely defeated in our lives?
Consider Joseph, one of my favorite Bible heroes. We never read of any shortcomings or character faults in Joseph. Does that mean he didn’t have any? I seriously doubt it. There is only one Man who ever lived on the face of this earth, who was completely sinless! To think otherwise sounds a bit Popeish!
The Bible certainly teaches us that we can sin less, praise God; but we will not be sinless until we see our dear Savior face to face. and the “old man” (2 Cor. 5:17) is once and for all truly gone!
Mrs. Smith gives us such a wonderful challenge. I choose to take it and leave the rest with God! (Deut. 29:29)
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin,
when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
Do not err, my beloved brethren. James 1:14-16
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Tom MacAvoy, pastor | Steam Valley Bible Church