Finding the Blessing
"And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. And a new spirit will I put within you: and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them" (Ezekiel 36:25-27)
The full Pentecostal blessing is for all the children of God. "As many as are ed by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14). God does not give a half portion to any one of His children. To every one He says: "Son thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine" (Luke 15:31). Christ is not divided; He that receives Him receives Him in all His fullness. Every Christian is destined by God and is actually called to be filled with the Spirit.
In the preceding chapters I have had in view especially those who are to some extent acquainted with these things and have been already in search of the truth. They have already been led after conversion to make a more complete renunciation of sin and to yield themselves wholly to the Lord. But it is quite conceivable that among those who read this book there may be Christians who have heard little of the full Pentecostal blessing and in whose hearts the desire has arisen to obtain a share in it. They do not, however, understand that they are willing to have pointed out to them where they are to begin and what they have to do in order to succeed in their desire. They are prepared to acknowledge that their life is full of sin and that it seems to them as if they would have to strive long and earnestly before they can become full of the Spirit.
I would like to inspire them with fresh courage and to direct them to the God who has said: "I the Lord will hasten it in his time" (Isaiah 60:22). I would like to take them and guide them to the place where God will bless them and to point to them out of His Word what the attitude must be in which they can receive this blessing.
Putting Away Sin
In the message of Ezekiel, God first promised: "I will cleanse you," and then: "I will put my Spirit within you." A vessel into which anything precious is to be poured must always first be cleaned. So, if the Lord is to give you a new and full blessing, a new cleansing must also take place.
In your conversion was a confession and putting away of sin. After conversion you endeavored to overcome sin, but the effort did not succeed because you did not know the purity and holiness the Lord desired.
This new cleansing must come through new confession and discovery of sin. The old leaven cannot be purged away unless it is first searched for and found. Do not say that you already know sufficiently well that your Christian life is full of sin. Sit down in silent meditation with the express purpose of seeing what your life as a Christian has been. How much pride, self-seeking, worldliness, self-will, and impurity has been in it? Can such a heart receive the fullness of the Spirit? It is impossible.
Look into your home life. Does hastiness of temper, anxiety about yourself, bitterness, harsh or unbecoming words testify how little you have been cleansed?
Look into the current life of the Church. How much religion is there that is merely intellectual, formal, and pleasing to men without real humiliation of spirit? It lacks real desire for the living God, real love for Jesus, and real subjection to the Word which constitute worship in spirit and in truth.
Look into your general course of conduct. Consider whether the people around you can testify that they have observed, by your honorable spirit and freedom from worldly-mindedness, that you are one who has been cleansed from sin by God. Contemplate all this in the light of what God expects from you and has offered to work in you, and take your place as a guilty, helpless soul that must be cleansed before God can bestow the full blessing on you.
(continued with # 44 - "Not In Our Own Strength")