What Experience Perfects Us in Oneness?
Answer: Entire sanctification, or perfection.
In connection with His prayer for oneness, the Savior prayed the Father to sanctify the disciples and all that would believe on Him through their word, which included us. “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.” (John 17:22-23)
Sanctification, perfection, and the glory of Christ all relate to the same experience, and this makes God’s children one. “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” (Hebrews 2:11)
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13)
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)
The salvation of the Lord, which qualifies us for heaven, makes us one on earth. A religion of divisions will deceive the soul. The chief object of God’s ministers is to “perfect the saints.” The blood of Christ not only purifies from “all sin” and “all unrighteousness,” but also sweeps away all erroneous doctrines. The Comforter guides into all truth, which involves the removal of all error. It is true that cleansing from error is not as instantaneous as from sin. But the pure in heart have perfect fellowship, even though all previously educated errors have not yet disappeared.
There is therefore no real cause of division but sin. Therefore to cry against sects and divisions without first being wholly sanctified, and then leading people into this precious paradise of holy love, is nothing but confusion mocking confusion; Satan buffeting Satan, as the devil flogged the sons of Sceva.
All efforts of union but that of God’s holiness is like pounding cold, crooked pieces of iron against each other to make them fit together. The more blows, the more crooks and differences. Put them into a furnace of white heat, and they will lose their cold, stiff, crooked individuality, and flow into one mass. That is God’s way of uniting His people, in the fire of the Holy Spirit. All tinkering up platforms of union is wasted time. Each effort has only molded another sect calf for the people to worship and wrangle over. Freedom from sin knits together in love. But all merely strapped-up unions are bundles bound together to be burned. Bible salvation is all that is needed. This obtained, both union of heart and soul, and harmony in outward worship and life, will follow as a result or fruit of the Spirit. When baptized by one Spirit into the one body (1 Corinthians 12:13), and made to drink in the one divine Spirit in His fullness, there will be no trouble to worship God in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). For all such know the truth, and the truth makes them free (John 8:32).
On the plane of Bible holiness, no outward observances are made a test, in fact nothing is made a test of fellowship. For holy men “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24) “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) Fellowship is of the Spirit (Philippians 2:1), and exists where heart-purity exists. It is the conscious blending of hearts filled with the same Holy Spirit.
One may have been led into all truth, the other not. This does not interrupt fellowship. Nevertheless, it is the duty of those who “know the truth,” (John 8:32) that they in meekness instruct others who do not. Ignorance of some truth does not destroy fellowship, but resisting the truth does, because it forfeits salvation. We must not sanction people’s errors, but if saved, show our love and fellowship to them, so long as they do not manifest evidence that their wrong doctrines have become willful, or that they have in some way lost salvation. If so, the fellowship ends, but love and kindness still continue in faithful efforts for their salvation.
To ignore fellowship simply because of some doctrinal error is bigotry. To agree to disagree, or to put on an equality truth and error, is babel confusion. To know the truth is our privilege; to teach the truth our duty; but to have fellowship with the pure and upright of heart is an involuntary and spontaneous fact.
Sects are the result of carnality. Nothing but perfect holiness destroys carnality, and thus removes both sectism and its cause. The fire of God’s love saves the soul, harmonizes all hearts that receive it, leads them into perfect and uniform obedience to all truth, and drives afar all who refuse to pass through its purging fire, and gain the plane of holy fellowship.