We are told over and over again that God wants His people to be pure and that purity in their hearts is the very central idea and end and purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If it is not so, I am utterly deceived.
In justification of this I have selected summing-up texts. “The will of God is your sanctification” (1 Thess. 4:3 KJV). There is, however, a sense, and an important sense, in which sanctification must be the will of man. It must be my will too, and if it is not my will, the divine will can never be accomplished in me. I must will to be sanctified, as God is willing that I should be sanctified.
“He gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14 KJV). And again, “Every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure” (1 John 3:3 KJV). Now, I say these are summing-up texts, and there are numbers of others to the same effect to show that the whole end and purpose of redemption is this: that He will restore us to purity; that he will bring us back to righteousness; that He will purge our consciences from dead works to serve the living God.
Now, I say, if this be not the central idea of Christianity, I do not understand it. This is not a sitting down and sentimentalizing and thinking of Christ in the heavens. It brings Him down, to all intents and purpose, into our hearts and lives here. These epistles represent a real, practical transformation to be accomplished in you.
I tell you, without it, you will not be able to die in peace. You will want to be cleansed before you can venture into the presence of the King of kings. You will want a sense of beautiful, moral rectitude and righteousness spreading over your whole nature, which will enable you to look up into the face of God, and say,
“Yes, I love You, I know You, and You know me, and love me, and we are one. I love the things You love, and desire the things You desire.”
You will want that, and nothing less, to die with. And why not have it? Why not let God work it in us? He can do it, and He promises to do it. Will you say,
“Be it unto me according to Your Word?” (Luke 1:38 KJV).
Catherine Booth, Godliness