Ruth Paxson spoke during the Keswick Convention in 1936. The addresses are printed as delivered at the three meetings for ladies only and at the closing fellowship gathering.
God’s call to holiness is unmistakable: every believer must be holy, even as He is holy. His instructions are clear and plain. Christ demands a separated life-one set apart for Him alone. The Lord’s last conversation with His disciples reveals God’s threefold standard for the Christian life. There must be oneness with Christ through positional sanctification, likeness to Christ through progressive sanctification, and fullness of Christ through personal sanctification.
“The twin word for holiness in Scripture is that precious word sanctification…
‘For this is the will of God, even your sanctification’ 1 Thess. 4:3
‘For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness’ 1 Thess. 4:7
Christ prayed for our sanctification in John 17:17, 19.
God has made this a gift of the Holy Spirit as our Sanctifier in 2 Thess. 2:13, before there was ever a world or anyone in it. Read Eph. 1:4.
"What is the scriptural meaning of the word? The primary meaning is, someone or something wholly set apart unto God… There is the secondary meaning: that which belongs to God must be like God. We must be holy for He is holy. God, the Holy Father; God, the Holy Son; and God, the Holy Spirit indwell the Christian. Is not that reason enough why we should be sanctified? Wholly set apart unto God? Made holy even as God Himself is holy?”
When writing about our oneness with Christ through positional sanctification, Miss Paxson chose as her text John 15:5. “That little word ‘in’ is the biggest little word in all the Bible. Usually our first concern in our Christian experience is what we are. But where we are is of paramount importance, because where we are determines what we are. ‘Ye in me’ precedes ‘I in you.’ The branch must be in the vine before it can bear fruit. Then, where are you today, my friend?”
“The Bible shows us just two positions in which any human being can be-one is the position of the sinner, the other is that of the saint. To become a Christian we have to pass out of one position into the other. These two positions are radically different… You are in one or the other for there is no other place to be. There is no middle ground between these two positions. You are either in the trinity of which Satan is the head, of which the world is the embodiment, and the flesh is the expression; or you are in the trinity of which Christ is the Head, of which the church is the manifestation, and the Holy Spirit is the power. Where are you this moment? It is the most important question any human person ever faces in all his life… One thing, and only one thing, determines where you are. It is your relation to the crucified, risen, ascended, exalted Saviour and Lord. The salvation and the sanctification of the believing sinner required two outpourings-the outpouring of the blood of the Saviour on Calvary and the outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord at Pentecost…
The blood of the Saviour is that which both saves and sanctifies. (Rev. 1:5 & Heb. 13:12) It is the blood alone that saves… There is but one thing that saves and that is the blood of Jesus outpoured on Calvary’s Cross.
It is the blood that sanctifies. It separated us from the kingdom of Satan. It crucified us unto the world and the world unto us. And it delivered us out of the sphere of the flesh.
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ put an end to the old creation and separated us completely from everything that pertains to it. It put aside everything but Christ. It placed Christ as Saviour at the very center of the Christian’s life, making him Christ-centered.
Following Calvary came Pentecost. The believers in that upper room were baptized with the Holy Spirit, and the church, the body of Christ, was formed… From that day on down through the centuries every person who has put faith in the blood of the Saviour has been baptized by the Holy Spirit into that one body. He has been made one with Christ and the fullness of Christ’s life has been made his potentially…
The Cross of Christ is the Great Divide. It makes a clean-cut cleavage between the sphere of darkness and death and the sphere of light and life. It is the boundary line between the kingdom of Satan and the kingdom of God. It calls subjects out of the one kingdom into the other and compels the sinner to make a choice.
Have you responded to that call? Have you crossed that Great Divide? Have you put faith in the blood of your Saviour? The answer to this question determines not only with which trinity you choose to company in time, but with which you will spend eternity… As a Christian are you wholly set apart unto Christ? Are you wholly in His possession, under His control and for His use? Will you frankly face this question today?
‘Neither give place to the devil’ (Eph. 4:27)
‘Be not conformed to this world’ (Rom. 12:2)
Is your life at any point or in any phase conformed to this world? If you find any such conformity will you acknowledge it and come right out in complete separation at any cost?
‘Put off the old man-Put on the new man’ (Eph 4:22, 24)
Is Christ the source of everything in your life as far as you know? Is everything from Him? Is He the center of your life? Is everything in Him? Is He the goal of your life? Is everything for Him? Christ is something to you, but is He everything?”
“The essential thing for holiness of life is to have a standard, and then to live without deviation by that standard. The Lord Jesus Christ has set that standard for us…Where we are determines what we are… What are you now that you are in Christ?..
John 15… Oneness in Christ demands likeness to Christ; the branch that is in the vine must bear fruit. The branch that bears no fruit is worthless and is taken away. John 15:2 What a solemn thought that is for every one of us who is a branch.
The second thought is that no branch can bear fruit of itself. There is absolutely nothing in the branch itself that is productive of fruit, nothing that the branch is, nothing that the branch can do, can make it produce fruit; only the sap of the vine produces fruit. So the branch has nothing to do but to abide in the vine. John 15:4
Third, fruit-bearing is progressive…. John 15:2, 8There is nothing static in spiritual experience; every real Christian is a growing Christian. The purpose of fruit-bearing is to glorify Christ. The branch does not bear fruit to glorify itself, it bears fruit to glorify the vine…
Now what is fruit? It is Christ in His outward manifestation. John 15:4… The whole of Christian living is in these three words, ‘I in you.’ ‘I in you’-you nothing but a house of which the Lord Jesus Christ has taken possession, control and use.Christ Himself is our Sanctification. 1 Cor. 1:30
Christ Himself is our life Col. 3:4
The Christian life is not merely a converted life, it is not merely a consecrated life, it is not a Christian life at all unless it is a Christ-life…
A Christian has only one value in this world-to reveal Jesus Christ, to manifest Jesus Christ in this dark, sinful world where men do not know Him and do not read the Bible to find Him there. A Christian is an absolutely worthless Christian unless he is revealing Jesus Christ. What enables him to reveal Christ? Anything in himself? Nothing but the One that lives within him, the Lord Jesus Christ-‘I in you.’ It is all that He asks of you and me, to let Him do the living and revealing…
Christ now has the right to possess us fully, to control us completely and to use us exclusively. In order that He may do so, He must become Lord. But sin, that stubborn old ruler, will contest His claim every step of the way. But did God make provision for the dethronement of that old master sin? See Rom. 6:6… You and I are called to make a choice…the choice between the continued sovereignty of that old master, Sin, and that of our new master, Christ. Rom. 6:12…Have you made this choice? Has it been a deliberate, final choice of Christ as the sole Sovereign over your life?..
Having chosen Christ as our Master, then He commands us to yield to Him as Lord. Rom. 6:13 ‘Yield yourselves,’ spirit, soul and body. Yield your whole human personality in total to Christ. Have you done it? Or have you parceled out a little bit and told Him what He could have, and what you intended to reserve for yourself?
‘Yield your members.’ In order that there may be no loophole, He goes on to say we are to yield every member of the body-the eyes, the ears, the feet, the hands, the lips, the tongue. Have you done it?.. Then we must yield everything that has any relationship whatsoever to our life, all our habits, all our practices, all our appetites, our pleasures, our companionship's, our home, our possessions, our children, our money…Here is our Lord’s command, have we obeyed it?.. Will you yield yourself, your members, all that you are and have, to the Lord now?
This work of sanctification can be carried on only through the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, that second great gift bestowed at the time of conversion. The moment you were brought into union with Christ, the wonderful Holy Spirit came to indwell you, and He is there for one purpose, to glorify Christ in you…
The Spirit of truth gives us a progressive revelation of Christ and of our riches in Him so, that once having seen Him we will want Him and Him only. Eph. 1:17-19…
The Spirit of power works for a progressive realization of Christ within us as our Life and our Lord. Eph. 3:16, 17, 19…
The Spirit of holiness works progressively to separate us from earthly things and from the love of the world and to strip us of everything of which Christ is not the source, the center and the goal. 2 Cor. 6:14, 17; James 4:4…
The Spirit of life works progressively to counteract the flesh by taking control and by crowning Christ Lord of all in life and work. Rom. 8:2; Gal. 5:17…
As the Spirit of glory He conforms us to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Cor. 3:18…
We become the Christian who bears the much fruit. Gal. 5:22, 23 A wonderful cluster of fruit that cannot be broken.
What memories do I leave behind me? Have we drawn attention to ourselves, or have we fixed the thought of others upon our glorified Lord?”
“The church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” Eph. 1:22, 23
“Think of it! ‘The church, the fullness of Christ’! The Christian, the fullness of Christ! Is that your conception of what it is for you to be a Christian. You, living in your home; you, walking up and down the streets of your town or city, the fullness of Christ! That is what the Word says. ‘The fullness of him who filleth all in all.’ Here we are told how it is possible. He fills us with His own fullness. John 14:16, 17; Acts 2:4
Has such fullness been provided for me? Oneness in Christ made it ours. Col. 2:9, 10 ‘And ye are made full in him.’ Our position in Christ makes us potential partakers of the fullness of Christ. We ‘are made full’ it says, not we will be. The moment we become a part of the body of Christ, the fountain of fullness in Him is opened to us. The fullness has been provided for every Christian.
Is such fullness possible for me? Can the fullness provided be made personal? John 4:14 ‘Water’ in Scripture is the type of the Spirit as Christ Himself interprets it in John 7:38, 39. Christ is never called the water of life, but He gives this water to those who thirst and drink. Christ gives the Holy Spirit to the Christian. He is promising here the gift of the Holy Spirit.
‘In him a well’-is the Holy Spirit indwelling which Christ promised the disciples.
‘A well of water springing up’-leaping up in an exhaust-less, irrepressible way; springing up and overflowing. Is not this fullness?
‘Whosoever’-Did you get that word?..
‘Shall never thirst.’ Do you believe it?.. Perfect inward heart satisfaction. Do you have it?..
‘Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst’ but shall have perfect inward satisfaction and sufficiency. No matter what the circumstances or the environment or the spiritual and temporal need, Christ is enough and equal to it all. Christ only satisfies; Christ only suffices because the indwelling Holy Spirit fills the life and makes Christ a living reality within. Is He doing that for you?..
‘If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water’ John 7:37, 38
‘Rivers of living water-not a rivulet, or stream, or even a river, but ‘rivers,’ the Amazon, the Mississippi, the Yangtze, the Thames, all put together into one.
‘Shall flow’-not a Dead Sea that received and retains the blessings of Keswick, but the river Jordan that refreshes and renews every life it touches…
‘From within him’-an inflow demands an outflow and an overflow. Christ is enough and to spare…
‘He that believeth on me’-not only for some great preacher or Bible teacher, not even alone for some one employed in Christian service, but for him who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you believe?..
Is such fullness optional? May I choose whether I will be filled with the Holy Spirit or not? ‘Be ye filled with the Spirit’ Eph. 5:18. It is a command…
Why do I not have the fullness of the Spirit? There are two objective causes in the realm of truth. One is ignorance. In Christ we possess the fullness of the Godhead, and in the Spirit we have the One who makes this fullness our personal possession. But, because of ignorance of the Word of God, we lack this knowledge. Consequently we lack the experience of fullness. The other cause is unbelief. We know the truth but only intellectually and doctrinally. It has not become heart experience. Or we know it but we are afraid to act up our knowledge and to appropriate this blessing by faith. Heb. 3:19
Then there are two subjective causes in the realm of experience. One is unconfused sin. The Holy spirit is holy and the place He indwells must be made and kept holy. This infilling demands cleansing from all known sin. It is impossible to be filled with the Holy spirit while knowingly, deliberately, retaining sin in the life… 2 Chron. 29:5, 16, 17… 1 Cor. 3:16, 17;
2 Cor 7:11; 1 John 1:9; Prov. 28:13 It is utterly foolish and futile for any one of us to pray for the fullness of the Holy Spirit if we hold even so much as a tiny spark of known resentment, or hurt, or unlove, or any un-Christ-like feeling toward another… Are you willing to have all uncleanness, both of the flesh and of the spirit, carried out of your life?
The cleansing is not the infilling but it rids us of what prevents the fullness and makes us ready for it.
The second subjective cause for the lack of fullness is an unyielded life, which means an uncrucified and uncontrolled self. Infilling demands the yielding of ourselves in total to the Lordship of Christ. It permits of no reservations; it allows no locked doors. We must part with everything of which Christ is not the source and we must place everything under Christ’s control. There must be the utter dethronement of self and the voluntary enthronement of Christ… 2 Chron. 29:31…
After the filthiness was carried out the offerings were brought in… Rom. 12:1; 2 Cor. 5:15 Yielding to Christ means opening every part of the life to Christ, that He may fill it with Himself…
Yielding is not infilling, but it prepares for it. Emptying makes ready for infilling. Only the yielded life can be filled with the Holy Spirit…
How may the fullness be obtained?.. John 4:14, 7:37
‘Any man’-there are no favorites with God.
‘Thirst’-an intense desire for holiness for Christ’s sake that must be satisfied. It is an insatiable longing for God Himself. Ps. 42:1, 2…
‘Come’-‘Come unto Me’-the only One who can bestow this gift: the Giver of this living water in all its fullness.
‘Drink’-this is an act. Thirst is desire-I want water. To drink is an act-I take water. Just here is where many earnest, seeking souls fall short of this glorious experience. They thirst but they do not drink…
‘Be not drunk with wine
But be filled with the Spirit.’
How does one get drunk? By drinking. How does he stay drunk? By continuing to drink. How is one filled with the Holy Spirit? Our Lord says by drinking of that living water. How does one stay filled? By continuing to drink day by day. Is that not simple for each one of us..?
May we bow in silence to face a few questions in the presence of the Lord, and answer by a definite ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’
- Have you ever been filled with the Holy Spirit?
- Are you filled with the Spirit now?
- Will you be filled today?
- Do you purpose to live the Spirit-filled life from now on?
If you thirst and will drink just now, will you offer to God this simple prayer: ‘Lord, I thirst; Lord, I come and drink; Lord, I take the gift Thou offerest, the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and thank Thee for it.'"