THE SECOND COMMAND.
Now reader, we have come to the second command of the Savior. We have seen the first command and also the first call, but now we want to look at the second command. What was it? We will see for ourselves.
Listen to the words of Jesus as He said “Loose him, and let him go.” This is the second command of the Master. The first command was, Take ye away the stone, and the second is Loose him, and let him go. You can see the importance of this second command. How important it is that we get all of the strings off of us.
We see in these two commands the two works of grace. Notice, the first was to take away the stone; that had to be done before Christ could call Lazarus out of the tomb. After the stone was removed we hear Christ say, Lazarus, come forth, and behold we see a living man before us, and to our surprise he is still bound, hand and foot, and the napkin is still over his mouth. Now we hear Christ say to the church, “Loose him, and let him go.” This brings out the twofold mission of the church in the world. We are to get sinners converted and we are to get believers into the experience of sanctification. Everything on earth that we are to do is hinged on the fact that we get all of the strings off of us. No man is at his best for God or man until he is wholly sanctified, and of course if no man is at his best for God, how could he be at his best for himself, or the church of which he is a member. Therefore, I offer you this thought: If a church that is unsanctified is left for a year or two without a pastor it will die and you may go back in a year or two and not find a thing of the church left. Well, why is that? Because a church with its hands and feet tied and a napkin over its mouth can’t feed itself and if they don’t have a pastor to look after them they will die; but it is not so with a holiness man. I have seen men and woman all over America, who had been without a pastor all the way from one year to maybe a half dozen years, and they would be standing as true as steel, with the glory still in their souls.
Well, why is it that a sanctified man can live better than the unsanctified? It is because the sanctified man has got all of the strings off and can feed himself. That is the reason. Look at Lazarus bound hand and foot and even his mouth tied. How in the world would you expect him to feed himself? Don’t you see that if he doesn’t get help he will die, and now how long would a card-playing, dancing church live without a pastor? You can see that they are as completely bound as Lazarus was, and therefore they can’t feed themselves. How thankful I am that we can have every cord broken and have perfect freedom, and because we are free we don’t advocate the idea that holiness people don’t need a pastor and don’t enjoy one, for they do. To go to church and enjoy a message they beat any people that it has ever been my privilege to meet. They enjoy the message as no other people on earth can, from the fact that they have the use of their hands and feet. They can walk in the ways of the Lord and can clap their hands for joy; the napkin is off of their mouths and now they can praise God with a loud voice. Therefore, they are world beaters when it comes to enjoying a religious service.
The crowd that is bound by the things of the world never seems to really enjoy a religious service, and as the people with all of the strings off leap and praise God, and clap their hands, the bound crowd looks on with perfect amazement. In fact they don’t see a thing in the world to praise God for. While the holiness crowd is just tearing up the ground the other folks look on and wonder why these folks are so awfully excited, when there is really nothing to shout about. But don’t you see that they have been called out of the tomb of spiritual death, and don’t you see that they have got every string off of them? It is no wonder to me that they shout. It is a wonder that they ever keep still.
So the Master said, Loose him, and let him go. Yonder stands a bound man, but look again and yonder stands a free man,–not only out of the tomb, but out of the strings. I have seen people so completely bound by the opinious [sic] of folks that it almost fit them like a garment; and I have seen big strong men so bound by the man-fearing spirit that they were almost miserable and had but little religious joy for fear they wold offend somebody up town who did not believe in making a noise. Well, folks, if such a fellow had been there the day that Christ and His disciples came into Jerusalem and if they had seen the disciples leaping and praising God and breaking down the limbs of the trees and throwing down their coats and whooping to the top of their voices, such a fellow would have had a convulsion right on the spot. Men don’t have to have much religion to give God a good deal of glory and the more they have the more glory they are going to give their Lord. One of the greatest commands that ever fell from the lips of the Son of God was, Loose him and let him go, and for the past ages the church has heard His voice as He called out to His ministering servants, Loose him, and let him go.
Again, there is in the bosom of every man a longing to be perfectly free, and no man is a free man who has the carnal mind in his heart, for the carnal mind is in fact the cords that bind men. When the carnal mind is gone and the old man is destroyed then brother you are a free man, and not till then. I don’t care what you may have or may not have, you are not a free man until old carnality is gone.
I heard a young man say the other day, O Lord, crucify the old man and then back up the hearse and haul off old carnality, and I said, Well, glory, that is a new one on me, but it is a good one and I will remember it.
As long as the roots of bitterness or the carnal mind or the old man or the body of sin are allowed to remain there cannot be perfect freedom in the religious life; but thank God, Christ says in a loud voice, Loose him and let him go. Every string can be removed and the child of God can be made as free as heaven, and we can walk through this old world as clean as if we were in heaven. Of course the devil doesn’t die when we get the strings off and thank the Lord we don’t either, in the sense of being dead to what the devil is doing; we are alive and we catch on to what he is up to and we are ready to meet his assaults. With all of the strings off and Christ enthroned in the soul we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us and gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify us unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Now, reader, when you come to think about it, the most beautiful thing that you ever saw was a Christian without a thing in the way of their Christian work. Take a man or a woman who is all given up to God and delivered from the man-fearing spirit, who is delivered from the people, who is long-suffering and plenteous in mercy and filled with all the fulness of God, who knows how to love God and lost humanity, how to pray and bring things to pass, you look at them and admire them because of their freedom and deliverance. You would not have the same respect for them if they were all tied up with the world. But a free man is the ideal of all men, and what makes men free? Nothing but to be delivered from all sin and filled with all the fulness of God. That means out of the tomb and all of the strings off.