The Highway of Holiness
August 4th, 1938
THE HIGHWAY OF HOLINESS
W. A. Criswell of Chickasha, Oklahoma
Published August 4, 1938, in the Baptist Messenger
Abstract of sermon preached at First Baptist Church, Oklahoma City.
And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for the redeemed; the wayfaring men, yea fools, shall not err therein
The Way of Holiness is the way of blood. It leads by the cross of Calvary. Robert Ingersoll one time scoffed at the Christian religion because it was a religion of blood, of suffering. The infidel forgot that when he was born he came into the world through the suffering of his mother. He forgot that the sufferings at Valley Forge helped to win American liberty. Every progress that has been made has been at the price of blood. The way of blood is the way of life. God said in His Word, “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin” [Hebrews 9:22]. “It is the blood that maketh atonement” [Leviticus 17:11]. On the night of His betrayal Jesus said, “This is My blood which is poured out for many” [Matthew 26:28]. In the last book of the Bible is the picture of a great multitude whose robes have been made white in the blood of the Lamb [Revelation 7:14]. Any plan of salvation that is not by the way of the cross is no salvation at all.
Our greatest theology is found in the songs we sing:
There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.
[from “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood,” William Cowper, 1772]
What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
[from “Nothing But the Blood,” Robert Lowry, 1876]
The Way of Holiness is the Way of Repentance. No one ever walked into the kingdom of God with his head up, with an air of self-sufficiency. Men must come with heads bowed and faces stained with tears. The way to make things right is to come with broken and contrite hearts, saying: “I am sorry; forgive me” [Psalm 51:16-17]. If men come to God they must come repenting of their sins, and God will remove their sins from them as far as the east is from the west [Psalm 103:12]. Jesus preached repentance. He said, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” [Luke 13:3].
The Way of Holiness is the Way of Faith. Throughout life, faith finds expression. Every meal is an expression of faith. When we drive at night, we have faith in roads and bridges. By faith farmers sow the seed and cultivate the land. By faith men are to take Jesus Christ as their only Savior. By faith we forsake all and follow Him [Matthew 19:29]. I believe it was Phillips Brooks who said that F-A-I-T-H is another way of saying “F-orsaking A-ll, I T-ake H-im.” All about us are men who are battling with the storms of life, whose little boats are being dashed against the rocks. I believe in the adequacy of Christ for all the storms and stress of life. I believe that Christ is sufficient for every problem. A little group of men were huddled in the bottom of a ship which was battling with a fierce storm. One of the men said, “I can’t stand it any longer. I am going up to the pilot’s cabin to see if there is life or death for us.” He came back with an expression of peace and rest on his face and said to his companions, “Don’t be afraid. I saw the pilot’s face and he smiled.” We can commit the destiny of our souls to Jesus Christ and be at rest and confident that in His hands all is safe.
Jesus, Savior, pilot me
Over life’s tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll,
Hiding rocks and treacherous shoal;
Chart and compass come from Thee,
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
[from “Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me,” Edward Hopper, 1871]
The Way of Holiness is the Way of Confession. Jesus said, “Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him will I confess before My Father which is in heaven” [Matthew 10:32]. A young man came to see me some time ago and said, “I want to talk to you.” He said, “In my early manhood I drank and cursed and did everything that was sinful. When my father lay dying, I stood at the foot of his bed: looking at me, he said, ‘I want you to be a Christian.’ I promised God that never again would I walk in the old paths. I turned from the sins of my youth to follow Christ. For a while I lived straight, then I drifted away.” I said to this young man, “There is one thing you lack,” and I read to him the Scripture: “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” [Romans 10:9-10]. The next Sunday he came into the church confessing his faith in Christ. When I saw him a year later he was the head of the Training Union of his church and was doing a great work. The other night in an open-air meeting at Chickasha, an old man past three score years and ten came up and said, “I have never confessed Christ to any man.” But as he placed his hands in mine, he said, “I do confess Him now and tell you that I take Him as my Savior and Lord.”
Will you walk the way of salvation? It is a plain way, so plain that the wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein [Isaiah 35:8]. Will you come, turning from your sins? Will you walk in the path of the cross, trusting Jesus and His blood for salvation? Will you confess Him now? “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” [Romans 10:10].