What, then, shall we do? Do not misunderstand. I did not say that the time will never come when we could be separated from sin. I said, Look at yourself, and I will look at my self, and we will see what we are, how full of evil traits, and what little progress we have made in this work of overcoming, and ask the question, When will the time ever come whenyou and I shall have so separated ourselves from sin that we can meet him in flaming fire? It is that time which I say will never, never come.
But, bless the Lord! there is time to be separated from sin. No time will ever come when we can do this work ourselves; but the time is now, JUST NOW, to be separated from sin. The time to be separated from sin is right now, and that now is all the time; for "now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation." Only God can separate us from sin; he will do it, and he will do it just now. Bless his name!
Yet, what every one must understand is this: the only way that God does, or can, separate anybody from sin is by that very consuming fire of his presence. The only way, therefore, in which you and I can ever be so separated from sin as to meet God as he is, in the flaming fire that he is, in that great day, is to meet him TODAY as he is, in the consuming fire that he is. The only way that we can be prepared to meet him at his coming in that great day is to meet him in his coming today. For there is a coming to men now, as really as to the world in that great day. "I will not leave you comfortless: I will COME TO YOU." John 14:18. But do not forget that whether he comes to you or to me now, or whether he comes to other people in that great day, he comes only as a consuming fire.
Listen: "If any man hear my voice, and open the door,"—what does he say?—"I will come in to him." Good. Thank the Lord! And "he is a consuming fire" and when he comes in to you, that coming will consume all the sin in you, so that when he comes in the clouds of heaven in flaming fire, you can meet him in joy in the consuming fire that he is.
Then do you hear his voice? "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I WILL COME INTO HIM." Do you hear his voice? Then swing open wide the door, and keep it everlastingly open. Bid him welcome, in the consuming fire that he is: and that flaming fire of his presence will consume sin in all your being, and so will thoroughly cleanse and prepare you to meet him in flaming fire in that great day.