Chapter 3 – Enoch, or Sanctifying Grace

In Enoch the human race reached its seventh generation. Seven is the Hebrew number of perfection, and the type, in this case of ideal humanity, both as respects character and destiny.

As respects his character, he was the first pattern of holiness since the Fall; and as respects his destiny, he was the first who rose above the curse of death, and gave pledge and promise, in his translation, as well as in his teaching, of the glorious immortality that awaits the people of God at the Second Coming of the Lord.

1. ENOCH’S CHARACTER. Enoch’s holy life is described by two sentences: “He pleased God” and “He walked with God.” The divine pleasure or will is ever the standard of holiness. “I do always those things which please Him,” was Christ’s simple account of His own perfect and blameless character and life.” That ye may walk worthy of God unto all pleasing,” is the Apostle’s prayer for believers. The very expression is infinitely tender and attractive, showing that God is willing to take real pleasure in our love and obedience, nay, even to delight Himself in the heartfelt and sincere attempts of His earthly Children to meet His approval. And on our part it intimates something more than mere obedience, righteousness, and rigid duty, and expresses the spontaneous love that wants to win His smile, and not merely escape His judgment.

There is a way of trying to fulfil the will of God which makes it like a wall of adamant and a bond of iron. But there is a sweeter way which recognizes it as the love of the Father, a gracious will adapted to our capacity and resources, and which the sincere and loving heart may be enabled to fulfil so as constantly to please Him. The little child in the A B C class at school may please her teacher as perfectly as the highest graduate, and yet she cannot even attempt the tasks of the higher class. But she is not expected to do so; she has only to meet the teacher’s will from day to day, and that will is gauged by her progress and ability. So God’s will for the humble believer is not a rigid abstract rule, nor does it demand the same obedience and service as He requires of angel and archangel; but it is a tender, gracious rule, adapted to our situation and growth, and unfolding from day to day into all the good pleasure of His goodness, as we are able to bear it.

To please God is the aim of the sanctified soul. He does not try to please the world, and perhaps he seems to others a very narrow, disagreeable and one-sided man. He does not live to please himself; and yet no other man has so much real pleasure, or so much after his own way; for, before making a choice or taking a step, he always waits to know God’s pleasure, and by keeping his will in the line of God’s will, he is not crossed and fretted as others are. His “ways are ways of pleasantness, and all His paths are peace.” He has been blessedly delivered from the spirit of bondage, and lives perpetually in the glad sense of God’s acceptance and love. To him have come the sweet words, “I have sworn that I never will be wroth with thee nor rebuke thee.” The smile of God shines evermore on his path, and he lives in the land of Hephzibah, the land of which the Lord hath said, “My delight is in her.”

“Thee to please and Thee to know,
Constitutes my bliss below,
Thee to see and Thee to love,
Constitutes my bliss above.”

But how can we thus please God? Is it possible for sinful man ever to please God? Is it not true, that the best that man can do is as filthy rags, and that the holiest men have ever laid themselves lowest in the dust, and thrown themselves wholly upon the mercy and the grace of God? Yes, it is all true, and yet it is also true, that we may receive from God that with which we can please and even satisfy Him, so that we shall stand before Him without fault or blame. Ah, here is the mystery of godliness, of which Jesus is the wondrous solution.

There is but one man who ever perfectly pleased God. It is He of whom the Father said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And there is but one way by which we can perfectly please God, and that is by being so united to Him, and having Him so dwell in us, that He shall answer for us in everything, and we can present Him to God as our perfect offering and complete life. This is the secret of justification: we accept His blood and righteousness, and we are made “accepted in the Beloved.”

And this is the secret of sanctification; we received Him as our inner life and holiness, “made unto us of God sanctification,” and our holiness is no longer human but divine, no longer our filthy rags, but His seamless robe, and the Father is pleased with us even as He is with Him, and the wondrous prayer is fulfilled, “THAT THE LOVE WHEREWITH THOU HAST LOVED ME, MAY BE IN THEM, AND I IN THEM.” It is because He is in us now that we are loved with the very same love, for we are now a part of Him:

“So dear, so very dear to God,
More dear I could not be,
The love wherewith He loves His Son,
That love He bears to me.”

There is no other way of holiness that can ever reach God’s high standard or man’s low level of perfect helplessness. All else is human, this is divine. It is higher than the best that man can do, yet easier than the least of His own struggles. It is not an attainment, but an obtainment. It is not a task, but a gift. It is ” Not I, but Christ that liveth in me.” It is not our best, but “God’s best.”

Now all this is brought out with great beauty in the next expression, employed to describe Enoch’s holiness.”He walked with God.” His life was a personal companionship with God, not a self-contained and self-sustained righteousness. It was dependent on the divine fellowship, and was just as personal as our walk with Jesus now.

For the same Jesus came then to the future scene of His toil and suffering, and made Himself known; and He was the constant Companion of Enoch’s life and walk. This is the secret of the Christian life, “the mystery hid from ages and generations, but now made manifest unto the saints, CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory.”

It is not a wonderful state or a marvelous experience, but a perfect union with Jesus, the living and perfect One. We do not merely receive grace, but the God of all grace; not merely holiness, but the Holy One; not merely power, but the Mighty One in the midst; not merely wisdom, but the companionship and counsel of the Wonderful Counselor. This is still the secret of divine holiness. It is union with Jesus, abiding in Jesus, dependence upon Jesus every moment and for everything. “Out of His fulness have all we received, even grace for grace.” Our graces are just the transfer of His grace to us. As the transfer picture is laid upon the piece of silk and stamped into its texturewith a hot iron, so the Holy Spirit takes the things of Christ and translates them with His burning touch into our life. Is it purity, we put on His purity; is it faith, we receive the faith of God; is it love, His love is shed abroad in our hearts, and herein is our love made perfect, “because as He is, so are we also in this world.” Is it peace, “My peace I give unto you.” Is it joy, “That My joy may remain in you and your joy may be full.” Is it power, “All power is given unto ME, and, lo, I am with you always.” And so it is all Christ’s grace, and power, and personal presence.

It is not a wealthy friend, advancing a large sum to aid us in our business, but coming into it Himself, and giving us His partnership, His counsel, and His capital. And it is received by faith, as the free gift and finished work of our complete Savior. In one single act we renounce ourselves and all our sin and self-confidence, and take Him and His all-sufficiency for every future need. Henceforth our life is simply putting on Christ more fully from day to day, and ceasing from self. In that blessed moment of appropriating faith He gives Himself to us as our complete life, covering all our future need, and day by day we just enter into it step by step.

Not long ago an iron ship was set up on the Clyde in sections, screwed together, and launched, a complete vessel in every part. But this vessel was destined for Central Africa. Her future element was to be the Upper Congo. And so she was transported in sections, slowly and separately, to Stanley Pool, and there piece by piece set up and completed, according to the originalplan. And now she is the missionary ship carrying the Gospel to the natives of the Dark Continent.

This may illustrate imperfectly what we mean by the transfer of our spiritual life from Christ. In Him we are now complete. Our whole character, the perfect pattern of the life, is now in Him in heaven, even as the little ship was planned, and prepared and completed on the Clyde.

But it must be wrought into us and transferred to our earthly life; and this is the Holy Spirit’s work. He takes the gifts and graces of Christ and brings them into our life, as we need and receive them day by day, just as the sections of the vessel are reproduced in the distant continent, and thus we receive of His fulness grace for grace, His grace for our grace, His supply for our need, His strength for our strength, His body for our body, His spirit for our spirit, Himself “made unto us of God wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” But it is much more than mere abstract help and grace, much more even than the Holy Spirit bringing us strength and peace and purity. It is personal companionship with Jesus Himself. It is Christ dwelling in the heart and walking with us as

“A living, bright reality,
More dear, more intimately nigh
Than e’en the closest earthly tie.”

An American gentleman once visited the saintly Albert Bengel. He was very desirous to hear him pray. So one night he lingered at his door, hoping to overhear his closing devotions. The rooms were adjoining and the doors ajar. The good man finished his studies, closed his books, knelt down for a moment and simply said, “Dear Lord Jesus, things are still the same between us,” and then sweetly fell asleep. So close was his communion with his Lord that labor did not interrupt it, and prayer was not necessary to renew it. It was a ceaseless, almost unconscious presence, like the fragrance of the summer garden, or the presence of some dear one by our side whose presence we somehow feel, even though the busy hours pass by and not a word is exchanged:

“O blessed fellowship, divine,
O joy, supremely sweet;
Companionship with Jesus Christ,
Makes life with joy replete;
O wondrous grace, O joy sublime,
I’ve Jesus with me all the time.”

2. ENOCH’S DESTINY. And for such glorious living there is a worthy consummation. “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” He became the glorious pattern, not only of man’s perfect spiritual life, but man’s physical immortality and resurrection glory.

It is indeed doubtful, if those who fail to enter into the fulness of Christ’s grace here shall know the completeness of His glory at His Second Coming. The summons to holiness is very closely linked with the warnings of the Advent, and the promise of the marriage feast.

“They that are with Him are called and chosen and faithful.” “He that overcometh, shall sit down with Me on My throne.” “Behold I come as a thief, blessed is he that keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” “The marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready; and to her it was granted that she should be arrayed in fine raiment, clean and white; the fine raiment is the righteousness of the saints.”

Let us take, and let us keep these garments, which are granted to all who will receive and wear them, and let us know the blessedness of these two walks:


“‘Tis so sweet to walk with Jesus,
Step by step, and day by day;
Stepping in His very footprints,
Walking with Him all the way.

Here a while we walk with Jesus,
But the time will not be long
Till the night shall change to morning,
And the sorrow into song.

Then, with all who walk with Jesus,
We shall walk with Him in white,
While He turns our grief to gladness,
And our darkness into light.”