What is the secret of peace and victory? Jesus said, “Without me, ye can do nothing.” Hannah Whitall Smith wrote,
There is a deliverance! Paul knew it, and answered—“I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!” George Fox knew it, and said—“I clearly saw that all was done and to be done in and by Christ; and that He conquers and destroys this tempter the devil, and all his works, and is atop of him. My living faith was raised that I saw all was done by Christ the life, and my belief was in Him.” Thousands of Christians in all ages have known it, and have rejoiced to testify of its wondrous blessedness. For this deliverance is in Jesus.
His death purchased for us not only the forgiveness of our sins but also victory over them, not only freedom from their guilt but freedom from their power as well. And faith in Him will bring us much besides salvation from eternal condemnation. It is because we try to live our lives apart from Him that we fail so in the living. We realize that He gives us life in the first place, but we do not see that He also must live it for us. We trust Him for the forgiveness of our sins, but we trust ourselves for the daily conquering of them. It is true we pray for divine aid, and for the influences of the Holy Spirit, but still our thought is that they are to be given to us, and we are to fight and to conquer.
This is the secret of our failures. For the truth is we are as completely helpless in the matter of sanctification as in the matter of justification. We are as thoroughly dependent upon Christ for the control of an irritable temper as for the pardon of all our sins. Christ must be all in all to us every moment. “Without me,” He says, “ye can do nothing.” This is the secret of peace and victory.
—Journal, from the first article she ever published, in the Friends Review.
Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).