Lightning Bolts from Pentecostal Skies – By Martin Knapp

Chapter 3

Pentecostal Sanctification

By Pentecostal sanctification is meant sanctification as preached, professed, experienced and lived in the primitive Pentecostal church, and by all who now really possess it, in contrast with the dry, cold, argumentative, critical, dictatorial, theoretical or fanatical substitutes which Satan is trying to palm off for the thing itself.    Pentecostal sanctification is the work which Jesus does in a believer when He baptizes him with the Holy Ghost.

All who have this baptism have Pentecostal sanctification; all who have Pentecostal sanctification have this baptism. Jesus is the Baptizer and Sanctifier; the believer, the subject; the Holy Ghost, the element; the Word, the baptismal howl; the blood, the purchase price; and God the Father designs it, wills it and gave the Son to effect it.

The believer submits to the Baptizer, obeys the Word, trusts the blood, receives the Holy Ghost, and praises God the Father for the glorious results.

It is bestowed by Jesus. “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Cor. i. 30, 31). Christ bestows it, and all the glory of it should be given, not to self or others but to him. Even the Word itself may be so unduly magnified as to rob Him of glory due for doing the work which it represents. It is through the Spirit.” “In sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. i. 2). Thus Peter unequivocally declares it to be through the Spirit.

It is received by obeying the truth. “Seeing ye have purified your soul in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently” (1 Pet. i. 22). Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth ” (John xvii. 17). Peter declared the Saviour’s prayer answered in its verification among those to whom he wrote.

It is through the blood. “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered without the gate” (Heb. xiii. 12). Thus sanctification is the great object of the atonement, and the blood is its purchase price. He who rejects it rejects the blood. He does not believe, and is therefore an infidel. The paralysis of the church is largely due to practical infidelity at this point, in both pulpit and pew.

It is the will of God. “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye abstain from fornication ” (1 Thess. iv. 3). Here is clearly declared: First, that sanctification is the will of God. Who then dare criticize it, or oppose it, or even be indifferent about it? Second, that it is God’s remedy for fornication. Worldliness is spiritual fornication. Regeneration gives up the world; entire sanctification burns inbred sin with all its worldward bents out of the heart and imparts such a love for celestials as to make one loathe the insipid water from the stagnant pools of worldom. All truly saved people renounce the world — dancing, circuses, theaters, horse races, etc., but all really sanctified people abominate them.

It was a source of apostolic rejoicing. “But we are bound to give thanks to God alway for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, for that God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (1 Thess. ii. 13). Paul did not bewail its possession by his people, but “was bound to give thanks” because of it; hence different from many of his spurious followers.

The Pentecostal gallery not only gleams with the electric lights of Pentecostal doctrines, but is vocal with the songs and shouts of Pentecostal experiences. The truth of entire sanctification not only dazzles by its brightness, but its experiences attract by their beauty and power. In studying them we see the doctrine incarnated in human beings of like natures with ourselves, and thus behold what it is able to do and what we, the Church, the world, and God have a right to expect of it in us. Let us examine them, and if our experience can meet the test we may rejoice in what God has done for us; if it does not, we can be glad for what he is able to do ad has made provision for. As there is no Scriptural statement to the contrary, but many facts to prove it, we may rest assured that the heart experiences of the primitive Church are available to believers today. Even a casual reading of Scripture shows the following facts in regard to Pentecostal Sanctification:

It was not a work which exempted from infirmities, temptation, danger of falling, or mistakes; for it is divinely recorded that the best of Apostolic people were “in heaviness through manifold temptations,” “encompassed with infirmities,” needed to “take heed” when they thought they stood “lest they fall,” and, like Peter, had to be rebuked for mistakes. It is not a work that dispenses with growth in grace nor Christian activity, for its possessors exemplified both and exhorted others to do likewise. It imparts no new graces, but it eradicates all the weeds of carnality which hinder the flowers planted at Regeneration, and also insures the abiding presence of the indwelling Comforter, which amazingly facilitates their growth.

It is not a work that in any way fosters fanaticism, for the Pentecostal church was largely free from that, howbeit much in it now and then is termed fanaticism by formalists.

It is nowhere in the New Testament called a “deeper work” or “higher life” or “more religion,” but was indicated by terms chosen by the Holy Ghost, upon whose words human vanity has so often felt that it could improve.

It is not obtained by works, growth, repression, imputation, death nor degrees. No hint of its obtainment in any of these ways can be found between the two lids of the Bible, nor in any New Testament example. These notions were born in hell, and have been palmed off on dead or sleeping professors, to keep from receiving this fire.

It is not confined to the ministry or to the Jews. It was promised and received by all who would meet its conditions. “The promise is to yon and your children.”

Those who teach that it was only for the apostles advertise an ignorance of sanctification inexcusable. Its possession by Cornelius and his house (Acts x.), the Ephesian converts (Acts xiv.), and the whole tenor of Scripture commands, promises and provisions all combine to rebuke the ignorance and sin of such teachers. It would be no less absurd to teach that air and sunshine was confined to them alone.

It is not identical with conversion. Only persons truly converted can receive it, or are urged to seek it.

It confers the following named benefits, which regeneration, as high as its standard is, does not impart. As this subject is embraced in “Pentecostal Baptism,” treated in the preceding chapter, much than magnified applies also to it. It is a badge of brotherhood. “For both he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb. ii. 11). Worldly persons are ashamed of this badge, but Jesus is proud of it. Keep your eyes on them and you will be tempted to bide it. Keep your eyes on Him and you will gladly and openly wear it and welcome any odium that thus my come from those who do not see its work. Those who have this badge and grip, are initiated into spiritual secrets compared to which those of secret worldly orders are as dross.

The following are among its transcendentally glorious accompaniments:

A clean heart. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. v. 8). “Cleansing their hearts by faith ” (Acts xv. 9). Thus the Word settles beyond all Controversy that entire sanctification through baptism of the Spirit completely cleanses the soul.

Perfect peace. “And peace from God” (Phil. i. 2). Peace be “multiplied” (I Pet. i. 2). Regeneration implants peace with God; sanctification eliminates all discordant elements from the heart, so that the peace of God and the maturity which follows continue to multiply until they reach degrees beyond expression. Glory! What a contrast to the spurious profession that bristles at a single rebuff.

It is an overcoming experience. It imparts the power which Jesus promised “over all the power of the enemy,” so that one may quench every fiery dart and his shield still be strong enough to have turned them had they been a millionfold more furious and frequent. Made “more than conquerors through him that loved us “; the devil is defeated, his weapons captured, his hosts subdued and there remains enough reserve force in God to have more than whipped ten million devils, though they had assaulted in men mightier than Goliath, or enticed by beauty a thousandfold greater than that of Delilah. Glory! A marked contrast to much modern stuff labeled entire sanctification, which falls under the first round from the devil’s batteries.

It imparts perfect love. “Unto unfeigned love of the brethren” (1 Peter i. 22). It expels everything from the soul that is contrary to perfect love. It melts envy and malice and pride and all kindred passion, and keeps the soul too warm for their return. It not only loves its enemies, and prays for them, but would do it were they tenfold more bitter than they are, and then have an exhaustless reserve left. This grace is beautifully manifest in the life of Jesus by His prayer for His enemies upon the cross, and in the similar prayer of Stephen for his persecutors.

It gives a surplus of holy courage. Regeneration brings a sort of daring, but, like Peter’s, it fails when needed most. The baptism with Holy Ghost and fire destroys all carnal fear, and places dauntless Courage on the throne. It enables its possessor to look his enemy in the face with perfect confidence of victory. Ecclesiastical and political Sanhedrins lose their terrors, and can be met with a smile and shout of victory, with the battlecry, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” It can face all earth and hell in arms, and so meet them that they will quake and fly. It glories in cutting loose from all worldly moorings, that the divine source of its strength may be known and magnified. Gideonlike it sends to the rear thousands of faint-hearted followers, crucifies every questionable desire, and shouting, “The sword of the Lord and Gideon,” puts every foe to flight. The counterfeit thing shows the white flag to save its own scalp.

It gives a surplus of delight in the path of duty. No matter how arduous the task or threatening the pathway, people possessing the Pentecostal blessing have an in tense longing for it. It may be the thorn every step of the way and fagots and the stake at the end, but they welcome it as a bride the bridegroom, with open arms. It is a fact that laws had to be enacted in the early church to keep Christians from needlessly exposing themselves to martyrdom, so ardent was their love for the way that Jesus went. Temporal rewards and salaries for service were unasked in the presence of this primitive grace. The bliss of the labor was love’s sweetest reward, and the harder the discipline the brighter the crown. Under such an administration a hireling ministry could not well be. Many today enjoy a similar experience. All who possess Pentecostal sanctification are proving its reality. An empty profession can not hear this test, but prefers being fed to fighting, and deems self-denial and hard work drudgery.

Fullness of spiritual joy. Not that there will be no sorrow, but that one may be “sorrowful yet always rejoicing.” This joy may manifest itself in many ways — in smiles, laughter, songs, shouts, praises, or leaping. True religion does not consist simply in joy and its manifestations, but a religion which has no spiritual joy in it is the devil’s cheat, and he has palmed it off on many hell-bound victims. Those who feel its ecstasies will always disdain the jokes, jests and worldly amusements which worldlings inside the church and out love so well. The “amusement apostasy” in the churches is an advertisement of spiritual death. With a fullness of unspeakable, everlasting joy believers have no desire for Satan’s rib-tickling substitutes, such as are frequently vended under the cloak of religion by spurious churches. What a contemptible farce! And if such be the stream, how deplorable the fountain from which it flows! How vitiated the tastes of those who drink! How criminal the action of those who, by their presence or silence, say amen to such a desecration and fraud! How disappointed the husbandman who finds these “Apples of Sodom” where there should be Holy Ghost fruit! Not only does Pentecostal sanctification impart the joy that despises all worldly substitutes, but a joy that could rejoice in the midst of famines and persecutions greater than ever known, and then have a surplus not exhausted. It can take “joyfully the spoiling of its goods,” and has been known to shout at the funeral of a loved one. A letter from one who has it lies before me. It reads: “I am in the burning, fiery furnace, but the form of the Son of God is with me, so I sing, Hallelujah to the King.” What a contrast to the spiritual life that wilts when the weather is warm and to the detestable, sinning religion which Mr. and Mrs. Mirth, Mr. and Mrs. Hypocrisy, Mr. and Mrs. Pride, Mr. and Mrs. Formality, and all their relatives, with the endorsement of the men of Big-Head Theological University, have substituted instead of Bible religion. A puny corpse twitched by an electric current where God would have a panoplied spiritual giant putting ten thousand foes to flight.

Perfect assurance. “Unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding” (Col. ii. 2). The Ishmael of doubt being electrocuted, the Isaac of full assurance rejoices in the fullness of faith.

“Perfect assurance, Jesus is mine.
O what a foretaste of glory divine,
Heir of salvation, purchased of God,
Born of His Spirit, cleansed through the blood.”

People who live in Doubting Castle, yet profess Pentecostal sanctification, by their words and looks give the lie to their professions.

Perfect patience. “Unto all patience and longsuffering with joy” (Col. i. 12). Entire sanctification eliminates all the dross of impatience and leaves the pure gold of perfect patience, which can endure the most vexatious trials with joy. I Cor. xiii. declares that love endureth all things. Before entire sanctification this endurance is marred by protests of the carnal mind; afterwards it reigns with no such rival. The professed experience of entire sanctification that gets miffed and provoked and irritated is a libel on the name, and should lead its possessors to tarry at the chamber where all such chaff is burned up.

It is accompanied by an exuberance of fruitage. “Bearing fruit in every good work ” (Col. i. 10). “Every branch that beareth fruit he cleanseth it, that it may bear more fruit ” (John xv. 2). “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit” (John xv. 8). In regeneration the branch bears some fruit; the Pentecostal purgation promotes it into a realm of “fruitfulness in every good work.” The indwelling Spirit gives point, power and success to every prayer, praise, testimony, sermon and article, so that “Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper,” is verified in the believer. It may not always look so, but it always is so. Bishop Taylor, spending his old age in Africa winning thousands for God, is one of many illustrations of this truth.

It appropriates abounding grace. “But where sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly” (Rom. v.20). It sings and feels,

Plenteous grace with thee is found,
Grace to banish all my woes.
How the healing stream abounds,
Saves and fills and overflows.

It remembers with embarrassment when it was skeptical about God being able to give a “know so conversion” and would not entertain the thought of his power cleansing completely, sanctifying wholly and imparting a Pentecostal experience of constant victory. Such was its former contemptible conception of the God of nature and of Grace! Once Grace seemed like the glimmer of a candle, now like a whole universe of light in which it floats and flies and works. Instead of crowing, “I can’t help sinning,” as it did before conversion, or “It’s hard to keep sin down,” like it did before the Pentecostal baptism, it now shouts, “God makes. all grace abound towards me, so that always having all sufficiency in all things, I abound in every good work.” He “supplies every need,” and were trials and needs and distresses a millionfold greater, his grace would still be sufficient with an infinite and exhaustless surplusage. This view inspired the early Church with the spirit of resistless conquest on every battlefield. Such a God can just as easily cast out one million devils as one; forgive the blackest sinner as any other; cure a disease or depraved appetite as a “nervous spell”; sanctify wholly as to save in spots. In the might of this experience the early Church undeservedly and uncompromisingly planted itself right in the centers of heathendom, and rescued men from stronger than iron chains of habit, customs, superstitions and sins which Satan had been forging around them for ages. Who shall say that when the Pentecostal experience becomes as frequent as then, that the Church will not possess its former power? The devil says no, and opinionated schoolmen have echoed his answer until multitudes believe it. This notion was born in hell and is welcomed by people with no experience or low stock to apologize for their own destitute condition. Rejecting this pessimistic view of grace, let it be remembered that its infinite provisions can redeem, and save, and sanctify, and glorify a million of little worlds like ours, and that this would be but a single drop out of its infinite ocean. Glory! Under its influence the apostolic church belted the globe with salvation without any appeals for financial help from either Jews or Romans, or the aid of a single “patent pill” advertisement. They lived, as an old saint testified, “Away up in the exceedinglies.” Pentecostal sanctification cuts all restraining cords, so that, balloon-like, one sweeps right up unto this sweet atmosphere. Wanted millions of souls who will make the ascent.

It makes its possessor like Jesus. Any professed Pentecostal sanctification which fails at this point is a spurious, broken bridge. One of God’s servants says: “Jesus loved and prayed for His enemies. Do you? He did not complain, though He had nowhere to lay His head. Do you? He did not murmur when all forsook Him and fled. Do you? He went among the poor and lowly to lead them to God. Do you? He denied Himself comfort and ease that others might find peace to their troubled souls. Do you? When Jesus met a person or company of persons He talked to them of eternal things. Do you? He that said for “every idle word men should give account to God,” never engaged in foolish talking or jesting. Do you? Jesus said that “men should pray everywhere; and he prayed much, sometimes whole nights. Do you? Jesus was so earnest in prayer for a lost world that He prayed, “being in agony.” Are you? Jesus, like a “lamb before his shearers,” was dumb, and patiently endured mocking and shame. Do you? Jesus was “separate from sinners.” Are you? Christ was “holy, harmless and undefiled.” Are you? Jesus had such love for those who crucified Him that He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Have you? It is written, “If any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of his.” v Pentecostal sanctification places its possessor where by grace he meets the Scriptural tests named in this and the preceding chapter. Tried by these, much under its name may be found wanting. All who have mistaken conversion or reclamation for Pentecostal sanctification doubtless will be tempted to pull this Scriptural standard down to the level of their own experiences. Reader, do not do this. Get your experience up to the standard. Others who are tugging away at the cracked pump of a mere theoretical profession will be exposed to a similar temptation, and should at once abandon the pump and apply to the celestial water-works for the artesian well of a Pentecostal experience.

All is not Pentecostal that sails under that name. All may not be fully sanctified who fight in its defense. Its possession is its best defense. Its proclamation and testimony will convince and conquer where learning and logic are lame.

Satan pales at the havoc which the advance of genuine Pentecostal experiences are making in his territory. Hence all earth and hell are moved to divert from its possession. Through this Satanic influence it is largely rejected, ignored or opposed by professed Christian pulpit and press. It is frequently misrepresented and derided. Men who are loyal to it are degraded from influential to humbler spheres. I recently met an able, eloquent and scholarly minister who had been changed from a four thousand dollar to a three hundred dollar charge for this cause. Its obtainment is not only discouraged, but its testimony opposed. Another favorite stratagem of Satan is to palm off a spurious profession for the genuine work. Hence he bends his best energies to dupe people into the absurd, unscriptural belief that regeneration bestows it, or that it is simply an experience of “more power,” but does not eradicate inbred sin. He succeeds in getting influential men to help him propagate this lie, and thus deceive the multitudes. One mark of those who profess the defective work is that at some point under Scriptural tests of the genuine work their experience fails. There is reason to believe that there are many who profess this grace whom Satan has thus deceived. Reader, are you among that number? Now, as in Elijah’s crucial hour, God’s answer is by fire. Does it fall upon you? Is it burning in your heart?

“Refining fire, go through each heart,
Illuminate each soul;
Scatter thy light through every part
And sanctify the whole.”

It embraces the crucifixion and death of self. “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away” (Rom. vi. 6). A sanctification that does not electrocute indwelling evil is a Satanic humbug, and its advocates among the most effective obstructers to the genuine work of Christ.

“My friends may say I’ll ruined be,
If I die.
If I leave all and follow Thee,
But I’ll die.
Their arguments will never weigh,
Nor stand the trying judgment day;
Help me to cast them all away,
Let me die.
“Oh, I must die to scoffs and jeers,
Let me die.
I must be freed from slavish fears,
Let me die.
So dead that no desire shall rise
To pass for good, or great, or wise,
In any but my Saviour’s eyes:
Let me die.”

It is by faith. “An inheritance among them that re sanctified by faith in me ” (Acts xxvi. 18). Like the baptism with the Spirit, with which it is identical, it is by simple faith. See preceding chapter. Not by growth, or works, or rites, or time, or death, but by simple faith in Jesus. Faith is the golden key that opens the windows of heaven to let the blessing fall. This faith must be accompanied by absolute abandonment to God in everything, otherwise it is false.

Obedience and faith are one at this point. “And we see that they were not allowed to enter in because of unbelief” (Heb. iii. 19). Unbelief was the fatal key with which the children of Israel locked themselves out of the promised land into the howling wilderness, and with the same key many are how doing the same thing. “Take heed lest there be in any of you all evil heart of unbelief.”

Reader, are you in possession of this priceless pearl? Like gold hidden in the mine, it must be sought to be found. Jesus deposited an infinite price in heaven’s bank to purchase it for you. Satan is seeking to keep you from its possession, It will prove a balm for all your wounds, a solace for all your sorrows, an invulnerable defense against all your foes. If it is not yet yours, will you not NOW, in view of God’s requirements and provisions and your own needs, the fearful consequence of neglect both here, at the Judgment and through eternity, seek until it is yours — fast, pray, abandon, die and believe until God shall open the “windows of heaven, and pour you out” this priceless gift?

For fuller treatment of the subject of this chapter, the reader is referred to “The Double Cure,” “Christ crowned within,” and “Out of Egypt,” by the writer of this book, and the works of Carradine, Keen, Godbey, Pickett, Hills and other standard writers on the theme.