The Doctrine Of Sanctification
The word sanctify has two meanings: it signifies to consecrate, to separate from an earthlyand common use, and to devote or dedicate to God and His service. It also signifies to make holyor pure. In the process of making holy, sanctification is that gradual work of grace in theregenerated soul which precedes and leads up to entire sanctification. It is two-fold:
(1.) “To make sacred or holy, to set apart in a holy or religious use, to consecrate byappropriate rites, to hallow.”
(2.) To make free from sin, to cleanse from moral corruption and pollution, to purify. (John17 :17). “Especially (Theol.) the act of God’s grace by which the affections of men are purified oralienated from sin and the world, and exalted to a supreme love to God.” — Webster’s Dictionary.
Sanctify — “To make holy or clean, either ceremonially or morally and spiritually; to purifyor free from sin… In Theology, the act of God’s grace by which the affections of men are purifiedand the soul is cleansed from sin and consecrated to God; conformity of the heart and life to thewill of God.” — Century Dictionary.
As to the nature of sanctification, Luther Lee defines it as “that renewal of our fallen natureby the Holy Ghost, received through faith in Christ, whose blood of atonement has power tocleanse from all sin; whereby we are not only delivered from the guilty of sin, which isjustification, but are washed entirely from its pollution, freed from its power, and are enabled,through grace, to love God with all our hearts, and to walk in His holy commandments blameless.”(Heb. 2:11; 1 Thess. 4:3; 2 Cor. 7:1; Col. 3:5; 2 Tim. 2:21).
The word sanctify has two definite meanings, as we have seen. In the process of makingpure, sanctification is that gradual work in the soul leading up to the second definite work of graceor crisis, and it is expressed by such passages of Scripture as those which call for the cleansing ofourselves from the filthiness of the flesh and spirit (2 Cor. 7:1), the process of dying (Rom. 6:6),and other. passages. When Paul addressed The Corinthians as “sanctified in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor.1:2), he no doubt used the term either in its process, as aforementioned, for sanctificationcommences in regeneration and continues in the new life; or as an incentive to the church regardingher privileged position, namely, sanctification in Christ; for the Corinthians at that time had not theexperience of sanctification in heart purity as chapter three, verses one to four clearly reveal, Inhis first letter to the Corinthians, Paul uses the word sanctified with respect to the marriage vow
and the home (1 Cor. 7:14). Then again, when the writer to the Hebrews urged them to follow afterholiness, literally, the sanctification, (Heb. 12:14). He urged the second definite crisis or work inthe soul. When he prayed for the Thessalonians that they might be “sanctified wholly,” he prayedfor the experience (1 Thess. 5:23). In this prayer Paul used two Greek words: “Teleos” –complete; “holos” — whole. The word “holoteleis” means complete in every respect. He wasanxious, it seems, for a complete deliverance from all sin, and for spiritual healing. Furthermore,the word sanctification may be used with reference to the life of the sanctified, meaning a state ofgrace, a development in God, after the second definite crisis in the soul.
It is thus revealed that the term, sanctification may be used to express the fact of dedicationto God for sacred use, the act or definite work in the soul in definite cleansing from all sin, theprocess of development from the moment of conversion, the state to which the church is called, orthe state or condition of soul following the definite act of cleansing, generally known as holiness.This work of grace is also known as “Christian Perfection,” “Perfect Love,” “Heart Purity,” “EntireSanctification,” “Holiness,” and similar terms. From the standpoint of Theology — and we trustorthodoxy — it may be suggested that Sanctification is a process involving a crisis, a seconddefinite work; also “Holiness” a state in which we live after the second definite work has beenwrought, a life lived under the cleansing flow, a life of fullness in God the Holy Spirit.
17. Sanctification Not Complete At Regeneration
Some argue that sanctification is complete at justification. To this J. A. Wood replies: “Thetheory that the soul is entirely sanctified at regeneration involves the whole subject of Christiansanctification in great difficulties. The following are some of them:
If sanctification is complete at justification, then every man who enjoys religion is entirelysanctified.
“If sanctification is complete at conversion, then every Christian, to be truthful, shouldprofess entire sanctification.
“If all who are converted are entirely sanctified, then all the directions in the Word of Godto seek holiness, sanctification, or perfect love, are given exclusively to sinners.
“If sanctification is complete at justification, then ministers have no right to urge Christiansto ‘go on unto perfection,’ or to ‘cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit,perfecting holiness in the fear of God.’
“If entire sanctification is complete at justification, it is so in opposition to the experienceof the whole church of God; and, with slight exceptions, the whole Christian world has beenseriously mistaken during two thousand years.
“If all that are regenerate are wholly sanctified, then whosoever is convicted for fullsalvation, and groaning after it, is at once to infer that he was never converted, or that he is nowbackslidden. Thus would this heresy, if received, perplex and harass with perpetual difficulties
and discouragements the very members of the church who are most deeply concerned to possessall the mind that was in Christ.
“A system involving such difficulties cannot be received as the truth of God and should beregarded as anti-scriptural and avoided as dangerous heresy.” See Perfect Love pp. 27, 28, for fulldiscussion.
18. Regeneration — Sanctification
Regeneration is an instantaneous work of grace whereby the soul receives new life, beingcreated anew in Christ Jesus. Sanctification is sometimes the progressive work of the Holy Spiritin the regenerated soul by which inbred sin is gradually mortified and the new life perpetuated. Itis also the instantaneous operation of the Holy Spirit of God in the regenerated soul, through theatoning merit of the Savior’s blood. whereby sin is purged and the love perfected.
19. How Sanctification Is Obtained
Not by growth, “Grow in grace.” This is the admonition of Scripture. The soul must first bebrought into the grace of regeneration, then grow in that grace. The same is true with respect tosanctification.
Not by discarding the body of flesh, as some erroneously teach. There are two differentGreek words used generally, one is soma, meaning the physical body, the other is sarx, meaningthe carnal body, the fleshly, the body of sin, The first is to be preserved until the coming of ourLord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 5:23), the second when used for the carnal nature is to be destroyed.(Rom. 6:6). Christ took upon Him a body yet He knew not sin, though He became a sin offering.Sin is only in the human body as it is in human personality. (Rom. 7:20). The human body maybecome the instrument of sin. (Rom. 6:19).
Not physical death. Death is our enemy, the last enemy. It separates the soul or spirit fromthe body ‘but makes no transformation on the soul. It means a change of worlds. Moreover, theScripture speaks of some who were perfect while still alive. (Psa. 27:37; Philippians 3:15).
Not by mere suppression. Suppression in the sense of retaining victory over sin, isnecessary in order for victory; destruction, purging is necessary in order for deliverance from sin.
Not by placing on the Altar — The body of sin, the carnal mind, cannot be consecrated. Itcannot be placed on God’s altar. It must be hated and abhorred. “Render therefore unto Caesar thethings which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” We must consecrate ourselvesand our possessions, not our sin.
The regenerated person hates and abhors the sin that dwelleth in him. It dwells within butdies not reign. The removal of it from the soul is expressed by the Greek aorist tense whichsignifies a single stroke, touch or act. There is a gradual process leading up to the act of EntireSanctification and a gradual process of development following it; but the act itself is instantaneous.
First, God the Father is the source of our sanctification: “The God of peace sanctify youwholly.” “Sanctified, by God the Father.” (1 Thess. 5:23; Jude 1).
Second, Christ Jesus is the sacrificial agent: “Sanctified through the offering of the body ofChrist once for all.” (Heb. 10:10).
Third, the blood of Christ is the meritorious agent: “Jesus, that He might sanctify the peoplewith His own blood, suffered without the gate.” (Heb. 13:12).
Fourth, the Divine will is the determining agent: “This is the will of God, even yoursanctification.” (1 Thess. 4:3). God wills it and we should will it.
Fifth, the Word is the revealing agent: “Purified your souls in obeying the truth through theSpirit.” (I Peter 1:22). “Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy Word is truth.” (John 17:17).
Sixth, the Holy Ghost is the administrative agent: “Sanctified by the Holy Ghost.” (Rom.15:16) “Through sanctification of the Spirit.” (II Thess. 2:13).
Seventh, faith is the conditional agent: “Sanctified by faith.” (Acts 26:18). “Purifying theirhearts by faith.” (Acts 15:9). Note this faith is made possible by repentance of believers (See Mr.Wesley’s Sermon on Repentance of Believers).
20. How Long Must We Wait?
As to the time element between the experience of the new birth and sanctification, onecannot say. Light has much to do with it. Some have simple faith while others struggle. J. A. Woodsays, “There is no time stated in the Scriptures which must elapse after conversion before the soulcan be entirely sanctified.” Both John Wesley and Adam Clark testified to the fact that they hadnever known of a person to receive both experiences at one and the same time.
The question, “How are we to wait for this change?” — that is, the change of heart purity?John Wesley’s answer is illuminating: “Not in careless indifference, or indolent inactivity; but invigorous universal obedience, in a zealous keeping of all the commandments, in watchfulness andpainfulness, in denying ourselves, and taking up our cross daily; as well as in earnest prayer andfasting, and a close attendance on all the ordinances of God. And if any man dream of attaining itany other way (yea, or of keeping it when it is attained, when he has received it even in the largestmeasure), he deceiveth his own soul. It is true, we receive it by simple faith; but God does not,will not, give that faith, unless we seek it with all diligence, in the way which He hath ordained.
“This consideration may satisfy those who inquire why so few have received the blessing.Inquire how many are seeking it in this way; and you have a sufficient answer.” (Plain Account p.55).
21. Consecration And Entire Consecration
Consecration commences with the new life. Consecration argues life, for a dead thingcannot consecrate. Consecration is subsequent to surrender which is necessary in order to obtainpardon. Consecration is, therefore, subsequent to conversion and is the presentation of oneselfwith all of his relationships and possessions to God. Consecration must be complete according toour light. It means “Yes” to all His will and plan; “Yes” to what He has revealed and “Yes” towhat He may reveal. We perfectly will His perfect will. Entire consecration, however, may beviewed as having to do with the spirit of consecration rather than with its comprehensiveness. W.B. Pope, in his Christian Theology, Vol. III, pages 50, 51, says, “The Spirit is imparted in Hisfullness for the entire consecration of the soul to the Triune God; the love of God having its perfectwork in us, is the instrument of our deliverance from indwelling sin; and the return of that lovemade perfect also is the strength of our obedience unto entire holiness.”
“Holiness is that habitual disposition of the soul which directly implies the being cleansedfrom all sin; from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit; and in consequence, the being endued withthose virtues which were also in Jesus Christ, and being so renewed in the spirit of your minds asto be perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” — J. Wesley. Holiness is a life lived underthe precious blood, the Christ life. (Matt. 5:48; Luke 1:74, 75; Eph. 1:4; I Thess. 5:23; Heb. 12:14;I Pet (1:16).
23. Sanctification — Holiness
Sanctification is an instantaneous work of grace whereby the soul is purified from sin, andmade perfect in love; holiness is generally understood to be that state of grace in the soul whichfollows the act of sanctification. The former is a work, the latter is a state.
This wonderful life is marked by the following:
(1.) Abundant Life — “Life more abundantly” (John 10:10) ; by the fullness of God within,”an earthenware jar filled with Deity.” (II Cor. 4:7).
(2.) Perfection. Perfect Love — “Perfect love casteth out fear.” I John 4:16-21). PerfectPeace, “Peace that passeth all understanding.” (Isa. 26:3).
(3.) The Fullness of God — “That Christ may dwell in your hearts,” “filled with the fruits ofrighteousness which are by Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:11; Eph. 3:17). Thus the fullness of Christ. “Befilled with the Spirit,” “filled with all the fulness of God.” (Eph. 5:18; 3:19). Thus the fullness ofthe Spirit of God.
(4) Holy Compassion and Zeal — “Purify unto Himself a peculiar people zealous,” “put ontherefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind,meekness, long-suffering.” (Titus 2:14; Col. 3:12).
(5.) Unbroken Communion and Illumination — “Fellowship one with another and the bloodof Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (I John 1:7, 8) “The comforter … shall teach you
all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John14:26). The greatest of teachers within!
(6.) Divine Power — “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon youand ye shall be witnesses unto me.” (Acts 1:8).
(7.) Perfect Satisfaction, issuing in a radiant life — God within accomplishing His divinepurpose in and through us means perfect satisfaction to the soul Only God can satisfy and He canand does, especially in this great experience.
“I want to write a book,” said one to Sir Walter Scott. “Be a book,” replied the greatwriter, “that is better.” “The colony of heaven,” “free citizens of heaven” (Weymouth). “Ye areGod’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” “Ye are the salt of the earth,” “the light of the world,” “asweet savor of Christ,” “fragrance of Christ” (Weymouth). An ungodly man said of a saintedbishop, “If I had stayed another day in his presence I am afraid I would have to become aChristian: his spirit was so pure, so attractive, and so beautiful.” Phil. 3:20: 1 Coin-. 3 :9; Matt. 5;13,14; I Cor. 2:15).
24. Christian Perfection
Christian perfection is not absolute perfection, for that belongs to God alone. It is notangelic, for angels are not human, and they have a perfection peculiar to their being and service. Itis not Adamic, for this extended to the whole of man — mentally, physically, and spiritually. It isnot sinless. On this point, John Wesley said, “I believe there is no such perfection in this life asexcluded these involuntary transgressions (mistakes, errors, infirmities, etc.) which I apprehendedto be naturally consequent on the ignorance and mistakes inseparable from mortality, thereforesinless perfection is a phrase I never use lest I should seem to contradict myself.” “I believe aperson filled with the love of God is still liable to these involuntary transgressions.”
“What is the judgment of all our brethren? Every one may make mistakes as long as helives. A mistake in opinion may occasion a mistake in practice. Every such mistake is atransgression of the perfect law. Therefore every such mistake, were it not for the blood ofatonement, would expose to eternal damnation. It follows that the most perfect have continual needof the merits of Christ, even for their brethren. ‘Forgive us our trespasses.’ ” J. Wesley.
“How shall we avoid setting perfection too high or too low?” asked Mr. Wesley. — “Bykeeping to the Bible and setting it just as high as the Scriptures do. It is nothing higher and nothinglower than this: the pure love of God and loving our neighbors as ourselves. It is love governingour tempers, words, and actions.”
John Wesley submitted the following propositions:
(1.) “There is such a thing as perfection; for it is again and again mentioned in theScripture.”
(2.) “It is not so early as justification; for justified persons are to ‘go on to perfection.’ “(Heb. 6:1).
(3.) “It is not so late as death; for St. Paul speaks of living men that were perfect.” (Phil.3:15).
(4.) “It is not absolute. Absolute Perfection belongs not to men, nor to angels, but to Godalone.”
(5.) “It does not make a man infallible while he remains in the body.”
(6.) “Is it sinless? It is not worthwhile to contend for a term. It is salvation from sin.”
(7.) “It is perfect love. (I John 4:18). This is the essence of it; its properties, or inseparablefruits are: rejoicing evermore, praying without ceasing, and in everything giving thanks.” (I Thess.5:16. etc.).
(8.) “It is improvable. It is so far from lying in an indivisible point, from being incapableof increase, that one perfected in love may grow in grace swifter than he did before.”
(9.) “It is ammissable, capable of being lost; of which we have numerous instances.”
(10.) “It is constantly both preceded and followed by a gradual work.”
Christian Perfection positively considered may be seen in the following:
(1.) It is Perfection of Love. “Herein is our love made perfect, that we have boldness in theday of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfectlove casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is no made perfect in love.” (I Jo.4:17, 18).
(2.) It is Perfection of Faith. “Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see yourface and perfect that which is lacking in your faith.” (I Thess. 3:10). The grace of faith involved inthe adjustment of faith must be distinguished from the gift of faith. Sanctifying faith is marked byfreedom from unbelief concerning God’s gracious will in our lives, and in this blessed experienceit may be said,
“Trusting is like breathing here;Just as easy doubt and fearVanish in this atmosphereIn Beulah land.”
(3.) It is Perfection of Heart. (II Chr. 16:9).
(4.) It is Perfection of Spirit. “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good tothem that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you … resist not
evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And whosoevershall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain . . . . Be ye therefore perfect even as your Fatherwhich is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:39-48). A “clean heart and a right spirit” go together. (Psa.51:10).
(5.) It is Perfection of Will. It is a will perfectly coinciding with the Divine will: “Standperfect and complete in all the will of God.” (Col. 4:12).
“Take my will and make it Thine;It shall be no longer mine.Take myself and I will beEver, only, all for Thee.”
It is a state where we will what God wills, how He wills it, and when He wills it.
“Sweet will of God, still fold me closerTill I am wholly lost in Thee.”
(6.) It is Perfection of Unity. “Sanctify them . that they all might be one; as Thou Father artin me, and I in Thee, that they also might be one in us; that the world may believe that Thou hastsent me. And the glory which Thou gayest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as weare one: I in them and Thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world mayknow.” (John 17:17-23).
25. Sanctification And The Tenses
In considering this argument from the tenses of the Greek New Testament we cannot dobetter than quote from an outstanding Greek scholar:
(1.) “The present tense, as ‘I am writing!
(2.) “The imperfect denotes the same continuity or repetition in the past, as ‘I was writing.’
(3.) “The aorist indicative, as ‘I write.’
(4.) “The perfect denotes an action as already finished at the present time, as ‘I havewritten; my writing is just now finished.’ It also expresses the continuance of the result down to thepresent time; as the formula, ‘It is written,’ is literally, ‘It has been written,’ and implies that it nowstands on record.
(5.) “The pluperfect denotes an act which took place before another past act.
(6.) “The chief peculiarity lies in the aorist. We have in the English no tense like it. Exceptin the indicative, it is timeless, and in all the moods indicates what Krueger styles ‘singleness ofact.’ This idea our translators could not express without a circumlocution in words having norepresentatives in the Greek. ‘The poverty of our language,’ says Alford, ‘in the finer distinctions of
the tense often obliges us to render inaccurately and fall short of the wonderful language withwhich we have to deal.
“All exhortations to prayer and to spiritual endeavor in the resistance of temptation areusually expressed in the present tense, which strongly indicates persistence.
“Example: Matt. 7:7. ‘Keep asking (pres.), and it shall be given you; seek (pres.) again andagain, and ye shall find; knock persistently, and it shall be opened unto you.’
“The next thing that impresses us is the absence of the aorist and the presence of presenttense whenever the conditions of ultimate salvation are continuous, extending through probation,and not completed in any one act. A careful study of the Greek will convince the student that it is agreat mistake to teach that a single act of faith furnishes a person with a paid-up, non-forfeitablepolicy, assuring the holder that he will inherit eternal life, or that a single energy of faith secures athrough ticket for heaven. The Greek tenses show that faith is a state, a habit of mind, into whichthe believer enters at justification.
“But when we come to consider the work of purification in the believer’s soul by thepowers of the Holy Spirit, both in the new birth and entire sanctification, we find that the aorist isalmost uniformly used. This tense, according to the best New Testament grammarians, neverindicates a continuous, habitual, or repeated act, but one which is momentary, and done once forall.
“E.g., 8:2, 3, ‘And behold there came a leper. and he kept worshipping (imperfect) him,saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst cleanse (aorist) me (once for all). And Jesus, stretching out(aorist) his hand, touched (aorist) him, saying, I will, be thou instantaneously cleansed’ (aorist).
“The leper prayed to be cleansed, not gradually, but instantly, and it was done at a stroke,according to his faith.
“John 17:17-19: ‘Sanctify (aorist imperative) them (once for all) through thy truth (that is,through faith in the distinctive office and work of the Comforter)… And for their sakes I amconsecrating (present) myself, in order that they in reality may be permanently sanctified.
“The imperative aorist denotes an action either rapidly completed and transient, or viewedas occurring but once.
“Acts 15 :9: ‘Instantaneously purifying (aorist) their hearts by faith.’ This verse is a key tothe instantaneous sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit wrought in the hearts of believers on the dayof Pentecost, since the words ‘even as he did unto us’ refer to that occasion. See Acts 10:45-47.
“Rom. 6:6: ‘Knowing this, that our old man was crucified (aorist, once for all), that thebody of sin might be destroyed (aorist, at a stroke). that henceforth we should no longer be serving(present) sin. For he who once for all, aorist) died (unto sin) has been justified from sin.’
“The aorist here teaches the possibility of an instantaneous death-stroke to inbred sin, andthat there no need of a slow and painful process, lingering until physical death or purgatorial firesend the torment. Men are not crucified limb by limb, after one part is dead finding a hand or arm orfinger alive — but the whole life is extinguished all at once.
“II Cor. 7:1: Let us cleanse (aorist) ourselves (at a stroke) from every filthiness of the fleshand spirit, perfecting (present) holiness in the fear of the Lord.’
“The tenses used in connection with various metaphors and phrases employed to denoteentire sanctification are significant.
“Example, Gal. 2:19, 20: ‘For I through the law died (aorist, quite suddenly) to the law,that I might live unto God. I have been crucified (perfect) with Christ (and stay dead till now), andit is no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth in me.’
“Here is a perfect answer, in Paul’s testimony, to the advocates of a lingering death of theold man, continuing up to the separation of soul and body. There was a time when Paul died to sinby crucifixion — a short and sharp kind of death — and the old man lived no more.
“Eph. 1:13: ‘After that ye believed (aorist), ye were sealed (aorist) with that Holy Spirit ofpromise.’ Here the believing and the sealing are acts distinct, definite and complete.
“Eph. 3:16-19: Here are seven aorists in four verses: ‘Grant,’ ‘be strengthened,’ ‘dwell'(i.e., take up his abode), ‘may be able to comprehend,’ ‘to know,’ ‘be filled.’
“May we not infer that Paul chose this tense to convey most strongly and vividly the abilityof Christ to do a great work in a short time, to save believers fully, and to endow them with thefullness of the spirit.
“Eph. 4:22-24: ‘That ye put off (aorist) the old man.’ Here the aorist is used because the actof putting off is one and decisive. ‘And that ye be renewed (present) in the spirit of your mind, Andthat ye put on (aorist) the new man, which after God is created (aorist, was instantaneouslycreated) in righteousness and true holiness.’
“I Thess. 5:23: ‘And the very God of peace (once for all) sanctify (aorist) you wholly.”(See “The Tense Readings of the Greek New Testament, Milestone Papers,” by Daniel Steele, pp.52-86 for a full discussion of the subject).
26. Sanctification Consistent With Infirmities.
Daniel Steele says: “Infirmities are failures to keep the law of perfect obedience given toAdam in Eden. This law no man on earth can keep, since sin has impaired the powers of universalhumanity. Sins are offenses against the law of Christ, which is epitomized by John, “And this isHis commandment, that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love oneanother.” (I John 3:23).
“Infirmities are an involuntary outflow from our imperfect moral organization. Sin isalways voluntary.
“Infirmities have their ground in our physical nature, and they are aggravated by intellectualdeficiencies. But sin roots itself in our moral nature, springing either from the habitual corruptionof our hearts or from the unresisting perversion of our tempers.
“Infirmities entail regret and humiliation. Sin always produces guilt.
“Infirmities in well-instructed souls do not interrupt communion with God. Sin cuts thetelegraphic communication with heaven.
“Infirmities, hidden from ourselves, are covered by the blood of Christ without a definiteact of faith, in the case of the soul vitally united with Him. On the great Day of Atonement theerrors of the individual Hebrew were put away through the blood of sprinkling, without offering aspecial victim for himself. ‘But unto the second (tabernacle) went the high priest alone once everyyear, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people’ (Heb. 9:7).Sins demand a special personal resort to the blood of sprinkling and an act of reliance on Christ.
“Infirmities are without remedy so long as we are in this body. Sins, by the keeping powerof Christ, are avoidable through every hour of our regenerate life. Both of these truths are in Jude’sascription, ‘Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling (into sin, or as the Vulgate reads,sine peccato, without sin), and present you faultless (without infirmity, not here, but) in thepresence of his glory with exceeding joy.’ Jude understood the distinction between faults, orinfirmities, and sins. In this scheme of Christian perfection, faults are to disappear in the life tocome, but we are to be saved from sins now. A thousand infirmities are consistent with perfectlove but not one sin. Thus we see on undisputed authority we may be conscious of human weaknessyet well pleasing to God.”
27. Sanctification Consistent With Temptation.
For one to be tempted does not prove that he has sinned or has sin. The wonderful Christ,the sinless One, was tempted. “A man is tempted,” says Saint James, “when he is drawn away ofhis own lust and enticed” (James 1:14); “lust” means desire, not necessarily sinful desire, forsanctified people are cleansed from sinful desire, but legitimate desire, which may become theoccasion of temptation and temptation in turn may become the occasion of sin. “No temptation orevil suggestion to the mind becomes sin,” says J. A. Wood, in his book, Perfect Love, “till it ischerished or tolerated. Sin consists in yielding to temptation. ‘So long as the soul maintains itsintegrity so that temptation finds no sympathy within, no sin is committed and the soul remainsunharmed, no matter how protracted or severe the fiery trial may prove.”
In his book, Christian Purity, Bishop Foster, on page 55, says: “To this most difficultquestion we answer, sin begins whenever the temptation begins to find inward sympathy, if knownto be a solicitation to sin. So long as it is promptly, and with full and hearty concurrence of thesoul, repelled, there is no indication of inward sympathy, there is no sin.”
28. Sanctification In Purity And Maturity.
“The Scriptures,” says Thomas Cooke, in the book, New Testament Holiness, “alwaysdiscriminate between purity of heart and ripeness and fullness of Christian virtues. The one is thework wrought within us in a moment by the omnipotent power of the sanctifying Spirit, and theother a natural process involving culture and discipline. Purity has reference to kind or quality, butmaturity has respect to degree or quantity… Holiness is both a gift and a process, and as such isboth instantaneous and gradual.”
Purity of heart is made possible by the work of the Spirit of God; maturity is the result ofyears of experience. Purity is instantaneous and is obtained by faith maturity is reached throughtrials tests, experiences. Purity may be considered in the light of quality; maturity in the light ofquantity. Purity is purity; maturity admits of degrees.
As to the matter of growth in connection with holiness it may be said that there is growth ingrace from the moment of conversion but we cannot grow into holiness. Daniel Steele says:”Growth in grace, while accompanied by increasing power to abstain from actual sin, has nopower to annihilate the spirit of sin, commonly called original sin. The revelation of its indwellingis more and more perfect and appalling as we advance from conversion. (Love Enthroned, p. 104).After the work of entire sanctification the soul may grow more rapidly in grace than before, for thesimple reason the hindrance to growth and advancement is removed from the soul.
29. Sanctification And Human Personality
Man did not lose by the fall the natural image of God, his freedom of choice as a person.He lost the moral image of God and this is restored through Christ, “in righteousness and trueholiness.” Man as a personality is the creative work of God, and let it be remembered that Goddoes not destroy in redemption what He made in creation. Through Christ He destroys the works ofthe devil (I Jo. 3:8), but not His own work of creation. He destroys sin but not the ability to sin. Asinful person may become a regenerate person and a regenerate person may become a sanctifiedperson, a person in whom dwelleth God; but he is, nevertheless, a person with the power of choiceas before.
Human personality, then, is unchanged in respect to the power of choice, which centers inthe will, the capital moral power of the soul. The question is of ten asked, “How could sin enterafter once it is removed?” In answer to this it may be asked, “How did it enter the first pair in thegarden of Eden?” If sin entered the human personality in the garden despite the perfection of bodyand mind of the original pair, may it not re-enter a cleansed personality, especially with thefrailties of this physical body? Indeed We are not saved from the capacity for sin nor the ability tosin; but we are saved from the very existence of sin within human personality and we are keptclean by the fact of present, perfect cleansing through the blood on the basis of fellowship,obedience and faith (I John 1:8). “If sin is cast out,” said Mr. Wesley, “see that it no more enters.”On this very point, Mr. Wesley declared his dependence momentarily on the blood stating that if hedid not trust the blood the next moment he would be in darkness, death and hell.
30. Sanctification — Suppression Or Eradication?
The truth revealed in the Greek tenses (section 25) should, we believe, prove to any personthe fact of an instantaneous work in the soul of a believer. It is marked by the lightning (aorist)tense. It is an act of circumcision (Deut. 30:6; Col. 2:11), an act of purging (Psa. 51:7; John 15:2),an act of cleansing (I Jo. 1:9), an act of crucifixion for the purpose of death, (Romans 6:6, 7), and acreative act (Psa. 51:10; Eph. 4:24).
What is this work? Is it suppression or is it eradication? One has said that it is neither; it ishabitation. But why not involve the three for that matter: suppression, in the sense of victory oversin in all its forms and manifestations from the time of regeneration (see section on sanctification);suppression, in the sense of keeping under the human body (I Cor. 9:27), not the body of sin,however, for it cannot be subjected (Romans 8:7), but it can and should be laid aside, discarded(Hebrews 12:1). It is eradication, in the sense of cleansing (Psa. 51:7; Ezek. 36:25; I Jo. 1:9);purging (Psa. 51:7; John 15:2); purifying (Acts 15:8, 9); destruction of the body of sin (Romans6:6, 7; Gal. 2:20). It is habitation, for He said, “I will dwell in them and walk in them” It should,however, be remembered that there is first the cleansing and then the filling. “Put off … the old manand put on . . . the new man.” (Eph. 4:22, 24). “Instantaneously purifying (aorist) their hearts byfaith” (Acts 15:9) is recorded concerning the apostles and disciples when the Holy Spirit came onthe day of Pentecost.
Sin removed by cleansing, purging, is the Scriptural position, without, of course, anyextreme notions. The word eradication has been greatly misunderstood and misinterpreted, so thatto use it certainly involves explanation.
31. Sanctification — Calvinism And Arminianism —
The “Five Points” of Calvinism are:
Predestination, limited atonement, moral necessity, irresistibility of saving grace, and theabsolute final preservation of believers. Placing Calvinism and Arminianism in contrast we havethe following:
[In this ASCII Text, I have placed these lists vertically instead of opposite one anotherhorizontally. You can still easily compare each point of Calvinism with its Arminian counterpoint.– DVM]
1. Predestination. 2. Limited atonement. 3. Moral necessity. 4. Irresistible saving grace. 5. Absolute and final preservation of believers.
1. Conditionality of salvation. 2. Universality of the atonement. 3. Moral freedom. 4. Resistibility of saving grace. 5. Possibility of final apostasy.
There have been many modifications of these five points since the days of Calvin,modifications even by those of the Calvinistic fundamentalists. Many of our day appear to comevery near the Arminian position. For instance, it is quite common to hear some of them proclaim a”free gospel” to “all” and “for all.” Consider this in the light of the “first point of Calvinism.” Thesame is true regarding the “second point.” Who among Calvinistic fundamentalists proclaim alimited atonement? And I have yet to meet one who does not believe in the resistibility of savinggrace. It really appears to us that about all that actually remains of the five points that have anyemphasis worth while among them is the last point, so that there is not much difference todaybetween the fundamentalists of the two schools, Calvinism and Arminianism.* [*I question theaccuracy of this observation! But then, some 55 years have passed since this book was published.– DVM] There is, however, the difference of the doctrine of full salvation as advocated by Mr.Wesley and believed and taught by those who adhere to this truth. This class, too, arefundamentalists and more.
Arminianism, in harmony with Scripture, argues conditional election, “Whosoever will, lethim come,” — in other words, we determine our election. It argues universal atonement, that God’sprovision through Christ for the world is universal and unconditional; but in its application it isindividual and conditional; that the atonement made by Christ is equal to the deepest human need,even to the removal of the sin principle from human personality, the destruction of the works of thedevil in the human heart. (I John 3:8) It argues that salvation from sin, both in act and in principle,is by faith, “justified freely by faith,” “sanctified by faith.” That is possible for all, for God wouldhave all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. In harmony with ScriptureArminianism argues the possibility of a relapse from grace. In connection with this last point,please read in order the following scriptures: Ezek. 33:12, 13; Luke 13:9; John 6:6; 15:2, 6; Acts13:43; 14:22; I Tim. 4:1; 5:12,15; Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26, 27.
In the last analysis, it is not what saith Calvinism, or Arminianism, but, what saith theWord?
32. Sanctification And The Anointing
Entire sanctification is two-fold, negatively cleansing and positively filling. The HolySpirit is the great administrator. He indwells and is there to do for us and through us the plan andorder of God. “Ye have an unction,” an anointing from the Holy One. Thin anointing may take theform of illumination, unction, power of convincing speech (see John 14:17, 26; 15:26; 16:13; IJohn 2:20, 27), that indescribable manifestation of the blessed Deity to us or upon us which willmake us invincible and victorious! “He hath anointed me to preach the gospel,” said Christ, andsuch a testimony is the privilege of the Christian ministry, though, perhaps, not in the fullest senseof the term as was his, for he received the “Spirit without measure.” We should look to God for power to accomplish all his will and plan concerning us. Do we not need anointing? He is able. The same God who sends the Spirit to apply the Savior’s blood to the soul, cleansing perfectly, filling all the place, and indwelling, can anoint for service as need may require. He may distribute his gifts which are enumerated in I Cor. 12:6-11, and placed according to their relative importance and merit (I Cor. 12:28). The residue of the Spirit is within him. He is equal to our need, and it is our privilege, yea, our duty, to look to God for mighty outpourings of the Holy Spirit in power and glory as did the old Methodists and others who did things for God. ; May God make us clean; keep us unto His eternal glory through Christ Jesus; and use us mightily to advance His Kingdom among men! Amen!