Christian perfection, or entire sanctification are terms used to express the fullness of salvation from sin, or the completeness of the Christian life. Entire sanctification has been defined as a comprehensive word which bridges the chasm between hell and heaven, sin and holiness, guilt and glorification. To understand the spiritual significance of this work of grace it must be experienced, for spiritual things can be known only by experience. Holiness has been called "the central idea of the Christian system, and the crowning accomplishment of human character." To convey to the mind of man the riches of this grace, the entire Levitical system of the Old Testament is laid under tribute. The terms used embrace the altar and its sacrifice, the priesthood, the ritual with its
Bishop Foster says of holiness that "it breathes in the prophecy, thunders in the law, murmurs in the narrative, whispers in the promises, supplicates in the prayers, sparkles in the poetry, resounds in the songs, speaks in the types, glows in the imagery, voices in the language, and burns in the spirit of the whole scheme, from alpha to omega, from its beginning to its end. Holiness! holiness needed! holiness required! holiness offered! holiness attainable! holiness a present duty, a present privilege, a present enjoyment, is the progress and completeness of its wondrous theme! It is the truth glowing all over, webbing all through revelation; the glorious truth which sparkles and whispers, and sings and shouts in all its history, and biography, and poetry, and prophecy, and precept, and promise, and prayer; the great central truth of the system. The wonder is that all do not see, that any rise up to question, a truth so conspicuous, so glorious, so full of comfort." - FOSTER, Christian Purity, p. 80.
Dr. Phineas F. Bresee regarded holiness as the goal of the redemptive process. He says, "Now this baptism with the Holy Ghost is `the blessing of Christ' spoken of in this text. . . . . It is the crowning glory of the work of the soul's salvation. All that ever went before it was preparatory for it. Did prophets speak and write; did sacrifices burn; were offerings made; did martyrs die; did Jesus lay aside the glory; did He teach and pray and stretch out His hands on the cross; did He rise from the dead and ascend into heaven; is He at the right hand of God: It was all preparatory to this baptism. Men are convinced of sin, born again and made new creatures that they may be baptized with the Holy Ghost. This work completes the soul's salvation." - P. F. BRESEE, Sermons, p. 100.
sprinklings and washings, the ceremonies of presentation and dedication, the hallowing and consecration, the sealing and the anointing, the fasts and the feasts - all these point to this New Testament standard of piety. While this subject is a fundamental doctrine of Christianity, and of vast importance to the church, there are few subjects in theology concerning which there is a greater variety of opinion. All evangelical Christians hold that it is a Bible doctrine, that it includes freedom from sin, that it is accomplished through the merits of Christ's death, and that it is the heritage of those who are already believers. They differ widely, however, as to its nature, and the time of its attainment. There are four general positions concerning the subject: (1) that holiness is concomitant with regeneration and completed at that time. This is frequently known as the Zinzendorfian theory. (2) Another class regards it as a growth extending from the time of regeneration until the death of the body. (3) Others hold that man is made holy only in the hour and article of death; while (4) another class believes that holiness begins in regeneration, but is completed as an instantaneous work of the Holy Spirit subsequent to regeneration. It is this view, commonly known as the Wesleyan position, which we shall endeavor to set forth in the following pages. A subject so sacred, however, and an experience so high and holy, forbids in any degree the spirit of controversy. We tread here upon sacred ground; we are through the blood of Jesus to enter into the holiest by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh (Heb. 10:19). This truth has a large place in the confessions and the theologies, the catechisms and
The doctrine of a purgatorial cleansing from sin, as held by the Roman Catholic Church is sometimes included in the theories of deliverance from sin. The doctrine of purgatory, however, is so far from Protestant thought, that no account need to be taken of it here.
That this is an experience here and now I need not wait to argue. The New Testament dispensation rests upon it. This is the keystone to the arch of redemption. Take it away and the arch crumbles into decay and ruin. Build the arch and crown it with this all embracing fact and it shines in this world in glorious reflection of the rainbow about the throne, full of the unbraided colors of divine glory. - DR. P. F. BRESEE, Sermons, p. 164.
hymnologies of the church, whether eastern or western, Catholic or Protestant. Needless to say, the whole tenor of the inspired Scriptures is holiness unto the Lord.
We shall discuss this subject under the following divisions: (I) The Scriptural Basis for the Doctrine; (II) The Historical Approach to the Subject; (III) The Meaning and Scope of Sanctification; and (IV) Progressive Sanctification. Following this we shall discuss the finished work under two aspects, (V) Entire Sanctification; and (VI) Christian Perfection.
A careful study of the Holy Scriptures is the best apologetic for the doctrine and experience of entire sanctification. Here, however, we must limit this study to the more prominent proof texts, which we shall arrange according to the following classification: (1) those which speak of Holiness as the New Testament Standard of Christian Experience; (2) those which specifically teach that Entire Sanctification Is a Second Work of Grace; (3) the Tense Readings of the Greek Testament; and (4) Scripture Texts used in Opposition to the Doctrine. For the sake of brevity, texts properly belonging to more than one division, will not generally be duplicated.
Holiness as the New Testament Standard of Christian Experience. Here we shall notice those scriptures which refer to the will of God, His promises and His commands.
1. It is the will of God that His people shall be holy. (1) Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding
A very extensive class of terms - perhaps the most extensive - exhibits the Christian estate as one of consecration to God. The entire range of phraseology has been transferred from the ancient temple service to the use of the new temple or church. It embraces all aspects of the Christian privilege as one of dedication to God, whether the dedication be external or internal, effected by the Spirit or presented by the believer. But sanctification is here viewed as a blessing bestowed freely under the covenant of grace; and we must therefore to some extent, though not altogether, omit its ethical relations. As a privilege of the covenant, its principle is twofold: purification from sin, consecration to God; holiness being the state resulting from these. As a gift of grace, it is declared to be perfect in the design of the Spirit; and full provision is made for the entire sanctification of the believer in the present life, even as full provision is made for His finished righteousness and perfect Sonship. - POPE, Compend. Chr. Th., III, p. 28.
what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:17, 18). This refers to the promised gift of the Holy Spirit, which the disciples received at Pentecost, and of whom it was said, they were all filled with the Spirit. It implies (a) that the disciples had some measure of the Spirit previous to Pentecost; (b) that to be filled with the Spirit necessitates a cleansing from sin; (c) that it is mandatory; (d) that it not only means to be filled to the exclusion of all sin, but to be continuously filled in an ever-enlarging capacity. This is possible because of the property of the Spirit as procession. (e) Lastly, it implies a passive submission to the Spirit in all His offices. (2) For this is the will of God, even your sanctification (I Thess. 4:3). Here holiness or "the sanctification" is set in contrast to the misuse of the body. God's will is that His people shall be cleansed from all uncleanness, whether of the soul or the body. The text implies that the grace of God can deliver from those fleshly appetites which bind the world in sin. (3) By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Heb. 10:10). The one great act of atonement finds its supreme purpose in the sanctification of His people. The blood of Jesus Christ not only furnishes the ground of our justification, but is the medium of our sanctification also.
2. God has promised to sanctify His people. (1) Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isa. 1:18). Scarlet is known as one of the most indelible of the dyes, and is here used to designate the stain of sin in the soul. The guilt of actual sin, and the pollution of inbred sin, can be cleansed only by the blood of Jesus Christ. (2) Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you (Ezek. 36:25). The work of the Holy Spirit is here represented by the symbol of water as a cleansing agent. It is to this scripture doubtless that St. Paul refers in II Cor. 7:1. (3) For he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness (Mal. 3:2, 3). Christ is portrayed by the prophet as the Great Refiner of His people. It should be noted (a) that it is the sons of Levi who are to be purged; and (b) the purpose of this purging is to enable them to make an offering in righteousness. This is a reference doubtless to the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire. (Matt. 3:11, 12). (4) I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me . . . . he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Matt. 3:11, 12). Nothing can be more evident than that (a) the baptism with the Holy Ghost effects an internal and spiritual cleansing which goes far deeper than John's baptism. One was for the remission of sins, the other for the removal of the sin principle. (b) This baptism is applicable to Christians only, not to sinners. (c) The separation is not between the tares and the wheat, but between the wheat and the chaff, or that which clings to it by nature. Sinners are never regarded as wheat, but always as tares. (d) The wheat thus separated, will be gathered into the garner and preserved; the chaff will be burned, or destroyed with unquenchable fire. The chaff referred to here is not the wicked, but the principle of sin which cleaves to the souls of the regenerate, and which is removed by Christ's purifying baptism.
3. God commands His people to be holy. These commands embrace the three terms commonly applied to entire sanctification - holiness, perfection, and perfect love. (1) Be ye holy; for I am holy (I Peter 1:16). This text is a reference to Lev. 19:2. God requires His people to be holy and enjoins it by precept and example. Evangelical holiness is positive and real, not merely typical or ceremonial. There is a relative aspect of holiness as we shall show later, but it is never separated from that which is inwrought by the Spirit. Holiness in God is absolute, and in man is derived, but the quality is the same in God and man. (2) The Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect (Gen. 17:1); Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Matt. 5:48). This is the perfection of love, which comes from the purging of all the antagonisms of the soul, which war against it. (3) And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment (Mark 12:30). And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live (Deut. 30:6). Dr. Adam Clarke says that "the circumcision of the heart implies the purification of the soul from all unrighteousness." The love mentioned here is not merely natural human love or friendship (filia), but holy love (agape), or the love created and shed abroad in the hearts of men by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5).
Entire Sanctification as a Second Work of Grace. Of the numerous texts which could be cited in this connection, we limit ourselves to three only. (1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Rom. 12:1,2). Nothing can be clearer than (a) that this exhortation is address to those who were at the time
The love of God is the secret presence of God himself in our souls whilst in eternal blessedness He gives Himself to His saints as the Manifested one. Accordingly, the love of God is not the inward life of man in a state of exaltation, the life of feeling heightened in intensity, but it is a higher principle which has been grafted into man - the Holy Spirit. These words express the substantial cause, love the actual effect: but essentially they are the same, for the love of God cannot be regarded as separate from the essential being of God in its highest manifestation, that is, the Holy Ghost - God's love is there only where God himself is, for He is love, and does not have love as something in or beside Himself. - OLSHAUSEN.
Christians; (b) that an appeal to the mercies of God would mean nothing to those who had not already experienced His pardoning grace; (c) that the sacrifice was to be presented holy, as initially sanctified by the cleansing from guilt and acquired depravity; (d) that it was to be acceptable, that is, those who presented it must have been justified; all of which the apostle deems a reasonable service. In the second verse it is admitted, (e) that there remained in the hearts of the believers, a bent toward worldliness, or a bias toward sin; (f) that this tendency to conform to the world was to be removed by a further transformation, or a renewal of their minds; and (g) that they were thereby to prove, or experience, the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. (2) Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves (kaqariswmen) from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness (epiterlounteV [present] agiwsunhn [or a personal purification] in the fear of God (II Cor. 7:1). Regeneration as we have seen, is the impartation of a life that is holy in its nature; and concomitant with it, is an initial holiness or cleansing from guilt and acquired depravity. Now this holiness already begun is to be perfected by the cleansing at a single stroke from inbred sin, and brings the soul to a constantly existing state of perfected holiness. This cleansing applies to the body as well as to the soul. (3) Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection (Heb. 6:1). The word for perfection is teleioteta (teleiothta) from the adjective teleios (teleioV). Dr. Clarke says, "The verb teaches the idea of our being borne on immediately into the experience." Dr. Whedon makes a similar statement as follows: "When Hebrews 6:1 is adduced as an exhortation to advance to a perfected Christian character, it is no misquotation."
Tense Readings of the Greek Testament. Dr. Daniel Steele in his Milestone Papers has an excellent chapter on this important subject (cf. STEELE, Milestone Papers, Chapter V). He points out the contrast between the use of the present tense, as I am writing, or the imperfect as denoting the same continuity in the past, as I was writing, with the aorist tense, which in the indicative expresses simple momentary occurrence of an action in past time, as I wrote. In all other moods, the aorist is timeless, or what is styled "singleness of act." When, therefore, the present tense is used, it denotes continuous action; but when the aorist is used, it denotes a momentary, completed act without reference to time. There is in the English no tense like it, and hence the translators found it difficult to translate it without circumlocution. . . . . A proper understanding of this will greatly aid in the interpretation of important texts. We shall mention but a few of these. (1) 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 sanctify [present tense - am sanctifying or consecrating] myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth (or truly sanctified) (John 17:17, 19). Dr. C. J. Fowler points out, that in the Greek text, verse 17 reads en ta aletheia (en th alhqeia), through the truth, or in the use of the truth; but verse 19 omits the tei (th) and reads en aletheia (en alhqeia) which means in truth, since omitting the article makes it equivalent to an adverb. (2) Purifying [aorist - instantaneously] their hearts by faith (Acts 15:9). "This verse," says Dr. Steele, "is a key to the instantaneous sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit wrought in the hearts of believers on the day of Pentecost, since the words, even as he did unto us, refer to that occasion." (3) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present [aorist - a single act not needing to be repeated] your bodies a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1). (4) Put ye on [aorist - a single definite act] the Lord Jesus Christ, and make [present tense] not provision [that is, quit making provision] for the flesh (Rom. 13:14). (5) Now he which stablisheth [present - who is continually establishing] us with you in Christ, and hath [aorist, as a single definite act] anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us [aorist], and given [aorist - gave as a single definite act] the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts (II Cor. 1:21, 22). Here the establishing is constant, or continuous, while the anointing, the sealing and the earnest of the Spirit are momentary and completed acts of the one experience of entire sanctification. (6) And they that are Christ's have crucified [aorist - a single definite and completed act] the flesh [sarx not swma or body] with the affections and lusts (Gal. 5:24). A distinction is made here between the carnal mind as the principle of sin, and the works of the flesh which flow from it. These works of the flesh are put off in conversion. But now the carnal mind itself, as the underlying principle of sin (the flesh or sarx with its inordinate affections and outreachings, which though existing are not allowed to express themselves in works, or actual sinning) is to be crucified (from staurow implying destruction accompanied with intense pain). (7) In whom also after that ye believed, [aorist] ye were sealed [aorist] with that holy Spirit of promise (Eph. 1:13). Here both the believing and the sealing are definite, completed acts. (8) Mortify (aorist - kill outright) therefore your members which are upon the earth (Col. 3:5). "Let nothing live inimical to your true life, hidden in Christ. Kill at once (aorist) the organs and media of a merely earthly life." - Bishop Ellicott (cf. STEELE, Milestone Papers, p. 80). (9) Put on [aorist] the new man (Col. 3:10). Put on, . . . . [aorist] as the elect of God. . . . . bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering (Col. 3:12). Dr. Steele says that all these excellencies of character are assumed at once, through the incoming of the Comforter. This represents the positive side of entire sanctification, as mortification represents the negative. (10) And the very God of peace sanctify [aorist] you wholly; and. . . . your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved (initial aorist, to mark the beginning of the power which is to preserve the believer) (I Thess. 5:23). (11) That he might sanctify [aorist] the people with his own blood, suffered [aorist] without the gate (Heb. 13:12). (12) If we confess [present tense] our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive [aorist] us our sins, and to cleanse [aorist] us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9). Here both the forgiveness and the cleansing are spoken of as completed acts, and there is no more reason grammatically for believing in a gradual sanctification than in a gradual justification.
The doctrine of Christian perfection has come down to us from apostolic days as a sacred and uninterrupted tradition through all the Christian centuries. The different ages have been frequently characterized by a difference in terminology, which the student of history must be quick to discern, but in no age has this glorious truth suffered eclipse. "The essentials of the doctrine have been preserved, though with many minor differences, from the beginning, clearly discernible through all the ascetic, fanatical, ultra-mystical, semi-Pelagian veils which have obscured them" (POPE, Compend. Chr. Th., III, p. 61). We shall trace the subject briefly through the following periods, in order to furnish a historical basis for further discussion.
1. The Apostolic Fathers are definite in their teaching upon this important subject. The last words of Ignatius before his martyrdom were "I thank Thee, Lord, that Thou hast vouchsafed to honor me with a perfect love toward Thee." Polycarp, speaking of faith, hope and charity, says, "If any man be in these, he has fulfilled the law of righteousness, for he that has love is far from every sin." Clement of Rome states that "those who have been perfected in love, through the grace of God, attain to the place of the godly in the fellowship of those who in all ages have served the glory of God in perfectness."
2. The Later Fathers bore the same testimony. We note first the words of Augustine, who at times rose to sublime heights in his conception of grace, and at others, seemed to shrink from the full truth of his positions. He declares that "no one should dare to say that God cannot destroy the original sin in the members, and make Himself so present to the soul, that the old nature being entirely abolished, a life should be lived below as life will be lived in the eternal contemplation of Him above." Yet he believed that evil concupiscence remains throughout the natural life. Apart from this, however, he taught a full deliverance from all sin in this life. We have also the word of Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem (d. 386) who says, " "But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be invested with power from on high. Receive it in part now; then shall ye bear it in its fullness. For he who receives often possesses the gift but in part; but he who is invested is completely enfolded by His robe." Macarius the Egyptian (c. 300-391) wrote a series of homilies on Christian experience in which the idea of perfect love is given a prominent place. He says, "In like manner Christians, though outwardly they are tempted, yet inwardly they are filled with the divine nature, and so nothing injured. These degrees, if any man attain unto, he is come to the perfect love of Christ and to the fullness of the Godhead" (Homily 5). "By reason of the superabundant love and sweetness of hidden mysteries, the person arrives to such degrees of perfection as to become pure and free from sin. And one that is rich in grace at all times, by night and by day, continues in a perfect state, free and pure" (Homily 14).
3. The Mystics, notwithstanding their numerous errors and extravagances, served to preserve evangelical religion during the Middle Ages. Their contribution to this department of theology has been peculiarly rich, in that the central idea of all mysticism is entire consecration to God. It demands a separation from the creature, and perfect union with the Creator in love. Mosheim the historian, says, "If any sparks of real piety subsisted under this despotic empire of superstition they were to be found only among the mystics; for this sect, renouncing the subtlety of the schools, the vain contentions of the learned, and all the sects and ceremonies of external worship, exhorted their followers to aim at nothing but internal sanctity of heart and communion with God, the center and source of holiness and perfection (MOSHEIM, History, p. 390). Those forms of mysticism influenced by Neo-Platonism took on pantheistic tendencies, and must be classed as more pagan than Christian.
4. The Roman Catholic doctrine was eclectic, and existed in a variety of forms, such as that of the Jansenists, the Mystics, the Ascetics and the Scholastic Fathers of the Middle Ages. It took the form of German semi-pantheism, French Quietism, and Spanish Illuminism. The Church laid a good foundation for this doctrine in its creed, but it erred greatly in building upon it a false superstructure. Thus the Tridentine Decrees in referring to the perfection of obedience, maintain that negatively there is no bar to an entire conformity to law; and that positively, a complete satisfaction of its requirements is necessary to salvation. Mohler asks the question, `"How shall man be finally delivered from sin, and how shall holiness in him be restored to perfect life?" In his reply, he attacks the idea of a deliverance from sin through the death of the body, as held by some of the Protestant formularies. He attributes this error to the reformed doctrine of complete passivity in regeneration. "But the Catholic," he says, "who cannot regard man other than as a free, independent agent, must also recognize this free agency in his final purification, and repudiate such a mechanical process as inconsistent with the whole &nb
In its purest form, mysticism proper has in every age molded an interior circle of earnest souls, seeking the innermost mysteries of the kingdom of grace by the most strenuous ethical discipline. Its methods have been from time immemorial described as, first, the way of PURIFICATION; second, the way of ILLUMINATION; third, the way of UNION. These may be considered as answering respectively to the evangelical doctrines of purification from sin, the consecration of the Spirit, and the estate of holiness in abstraction from self and earthly things in fellowship with God. A careful study of St. John's First Epistle will find in it laid the sure and deep foundations of this better mysticism. It gives the three principles in their order. "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1:7); this is the mystical purgation. "Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things" (2:20); this is the mystical illumination. "He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him" (4:16); this is the perfect union. A true mysticism may be traced in almost every community; and, wherever found, has taught directly or indirectly the perfection to which the Spirit of God raises the spirit of man, blending in its pursuit, contemplation and action; contemplation which is faith waiting passively for the highest energy of the Holy Ghost; and action, which works out His holy will. - POPE, Compend. Chr. Th., III, p. 75.
moral government of the world. If God were to employ an economy of this nature, then Christ came in vain." He sums up his position by saying that "the Redeemer will at the day of judgment have fulfilled the claims of the law outwardly for us, but on that very account inwardly in us. The consolation, therefore, is to be found in the power of the Redeemer which effaces as well as forgives sin." But it is at this point that the doctrine of purgatory is injected. This purification is to be accomplished in a twofold way. "With some it consummates purification in this life; with others it perfects it only in the life to come. The latter are they who by faith, love, and a sincere penitence, have knit the bond of communion with the Lord, but only in a partial degree, and at the moment of their quitting life were not entirely pervaded by His Spirit; to them will be communicated the saving power, that at the day of judgment they also may be found pure in Christ." The first error in the Roman Catholic Church, as it touches this doctrine of purity, is the failure to recognize the present power of the atoning blood of Christ, for full and complete cleansing. Thus while rejecting the mechanical idea of purification by death, they very inconsistently substitute a mechanical process of cleansing after death. The second error in the doctrine of holiness is concerned with the positive aspect of divine love as the consecrating power of entire sanctification. It is held that love not only fulfills the law, but that it may more than fulfill it by keeping those counsels of perfection which are recommended though not imposed by our Lord. This position leads directly to the belief that love may achieve works of supererogation, and consequently to an undue emphasis upon good works, through an obedience which is above law.
5. The Reformers in their reaction against the erroneous position of the Roman Catholic Church concerning justification, adopted a theory of the atonement, which through a misplaced emphasis upon its substitutionary aspect, gave rise to the various theories of imputation. These have been previously discussed in the chapters on the Atonement and Christian Righteousness, and it is sufficient here, to mention them briefly in their relation to the doctrine of Christian perfection. As there are erroneous theories of imputation concerning justification, so also the same theories are erroneously applied to sanctification. Since Christ is our substitute, the Reformers held that not only a complete justification, but also an entire sanctification was thus provided for the believer, and applied to him as a gift of covenant grace. But there is here an emphasis upon objective soteriology, or what Christ has done for us, to the minifying of the importance of subjective soteriology, or what He has wrought in us by the Spirit. Thus with their peculiar form of a substitutionary atonement, they held to a belief in the imputation to Him of our sins, and to us of His righteousness for our justification, and for our sanctification also, in so far as it applied to the cleansing from guilt. But sin itself cannot be done away by imputation; hence in the Calvinistic system it is necessary to deny that it is actually done away. It is not imputed and, therefore, not reckoned to the believer. Thus he is sanctified by imputation, that is by his "standing" in Christ, although as to his actual "state," he still has the carnal mind or inbred sin, which imputation cannot take away. This will be clearer when it is recalled that the extreme substitutionary theory of the atonement not only held, (1) that Christ's death, or passive righteousness was imputed for the remission of sins; but that (2) His active righteousness, or His life in holiness was also imputed as a substitute for the believer's imperfect obedience. Hence sin is not abolished as a principle or power, but instead, Christ's righteousness is imputed as a substitute, and inbred sin is thereby hidden under the robe of an imputed righteousness. Here is the basis of the "standing and state" theory which forms such a prominent part in some of the modern theories of sanctification. The standing of the believer is in Christ, that is by imputation; the actual state is one in which sin is repressed, and, therefore, does not reign; while sanctification is the process of bringing the principle of sin into subjection to the life of righteousness. Sanctification, therefore, according to this theory is merely progressive while the soul dwells in the body, and is completed only at death. The subtlety of a doctrine which holds that man can be instantaneously sanctified by an imputed standing, but not actually sanctified by an impartation of righteousness and true holiness, makes the error more dangerous. Anything which falls short of an actual cleansing from all sin or the death of the "old man" is anti-Wesleyan and anti-scriptural. The Reformation, however, led to other movements of a spiritual nature, which served to further the work of true holiness. Spener founded the Pietists who emphasized holiness, and organized societies in Frankfort for its promotion, much as Mr. Wesley did in London. Wesley was in some measure indebted to the Moravians for the beginning of his spiritual life, although he disagreed with Count Zinzendorf on his doctrine of imputation, and also rejected his idea that purification or sanctification took place at conversion.
6. The earlier Arminians wrote much on Christian perfection also, and their statements contain the germ of that which was later developed in Wesleyanism. Arminius defined holiness as follows: "Sanctification is a gracious act of God by which He purifies man, who is a sinner, and yet a believer, from ignorance, from indwelling sin, with its lusts and desires, and imbues him with the spirit of knowledge, righteousness and holiness. . . . . It consists of the death of the old man, and the quickening of the new man." Episcopius says, "The commandment may be kept with what he regards as a perfect fulfillment in the supreme love which the gospel requires according to the covenant of grace, and in the utmost exertion of human strength, assisted by divine help." Limborch states that there is a "perfection in being correspondent to the provisions and terms of the divine covenant. It is not sinless or an absolutely perfect obedience, but such as consists in a sincere love of piety, absolutely excluding every habit of sin." The doctrine, however, was more fully developed by John and Charles Wesley and their coadjutors.
7. The Wesleyan movement which resulted in the organization of the Methodist Church, marks a revival of the doctrine and experience of entire sanctification in the eighteenth century. To the question, "What was the rise of Methodism?" Mr. Wesley replied, "In 1729 my brother Charles and I, reading the Bible, seeing we could not be saved without holiness, followed after it, and incited others to do so. In 1737 we saw that holiness comes by faith. In 1738 we saw that men are justified before they are sanctified, but still holiness was our pursuit - inward and outward holiness. God then thrust us out to raise up a holy people." Two years before his death, Mr. Wesley wrote, "This doctrine is the grand depositum which God has lodged with the people called Methodists; and for the sake of propagating this chiefly He seems to have raised us up." John Wesley was the founder of Methodism, and his Sermons and Notes, together with the Twenty-five Articles, form the standards of doctrine. Charles Wesley was the hymn writer of the movement, and John Fletcher, a member of the Anglican Church, its saint and chief apologist. The names of Dr. Coke and Bishop Asbury are prominent in the organization of American Methodism. During the nineteenth century, a fresh impetus was given to the doctrine and experience of holiness by the great national campmeetings. The Wesleyan Methodist Connection was organized in 1843, the Free Methodist Church in 1860, and the National Association for the Promotion of Holiness in 1866. In order to both promote and conserve the truth of holiness, the latter part of the century witnessed &nb
Dr. Stevens says that "The Holy Club was formed at Oxford in 1729 for the sanctification of its members. The Wesleys there sought purification, and Whitefield joined them for that purpose" (History of Methodism). Doubtless the ritual of the English Church assisted the Wesleys in their search after the doctrine and experience. In the ritual of the Protestant Episcopal Church, the statement is as follows: "Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love Thee, and worthily magnify Thy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord." . . . . "vouchsafe to keep us this day without sin, and grant Thy people grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and with pure hearts and minds to follow Thee."
the organization of the Church of the Nazarene by Dr. Phineas F. Bresee, the Pentecostal Association of Churches in the East, and a number of holiness movements in the South. These were later combined into one body, known as the Church of the Nazarene. This period witnessed also the combining of a number of other groups into the Pilgrim Holiness Church. These churches have sought to conserve the doctrine and experience of entire sanctification; and have persistently opposed the various fanatical groups that have obscured the pure truth, and brought into ill-repute the glorious doctrine and experience of full salvation.
8. Among the more modern developments, aside from Wesleyanism, may be mentioned the following: (1) The Oberlin Position; (2) The Theory of the Plymouth Brethren; and (3) The Keswick Theory.
(1) The Oberlin position is represented by President Asa Mahan, Charles G. Finney, and President Fairchild. According to this theory, there is a simplicity of moral action which makes sin to consist solely in an act of the will, and consequently maintains that it is impossible for sin and virtue to exist in the same heart at the same time. It accepted but one definition of sin, namely, "Sin is the transgression of the law." Several erroneous positions followed immediately - (1) It denied inbred sin as a state or condition of the soul, and held instead, to an "intermittent," "vibratory," or "alternating" theory of moral character. Of this position, Dr. A. M. Hills, himself a student at Oberlin, says, "To hold that a Christian believer in every moral act is as good or bad as he can be, and that the least sudden sin of a warm-hearted Christian plunges him to the level of the worst sinner, is too great a tax on credulity to be accepted" (HILLS, Fundamental Chr. Th., II, p. 253). (2) It confused consecration with sanctification. Sanctification was made to consist in such an "establishment in consecration" as to prevent further "alternation of the will." (3) It made sanctification a matter of growth and development. Thus President Fairchild begins his chapter on sanctification with these words, "The growth and establishment of the believer, the development in him of the graces of the gospel, is called sanctification." (FAIRCHILD, Elements of Theology, p. 280). President Mahan later came into the clear experience of entire sanctification, and advocated practically the Wesleyan position.
(2) The Plymouth Brethren originated in Dublin, Ireland, and almost simultaneously in Plymouth, England. In England their growth was very rapid, and hence they soon came to be known as the Plymouth Brethren. Their leading mind, if not their founder, was &nb
Mr. Finney denies that there is any sin or moral depravity remaining in the soul after regeneration, but this he does by denying that the states of sensibility, in which they war against the right determinations of the will, and clamor for indulgences which the will cannot allow without sin, involves sin or moral depravity. This makes the discussion turn upon the mere name by which a mental state is called, and not upon the fact of the existence of the state. That such states of sensibility exist after regeneration all must admit, but while old school men call it depravity remaining after regeneration, Mr. Finney denies that it is sin, or moral depravity, and affirms that it is physical depravity, referring to the same mental state which others call remaining sin after regeneration, allowing regeneration to take place instantaneously with justification. . . . He denies that any moral quality pertains to the sensibilities of the soul, and hence does not include the subjugation of the passions to the sanctified will in his idea of entire sanctification, beyond the mere fact that the will is not governed by them, and does not endorse or execute any of their irregular motions. His words are, "It is evident that sanctification in the scripture, and proper sense of the term, is not a mere feeling of any kind. It is not a desire, an appetite, a passion, a propensity, an emotion, nor indeed any kind or degree of feeling. It is not a state or phenomenon of the sensibility. The states of the sensibility are, like those of the intelligence, purely passive states of the mind, as has been repeatedly shown. They of course can have no moral character in themselves. The inspired writers evidently use the terms which are translated by the English word sanctify, to designate a phenomenon of the will, or a voluntary state of mind." (cf. FINNEY, Syst. Th., II, p. 200). Luther Lee in commenting upon the above statements says, "If the above be all true, the conclusion appears undeniable that every man is entirely sanctified the moment he wills right, and as Mr. Finney contends for the freedom of the will, that man has natural power to will right, all can sanctify themselves by an act of will in a moment. . . . Mr. Finney's view of sanctification, as above given, appears to be defective . . . . . Mr. Finney's view of sanctification differs very materially from that commonly held by other schools of theology. It differs by being grounded upon a denial that moral depravity extends to the state of the intelligence and sensibility of the soul, depravity being confined wholly to the state of the will. It does differ by being made to include, according to the above view, only a right state of the will, while others hold that it includes a right state of all the powers and susceptibilities of the soul." - LUTHER LEE, Elements of Theology, pp. 212, 213.
John Darby, a clergyman of the Church of England, who not only withdrew from the established church, but took the position that all organization of a churchly nature was a detriment to Christianity. Their theological positions were in general, based upon the extreme imputation theories of hyper-Calvinism, which we have already treated in our discussion of the Atonement. The movement was antinomian in the extreme, and was but a revival of the principles of Moravianism against which Mr. Wesley had to contend, and those of the Anabaptists who preceded them. They said little, however, of the decrees, or of unconditional election - these being implied, rather than directly stated. Dr. Daniel Steele in his Antinomianism Revived, points out, that by omitting those doctrines which are peculiarly obnoxious to the Arminians,
Signally useful as that beloved man of God, President Finney, was, I can but believe that he would have led many more into the experience of sanctification, had he held a different philosophy. He himself had experienced a marvelous baptism with the Holy Spirit, which made him an example to the world of "holiness and power." But when he tried to lead others into an experience similar to his own, something stood in his way. President Mahan says of him, "No one ever disciplined believers so severely, and with such intense and tireless patience as Brother Finney. Appalled at the backsliding which followed his revival, he put forth the most earnest efforts to induce among believers permanence in the divine life. He gathered his theological students together and instructed them in renunciation of sin, consecration to Christ, and purpose of obedience. They would renew their renunciations, consecrations and purpose, with all the intensity with which their natures were capable. But they were not told to exercise faith for the blessing; and all their human efforts and consecrations, ended in dismal failure, and left them in groaning bondage, under the law of sin and death." - HILLS, Fund. Chr. Th., p. 253.
When alone with God, one day, in a deep forest, I said distinctly and definitely to my heavenly Father, that there was one thing that I desired above all else - the consciousness that my heart was pure in His sight; . . . . In this state I came to Oberlin, as the president of that college. I had been there but a short time, when a general inquiry arose in the church after the divine secret of holy living, and a direct appeal was made to Brother Finney and myself for specific instruction upon the subject, which induced in me an intensity of desire, indescribable, after that secret. Just as my whole being became centered in that one desire, the cloud lifted, and I stood in the clear sunlight of the face of God. The secret was all plain to me now, and I know also, how to lead inquirers into the King's highway (Baptism of the Holy Ghost, p. 108). His error previous to this, he states as follows, "When I thought of my guilt and need of justification, I had looked to Christ exclusively, as I ought to have done." "For sanctification, on the other hand, to overcome (the world, the flesh, and the devil!) I had depended mainly upon my own resolutions. I ought to have looked to Christ for sanctification as much as for justification, and for the same reason. - ASA MAHAN.
and stressing those which appeal to the Calvinists, the errors of this movement are adapted to become widespread in both of these great branches of so-called orthodoxy. The principal error of this system, and that upon which most if not all the others depend, is a false view of the Atonement, or the mediatorial work of Christ. The Plymouth conception of the Atonement, is that of the old commercial theory, or so much suffering as an atonement for so much sin. They regard sin as having been condemned on the cross of Christ; and consequently hold that all sin - past, present and future, has by this act been done away - not provisionally, nor actually, but by imputation of men's sins to Christ. Having been done away by imputation to Christ, men are no longer responsible either for their sinful state or sinful acts. A distinction is made between the believer's "standing" and his actual "state" or condition. Believers are accounted righteous or holy by their "standing" in Christ. God does not take account of their actual "state" for He sees them only through Christ. Sin is not actually removed from the heart and life, but only covered over with the robe of Christ's imputed righteousness. Holiness and righteousness are only imputed, never imparted. In this system, faith becomes, not the condition of personal salvation, but simply a recognition of what was done by Christ on the cross. Justification likewise is not an act in the mind of God by which the sinner is forgiven, but &nb
An Antinomian is a professor of Christianity, who is antinomos, against the law of Christ, as well as against the law of Moses. He allows Christ's law to be the rule of life, but not a rule of judgment for believers, and thus he destroys that law at a stroke, as a law; it being evident that a rule by the personal observance or nonobservance of which Christ's subjects can never be acquitted or condemned, it is not a law for them. Hence he asserts that Christians shall no more be justified before God by their personal obedience to the law of Christ than by their personal obedience to the ceremonial law of Moses. Nay, he believes that the best of Christians perpetually break Christ's law that nobody ever kept it but Christ himself; and that we shall be justified or condemned before God, in the great day, not as we shall personally be found to have kept or broken Christ's law, but as God shall be found to have, before the foundation of the world, arbitrarily laid, or not laid, to our account, the merit of Christ's keeping of His own law. Thus he hopes to stand in the great day, merely by what he calls "Christ's imputed righteousness." - John Fletcher, Checks to Antinomianism.
a wholesale transaction on Calvary, centuries ago, only just now recognized and accepted. Regeneration is regarded, not as an impartation of life to the soul, but as in some sense the creation of a new personality which existed alongside the old, both natures remaining unchanged &nb
The principles which underlie the antinomianism of the Plymouth Brethren are essentially those which characterized the Moravianism of Wesley's day, and of the Anabaptists which gave Luther so much concern. Mr. Wesley sums up the differences between the Moravians and the Methodists in the following statement. He says, "The difference between the Moravian doctrine and ours lies here; they believe and teach, (1) That Christ has done all which was necessary for the salvation of all mankind. (2) That, consequently, we are to do nothing, as necessary to salvation, but simply to believe in Him. (3) That there is but one duty now, but one command, namely, to believe in Christ. (4) That Christ has taken away all other commands and duties, having wholly abolished the law'; that a believer is therefore `free from the law,' is not obliged to do or omit anything; it being inconsistent with his liberty to do anything as commanded. (5) That we are sanctified wholly the moment we are justified, and are neither more nor less holy to the day of our death; entire sanctification, and entire justification, being in one and the same instant. (6) That the believer is never sanctified or holy in himself, but in Christ only; he has no holiness in himself at all, all his holiness being imputed, not inherent. (7) That if a man regards prayer, or searching the Scriptures, or communicating as a matter of duty; if he judges himself obliged to do these things, or is troubled when he does them not; he is in bondage; he has no faith at all, but is seeking salvation by the works of the law."
In reply to the above, Mr. Wesley gives the following of these errors in refutation. "We believe the first of these propositions is ambiguous, and all the rest utterly false. (1) `Christ has done all which was necessary for the salvation of all mankind.' This is ambiguous. Christ has not done all which was necessary for the absolute salvation of all mankind. For, notwithstanding all that Christ has done, he that believeth not shall be damned. But He has done all which was necessary for the conditional salvation of all mankind; that is, if they believe; for through His merits all that believe to the end, with the faith that worketh by love, shall be saved.' (2-3) `There is but one duty now, but one command, namely, to believe in Christ.' Almost every page in the New Testament proves the falsehood of this assertion. (4) `Christ has taken away all other commands and duties, having wholly abolished the law.' How absolutely contrary is this to His own solemn declaration! "Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfil." (5) `We are sanctified wholly the moment we are justified, and are neither more nor less holy to the day of our death; entire sanctification and entire justification being in one and the same instant.' Just the contrary appears from both the tenor of God's Word, and the experience of His children. (6) `A believer is never sanctified or holy in himself, but in Christ only. He has no holiness in himself at all; all his holiness being imputed, not inherent.' Scriptural holiness is the image of God; the mind which was in Christ; the love of God and man; lowliness, gentleness, temperance, patience, chastity. And do you coolly affirm that this is only imputed to a believer, and that he has none at all of this holiness in him? Is temperance imputed only to him that is a drunkard still; or chastity to her that goes on in whoredom? Nay, but a believer is really chaste and temperate. And if so, he is thus far holy in himself." - WESLEY, Works, Vol. VII, p. 22.
until death. The person, or that which in man says "I," may put itself under the direction of either the "new man" or the "old man" without any detriment to his standing in Christ, except that in the latter case, communion will be interrupted. The "standing" is eternal, and remains unchanged, regardless of the actual "state" of the professed believer. Furthermore, the doctrine of the two natures is not fully understood until it is seen, that neither of these natures is responsible for the other. Whatever may be the deeds of the "old man," the believer is not held to be accountable for them - they were condemned on the cross. The Plymouth idea of sanctification, like that of justification, is purely Antinomian. The believer is not only made righteous in Christ, he is made holy also. The one act, viewed as righteousness, is justification; viewed as holiness, it is sanctification. One of their own writers states this position as follows: "He who is our Great High Priest before God is pure and without stain. God sees Him as such, and He stands for us who are His people, and we are accepted in Him. His holiness is ours by imputation. Standing in Him, we are in the sight of God, holy as Christ is holy, and pure as Christ is pure. God looks at our representative, and He sees us in Him. We are complete in Him who is our spotless and glorious &nb
Mr. Wesley made an epitome of Baxter's Aphorisms on Justification, which sets forth in an admirable manner, the whole question of a believer's relation to law. "As there are two covenants, with their distinct conditions, so there is a twofold righteousness, and both of them necessary for salvation. Our righteousness of the first covenant (under the remediless, Christless, Adamic law) is not personal, or consisteth not in any actions preferred by us; for we never personally satisfied the law (of innocence), but it is wholly without us, in Christ. In this sense every Christian disclaimeth his own righteousness, or his own works. Those only shall be in Christ legally righteous who believe and obey the gospel, and so are in themselves evangelically righteous. Though Christ performed the conditions of the law (of paradisaical innocence), and made satisfaction for our nonperformance, yet we ourselves must perform the conditions of the gospel. These (last) two propositions seem to me so clear, that I wonder that able divines should deny them. Methinks they should be articles of our creed, and a part of children's catechisms. To affirm that evangelical or new- covenant righteousness is in Christ, and not in ourselves, or performed by Christ, and not by ourselves, is such a monstrous piece of Antinomian doctrine as no man, who knows the nature and difference of the covenants, can possibly entertain." - BAXTER, Aphorisms, Pro. 14, 15.
Head." His holiness, is purely in the "standing" which man has in Christ, that is, it is imputed only. As to the "state" or actual condition of his heart, there is no personal holiness inwrought by the Spirit. Sin continues until death, but this in nowise affects the "standing" of the believer. "We must never measure the standing by the state," says Mr. McIntosh, "but always the state by the standing. To lower the standing because of the state, is to give the death-blow to all progress in practical Christianity." Commenting upon this, Dr. Daniel Steele says, "that is to say, the fruit must always be judged by the tree; to judge the tree by the fruit, is to give the death blow to pomology."
It can easily be seen why the teachers of this doctrine have a special hostility to the Wesleyan and scriptural teaching concerning Christian perfection. The former holds to an imputed holiness; the latter to an imparted holiness. The former holds that we are merely reckoned holy; the latter that we are actually made holy. The former base everything on a logical syllogism - Christ is holy; we are in Christ; therefore we are holy. Christ is indeed holy, but the fact is overlooked, that no man is in Christ in the fullest sense of new covenant privilege, until he is cleansed from all sin by the baptism with the Holy Ghost. The intellectual assertion that a man is in Christ, does not make it so in fact; this is accomplished by an inner work of the Spirit of God. Ethically, this Antinomian doctrine breaks down all the restraints that would hinder men from sin, as set up in Arminianism and the older Calvinism. Logically, it has its issue in the doctrine of final perseverance, or what in more modern times is wrongly known as eternal security.
(3) The Keswick Movement was founded for "the promotion of scriptural holiness" as stated in the invitation to the original meeting, held in Oxford in 1874. The following year, a second convention was held at Keswick, from which the movement took its name. Here the invitation stated that the convention was for the "promotion of practical holiness." It has been popularized by a number of nationally known evangelists and has in it many sincere and earnest Christians. They believe in the lost condition of the race, and are zealous in their efforts for the salvation of men. They insist upon the abandonment of all known sin, and a definite and complete consecration to Christ. They emphasize the necessity of an appropriation by faith, of the power of God through Christ, for both holy living and Christian service. This enduement for service is known among them as the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and is generally regarded as being subsequent to conversion. It is not, however, in the strict sense, a work of grace, for there is no cleansing from inbred sin. Their position in regard to inbred sin is essentially that of the Plymouth Brethren. It is regarded as a part of the believer's humiliation, and in a sense defiling his best deeds. It involves continuous suppression, and will continue to exist until death delivers from its defilement. The enduement of the Spirit counteracts in some measure, the carnal mind, and assists the believer in repressing its manifestations. It will be seen from these statements, that apart from other differences in theology, the power of sin is merely broken, which Wesleyanism maintains takes place in conversion. It is in no sense entire sanctification as Wesleyanism defines this term. It is rather, more closely related to the idea of positional holiness as taught by the Plymouth Brethren. The believer is holy in his "standing" but not in his "state." Holiness is thus a matter of imputation instead of impartation. Actual cleansing from all sin is rejected as being out of harmony with their general principles. The "standing" is eternal, and hence, like the former theory, logically issues in the so-called doctrine of "eternal security."
The Salvation Army, and especially its earlier leaders, have been able representatives of the doctrine of entire sanctification. General William Booth and his wife, were particularly definite in their teaching. The works of Commissioner Brengle are recognized as standard holiness literature.
We have in the two previous divisions indicated in a general way the meaning and scope of sanctification, but the subject demands a more thorough study. The term holiness, as it is used in this connection, refers to man's moral or religious state, and sanctification, to the act by which he is made holy. The idea of the divine holiness necessarily underlies our conception of human holiness - the former being absolute, the latter, relative or derived. The concept of the divine holiness was given careful attention in our study of the Moral Attributes of God (Chapter XIV); we must now study the question of human holiness in relation to our former positions. The terminology of the Greek New Testament will furnish the best approach to this subject, but must be limited solely to those words and their derivatives, which in the English translation are rendered holiness or sanctification. Other words referring to this experience will be given consideration later. In the study of these Greek words, however, we must bear in mind that the Greeks had no clear idea of holiness, such as the Christian religion demanded, and hence St. Paul was under the necessity of reading into these words, a deeper meaning, than that which they ordinarily conveyed to the Greek mind.
We shall notice, at this time, the following Greek terms. (1) Hagios (agioV), holy. This word occurs frequently in the Scriptures, but is rarely used outside of Holy Writ. It means (a) reverent, or worthy of veneration, and is applied to God (Luke 1:49); to things on account of their connection with God (Acts 6:13; 7:33); and to persons whose services God employs
Entire sanctification is not the destruction of any faculty, affection, or passion, but the purification, sanctification, and preservation of all that is essentially human unto eternal life (I Thess. 5:23).
Dr. C. J. Fowler says that sanctification is used in the Scriptures interchangeably with justification, regeneration, adoption, conversion and the like, but not in that sense alone. The Corinthians are addressed as "sanctified in Christ Jesus," and at the same time their entire sanctification is denied, for they are addressed as "yet carnal" and exhorted to perfect "holiness in the fear of God." In Paul's epistle to the Thessalonians, prayer is offered that they may be sanctified "wholly" (cf. FOWLER, Sermon on Double Cure, p. 103).
(Eph. 3:5). (b) To set apart to God, to be exclusively His (Mark 1:24; Luke 2:23). (c) It is used of sacrifices and offerings prepared for God with solemn rite (Rom. 11:16; 12:1; I Cor. 7:14; Eph. 1:4; 5:27; Col. 1:22). (d) In a moral sense, pure, sinless, upright and holy (Rom. 7:12; 16:16; I Cor. 7:14; 16:20; I Peter 1:16; II Peter 3:11). (2) Hagion (agion), neuter gender of agioV and used generally to designate a holy place (Heb. 9:24, 25; 10:19). (3) Hagiadzo (agiazw) a verb meaning to separate, to set apart, to render or to declare holy. It means (a) to hallow (Matt. 6:9); (b) to separate from the profane and dedicate to God - things (Matt. 23:17; II Tim. 2:21); persons (John 10:36; 17:19); (c) to purify - externally (Heb. 9:13; I Tim. 4:5), by expiation (I Cor. 6:11; Eph. 5:26; Heb. 10:10, 14, 29; 13:12), internally (John 17:17, 19; Rom. 15:16; I Cor. 1:2; I Thess. 5:23; Jude 1; Rev. 22:11). (4) Hagiasmos (agiasmoV) is a word used only by biblical and ecclesiastical writers. It is derived from the perfect passive (hgiasmai) of agiazw, and is translated sanctification or holiness. It is found in I Thess. 4:3 this is the will of God, even your sanctification: Heb. 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, (agiasmon) (or the sanctification wrought by the Holy Spirit, agiasmw PneumatoV); and again, ye have your fruit unto holiness (agiasmon) (Rom. 6:19, 22). (5) Hagiotes (agiothV), sanctity, or in the moral sense, holiness. It refers especially to the property of moral natures, and is applicable to both God and sanctified men (Heb. 12:10). (6) Hagiosune (agiwsunh), sanctity, sanctification, holiness. The word is generally regarded as synonymous with the preceding term, but restricted more especially in its application to men. As such it signifies emphatically, a personal purification. It is used but three times in the New Testament, (a) Rom. 1:4, where the contrast is made between Christ according to the flesh (kata sarka), and according to the spirit of holiness (kata pneuma agiwsunhV); (b) II Cor. 7:1, perfecting holiness (agiwsunhn); and (c) I Thess. 3:13, stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness (agiwsunh).
From this brief study of Hagios (agioV) and its derivatives, it will be clearly seen, that while the primary meaning is a setting apart, or a separation, this in the New Testament takes on the deeper significance of a cleansing from all sin. This is the dominant meaning of the terms used in the Scriptures, and from this authority there can be no appeal. The word hagnos (agnoV) and its derivatives, on the other hand, while implying inward purity (cf. I John 3:3), refer primarily to external or ceremonial purity, the sanctification of the body, and the general qualities of purity and chastity (John 11:55; Acts 21:24, 26; II Cor. 11:2; Phil. 4:8; Titus 2:5; James 3:17).
Definitions of Entire Sanctification.
We cannot pass without a definition of this word "purify." It is the very word from which we get our English derivative - cathartic. It literally means to purge, to purify, to remove dross and eliminate that which is foreign. It is identically the same word as is used in I John 1:7. It means nothing more or less than the actual cleansing of the nature of man from the virus of a sinful disposition. Let men decry the truth and resolutely clamor heresy, but the clear and unmistakable statement of Peter, whom the Holy Spirit himself directed to speak, was that the heart meaning of Pentecost then - and now - was and is the cleansing of the heart from inborn sin. To this clear witness of Peter scripture boldly attests and the lives of multitudes happily declare. This then is the privilege of every Christian. - DR. H. V. MILLER, When He Is Come.
Sanctified souls are inclined to name the blessing after their principal sensations, harmonizing with their emotional experiences. (1) One person realizes principally a marked increase of faith, and he calls it "the rest of faith." (2) Another is conscious of a deep, sweet resting in Christ, and calls it "resting in God." (3) Another is permeated with a sense of the divine presence, and filled with ecstatic raptures, and calls it "the fullness of God." (4) Another feels his heart subdued, melted, refined and filled with God, and calls it "holiness." (5) Another realizes principally a river of sweet, holy love flowing through the soul, and he calls it "perfect love." (6) Another is prostrated under the power of the refining and sin-killing Spirit, and calls it "the baptism with the Holy Ghost." (7) And another realizes principally a heaven of sweetness in complete submission to God, and he calls it "entire sanctification." (8) While another may feel clearly and strongly conscious of complete conformity to all the will of God, and calls it "Christian perfection." If genuine, the work wrought in each case is essentially the same. - WOOD, Perfect Love, p. 125.
entire devotement to God, and the holy obedience of love made perfect. It is wrought by the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and comprehends in one experience the cleansing of the heart from sin and the abiding, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, empowering the believer for life and service. Entire sanctification is provided by the blood of Jesus, is wrought instantaneously by faith, preceded by entire consecration; and to this work and state of grace the Holy Spirit bears witness. This experience is also known by various terms representing its different phases, such as " "Christian Perfection," "Perfect Love," "Heart Purity," "The Baptism with the Holy Spirit," "The Fullness of the Blessing," and "Christian Holiness" (Creed, Art. X). Mr. Wesley says that "Sanctification in the proper sense
The literature of early Methodism on the subject of entire sanctification is peculiarly rich and prolific. We give a few of the more outstanding utterances on this subject. "From the very first years of my ministry I have held with Adam Clarke, Richard Watson, John Fletcher and John Wesley, that regeneration and sanctification are separated and distinct one from the other and therefore received at different times. They are both received by faith, and the last one is the privilege of every believer as the first is of every penitent." - BISHOP MALLALIEU. Regeneration "is a mixed moral state. Sanctification is like weeding the soil, or gathering the tares and burning them, so that nothing remains to grow there but the good seed. . . . . Entire sanctification removes them - roots them out of the heart, and leaves it a pure soil." - BISHOP HAMLINE, Beauty of Holiness, p. 264. "In the merely justified state we are not entirely pure. . . . . But in the work of entire sanctification, these impurities are all washed away so that we are wholly saved from sin, from its inward pollution." - BISHOP JESSE T. PECK, Central Idea of Christianity, p. 52. "Regeneration removes some sin or pollution, and entire sanctification removes the corruption which re mains after regeneration. This will be seen from the authorities given to be the Wesleyan idea of sanctification." - BISHOP FOSTER, Christian Purity, p. 122. "The degree of original sin which remains in some believers, though not a transgression of a known law is nevertheless sin, and must be removed before one goes to heaven, and the removal of this evil is what we mean by full sanctification." - BISHOP HEDDING, Sermons. "By holiness I mean that state of the soul in which all its alienation from God, and all its aversion to a holy life are removed BISHOP MCCABE.
From the commentators we have the following definitions: "This term (sanctify) has the Old Testament sense of setting apart to a sacred service, and the New Testament sense of spiritual purification." - JACOBUS, Notes on John 17:17. "Sanctification is to have soul, body and spirit every sense, member, organ, and faculty, completely purified and devoted to the service of God." - SCOTT, Commentary. "True religion consists in heart purity. Those who are inwardly pure, show themselves to be under the power of pure and undefiled religion. True Christianity lies in the heart, in the purity of the heart, in the washing of that from wickedness." - MATTHEW HENRY, Notes on Matt. 5:8.
is an instantaneous deliverance from all sin, and includes an instantaneous power then given always to cleave to God." Mr. Watson defines entire sanctification as a complete deliverance from all spiritual pollution, all inward depravation of heart, as well as that, which, expressing itself outwardly by the indulgence of the senses, is called filthiness of the flesh and spirit" (WATSON, Institutes, II, p. 450). Adam Clarke defines it as "the cleansing of the blood, that has not been cleansed; it is the washing of the soul of a true believer from the remains of sin" (CLARKE, Christian Theology, p. 206). Dr. Pope's definition is as follows: "Sanctification in its beginnings, process and final issues is the full eradication of the sin itself, which reigning in the unregenerate, coexists with the new life in the regenerate, is abolished in the wholly sanctified." Dr. Phineas F. Bresee in his sermon on Divine Power says, "It is evident that the baptism with the Holy Ghost is the conveyance into men and through men, of the 'all-power' of Jesus Christ - the revelation of Him in the soul"; and again, "The baptism with the Holy Ghost is the baptism with God. It is the burning up of the chaff, but is also the revelation in us and the manifestation to us of divine personality, filling our being" (DR. P. F. BRESEE, Sermons, p. 193). It will be noticed, that while Dr. Bresee never undervalued the cleansing aspect of entire sanctification, his chief emphasis was always upon the divine infilling - the unfolding of the entire being in "loyal relation to the divine." Dr. Edward F. Walker defined sanctification as a "personal cleansing from sin, in order to a holy life. Made pure in order to sustain devotion to God. A pure heart, full of holy love. Beyond this we cannot go in this world; but short of this we ought never to rest. . . . . Perfect purity plus perfect love in the heart by the efficiency of Christ and the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit equal personal sanctification" (WALKER, Sanctify Them, pp. 42, 49). Dr. John W. Goodwin gives us this definition: "Sanctification is a divine work of grace, purifying the believer's heart from indwelling sin. It is subsequent to regeneration, is secured in the atoning blood of Christ, is effected by the baptism with the Holy Ghost, is conditioned on full consecration to God, is received by faith, and includes instantaneous empowerment for service."
Primarily sanctification has to do with man's inner nature or condition, as justification does with his outer conduct. In a word, when a man is converted he is forgiven and restored to favor with God. The power of sin is broken, "the old man" of sin is conquered, the power of the new life within him is greater than the power of a fallen nature. This inherited bias, or "prone to wander," this inner opposition to the law of God is not destroyed, it is conquered in regeneration. It is destroyed, absolutely annihilated, in sanctification. - DR. R. T. WILLIAMS, Sanctification, p. 17.
A glorious fact, however, remains for us to consider. . . . . The coming of the Holy Ghost into the heart and life in His exquisite fullness does so cleanse and empower, protect and guard that liability of spiritual failure is brought to its earthly minimum. . . . . To every soul who will yield to the Holy Ghost, He will come with loving and holy dominion driving from the heart every antagonism to all the will of God. He will then secure the entrance to the soul with His own untiring presence. Whenever the enemy attempts to come in like a flood, He himself will lift up a standard against him. He will culture the soul with skill. He will guide the life with agility. He will build fixed principles of moral living deep within the being so that the slightest insinuation of Satan will be readily recognized and repulsed. He will train the weakened propensities and appetites of a broken race till scriptural culture becomes the instinct of the soul. Thus empowered and equipped the liability of failure is brought to a conspicuous minimum. - DR. H. V. MILLER, When He Is Come, p. 28.
To be sanctified is nothing more or less than this one thing, the complete removal from the heart of that which is enmity to God, not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be; and this enables the life to be fully devoted to God. Regardless of how perfect may be the consecration, no Christian is truly sanctified by Christ until the heart is made pure by His blood. This is a definite experience, a mighty work of grace, wrought by God in response to the faith of the consecrated Christian in Christ the Sanctifier. This experience marks a definite second crisis in spiritual life, it is the perfection of a spiritual relationship with God, the cleansing from all sin, when God works within us the devotedness He desires. . . . . Devotedness to God - sanctification - includes also a conscious fullness of the Holy Spirit dwelling within as the power of our love, enabling us to live in fellowship with Christ and in full obedience to Him, giving us glorious victory in the many conflicts of life. . . . . Holiness as devotedness to God involves the subordination of all other purposes to the one great purpose - the joyous acceptance and the happy doing of the will of God. - D. SHELBY CORLETT, Holiness - The Central Purpose of Redemption, pp. 22, 23.
I have called holiness the heart of Christian experience because it is by way of the full realization of what God has promised to us in the way of crises. Regeneration and entire sanctification are the two crises in which God deals with the sin problem in us and by which He takes us out of sin and then takes sin out of us. After that the Christian life is a way of process and progress, but there are no more crises until glorification comes at the return of Jesus to this world. There is all room for growth after sanctification, but there is no more place for
Justification and Sanctification. Our previous study of Christian righteousness has given us the general characteristics of justification; it remains for us now to contrast these briefly with sanctification, in order to set forth more clearly the distinctions between them. (1) Justification in a broad sense has reference to the whole work of Christ wrought for us; sanctification, the whole work wrought in
crises. There is no state of grace beyond a pure heart filled with the Holy Spirit. But from such a heart flows forth the passive and active phases of Christian life as water flows forth from a spring. Holiness is purity - not maturity. Holiness is the goal only in that it prepares one for whatever there is of Christian life - It is the "enabling blessing" which every Christian needs. - DR. J. B. CHAPMAN, Holiness the Heart of Christian Experience, p. 10.
The Holy Spirit is vitally related to all the work of salvation. The Bible clearly presents two distinct operations or works of the Holy Spirit that are crisis works of salvation. The first of these is to be born of the Spirit (John 3:6). Birth is an act, and a crisis act. To be born is to be brought into life. In this case it is to be "born again" (verse 7), to restore a life that has been lost; it is a new spiritual birth - regeneration; it is coming to life as a babe in Christ; it is a new life forgiven and freed from the guilt of sin. The second of these is to be baptized with the Holy Ghost (Luke 3:16). Baptism is an act, and a crisis act. Baptism is something quite different from birth and cannot possibly be until after birth; one must be born before he can be baptized. These two figures that are here applied to the spiritual life necessitate two crisis experiences, the one following the other. With this baptism we have entire sanctification, cleansing from the inner state of sin. - DR. E. P. ELLYSON, Bible Holiness, pp. 89, 90.
is concomitant with it. (10) Justification is an instantaneous and completed act, and therefore does not take place ad seriatim, or by degrees; sanctification is marked by progressiveness, that is, it has stages and degrees. There is a partial sanctification which is concomitant with justification, and there is an entire sanctification which is subsequent to it. But both initial and entire sanctification are instantaneous acts, wrought in the hearts of men by the Holy Spirit.
Regeneration and Sanctification. The relation existing between regeneration and sanctification is set forth in an able and unique manner by Bishop Jesse T. Peck in his Central Idea of Christianity
Justification has reference to the disposition and mercy of God toward the repentant sinner; regeneration has respect to the offices of the Holy Spirit pursuant to the dispensation of pardon. Justification absolves from condemnation; regeneration takes away death and inspires life. Justification brings liberty; regeneration supplies power. - LOWREY, Possibilities of Grace, p. 185.
to the laws of language, perform the office of the other. We humbly submit, therefore, that they ought not to be used interchangeably, and that attempts to so use them have caused nearly all the confusion which has embarrassed these great points in theology" (PECK, Central Idea of Christianity, pp. 15, 16).
Generation denotes the production of natural life, regeneration the production of spiritual life. Now the force of the illustration Is seen In the following particulars: (1) The soul in its natural state is "dead" - "dead" In trespasses and sins. It is so, because "to be carnally minded is death." (2) Natural life is the product of divine power alone, and spiritual life must be also. Generation expresses the operation of this power in the one instance, and regeneration in the other. A similar relation exists between the ideas represented by the words "creature" and "new creature," "horn" and "born again." (3) Generation and birth produce new natural powers and functions, which demonstrate the omnipotence of their Creator; regeneration and the new birth produce spiritual powers and functions, entirely new, which demonstrate equally the divinity of their origin. (4) The result of generation is natural life with its accidents, the result of regeneration is spiritual life with its accidents; the degree of health may be mentioned as an accident of the former, the degree of sanctification or holiness as an accident of the latter. - PECK, Central Idea of Christianity, p. 15.
Hence the new birth, or regeneration, is the divine life of Infancy. It is holiness of heart, but holiness lacking the great and chief measure consisting of salvation from all sin and the perfection of love. Regeneration bears the same relation to full redemption that infancy does to manhood, discipline to culture, feebleness to might, tuition to knowledge, and imperfection, maturity and completeness. Such being the relation of the two states, holiness can no more be separated from regeneration than the full currents of vitality In robust manhood can declare themselves unrelated to the feeble flow of Hood in infant veins. - LOWREY, Possibilities of Grace, pp. 185, 186.
Dr. E. P. Ellyson treats the state of holiness under four different aspects, with four distinct results. (1) It is a state of moral purity. One may be far from maturity, there may be much of weakness and ignorance, the judgment may be far from perfect, but the heart may be clean; there may be nothing of moral defilement or pollution. (2) This is an experience of separation, and of being set apart. There is such devotement to God as to set one apart from the secular to the sacred. One In his consecration must thus set himself apart. In response to this consecration Christ sets him apart. (3) This is an experience of divine indwelling, of continued divine presence. With this experience, one is never alone, there are always two together; he is "filled with the Holy Ghost." (4) This is an enduement of power. The apostles were to tarry in the city of Jerusalem until they were "endued with power from on high." They had been converted and called to service as the first leaders of the church, they had been In training under the teaching of Jesus for some time; but there was a heavenly enduement with power that they needed to fit them for this place to which they were called. - DR. E. P. ELLYSON, Bible Holiness, pp. 104ff.
The difference between a justified soul who is not fully sanctified, and one fully sanctified, I understand to be this: The first is kept from voluntarily committing known sin, which is what is commonly meant in the New Testament by committing sin. But he yet finds in himself the
Concerning Sin in the Regenerate. It has been the uniform belief of the church, that original sin "continues to exist with the new life of the regenerate, until eradicated by the baptism with the Holy Spirit" (Creed, Art. V). As stated in the Thirty-nine Articles, "this infection of nature doth remain, yea, in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek fronhma sarkoV, is not subject to the law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe, yet this lust hath of itself the nature of sin" (Art. IX). "By sin," says Mr. Wesley, "I here understand inward sin; any sinful temper, passion, or affection; such as pride, self-will, love of the world, in any kind or degree; such as lust, anger, peevishness; any disposition contrary to the mind which was in Christ" (Sermon: Sin in Believers
remains of inbred corruption or original sin; such as pride, anger, envy, a feeling of hatred to an enemy, a rejoicing at a calamity which has fallen upon an enemy. Now in all this the regenerate soul does not act voluntarily; his choice is against these evils, and resists and overcomes them as soon as the mind perceives them. Though the Christian does not feel guilty for this depravity as he would do if he had voluntarily broken the law of God, yet he is often grieved and afflicted, and reproved at a sight of this sinfulness of his nature. Though the soul in this state enjoys a degree of religion, yet it is conscious it is not what it ought to be, nor what it must be to be fit for heaven. The second, or person fully sanctified, is cleansed from all these involuntary sins. He may be tempted by Satan, by men, and by his own bodily appetites to commit sin, but his heart is free from these inward fires, which before his full sanctification, were ready to fall in with the temptation and lead him into transgression. He may be tempted to be proud, to love the world, to be revengeful or angry, to hate an enemy, to wish him evil, or to rejoice at his calamity, but he feels none of these passions In his heart; the Holy Ghost has cleansed him from all these pollutions of his nature. Thus it is that, being emptied of sin, the perfect Christian is filled with the love of God, even with that perfect love which casteth out fear. - BISHOP HEADING. "This," says Dr. McDonald, "is so plain that the child may understand it, and so much in harmony with Christian experience that comment is unnecessary." - (Cf. McDONALD, Scriptural Way of Holiness, p. 122).
Regeneration is like breaking up the fallow ground and sowing it with wheat, In the growth of which there spring up tares. It is a mixed moral state. Sanctification is like weeding the soil, or gathering the tares and burning them, so that nothing remains to grow there but good seed. In regeneration a spiritual growth is like the slow progress of the wheat, choked and made sickly by the intermingling weeds. Entire sanctification removes them, roots them out of the heart, and leaves it a pure moral soil. - BISHOP HAMLINE.
within the heart of the believer, both grace and inbred sin, but there is not, nor can there be any commingling or blending of these antagonistic elements. They exist in the heart without admixture or composition. Otherwise we should have an adulterated holiness. Those who hold to the erroneous idea of regeneration as a making over of the old life, instead of an impartation of the new, find difficulty in accounting for a second work of grace.
Entire Sanctification as Subsequent to Regeneration. Theologians of the Wesleyan type frequently speak of the incompleteness of regeneration, and of the necessity of entire sanctification in order to complete or perfect the redemptive process. Thus Dr. Miley states that "the doctrine of an incompleteness of the work of regeneration underlies entire sanctification, particularly in its Wesleyan form" (MILEY, Syst. Th
The Scriptures affirm that there remains in man, after conversion, what is called "the flesh," the "old man," "carnality," "wrath," - inherited predisposition - some call this predisposition, "tendency to evil," but it is evidently more; the apostle calls it "the body of sin." - DR. P. F. BRESEE, Sermons, p. 46.
The question is not concerning outward sin; whether a child of God commits sin or no. We all agree and earnestly maintain, "He that committeth sin is of the devil." We agree, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin." Neither do we inquire whether sin will always remain in the children of God; whether sin will continue in the soul as long as it continues in the body: nor yet do we inquire whether a justified person may relapse either into inward or outward sin; but simply this, "Is a justified or regenerated man freed from all sin as soon as he is justified? . . . . But was he not then freed from all sin, so that there is no sin in his heart?" I cannot say this; I cannot believe it; because St. Paul says the contrary. He is speaking to believers in general, when he says, "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other" (Gal. 5:17). Nothing can be more expressive. The apostle here directly affirms that the flesh, evil nature, opposes the Spirit, even in believers; that even in the regenerate there are two principles, "contrary the one to the other." - WESLEY, Sin in Believers.
Again, in his sermon on "Patience," Mr. Wesley says, "Till this universal change (purification) was wrought in his soul (the regenerate), all his holiness was mixed." In commenting on this, Rev. J. A. Wood says, "mixed, necessarily in a restricted sense. Both grace and inbred sin have existence in the same soul, though antagonistic and at war with each other. Though existing for the time in the same person in admixture, they are distinct in nature and tendency; they are `contrary the one to the other,' and are irreconcilable enemies. Partly holy, and partly unholy, as in a sense is the case with the merely regenerate, does by no means imply a homogenous character, combining and assimilating into a common nature the elements of both holiness and sin." - J. A. WOOD, Purity and Maturity, p. 111.
is a sense in which this is true, but the form of the statement is unfortunate. Regeneration considered in itself is not an imperfect work. It is the bestowal of divine life, and as an operation of the Spirit, is complete in itself. But regeneration is only a part of the grace embraced in the New Covenant, and in this sense only may be said to be incomplete - incomplete as not in itself representing the totality of New Covenant blessings. Again, regeneration is frequently represented in Wesleyan theology, as the beginning of sanctification - a work which comes to its perfection in entire sanctification. Here, also, discriminating thought is necessary. Regeneration is the beginning of sanctification in this &nb
Regeneration and sanctification both deal primarily with the sin question. That is why they are called the first and second blessings or works of grace. There are many blessings in Christian experience and Christian life, but there are two blessings that are called the first and second blessings. This is due to the fact that these two specific blessings deal with the question of sin. The one deals primarily with what we do, the other primarily with what we are. It would not be altogether correct to say that regeneration deals with the act alone. We have already stated that regeneration deals with sins committed, with spiritual death, and with acquired pollution. Neither would it be quite correct to assert that sanctification deals only with our inner state. This is true primarily, but indirectly it deals with our ethics because of the fact that our inner state makes it easier or harder for us to live right externally. . . . . Here is the great battle ground concerning holiness. The question is simply this, Is sin destroyed in the act of sanctification or not? This is the question on which turns all belief in sanctification. It is folly to try to pass as a believer in holiness and at the same time question its doctrine of eradication. There cannot be such a thing as holiness in its final analysis without the eradication of sin. Holiness and suppression are incompatible terms. "The old man" and counteraction make a pale and sickly kind of holiness doctrine. It is holiness and eradication or holiness not at all. - DR. R. T. WILLIAMS, Sanctification, pp. 16, 17.
When does inward sanctification begin? In the moment a man is justified. Yet sin remains in him, yea the seed of all sin, till he is sanctified throughout. - WESLEY, Plain Account, p. 48.
Regeneration, also, being the same as the new birth, is the beginning of sanctification, though not the completion of it, or not entire sanctification. Regeneration is the beginning of purification; entire sanctification is the finishing of that work. - BISHOP HEDDING, Conference Address.
The implantation of spiritual life does not destroy the carnal mind; though its power is broken, it does not cease to exist. While the new birth is the beginning of purification, it is, perhaps, more the process of imparting or begetting spiritual life, than the process of refining or purification; which in entire sanctification is the extraction of remaining impurity from regenerated human nature. - J. A. WOOD, Purity and Maturity, p. 112.
That a distinction exists between a regenerate state, and a state of entire and perfect holiness, will be generally allowed. - WATSON, Institutes, II, chap 29.
sense only, that the life bestowed in the new birth is a holy life. This new life, being one of "holy love" may be said to be the beginning of holiness. But we are not to infer from this that the expanding of this new life by growth, or the increase and development of this love, will bring the soul to entire sanctification. Failure to discriminate here, leads inevitably to the "growth theory" of sanctification. Sanctification is an act of cleansing, and unless inbred sin be removed, there can be no fullness of life, no perfection in love. In a strict sense, regeneration is not purification. Initial sanctification accompanies regeneration, as does also justification and adoption, but regeneration is the impartation of life, and initial sanctification is the cleansing from guilt and acquired depravity. Closely related to both of the foregoing is another statement that needs to be qualified also. We refer to the expression that sanctification is not something new, but a perfecting of that which we already possess. It is indeed true that there is a substratum which is common to both regeneration and entire sanctification, that is, a life of moral love. But regeneration is the impartation of this life of love, and entire sanctification is such a purification of the heart as makes love sole and supreme in experience. The two works are separate and distinct, and consequently the latter is something more than the mere finishing touches of the former.
There are two questions which immediately arise in this connection, (1) Why is redemption not comprehended in a single work of grace: and (2) What length of time must elapse between regeneration and entire sanctification? &nb
The substratum of all experimental grace, subsequent to justification is the same. It is love, perfect or imperfect. From the horizon to the zenith, from the twilight to the effulgence of day, the substance is love, love to God and to our neighbor. - LOWREY, Possibilities of Grace, p. 225.
That this perfect love, or entire sanctification, is specifically a new state, and not the improvement of a former state, or of regeneration, is plainly inferred from the Bible. - BISHOP HAMLINE, Beauty of Holiness, p. 264.
1. Concerning the first question, it is impossible to say what God may or may not do; we can form our deductions only from what He has revealed to us in His Word. We may say then that God does not justify and entirely sanctify His people by a single work of grace, (1) Because it is not so revealed in His Word. God has system and method in His works, and the work of grace is always bestowed in the same manner, although the manifestations may vary. (2) The sinner does not realize his need of sanctification. His guilt and condemnation at first occupy his attention, and only later does he come to see the need of further cleansing. (3) Life must be given in regeneration before that life can be consciously treated in entire sanctification. (4) Justification and sanctification deal with different phases of sin; the former with sins committed, or sin as an act; the latter with sin inherited, or sin as a principle or nature. It appears to be impossible to discover the latter condition without having experienced the former. Then, too, these works of the Spirit are in some sense antipodal, or directly opposite - the one being an impartation of life, the other a crucifixion or death (cf. C. W. RUTH, Entire Sanctification, p. 48; also LOWREY, Possibilities of Grace, p. 205).
2. As to the time which must elapse between the two works of grace, this depends wholly upon the experience of the individual. "This progressive work," says Luther Lee, "may be cut short and finished at any &nb
We remark, first, entire sanctification is not usually, if ever, contemporary with regeneration. Regeneration is, in most cases of Christian experience, if not in all, initial sanctification - not completed, perfect renewal. The regenerated person is not, at the moment of his regeneration, "wholly sanctified"; he is not born into the kingdom of God a full-grown man; his new creation is not in the stature of the fullness of Christ; nor is he a child born into perfect spiritual life and health. In a good sense it may be figuratively said, as it is often said, he is a perfect child; but pleasant as the figure may be, it must not be pressed beyond the truth; though a perfect child, evincing good health, there are still in his moral nature, susceptibilities, liabilities, perhaps actualities, of disease, which may develop into speedy death, and, unless counteracted by additional grace, will certainly do so. Does anyone argumentatively ask, Does God bring into His kingdom sickly children? we must answer, He certainly does. Many such are born naturally, and there are many such among God's spiritual children - children requiring much nursing to keep them in the breath of life. - RAYMOND, Systematic Theology, II, p. 375.
moment. When the intelligence clearly comprehends the defects of the present state, and faith, comprehending the power and willingness of God to sanctify us wholly, and do it now, is exercised" (LEE, Elements of Theology, p. 214). Any delay beyond the period necessary to learn the nature and conditions of its attainment, must be charged to human weakness. God's time is the present moment. Frequently, also, there are those who enter this experience through spiritual obedience only, without any clear understanding of the theological, or even the scriptural terms in which it is expressed.
The Divinely Appointed Means and Agencies. We find it impossible to properly appreciate the nature of entire sanctification, without taking into account the means and agencies which God employs to stamp His image anew upon the hearts of men. Sanctification is said to be by blood, by the Spirit, by faith, and through the truth. (1) The originating cause is the love of God. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (I John 4:10). (2) The meritorious or procuring cause is the blood of Jesus Christ. If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin (I John 1:7). (3) The efficient cause or agency is the Holy Spirit. We are saved by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5); we are said to be elected through sanctification of the Spirit (I Peter 1:2); and again, that we are chosen to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth
I have been lately thinking a good deal on one point wherein, perhaps, we have all been wanting. We have not made it a rule, as soon as ever persons are justified, to remind them of "going on unto perfection." Whereas this is the very time preferable to all others. - WESLEY, (Letter to Thomas Rankin).
prayer, used the words Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth (John 17:17). The Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth and acts through its instrumentality. Hence St. Peter says, Ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth (I Peter 1:22); and St. John declares that whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him (I John 2:5). (5) The conditional cause is faith. And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith (Acts 15:9); that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me (Acts 26:18). When, therefore, we speak of sanctification as being wrought by the Father, or by the Son, or by the Holy Spirit; whether we speak of it as by the blood, or through the truth, or by faith, we are referring merely to the different causes which enter in to this great experience.
The term progressive as used in connection with sanctification must be clearly defined. As used in the Wesleyan sense, it means simply the temporal aspect of the work of grace in the heart, as it takes place in successive stages. Each of these stages is marked by a gradual approach and an instantaneous consummation in experience, and the stages together mark the full scope of sanctifying grace. Thus "in His administration of sanctifying grace the Holy Spirit proceeds by degrees. Terms of progress are applied to each department of that work in the saint; or, in other words, the goal of entire sanctification is represented as the end of a process in which the Spirit requires the co- operation of the believer. This co-operation, however, is only the condition on which is suspended what is the work of divine
Dr. Edward F. Walker reduces the essentials of salvation to seven causes, as follows: (1) The first cause is the holy Father (Jude 1); (2) the procuring cause is the holy Son (Eph. 5:26); (3) the efficient cause is the Holy Spirit (I Peter 1:2); (4) the determining cause is the divine will (Heb. 10:10); (5) the meritorious cause is the sacrifice of Jesus (Heb. 13:12); (6) the instrumental cause is the truth of God (John 17:17); and (7) the conditional cause is faith in Christ.
grace alone" (POPE, Compend. Chr. Th., III, p. 36). There is here a great truth which no student of theology can afford to overlook, and failure to emphasize this point, leads to confusion concerning the experience itself. But this point was not sufficiently guarded by Methodist theologians, and as a consequence, the emphasis came gradually to be placed upon the aspect of growth and development, rather than upon the crises which marked the different stages in personal experience. Later writers on this subject have more carefully guarded this point. They have emphasized the instantaneousness of sanctification as an act, and thereby preserved the truth of progressive sanctification without falling into the error of the growth theory. Three subjects must be considered in this division, as follows: (1) Sanctification as partial and entire; (2) sanctification as gradual and instantaneous; and (3) sanctification as instantaneous and continuous.
Sanctification as Partial and Entire. The concomitant blessings which make up conversion as a first work of grace, are (1) Justification as an act of forgiveness in the mind of God; (2) regeneration as the impartation of a new nature; and (3) adoption as an assurance of the privileges of heirship. To these there must be added another concomitant known as (4) "initial" sanctification. Defilement attaches to sinful acts, and so also does guilt, which is the consciousness of sin as our own. There must be, therefore, this initial cleansing, concomitant with the other blessings of the first work of grace, if this guilt and acquired depravity are to be removed from the sinner. Since that which removes pollution and makes holy is properly called "sanctification," this first or initial cleansing is "partial" sanctification. But the term is not an indefinite one, referring to the cleansing away of more or less of the sinner's defilement. It is a definite term, and is limited strictly to that guilt and acquired depravity attaching to actual sins, for which the sinner is himself responsible. It does not refer to the cleansing from original sin or inherited depravity, for which the sinner is not responsible.
We may say then that initial or partial sanctification includes in its scope all that acquired pollution which attaches to the sinner's own acts; while entire sanctification includes the cleansing from original sin or inherited depravity. Since sin is twofold - an act, and a state or condition, sanctification must be twofold. There is and can be but two stages in the process of sanctification - initial and entire - the full consummation of the process being rightly known as glorification.
Sanctification as Gradual and Instantaneous.
Dr. C. J. Fowler points out that sanctification is a double term - used for the partial work of salvation, and for the complete work of salvation. This is a distinction that needs to be kept in mind in order to avoid confusion in thought. For this reason, he suggests that the qualifying word "entire" should always he used when one means complete sanctification, although it is not necessary to do so in the interest of exact statement (cf. Double Cure, p. 103).
Regeneration has been defined by one as an ingeneration of divine life; a sudden process by which man passes from spiritual death to a spiritual life through the quickening power of God's Holy Spirit. As has been stated, in regeneration one passes from a state of death to a state of spiritual life; from a state of guilt to a state of "forgiveness"; from a state of pollution - that is the pollution acquired by his own acts of disobedience against the laws of God - to a state of conscious cleansing; that is, a cleansing from acquired pollution. Thus regeneration has cleansing, not from the moral corruption inherited through the fall, but cleansing from that moral pollution acquired by his own acts of disobedience. - Dr. R. T. WILLIAMS, Sanctification, pp. 13, 14.
preparatory work may be cut short in righteousness. When the sinner perfectly submits to the righteousness of Christ, and believes the promises of God, that moment he is justified and the Spirit imparts new life to his soul. When, also, the child of God through the Spirit, fully renounces inbred sin and trusts the blood of cleansing, that moment he may, by simple faith in Christ, be sanctified wholly.
The classic passage in support of this position is found in The Plain Account of Christian Perfection (p. 51). The question is asked, "Is this death to sin and renewal in love gradual or instantaneous?" The answer is, "A man may be dying for some time; yet he does not, properly speaking, die until the instant the soul is separated from the body; and in that instant he lives the life of eternity. In like manner he may be dying to sin for some time; yet he is not dead to sin until sin is separated from his soul; and in that instant he lives the full life of love." The Scriptures bear out the thought of the gradual preparation and instantaneous completion of entire sanctification so clearly stated by Mr. Wesley. Perhaps the most familiar passage is that which represents inbred sin as under the doom of death. Our old man, says St. Paul, is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin
The truth seems to be this, that the conditional, preparatory work done in the soul under the guidance of the Spirit may be a process more or less lengthy, according as the seeker after sanctification is more or less receptive and yielding to the Spirit's influence. But when that preparatory work is all completed, and the soul is submissive and open to God, "suddenly the Lord whom ye seek will come to his temple" your heart, your whole being, and fill you with Himself and reign there without a rival. - DR. A. M. HILLS, Holiness and Power, p. 215.
Sanctification is "distinct in opposition to the idea that it is a mere regeneration; holding it to be something more and additional; instantaneous, in opposition to the idea of growth gradually to maturity or ripeness ensuing gradual growth, but is by the direct agency of the Holy Ghost, and instantaneously wrought, however long the soul may have been progressing toward it." - FOSTER, Christian Purity, p. 46.
Those who teach that we are gradually to grow into a state of sanctification, without ever experiencing an instantaneous change from inbred sin to holiness, are to be repudiated as unsound - antiscriptural and anti-Wesleyan. - NATHAN BANGS, in Guide to Holiness.
Though purity is gradually approached, it is instantaneously bestowed. - BISHOP HAMLINE.
manner of death, is a gradual process, disqualifying the body from serving any master, but certainly tending to death, and having its final issue in death. The same writer in another epistle, exhorts us to make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof (Rom. 13:14). Here, again, the apostle speaks of the renunciation of the carnal mind, which he portrays under the strong figure of a crucifixion, or a nailing to the cross; and he commands that no provision be made for the fulfilling of the inordinate desires of the flesh. The "old man" must be kept on the cross until he dies; and when sin expires, in that moment the soul is entirely sanctified and lives the full life of perfect love.
Entire Sanctification as Instantaneous and Continuous. While there is a gradual approach to sanctification, and a gradual growth in grace following it, the sanctifying act by which we are made holy, must of necessity be instantaneous. In the words of Bishop Hamline, "It is gradually approached, but instantaneously bestowed." Dr. Adam Clarke states that "in no part of the Scriptures are we directed to seek holiness by gradation. We are to come to God for an instantaneous and complete purification from all sin, as for instantaneous pardon. Neither the seriatim pardon, nor the gradation purification, exists in the Bible" (CLARKE, Chr. Th
From this we may deduce two principles. First, the general bias, or character of the soul, becomes positively more and more alienated from sin and set upon good; and, proportionately, the susceptibility to temptation or the affinity with sin becomes negatively less and less evident in its consciousness. There is in the healthy progress of the Christian a constant confirmation of the will in its ultimate choice, and a constant increase of its power to do what it wills: the vanishing point of perfection in the will is to be entirely merged in the will of God. . . . . The positive side - that of consecration by the Spirit of love - is also a process, a gradual process. . . . . Hence the shedding abroad of the love of God by the Holy Ghost admits of increase. It is enough to cite the apostle's prayer: "that your love may abound yet more and more" (Phil. 1:9). This, in harmony with the uniform tenor of scripture, refers to the growth of love toward God and man. . . . . Is then the process of sanctification ended by am attainment which rewards human endeavor simply? Assuredly not; the Holy Spirit finishes the work in His own time, and in His own way, as His own act. and in the absolute Supremacy if not in the absolute sovereignty of His own gracious character. POPE, Compend. Chr. Th., pp. 37, 38, 42.
act. We mean by this that we are cleansed from all sin, only as through faith, we are brought into a right relation to the atoning blood of Jesus Christ; and only as there is a continuous relation to atoning blood by faith, will there be a continuous cleansing, in the sense of a preservation in purity and holiness. In this connection we refer again to Dr. Adam Clarke, who says, "The meritorious efficacy of His passion and death has purged our conscience from dead works; and cleanseth us kaqarizei hmaV continues to cleanse us; that is, to keep clean what He has made clean; for it requires the same merit and energy to preserve holiness in the soul of man, as to produce it" (CLARKE, Com. I John 1:7). Both the instantaneous and continuous aspects of sanctification are set forth by the Apostle John as follows: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin
There is a consummation of the Christian experience which may be said to introduce perfection, when the Spirit cries, "It is finished," in the believer. The moment when sin expires, known only to God, is the divine victory over sin in the soul: this is the office of the Spirit alone. The moment when love becomes supreme in its ascendancy, a moment known only to God, is the Spirit's triumph in the soul's consecration: this also is entirely His work, and whenever that maturity of Christian experience and life is reached which the apostle prays for so often, it L solely through the operation of the same spirit. It is being filled with all the fullness of God, and that through being strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man (Eph. 3:16-19). - POPE, Compend. Chr. Th., III, p. 43.
The fact that inborn sin is a unit, an evil principle or taint infecting our nature, and cannot he removed by parts, and more than its antagonism, the principle of life in Christ, can be imparted gradually in our regeneration is evidence that sanctification is instantaneous. - J. A. WOOD, Perfect Love.
Salvation in all its stages is by faith and by faith alone. And this makes sanctification not only instantaneous, hut creates a necessity that we should receive it as a gracious gift, bestowed in opposition to a product worked out, or resulting from development and growth. - Dr. Asbury Lowrey.
indwelling of the Spirit made the recipients of His continuously sanctifying grace. There is a remarkable degree of harmony between this text, and that found in I Peter 1:2. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ
Observe here, (1) Sin exists in the soul after two modes or forms: in guilt, which requires forgiveness or pardon; In pollution, which requires cleansing. (2) Guilt, to be forgiven, must be confessed; and pollution, to be cleansed, must be also confessed. In order to find mercy, a man must know and feel himself to he a sinner, that he may fervently apply to God for pardon. In order to get a clean heart, a man must know and feel its depravity, acknowledge and deplore It before God, in order to be fully sanctified. . (3) Few are pardoned, because they do not feel and confess their sins; and few are sanctified or cleansed from all sin, because they do not feel and confess their own sore, and the plague of their hearts. (4) As the blood of Jesus Christ, the merit of His passion and death, applied by faith, purges the conscience from all dead works; so the same cleanses the heart from all unrighteousness. (5) As all unrighteousness is sin, so he that is cleansed from all unrighteousness is cleansed from all sin. To attempt to evade this, and plead for the continuance of sin in the heart, through life, is ungrateful, wicked and even blasphemous: for as he who "says he has not sinned, makes God a liar," who has declared the contrary through every part of His revelation; so he that says the blood of Christ either cannot or will not cleanse us from all sin in this life, gives also the lie to his Maker, who has declared the contrary; and thus shows that the Word, the doctrine of God, is not in him. - DR. ADAM CLARKE, Com. I John 1:7-10.
by Christ, not separate from, but in and with Himself; not only by the blood of cleansing, but under the sprinkling of that blood. Faith is the vital bond of union with Christ, and the pure in heart abide in Him only by a continuous faith. If this connection be severed, spiritual life ceases immediately. If now, we analyze this position carefully, we shall see that as in justification there was a judicial or declarative act which set the soul in right relation to God, and concomitant with it in experience, though logically following it, an inward cleansing by the Spirit from guilt and acquired depravity; so also in entire sanctification there is a judicial sanctification, or a declarative act which pronounces the soul holy, attended by the concomitant grace of the spirit which cleanses from all sin. This act is sometimes known as positional, or imputed holiness. in the same sense that justification is regarded as imputed righteousness. But to maintain that it is possible for a soul to be positionally holy, apart from the inner work of the Spirit which makes it actually holy is one of the errors of imputationism. All the damaging errors which underlie imputation as dissevered from impartation in regard to justification or Christian righteousness, attach likewise to entire sanctification or Christian holiness. &nb
Dr. George Peck in his "Christian Perfection" states that sanctification implies both the death of sin, and the life of righteousness. When, therefore, we speak of sanctification, as to the former part of it, we say it may be attained at once - it is an instantaneous work. . . . . But in relation to the latter part, that is the life of righteousness, it is regarded as entirely progressive. The destruction of sin in the soul, and the growth of holiness are two distinct things. . . . . The one is instantaneous, the other gradual, hence it is that we sometimes say with propriety, that the work of entire sanctification is both gradual and instantaneous. - DR. GEORGE PECK, Christian Perfection.
What is it that cleanseth the soul and destroys sin? Is it not the mighty power of the grace of God? What is it that keeps the soul clean? Is it not the same power dwelling in us? No more can an effect subsist without its cause, than a sanctified soul can abide in holiness without the indwelling Sanctifier. - CLARKE, Christian Theology, p. 187.
To say that the doctrine of Christian perfection supersedes the need of Christ's blood is not less absurd than to assert that the perfection of navigation renders the great deep a useless reservoir of water. - FLETCHER. Last Check, p. 574.
Entire sanctification is a term applied to the fullness of redemption, or the cleansing of the heart from all sin. "We may open our definition of this great gift by asserting that the work of grace, of which the heart is the subject, has its inception, progress, and consummation in this life. The consummation is entire holiness" (LOWREY, Possibilities of Grace, p. 209). It is this consummation of the experience with which we are now concerned, "an entire conformity of heart and life to the will of God, as made known in His Word" (WAKEFIELD, Chr. Th., p. 446). We shall consider three phases of the subject as follows: (1) Entire Sanctification as a Purification from Sin; (2) Entire Sanctification as a Positive Devotement to God; and (3) The Divine and Human Elements in Entire Sanctification.
Entire Sanctification as a Purification from Sin. We have indicated that the verb to sanctify is from the Latin sanctus (holy) and facere (to make) and, therefore, when used in the imperative mood, signifies literally to make holy. In the Greek we have the same meaning from the verb hagiadzo (agiazw), which is derived from hagios (agioV) holy and, therefore, signifies
"But if there be no such second change; if there be no instantaneous change after justification; if there be none but a gradual work of God as well as we can, to remain full of sin till death." "As to the manner, (that there is a gradual work none denies), then we must be content, I believe this perfection is always wrought in the soul by a simple act of faith: consequently in an instant." "Certainly sanctification (in the proper sense) is an instantaneous deliverance from all sin." - WESLEY, Sermons.
The veil over the eyes of a man surrendered to God, is sin - not committed sins hut the sin conditions which are his as a child of Adam. It blurs the vision, it hides God from the soul. - Dr. BRESEE, Sermons, p. 135.
The attainment of perfect freedom from sin is one to which believers are called during the present life; and it is necessary to completeness of holiness and of those active and passive graces of Christianity by which they are called to glorify God in this world and to edify mankind. . . . . All the promises of God which are not expressly, or from their order, referred to future time, are objects of present trust; and their fulfillment now is made conditionally only by our faith. They cannot. therefore, be pleaded in our prayers, with an entire reliance upon the truth of God, in vain. To this faith shall the promises of entire sanctification be given, which in the nature of the case supposes an instantaneous work immediately following upon entire and unwavering faith. - WATSON, Institutes, II, p. 455.
also to make holy. We may say, then, that the first essential element in entire sanctification is the purifying of the believer's heart from inbred sin or inherited depravity. In our discussion of this subject we shall note (1) the Twofold Aspect of Original Sin; and (2) the Extent of the Cleansing as set forth in the Scriptures.
1. Original sin must be viewed under a twofold aspect. (1) It is the common sin that infects the race regarded in a general manner; and (2) it is a portion of this general heritage individualized in the separate persons composing the race. As to the former, or sin in the generic sense, original sin will not be abolished until the time of the restoration of all things. Until that time, something of the penalty remains untaken away; and likewise something of the liability to temptation, or the susceptibility to sin, essential to a probationary state. But in the second sense, the carnal mind, or the sin that dwelleth in the me of the soul - the principle in man which has actual affinity with transgression, this is abolished by the purifying work of the Spirit of holiness, and the soul kept pure by His indwelling Presence.
2. The extent of cleansing according to the Scriptures, includes the complete removal of all sin. Sin is to be cleansed thoroughly, purged, extirpated, eradicated &nb
Original sin, or sin as generic and belonging to the race in its federal constitution. on earth is not abolished till the time of which it is said, "Behold, I make all things new" (Rev. 21:5); as something of the penalty remains untaken away, so also something of the peculiar concupiscence or liability to temptation or affinity with evil that besets the man in this world remains. The saint delivered from personal sin is still connected with sin by his own past: the one forgiveness is regarded as perpetually renewed until the final act of mercy. . . . . . Hence it is not usual to speak of original sin absolutely as done away in Christ. The race hath its sin that doth so easily beset (Heb. 12:1), its euperistaton amartian; and we must cease to belong to the lineage of Adam before our unsinning state become sinlessness. But original sin in its quality as the sin that dwelleth in the me of the soul, as the principle in man that has actual affinity with transgression, as the source and law of sin which is in my members, as the animating soul of the body of this death (Rom. 7:20, 23, 24), and finally, as the flesh with its affections and lusts, is abolished by the Spirit of holiness indwelling the Christian, when His purifying grace has had its perfect work. - POPE, Compend. Chr. Th., III, p. 47.
cated and crucified; not repressed, suppressed, counteracted or made void, as these terms are commonly used. It is to be destroyed; and any theory which makes a place for the existence of inbred sin, whatever the provisions made for its regulation, is unscriptural. The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be (Rom. 8:7). A study of the Greek terms used in this connection, will make this clear. (1) One of the most common terms is katharidzo (kaqarizw), which means to make clean, or to cleanse in general, both inwardly and outwardly; to consecrate by cleansing or purifying; or to free from the defilement of sin. Some of the more prominent texts in which this word is used are the following: And put no difference between us and them, purifying [kaqarisaV] their hearts by faith (Acts 15:9); Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse [kaqariswmen] ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit perfecting holiness in the fear of God (II Cor. 7:1); Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify [kaqarish] unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:14); But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth [kaqarizei] us from all sin (I John 1:7). Cf. also Matt. 23:25, 26; Luke 11:39; Mark 7:19; Matt. 8:2ff; Eph. 5:26; Heb. 10:14; James 4:8. (2) Closely related to this is the word katargeo (kat-argew) which signifies to annul, to abolish, to put an end to, to cause to cease. That the body of sin might be destroyed [kat-arghqh], that henceforth we should not serve sin (Rom. 6:6). Cf. also Luke 13:7; I Cor. 1:28; II Thess. 2:8; II Tim. 1:10; Heb. 2:14; Gal. 5:11; I Cor. 13:8; II Cor. 3:7, 11. (3) The word ekkathairo (ek-kaqairw) means to cleanse out thoroughly, or to purge. Purge [ekkaqarate] out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened (I Corinthians 5:7 cf. II Timothy 2:21). (4) Another strong term is ekrizoo (ek-rizow) which means to root out, to pluck up by the roots, and, therefore, to eradicate. Thus the word eradicate appears in the original text but is veiled in the English translation. It is found in the word of our Lord to His disciples, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up [ekrizwqhsetai] (Matt. 15:13). This is explained by St. John to mean that our Lord came to destroy the works of the devil (I John 3:8) (cf. Matt. 13:29; Luke 17:6; Jude 12). (5) Perhaps the strongest term used in this connection is stauroo (staurow), sometimes ana-stauroo (anastaurow) or su-stauroo (sustaurow), which according to Thayer means "to crucify the flesh, destroy its power utterly (the nature of the figure implying that the destruction is attended with intense pain)." It is used in Galatians 5:24, And they that are Christ's have crucified [estaurwsan] the flesh with the affections and lusts. The words estaurwmai tini and estaurwtai moi ti [sic] as used by St. Paul, carry with them the force of "I have been crucified to something and it has been crucified to me, so that we are dead to each other, all fellowship and intercourse between us has ceased" (cf. THAYER, Lexicon, Gal. 6:14; 5:24; 2:19). (6) Closely related to the previous term is the word thanatoo (qanatow) signifying to subdue, mortify or kill. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead [eqanatwqhte] to the law by the body of Christ (Rom. 7:4 first clause); for if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die [apoqnhskein]: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [qanatoute] the deeds of the body, ye shall live (Rom. 8:13). Here as Thayer indicates, the word means "to make to die, that is, destroy, render extinct" (something vigorous). The Vulgate has mortifico, and the Authorized Version, mortify. (7) The word luo
Sanctification goes even deeper than contradiction of wrong habit or evil conduct. It strikes not only at our customs and our ideals, but it goes to the seat of wrong affections. It demands death to every wrong affection and to every wrong inner feeling and calls for the absorption of the will in the divine will. This is a glorious demand, but a costly one and, therefore, it is unpopular. Sanctification calls for the death not only of sinful acts, but sinful desires, sinful appetites and sinful affections. It goes to the center of the human character to destroy the works of the devil. Here is the great battleground of human hearts and human lives. - GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT R. T. WILLIAMS, Sanctification, pp. 30, 31.
(luw) is sometimes used in this connection also. As so used it means primarily to loose or free from; but also to break up, to demolish or to destroy. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy [lush] the works of the devil (I John 3:8). A careful study of these terms should convince every earnest inquirer that the Scriptures teach the complete cleansing of the heart from inbred sin - the utter destruction of the carnal mind.
Entire Sanctification as a Positive Devotement to God. The work of sanctification involves not only a Separation from sin, but a separation to God. This positive devotement, however, is something more than the human consecration of the soul to God. It represents, also, the Holy Spirit's acceptance of the offering, and, therefore, a divine empowering or enduement. It is a divine possession, and the spring and energy of this spiritual devotement is holy love. The Spirit of God, as the spirit of perfect consecration is able as the Sanctifier, not only to fill the soul with love, but to awaken love in return. Hence St. Paul declares that the love of God is shed abroad [ekkecutai, poured out] in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Rom. 5:5); while St. Peter approaching the subject from the opposite viewpoint says, Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently (I Peter 1:22). The former is a positive bestowal of divine love - bestowed by the Holy Spirit, and, therefore, holy love; the latter is such a purification as removes from the heart everything that is contrary to the outflow of perfect love. We may say, then, that while entire sanctification considered from the negative point of view is a cleansing from all sin, from the positive standpoint it is the infilling of divine love. This is the first contrast. But we have not yet reached the root of this matter. While the first contrast is between purity on the one hand, and perfect love on the other, there is a narrower contrast within the nature of holiness itself. Entire sanctication is something more than either purity or perfect love. Neither of these in the strictest sense of the term is holiness. Holiness consists in the unity of these two aspects of experience. Hence those who have been cleansed from sin, or "the veil of sin conditions" which separates between man and God; and who have been consecrated to God, thereby becoming His possession through the bestowal of the Spirit - these are the saints (agioi) or holy ones; and the state in which they live is agiwsunh or holiness. Holiness in man is the same as holiness in God as to quality, but with this difference, the former is derived, while the latter is absolute. In our discussion of the "Biblical Concepts of Holiness and Love," and the relation existing between them, (chapter 14, pp. 373ff) we indicated that the nature of God was holy love - love and holiness being equally of the nature or essence of God. But conceived in the philosophical terms of personality, holiness represents the self-grasp, and love the self-communication; hence holiness logically precedes and must be regarded as the peculiar quality of that nature out of which love flows. Now it will be seen that there is here a narrower contrast existing in holiness itself; and this is best expressed in words applied to Jesus, Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity (Heb. 1:9). Purity and love are thus combined in a deeper, underlying nature, which does not so much appear to indicate any particular virtue, nor all of the virtues combined, as it does the recoil of a pure soul from sin, and a love of righteousness, indicative of a nature in perfect harmony with itself.
The distinctions in holiness are ably set forth by Bishop John P. Newman in an article entitled "Scriptural Holiness" published in the Treasury (November, 1888). He says, "What is scriptural holiness? Can we reach its germinal idea? May we rely upon divine aid to ascertain the mind of the Spirit? . . . . In its radical sense it seems to be a peculiar affection wherewith a being of perfect virtue regards moral evil. In a word it is evidently the abhorrence of whatever a holy God has forbidden. Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil. No severer test than this can be applied to our spiritual condition. . . . . The Father's eulogy of His Son, and the reason He assigns for the Son's eternal kingship is, Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows (Heb. 1:9). In this hatred of sin and love of holiness, is the deep significance of the command, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy. If from the old dispensation we pass to the new, we find that holiness therein also implies a state of purity and an act of obedience. Christ is the only religious teacher known to man who demands of His people a moral condition antecedent to the act. He goes behind the act, behind the motive, behind the thought, and takes cognizance of that moral state out of which these spring as the effects of a persistent cause. His doctrine is, that what we think and feel and do are expressions of character which lie deeper than the will, deeper than the affections, deeper than the conscience; that this character is the sum of what a man is, in all his appetites, passions, tendencies; and that out of this character issue man's totality and finality. If God is not a respecter of persons, He is of moral character, and that He has foreordained unto eternal life. Christ's demand for a moral condition antecedent to all mental and physical action is in harmony with the order of nature. There is a passive state of our muscular force and intellectual powers upon which the active depends, and of which the active is the living expression. If the arm is strong to defend, there must be healthfulness in the muscles thereof. If the faculties of the mind respond to the will, there must be latent vigor in the intellect. Man's moral nature is both passive and active. If the affections respond only to objects of purity, if the conscience only to the voice of right, if the will only to the call of duty, there must be inherent purity and strength in all our moral powers, when quiescent; this is the glorious significance of our Lord's words, The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me - nothing in my nature or spirit, nothing in my thoughts or motives, nothing in my words or deeds, for underlying all these is my state of purity. . . . . In this evangelical sense, and as lying hack of this hatred of sin and this state of purity, holiness is the readjustment of our whole nature, whereby the inferior appetites and propensities are subordinated, and the superior intellectual and moral powers restored to their supremacy; and Christ reigns in a completely renewed soul." Not only, therefore, in a broad sense does entire sanctification include purity and perfect love, but holiness is such that it includes both in a deeper nature - so completely renovated and adjusted by the work of the Spirit that its very expression is a love for righteousness and hatred of iniquity.
The Divine and Human Elements in Entire Sanctification. We have characterized entire sanctification in a broad sense as negatively, a purification from sin, and positively, a full devotement to God. We have seen, also, that holiness embraces both of these aspects in itself, yet nevertheless expresses in a deeper and more fundamental contrast, a nature which at once manifests itself in a love for righteousness and a hatred of iniquity. These must be regarded as fundamental aspects of the human experience, or the divine work wrought in the human heart. But now we must put this total human experience over against the divine element by which it is wrought, and set these in their proper relation to each other. The human transformation is wrought solely that the hearts of men may be prepared for the divine indwelling. There is both a saving relation from sin and the establishment of a new and holy fellowship. The efficacy of the atonement is both direct and indirect. It is direct in that it does away, not only with the veil of actual sins, which hides the face of God, but makes a new and living way through the second veil of sin conditions, purging the soul from the carnal mind, and thus bringing it into the presence of God. It is indirect in that it secures the power of the Holy Spirit which carries its virtue or efficacy into the inner man. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit. "This gift purifies the heart. That means the destruction of the body of sin, the removal of the carnal mind. It means also something far other; it is more than house-cleaning. This gift is the gift of Himself. The house is cleaned, purified, in order to receive the Guest. He makes it ready for His abode. . . . . Neither does heavenly enduement - aside from the indwelling personality - confer upon men power, either for Christian living or service. To make a man guiltless and pure - which God has provided for - is not sufficient. If left thus he would be an easy prey for the devil and the world, and utterly unable to do the work of bringing men and women to God. We stand by faith, which is heart loyalty to God, an intense longing, trustful gazing into His face; but this would not be sufficient, only that God provides that, into such a heart, that the divine presence comes, filling it with Himself. He keeps it. He acts in and through it. It becomes His temple and His basis of operations. The Bible insists upon, and we must have holiness of heart, but we cannot trust in a holy heart; we can trust only in Him who dwells within it" (DR. BRESEE, Sermons, pp. 7, 8, 27). Entire sanctification as effected by the baptism with the Holy Spirit, must, therefore, be regarded as a comprehensive experience, embracing in one, both "the cleansing of the heart from sin, and the abiding, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, empowering the believer for life and service." Here the experience of entire sanctification is set off distinctly from that of justification and regeneration which precedes
The original teaching of Methodism was peculiar also in its remarkable blending of the divine and human elements in the process of sanctification. It invariably did justice to both the supreme divine efficiency and to the co-operation of man. The charge brought against it, sometimes malevolently, sometimes thoughtlessly, that it stimulates believers to expect this supreme and most sacred blessing at any time, irrespective of their preparatory discipline, is contradicted by the whole tenor of the authoritative standards of this doctrine. Wesley's sermon on "The Scripture Way of Salvation," contains an elaborate discussion of this point; and it must be taken as a whole by those who would understand the subject. - POPE, Compend. Chr. Th., III, p. 97.
Human nature at its best, under the blessed remedial power of the blood of Jesus, is but a dwelling place from which, or an avenue through which God acts. Of course the dwelling place or avenue is glorified by His presence, as the water in the river-bed makes its banks fresh with life and beauty. There must be conditions of power, but the conditions are utterly useless without the added power. - DR. PHINEAS F. BRESEE, Sermons, p. 8.
it; and it is equally guarded from the erroneous third blessing theory, which regards entire sanctification solely as a work of cleansing, to be followed by the baptism with the Holy Spirit as an added gift of power. The baptism with the Holy Spirit is, therefore, "the baptism with God. It is the burning up of the chaff, but it is also the revelation in us and the manifestation to us of divine personality, filling our being."
Christian perfection in the critical sense, represents the more positive aspect of the one experience, known theologically either as entire sanctification or Christian perfection. Entire sanctification, however, is a term which applies more to the aspect of a cleansing from sin, or the making holy; while Christian perfection emphasizes especially the standard of privilege secured to the believer by the atoning work of Jesus Christ. "We give the name of Christian perfection," says Mr. Fletcher, "to that maturity of grace and holiness which established adult believers attain to under the Christian dispensation; and thus we distinguish that maturity of grace, from both the ripeness of grace which belongs to the dispensation of the Jews below us, and from the ripeness of glory which belongs to departed saints above us. Hence it appears that by Christian perfection, we mean nothing but the cluster and maturity of graces which compose the Christian character in the Church militant. In other words, Christian perfection is a spiritual
In a sermon preached in Berkeley, California, May 20, 1909, from John 17, Dr. Bresee took the following positions. (1) The believer is transferred by the Father into the hands of Jesus. (2) Jesus is seeking a place for Himself - a resting place for His personality in the hearts of His people, and thus illumined by His presence, we become messengers of divine glory. (3) Entire sanctification is not the settling of the sin question only, but the incoming of the divine Personality. (4) The world is opposed to spirituality. People may live moral lives - may even become reformers without meeting much opposition, but when the Spirit of God comes, the carnal mind is stirred. It was only after the anointing of Jesus with the Spirit that His opposition began. (5) Backsliding is the open door to souls for all false teachings, but a lack of sense marvelously helps it along. (6) Unworldliness is the key to successful Christian living and Christian service. we need in spirit, a new order of Franciscans who will dare to be poor for the cause of God. (7) Pentecostal conditions, bring pentecostal results.
constellation, made up of these gracious stars: perfect repentance, perfect faith, perfect humility, perfect meekness, perfect self-denial, perfect resignation, perfect hope, perfect charity for our visible enemies, as well as our earthly relations; and, above all, perfect love for our invisible God, through the explicit knowledge of our Mediator, Jesus Christ. And as this last star is always accompanied by all the others, as Jupiter is by his satellites, we frequently use, as St. John, the phrase `perfect love' instead of the word `perfection'; understanding by it the pure love of God shed abroad in the hearts of established believers by the Holy Ghost, which is abundantly given them under the fullness of the Christian dispensation." Here the word perfection, used in connection with the graces of the Spirit, must be understood to refer solely to their quality, as being pure and unmixed, not to their quantity, as precluding further growth and development.
Misconceptions of Christian Perfection. There are numerous misconceptions concerning Christian perfection which must be cleared away before there can be a right understanding or a proper appreciation of this work of the Holy Spirit. The term seems to connote a standard of excellence which those who are rightly informed never claim for it. It is well, therefore, when using the word in this connection, to always accompany it with its guardian adjectives, such as Christian or evangelical perfection. Rightly understood, there can be no objection, either to the doctrine or the experience. (1) Christian perfection is not absolute perfection. This belongs to God only. In this sense, there is none good but one, that is, God (Matt. 19:17). All other goodness is derived. So, also, God alone is perfect; but His creatures are also perfect in a relative sense, according to their nature and kind. (2) It is not angelic perfection. The holy angels are unfallen beings, and, therefore, retain their native faculties unimpaired. They are not liable to mistake, as is man in his present state of weakness and infirmity, and, therefore, have a perfection impossible to mankind. (3) It is not Adamic perfection. Man was made a little lower than the angels, and doubtless in his pristine state, possessed a perfection unknown to man in his present state of existence. (4) It is not a perfection in knowledge. Not only was man's will perverted, and his affections alienated by the fall, but his intellect was darkened. Hence from this defective understanding may flow erroneous opinions concerning many matters, and these may in turn lead to false judgments and a wrong bias in the affections. (5) It is not immunity from temptation or the susceptibility to sin. These are essential to a probationary state. Our Lord was tempted in all points as we are, and yet He was without sin.
Perfection! why should the harmless phrase offend us? why should that lovely word frighten us? We can speak of perfection in reference to mathematics, and all is right; we are readily understood. we speak of a right line, or a line perfectly straight; of a perfect triangle; a perfect square; a perfect circle; and in all this we offend no one - all comprehend our meaning perfectly. We speak of a perfect seed; a perfect bud; a perfect plant; a perfect tree; a perfect apple; a perfect egg; and in all such cases the meaning is clear and definite. Because a seed is perfect, no one expects it to exhibit the qualities of the plant or tree; because the plant or tree is perfect, no one looks to find in it the characteristics of the bud; nor in the bud, the beauties or fragrance of the bloom; nor in the bloom, the excellent qualities of the ripe fruit. - FLETCHER OF MADELEY.
Mr. Wesley says, "In the year 1764, upon a review of the whole subject, I wrote down the sum of what I had observed in the following short propositions: 1. There is such a thing as perfection; for it is again and again mentioned in Scripture. 2. It is not so early as justification; for justified persons are to "go on unto 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 man, nor to angels, but to God alone. 5. It does not make a man infallible; none is infallible, while he remains in the body. 6. It is sinless? It is not worth while 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 inseparable fruits, are rejoicing evermore, praying without ceasing and in every thing give thanks (I Thess. 5:16ff). 8. It is improvable. It is so far from lying in an indivisible point, from being incapable of increase, that one perfected in love may grow in grace far swifter than he did before. 9. It is amissible, capable of being lost; of which we have numerous instances. But we were not thoroughly convinced of this, till five or six years ago. 10. It is constantly both preceded and followed by a gradual work. 11. But is it in itself instantaneous or not? In examining this, let us go step by step. An instantaneous change has been wrought in some
Implications of the Doctrine. Before considering the scriptural meaning of Christian perfection, it will be well also to give attention to some of the implications of the doctrine. (1) This perfection is evangelical as opposed to a legal perfection. The law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did (Heb. 7:19). Christian perfection, therefore, is of grace, in that Jesus Christ brings His people to completion or perfection under the present economy. The term "sinless perfection" was one which Wesley never used because of its ambiguity. Those who are justified are saved from their sins; those who are sanctified wholly are cleansed from all sin; but those who are thus justified and sanctified still belong to a race under the doom of original sin, and will bear the consequences of this sin to the end of the age. The term perfection, however, is a proper one, in that the righteousness of God without the law is manifested. . . . . Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe (Rom. 3:21, 22). This righteousness is forensic, but correlative with it, sin is purged from the soul, and the perfect love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit. This, too, is a completed or perfected act, although the love thus imparted is capable of eternal increase. Again, perfection is a proper term, because we are conformed to the image of His Son, that is, we are made sons by a completed act, and as sons may be purged from all spiritual disease. The consequence of this is a state of gracious or evangelical perfection. (2) Christian perfection is a relative term. Those who use the term are frequently charged with
believers. None can deny this. Since that change, they enjoy perfect love; they feel this, and this alone; they rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks." Now this is all that I mean by perfection; therefore, these are witnesses of the perfection which I preach. "But in some this change was not instantaneous. They did not perceive the instant when it was wrought. It is often difficult to perceive the instant when a man dies; yet there is an instant when life ceases. And if even sin ceases, there must be a last moment of its existence, and a first moment of our deliverance from it." . . . . Therefore, all our preachers should make a point of preaching perfection to believers, constantly, strongly and explicitly; and all believers should mind this one thing, and continually agonize for it." - WESLEY, Christian Perfection, pp. 283-285.
lowering the meaning of the word in order to make it conform to the experience of those who profess the blessing. That it is a lowering of the standard we deny, although we freely admit that it is an "accommodation' , to use Dr. Pope's term, an accommodation which bears the impress of the condescension and lovingkindness of God. It is a perfection, which when viewed in relation to the absolute perfection of God, may never be reached, either in this life, or that to come; but when viewed in relation to the present economy, marks a finality, in that it is the deliverance of the spiritual nature from the defilement of sin. It is true that this redeemed and perfected spirit, dwells in a body which is a member of a sinful race, but his spirit may be lifted from darkness to light, while his body remains the same "muddy vesture of decay" that it was before his spirit was redeemed. Consequently it is still beclouded with weakness, in that the soul is under the influence of material things, and will be until the creature itself shall have put on incorruption and immortality. (3) Christian perfection is probationary. It is a state which is always under ethical law, and hence must be guarded by constant watchfulness, and maintained by divine grace. While we remain in this life, however deep our devotion, or fervent our religious life, there are sources of danger within us. In our nature, and as essential elements of it, there are appetites, affections and passions, without which we should be unfitted for this present state of existence. These are innocent in themselves, but must ever be kept under control by reason, conscience and divine grace. The original temptation was a skilful appeal to human elements which were not depraved, but fresh from the hand of God. The desire for pleasant food is not sinful in itself, nor is the artistic taste, which delights in beautiful form and color. Neither can we condemn the desire for intellectual development or the acquisition of knowledge. These are original and essential elements of human nature, and had they not existed before the fall, there could have been no temptation. The evil lay in the perversion of God-given faculties to wrong ends. To argue, therefore, that Christian perfection will destroy or eradicate essential elements of human nature; or that a man or woman may not enjoy perfection of spirit while these elements remain, is to misapprehend entirely the nature of this experience. What Christian perfection does is to give grace to regulate these tendencies, affections and passions, and bring them into subjection to the higher laws of human nature. (4) One thing further remains - this perfection is mediated. It is not a triumph of human effort, but a work wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit, in answer to simple faith in the blood of Jesus. We are kept by His abiding intercession. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil (John 17:15).
The Fundamental Concept of Christian Perfection. The aspect of the Christian's full privilege in Christ is estimated according to the New Testament standard of love as fulfilling the law (Matt. 22:40; Gal. 5:14). This can be understood only in relation to the New Covenant. Viewed from the human standpoint, wherein Christ is regarded as the "surety of the covenant," it is said, This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people (Heb. 8:10). Viewed from the divine standpoint in which Christ is regarded as the " "minister of the sanctuary" it is said, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is there is no more offering for sin
Experience shows that, together with this conviction of sin remaining in our hearts, and cleaving to all our words and actions as well as the guilt on account thereof we should incur were we not continually sprinkled with the atoning blood, one thing more is implied in this repentance, namely, the conviction of our helplessness. - WESLEY, Sermon: Scripture Way of Salvation.
of the Covenant. The two immutable things mentioned here, in which it is impossible for God to lie, signify the minister of the sanctuary on the one hand, and the surety of the covenant on the other; and hence both the divine and human aspects center in the one theanthropic being. This gives security to the New Covenant. (2) The Nature of the Covenant. This is the full life of love, made perfect in the heart by the agency of the Holy Spirit. Pure love reigns supreme without the antagonisms of sin. Love is the spring of every activity. The believer having entered into the fullness of the New Covenant, does by nature, the things contained in the law, and hence, the law is said to be written upon his heart. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love
The phrase afesin amartiwn, or remission of sins, means simply the taking away of sins: and this does not refer to the guilt of sin, merely; but also to its power, nature and consequences. All that is implied in pardon of sin, destruction of its tyranny, and purification from its pollution is here intended; it is wrong to restrict such operations of mercy, to pardon alone. - DR. ADAM CLARKE, Com. Acts 10:43.
Queries, humbly proposed to those who deny perfection to be attainable in this life.
1. Has there not been a larger measure of the Holy Spirit given under the gospel, than under the Jewish dispensation? If not, in what sense was the Spirit not given before Christ was glorified? (John 7:39).
2. Was that "glory which followed the sufferings of Christ," (I Peter 1:11), an external glory, or an internal, namely, the glory of holiness?
3. Has God anywhere in Scripture commanded us more than He has promised to us?
4. Are the promises of God respecting holiness to be fulfilled in this life, or only in the next?
5. Is a Christian under any other laws than those which God promises to "write in our hearts"? (Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8:10).
6. In what sense is "the righteousness of the law fulfilled in those who walk: not after the flesh, but after the Spirit?" (Rom. 8:4).
7. Is it impossible for anyone in this life to "love God with all his heart, and mind, and soul, and strength"? And is the Christian under any law which is not fulfilled in this love?
8. Does the soul's going out of the body effect its purification from indwelling sin?
9. If so, is it not something else, not "the blood of Christ, which cleanseth it from all sin"?
St. Paul uses an illustration which bears directly upon this subject. Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors, until the time appointed of the father (Gal. 4:1, 2). We must distinguish here, between two things, (1) the growth and development of the child, by which he is brought to a relative degree of maturity; and (2) a legal enactment, declaring him to have officially entered into his inheritance. To have made this declaration without a proper period of preparation would have been to dissipate the inheritance; to have omitted the declaration would have left the legal status indefinite and uncertain. It is not the mere fact of growth that gives a youth the full rights of citizenship. A relative degree of maturity, which in the natural realm can come only through physical and mental growth, may underlie the judicial act, but he becomes of age, or ceases to be a minor and attains his majority, only at an appointed time in conformity
10. If His blood cleanseth us from all sin, while the soul and body are united, is it not in this life?
11. If when that union ceases, is it not in the next? And is this not too late?
12. If in the article of death; what situation is the soul in, when it is neither in the body nor out of it?
13. Has Christ anywhere taught us to pray for what He never designs to give?
14. Has He not taught us to pray, "Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven"? And is it not done perfectly in heaven?
15. If so, has He not taught us to pray for perfection on earth? Does He not then design to give it?
16. Did not St. Paul pray according to the will of God, when he prayed that the Thessalonians might be "sanctified wholly, and preserved" (in this world, not in the next, unless he was praying for the dead) "blameless in body soul, and spirit, unto the coming of Jesus Christ"?
17. Do you sincerely desire to be freed from indwelling sin in this life?
18. If you do, did not God give you that desire?
19. If so, did He not give it to mock you, since it is impossible it should ever be fulfilled?
20. If you have not sincerity enough even to desire it, are you not disputing about matters too high for you?
21. Do you ever pray God to "cleanse the thoughts of your heart" that you "may perfectly love Him"?
22. If you neither desire what you ask, nor believe it attainable, pray you not as a fool prayeth?
God help thee to consider these questions calmly and impartially. - WESLEY, Christian Perfection, pp. 239-241.
to law. At that time he comes legally to manhood, with all the rights and privileges of full citizenship in the commonwealth. So also in the spiritual realm, there is a period of growth following regeneration, which precedes his coming to full age; and there will be even more rapid growth following it, but growth does not lead to Christian perfection. This is accomplished by a judicial pronouncement. It is a declarative act, wrought by the Spirit through faith. As in justification there is a judicial act in the mind of God accompanied by the work of the Spirit imparting life to the soul; so in Christian perfection there is likewise a declarative act accompanied by the purifying work of the Holy Spirit. What, then, is the appointed time of the Father - the time when the son becomes of age, when he ceases to be a minor and attains his majority? It is the hour of submission to the baptism with the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11, 12; Acts 1:5), which purifies the heart from sin (Acts 15:9) and fills it with divine love (Rom. 5:5). There is no need here for an extended lapse of time. It is sufficient only that the believer come to feel his need and see his privileges in Christ Jesus. Through the exercise of his senses, we
In our discussion of prevenient grace (Chapter XXVI) we pointed out the necessity of a preparatory period, wrought in the heart preceding the full state of salvation. To deny this Is to deny co-operative grace, and make salvation to depend solely upon predestination and irresistible grace. This is the monergism of the Calvinistic position, against which Arminianism has always contended. To deny the preparatory period in the believer, wherein he is made conscious of the heinousness of inbred sin, and his desire for its removal stimulated, is to surrender to the idea of a mere "positional holiness" and deny the subjective work of the Spirit. Bishop Hedding says, "That faith which is the condition of this entire sanctification is exercised only by a penitent heart - a heart willing to part with all sin forever, and determined to do the will of God in all things."
The normal regenerate heart is one where the self is restricted by divine law, but yet existent. In this heart are two centers of gravity - self and Christ. Two laws are there in conflict, a horizontal earthly law and a perpendicular godly law. In such a heart the "new man created in Christ Jesus" reigns, but not without a rival - self. Thus it is that the regenerate man has a dual nature: the divine nature implanted in regeneration and the self-nature, the former being active and dominant, the latter being restricted and suppressed. Here the will must be constantly exercised and the most careful attention be given lest "a root of bitterness [self] springing up" give trouble, and the sinful nature come again into ascendancy. - DR. FLOYD W. NEASE, Symphonies of Praise, p. 143.
are told (Heb. 5:12-14), he comes to discern both good and evil, and thereby finds within himself the carnal mind warring against the new life in his soul. He finds, also, that God has promised a cleansing from all sin through the blood of Jesus. He lays hold of the promises of God, and in a moment, the Holy Spirit purifies his heart by faith. In that instant he lives the full life of love. In him love is made perfect, and the conditions of the New Covenant are, therefore, perfectly fulfilled in him. The law of God is written upon his heart. No longer is his spiritual status that of a child but of an adult; no longer a minor but of full age - a teleion (teleiwn) or one of the "perfect ones." Here perfection "refers especially to the fullness of spiritual knowledge manifesting itself in the Christian profession as the antithesis of babyhood." The Greek adjective used here signifies adulthood. Hence the writer follows immediately with an exhortation: Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection (Heb. 6:1). Here the word teleiothta is the noun of the word used in Hebrews 5:14, and is "represented not as something realized by the lapse of time, or by unconscious growth, and least of all, attainable only at death. . . . . For the Greek preposition `unto' here embraces both motion to a place and rest in it, and cannot mean an unattainable ideal"
"What is Christian perfection? The loving God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. This implies that no wrong temper, none contrary to love, remains in the soul; and that all the thoughts, words and actions are governed by pure love." "The perfection I teach is perfect love; loving God with all the heart, receiving Christ as Prophet, Priest and King, to reign alone over all our thoughts, words and actions." - MR. WESLEY.
Whatever may be the time, whether long or short; whatever may be the manifestations of sorrow, whether groaning or tears - these things may vary; but until by an instantaneous act of the Spirit in answer to simple faith in the cleansing of Jesus sin is purged from the soul, that person does not have what we call entire sanctification. On the other hand, to expect a crucifixion of sin in the soul, without first having that sin nailed to the cross in deep and pungent conviction and self- renunciation is to develop a superficial type of experience.
Faith, in order to its exercise, presupposes a certain state of the mind and affections, and without these it cannot exist - its very existence includes them; namely in the briefest terms, it supposes the knowledge of sin, and sorrow for it; the knowledge that there is a Saviour, and a readiness to embrace Him. - BISHOP FOSTER, Christian Purity, p. 121.
(STEELE, Half Hours with St. Paul, p. 113). The verb pherometha (feromeqa) meaning to press on is used with epi (epi), unto, as the goal to be attained; and as Delitzsch indicates, "combines the notion of an impulse from without with that of an eager and onward pressing haste." We may conclude, then, that nothing is clearer from the Scripture than that there is a perfection which may be attained in this life; that this perfection consists solely in a life of perfect love, or the loving God with all the heart, soul, mind and strength; that this perfection of love has no reference to the degree or quantity of love, but to its purity or quality; that this state of perfect love is a consequence of the purification of the heart from all sin, so that love remains in soleness and supremacy; that this purification is accomplished instantaneously by the baptism with the Holy Spirit; that the resultant state of perfect love is regarded as adulthood in grace, in that the believer enters into the fullness of privilege under the New Covenant; and last, in that love is the fulfilling of the law, this state of pure or perfect love, is known as Christian perfection.
Important Distinctions. It is necessary in this connection to emphasize a few important distinctions in order to preserve the doctrine of Christian perfection from some of the popular errors which are urged against it.
1. Purity and maturity must be carefully distinguished from each other. Failure to do this lies at the base of practically every objection to entire sanctification. Purity is the result of a cleansing from the pollution of sin; maturity is due to growth in grace. Purity is accomplished by an instantaneous act; maturity is gradual and progressive, and is always indefinite and relative. when, therefore, we speak of perfect love, we have reference solely to its quality as being unmixed with sin, never to its degree or quantity. As to the latter, the Scriptures teach that love, and all the graces of the Spirit are to increase and abound more and more. We have previously indicated that Christian perfection is to be regarded as adulthood, in contrast with spiritual childhood; but this is true only in the sense of having been cleansed from all sin, and thereby brought into the fullness of the new covenant of love. From the standpoint of growth in grace and spiritual understanding there are "babes" and "young men" in the state of entire sanctification, as well as those of more mature experience. A clear comprehension of the difference between purity and maturity will prevent confusion, both as to the doctrine and experience of Christian perfection.
2. Infirmities must be distinguished from sins. Sin in the sense used here is a voluntary transgression of a known law. Infirmities on the other hand, are involuntary transgressions of the divine law, known or unknown, which are consequent on the ignorance and weakness of fallen men. These are inseparable from mortality. Perfect love does not bring perfection in knowledge, and hence is compatible with mistakes in both judgment and practice. There seems to be no remedy for this until the body is redeemed from the consequences of sin, and glorified. Infirmities bring humiliation and regret, but not guilt and condemnation. These latter attach to sin only. Both, however, need the blood of sprinkling. The careful student of the Levitical rites of purification will have noticed that the errors and infirmities &nb
Purity and maturity! The words are similar in sound, but they are very distinct in meaning. Purity may be found in the earliest moments after the soul finds pardon and peace with God. But maturity involves time and growth and trial and development. The pure Christian may even be a weak Christian. For it is not size or strength that is emphasized, but only the absence of evil and the presence of elementary good. Purity is obtained as a crisis, maturity comes as a process. One can be made pure in the twinkling of an eye; it is doubtful that anyone in this world should be listed as really mature. Growth continues while life lasts, and for aught we know, it may continue throughout eternity More faith, more love, more hope, and more patience incline one to think that at some undefined time we will have none of the opposites of these. But growth is not a process for purifying. Growth is addition, purifying is subtraction. And even though one may approach holiness by ever so gradual a process, there must be a last moment when sin exists and a first moment when it is all gone, and that means that in reality sanctification must be instantaneous. At this or any given moment every Christian is either free from sin or he is not free from sin. There can be no sense in which he is actually holy and at the same time still somewhat defiled. - DR. J. B. CHAPMAN, Holiness: The Heart of Christian Experience, pp. 23, 24.
of the individual Hebrew were put away solely by the sprinkling of blood (Heb. 9:7); while sin always demanded a special offering. It is for this reason we maintain that there is not only a definite act of cleansing from sin, but that there is also a continuous blood of sprinkling for our involuntary transgressions. The Scriptures as well as the testimony of human experience, takes into account this distinction between sins and infirmities. St. Jude says, Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling [apaistouV or exempt from falling. The Vulgate reads, sine peccato, without sin] and
A failure to distinguish between sin and infirmity, puts an undue emphasis upon sin, and has a tendency to discourage earnest seekers from pressing on to a full deliverance from the carnal mind. Calling that sin which is not sin, opens the door also to actual sinning. Another distinction to be kept in mind is that between humanity as such, and carnality. The latter is a perversion of the former. Entire sanctification does not remove any natural, normal, human trait, but it does purify these and bring them under subjection to the law of reason and the higher influences of divine grace.
Not only sin, properly so-called, that is, a voluntary transgression of a divine law; but sin, improperly so-called, that is, involuntary transgression of a divine law, known or unknown, needs the atoning blood. I believe there is no such perfection in this life as excludes these involuntary transgressions, which I apprehend to be naturally consequent on the ignorance and mistakes inseparable from mortality. Therefore, sinless perfection is a phrase I never use, lest I should seem to contradict myself. I believe a person filled with the love of God is still liable to involuntary transgressions. - WESLEY, Plain Account, p. 43.
To us the clear teaching of the Bible is, that man quits sinning when he begins to repent . . . . but he does need a further salvation from many other things; his ignorance - lack of skilled conformity to heavenly patterns - and from his shortcomings or limitations because of the results of old conditions. He is like a king's son who was captured and carried away to live among wild and uncivilized races, but who was at last recaptured and brought home; he is full of gladness and love, yet, in his ignorance, liable to offend in many ways against the new conditions into which he has come. Thus every Christian will always have need to say, "Forgive me my trespasses." He needs a salvation of abounding grace that will keep every element of mind and body in its normal condition as the agent and instrument of Jesus Christ. The appetites of the body are God created - right and good - and are to be held in proper poise and condition by the gracious anointings with the Holy Ghost. The attributes of the mind are, likewise, God created and must be held in balance by the same divine Spirit. Some of them will need great, direct help from the Holy Ghost, and it is necessary for our good that we realize this help and receive it in answer to prayer. . . . . A sanctified man is at the bottom of the ladder. He is but a child - a clean child. He is now to learn; to grow; to rise; to be divinely enlarged and transformed. The Christ in him is to make new and complete channels in and through every part of his being - pouring the stream of heaven through his thinking, living, devotement and faith. - DR. PHINEAS F. BRESEE, Sermon: Death and Life.
to present [sthsai to place in the presence of His glory] you faultless [amwmouV, without blemish, faultless, unblameable] before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy (Jude 24). We may be kept from sin in this life, we shall be presented faultless only in our glorified state.
3. Temptation is reconcilable with the highest degree of evangelical perfection. Jesus was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, but was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin. Temptation seems to be necessarily involved in the idea of probation. No temptation or evil suggestion becomes sin, however, until it is tolerated or cherished by the mind. As long as the soul maintains its integrity, it remains unharmed, however protracted or severe the temptation may be. Several questions arise in this connection. (1) When does temptation become sin? To this most difficult question Bishop Foster replies, "Sin begins whenever the temptation begins to find inward sympathy, if known to be a solicitation to sin. So long as it is promptly, and with full and hearty concurrence of the soul, repelled, there is no indication of inward sympathy, there is no sin" (FOSTER, Christian Purity, p. 55). (2) What is the difference between the temptations of those who are entirely sanctified, and those who are &nb
Those entirely sanctified need the atonement. "In every state we need Christ in the following respects: (1) Whatever grace we receive, it is a free gift from Him. (2) We receive it as His purchase, merely in consideration of the price He paid. (3) We have this grace, not only from Christ, but in Him. For our perfection is not like that of a tree which flourishes by the sap derived from its own root, but, as was said before, like that of a branch which, united to the vine, bears fruit; but, severed from it, is dried up and withered. (4) All our blessings, temporal, spiritual, and eternal, depend on His intercession for us, which is one branch of His priestly office, whereof therefore we have always equal need. (5) The best of men still need Christ in His priestly office, to atone for their omissions, their shortcomings (as some improperly speak), their mistakes in judgment and practice, and their defects of various kinds. For these are all deviations from the perfect law, and consequently need an atonement. Yet that they are not properly sins, we apprehend may appear from the words of St. Paul, He that loveth, hath fulfilled the law; for love is the fulfilling of the law (See Rom. 13:10). Now mistakes, and whatever infirmities necessarily flow from the corruptible state of the body, are no way contrary to love; nor, therefore, in the Scripture sense, sin." - WESLEY, Plain Account, pp. 42, 43.
not? The difference lies in this, that in the latter, temptation stirs up the natural corruption of the heart with its bias toward sin; while in the former, the temptation is met with uniform resistance. (3) But how may I distinguish the temptations of the enemy, from the carnal mind or corruption of my own heart? Mr. Wesley admits that sometimes "it is impossible to distinguish, without the direct witness of the Spirit." In general, however, there need be no confusion. In the sanctified soul there is a fullness of love, humility and all the graces of the spirit, so that a temptation to pride, anger, or any of the works of the flesh is met with the instant recoil of the whole being. Holiness in man, as in Christ, is found in that fundamental ethical nature which loves righteousness and hates iniquity. Temptation and trial may appear to be evils, but in reality they are God's method of establishing the believer in &nb
Dr. George Peck says, "First, I suppose all will admit that when the temptation gains the concurrence of the will, the subject contracts guilt. There can be no doubt here. Second, It is equally clear that when the temptation begets in the mind a desire for the forbidden object, the subject enters into temptation, and so sins against God. Third, It is also clear that temptation cannot be invited or unnecessarily protracted without an indication of a sinful tendency toward the forbidden object, and consequently, such a course not only implies the absence of entire sanctification, but involves the subject in actual guilt." - PECK, Christian Perfection, p. 435.
Were we to discuss the problem at length we would raise the question: How could Adam and Eve ever fall, for they were complete in holiness? The answer is found in the simple recognition of the fact of the humanity of Adam. It was true, then, and now is, that the royal road of Satan to the heart of man is found through his natural appetites and desires. Temptation is ever based upon desire. It is upon this fact that he plays until be has produced an act of disobedience and again sown the seed of iniquity in the heart of man. But the questioner persists, how can sin actually get back into the heart of man after once it has been removed? The answer to this is found in a proper recognition of what sin as a principle actually is. It is here again that our human language breaks down in its efforts to describe spiritual relations. We speak of sin as a substance because of the beggary of language. It is called the old man, the body of sin. But these terms are merely figures of speech. Sin, as a principle after all, is not a substance, it is a moral quality. It is the pollution of the blood stream of the moral nature. Were sin a substance or a thing, most assuredly it could never be placed back in the nature once it had been removed. But sin is not a substance, it is a moral condition. And just as the bloodstream of an individual, once having been cleansed by purgatives, could again become carelessly polluted by contamination, so the heart of man can again become polluted by disobedience and spiritual indolence. - DR. H. V. MILLER, When He Is Come, pp. 27, 28.
holiness and preparing him for the life to come. By them, God empties the appeals of the world of their urgency, and strengthens the motives of faithfulness in the kingdom of God. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him (James 1:12; Heb. 12:11).
Christian Perfection a Present Experience.
St. James indicates that sin begins in lust or inordinate affection. "But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed." Somewhere in the process legitimate desire passed over into inordinate affection, and here sin begins. "Then when lust (or inordinate affection) hath conceived, (the inward fact of sin) it bringeth forth sin (or outward manifestations of an inward sinful condition); and sin, when it is finished bringeth forth death" (James 1:14, 15).
Dr. Olin A. Curtis in his "Christian Faith" holds that character can be absolutely fixed by the free use of motives. He says, "In the motivity of every moral person there are, at the beginning of the test, two antagonistic groups of motives, the good and the bad. That is, any personal interest which can be related to conscience at all is necessarily either good or bad. By using the motive in either group, the motive so used is made stronger, and also the opposite motive, if there is one, is made weaker. Or, by rejecting a motive, it is made weaker, and also the opposite one is made stronger. That is, if you have an interest, and express it in specific volition, you will increase that interest and diminish any opposing interest; or vice versa. In this way, under the law of use, a motive can be emptied of all urgency. . . . . The exhaustion of any one motive tends to exhaust all the motives in the same group. The moral life is so related that if you touch it anywhere you must influence the whole. For example, no man can lose all interest in honesty and not begin to lose his regard for truth. When the group entire, of good motives or of bad motives, is exhausted, then the person's moral character is fixed beyond any possibility of change." - CURTIS, Christian Faith, pp. 49, 50.
Temptation and trial, if rightly understood, tend to exhaust motives to sin and strengthen those which establish the character in righteousness. On the other hand, the constant rejection of the good, and the acceptance of the bad, tend to fix the character in sin and unrighteousness. When all the motives to good are exhausted, so that the Holy Spirit has no further ground of appeal to the heart, the individual is said to "cross the dead-line" or to commit the sin against the Holy Spirit. There may be and doubtless is a final act, but it is such only as the final act in a series which has hardened the heart against every appeal of the Holy Spirit.
in the New Testament by the gift of the Spirit as a Paraclete or Comforter. And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live (Deut. 30:6). I indeed baptize you with water, declared the forerunner of Jesus, but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Matt. 3:11, 12). That these passages of scripture refer to a spiritual cleansing is confirmed by St. Peter in these words, And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith (Acts 15:9). As to the manner in which this work is wrought, the Scriptures are clear - it is always wrought by a simple faith in the atoning blood of Jesus Christ; this blood of atonement being not only the ground of what Christ has purchased for us, but the occasion of that which His Spirit works within us. Nor do the Scriptures teach that a higher degree of faith is demanded for sanctification than for justification. It is not so much the strength of the faith as its purity, that is required in any operation of grace. Furthermore, there is no specific degree of conviction demanded as a prerequisite to this faith - all that is essential is a firm belief that this grace is
Among the various terms that have been used to indicate the experience of entire sanctification, this expression "the fulness of the blessing" (Rom. 15:29), has found a place. . . . . Searching into the derivation of the Greek word, we discover that it comes from a verb that has two senses, one to fill and the other to fulfill, complete, perfect, accomplish. while both meanings are present in the use of the term in our New Testament, yet the latter ones predominate at a ratio of four to one. Taking this second meaning over to the noun, which is substantiated not only by the fact that the verb more often carries this sense but also by the ending that the noun has, then the thought conveyed is that which is completed, that is, the complement, the full tale, the entire number or quantity, the plenitude, the perfection. while the term had a general sense and is used thus in the Gospels, yet in the Pauline writings it is evident that it has passed for the most part into a definite, theological and doctrinal significance. It became a word that had a very definite connotation. . . . . Among the Christians of the day it had found its way to express the thought of a complete Christian experience relative to holiness of heart as the expression "second blessing" did in Methodist circles at a much later date, and as it does now among us. - DR. OLIVE M. WINCHESTER.
needed, and that God has promised it. In every case of evangelical perfection, three things are clearly discernible: (1) A consciousness of inbred sin, and a hungering and thirsting for full conformity to the image of Christ. (2) A firm conviction in the light of the scriptural provisions, that it is not only a privilege but a duty to be cleansed from all sin. (3) There must be perfect submission of the soul to God, commonly known as consecration, followed by an act of simple faith in Christ - a sure trust in Him for the promised blessing. "The voice of God to your soul is, Believe and be saved. Faith is the condition, and the only condition, of sanctification, exactly as it is in justification. No man is sanctified till he believes; and every man when he believes is sanctified" (WESLEY, Works, II, p. 224). "But what is that faith whereby we are sanctified, saved from sin and perfected in love? This faith is a divine evidence or conviction (1) That God hath promised this sanctification in the Holy Scriptures. (2) It is a divine evidence or conviction that what God hath promised He is able to perform. (3) It is a divine evidence or conviction that He is able and willing to do it now. (4) To this confidence that God is able and willing to sanctify us now, there needs to be added one thing more - a &nb
There can be no perfect consecration to the whole will of God until there has been a sincere repentance for the double-mindedness and wilfulness and stubbornness and love of the world, all of which are marks of an unsanctified heart. The soul's sorrow for its inward sin must be as deep and moving as was its sorrow for its outward sins. The one is just as loathsome in the sight of God as the other, and is just as effectual a bar to the perfect enjoyment of God's grace and favor. But in approaching the throne of God with this deeper need, there is a point where the seeker knows that his sorrow and repentance for his heart depravity have reached their utmost depths; where his consecration to the will of God is complete and final; possessions, time, talents, ambitions, hopes, wishes, loved ones and friends, all yielded forever to Christ; the vast unknown future placed daringly and yet confidently in God's hands, for Him to control and reveal as and when it pleases Him to do so; one's dearest Isaac bound and placed on the altar, and the knife upraised without thought of any intervening divine hand, so that it may be said of us, as of Abraham, that by faith we actually offered him up to God. One knows beyond question in such an hour that his sacrifice is complete; there is nothing he could add to it, and nothing he would take from it. And in that glorious instant the seeker has the witness of his own heart that every condition it is humanly possible to meet has been met. - DR. J. GLENN GOULD, The Spirit's Ministry, pp. 9, 10.
divine evidence or conviction that He doeth it" (WESLEY, Sermons, I, p. 390). The older theologians defined faith as the assent of the mind, the consent of the will, and recumbency, or a reclining with undoubting confidence in the atoning merits of Jesus Christ. Thus as we have previously indicated, faith is incomplete without the element of trust.
Evidences of Christian Perfection. It is the uniform testimony of those who believe and teach the Wesleyan doctrine of Christian perfection, that the Spirit bears witness to this work of grace in the heart, exactly as He bears witness to Christian sonship. "None, therefore, ought to believe that the work is done," says Mr. Wesley, "till there is added the testimony of the Spirit witnessing his entire sanctification as clearly as his justification." "We know it by the witness and by the fruit of the Spirit" (WESLEY, Plain Account
Look for it every day, every hour, every moment. Why not this hour - this moment? Certainly you may look for it now, if you believe it is by faith. And by this token you may surely know whether you seek it by faith or by works. If by works, you want something to be done first before you are sanctified. You think, I must be or do thus and thus. Then you are seeking it by works unto this day. If you seek it by faith, you expect it as you are; and if as you are, then expect it now. It is important to observe that there is an inseparable connection between these three points - expect it by faith, expect it as you are, and expect it now. To deny one is to deny them all. - WESLEY, Sermons, I, p. 391.
As when you reckon with your creditor or with your host, and as, when you have paid all, you reckon yourselves free, so now reckon with God. Jesus has paid all; and He hath paid for thee - hath purchased thy pardon and holiness. Therefore, it is now God's command, "Reckon thyself dead unto sin"; and thou art alive unto God from this hour. Oh, begin, begin to reckon now; fear not; believe, believe, believe and continue to believe every moment. So shalt thou continue free; for it is retained, as it is received, by faith alone. - FLETCHER OF MADELEY.
The writers on this subject during the middle and last part of the 19th century were accustomed to use the term "naked faith." Rev. J. A. Wood explains the term as follows: "By simple faith is meant, taking God at His word without doubting or reasoning; and by naked faith is meant, faith independent of all feeling, and stripped of every other dependence but Christ alone. The holy Fletcher says, a naked faith, is a `faith independent of all feelings,' in a naked promise; bringing nothing with you but a careless, distracted, tossed, hardened heart - just such a heart as you have got now." - J. A. WOOD, Perfect Love, p. 104.
of the seeker's own heart; (2) the witness of God's Word; and (3) the inner illumination of the Holy Spirit" (GOULD, The Spirit's Ministry, p. 8). The sanctified soul may know by the testimony of his own spirit, and the witness of the Holy Spirit, that the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed him from all sin. Here we have the testimony of consciousness, which we can no more doubt than our own existence. And in addition to this, there is the direct and positive testimony of the witnessing Spirit.
To the scriptural evidences already cited, we may add also, those personal examples which confirm the doctrine of evangelical perfection. Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generations (Gen. 6:9). Job was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil (Job 1:1). Zacharias and Elisabeth were both righteous before God walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless (Luke 1:6). Our Lord said of Nathanael, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! (John 1:47). St. Paul also speaks of those in the apostolic church who were evangelically perfect. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect (I Cor. 2:6); and Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded
"But does not sanctification shine by its own light?" "And does not the new birth too? Sometimes it does, and so does sanctification; at others, it does not. In the hour of temptation, Satan clouds the work of God, and injects various doubts and reasonings, especially in those who have either very weak or very strong understandings. At such times, there is absolute need of that witness, without which, the work of sanctification not only could not be discerned, but could no longer subsist. Were it not for this, the soul could not then abide in the love of God; much less could it rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks. In these circumstances, therefore, a direct testimony that we are sanctified, is necessary in the highest degree." - WESLEY, Plain Account, pp. 75, 76.
would not interpret this experience in terms of Wesley's "second blessing properly so-called'; it is also true that this second experience made a distinct change in their lives and ministry. Universally unbiased Christians long for and seek a deeper experience than that which they obtain in regeneration. Thousands have enjoyed a " second blessing' without being instructed in the truth as taught by believers in the Wesleyan emphasis on the doctrine of entire sanctification" (DR. D. SHELBY CORLETT, Herald of Holiness, Vol. 27, No. 11).
We close this chapter on "Christian Perfection" or "Entire Sanctification," with what we regard as the clearest statement of the doctrine and experience ever written, aside from divine inspiration. This is the definition given by Arvid Gradin to John Wesley in 1738. On his return from America, Mr. Wesley says, "I had a long conversation with Arvid Gradin, in Germany. After he had given me an account of his experience, I desired him to give me, in writing, a definition of `the full assurance of faith'." The definition was given in Latin, and both the Latin statement and the English translation are included in Mr. Wesley's Plain Account of Christian Perfection, as follows:
"Requies in sanguine Christi; firma fiducia in Deum, et persuasio de gratia Divina; tranquillitas mentis summa, at que serenitas et pax; cum absentia omnis desideni carnalis, et cessatione peccatorum etiam internorum."
Dr. Pope in emphasizing the positive phase of Christian perfection says, "It is a perfection which is no other than a perfect, self- annihilating life in Christ: a perfect union with His passion and His resurrection, and the perfect enjoyment of the value of His name Jesus, as it is salvation from sin. It is the perfection of being nothing in self, and all in Him. It is a perfection for which the elect with one consent have longed, from the apostles downward; neither more nor less than the unuttered groaning desire of the children of God in every age; the common, deep aspiration with only one note more emphatic than has always been heard, though even that has not been always wanting, the destruction of the inbred sin of our nature. He who searcheth the heart bath always known the mind of the Spirit, even when its deepest desire has not been clearly uttered. And He will yet, we dare to believe, remove the last fetter from the aspirations of His saints, and give them one heart and one voice in seeking the destruction of the body of sin as well as the mortification of its members." - POPE, Compend. Chr. Th., III, p. 99.
"Repose in the blood of Christ; a firm confidence in God, and persuasion of His favor; the highest tranquillity, serenity, and peace of mind, with a deliverance from every fleshly desire, and a cessation of all, even inward sins."
"This," says Mr. Wesley, "is the first account I ever heard from any living man, of what I had before learned myself from the oracles of God, and had been praying for (with the little company of my friends), and expecting, for several years" (WESLEY, Plain Account of Christian Perfection, p. 8).