Other "Thinking Drafts" and writing by Keith Drury --http://www.indwes.edu/tuesday .
From: Holiness for Ordinary People by Keith Drury
(c) 1983 Wesley Press
We who speak much about sanctification sometimes appear to emphasize the event.
This is unfortunate; for all proponents of this work of God would hasten to affirm that the
sanctified life is paramount to them. Of course, the life must have an initiation, thus the
emphasis on being cleansed at one time. But the continual life of holiness is the central issue in
all we have discussed.
The relationship of the wedding to married life is a parallel example. The wedding is
the initiation of married life. It is a significant occasion, to be remembered throughout a person's
entire life. But if a bride or groom expects to continually live in a wedding-day atmosphere, they
will soon be disappointed. Marriage is life lived out in light of the wedding-day commitment.
This is equally true with sanctification. The event of sanctification may be remembered,
all through a person's life, as the significant initiation it is. Yet, the continuous sanctified life,
lived in light of that initial consecration, is of greater importance. The life does not come
without the initiation; therefore, the one-time event is vital. But, if there is no life of holiness
following that event, the event or "experience" is useless.
Entire sanctification must not be viewed as something done "way back then," but as a
life here-and-now - in the trenches of life. It is not a static life - you have arrived and are merely
sitting around waiting to be taken to heaven. It is a life of active service to the Lord. Holiness is
not final achievement, allowing a person to rest in their completeness. It is expandable. Further
spiritual growth is the inevitable result. While the entirely sanctified person possesses love,
compassion, joy, peacefulness, humility, and patience of the same quality as Jesus, the quantity of
them is expandable.
The life of holiness is a daily walk with Christ. It is maintained by a continuous faith
and consecration, which results in a continual cleansing by the Lord, our Partner in this journey.
A sanctified person is not exempt from the battles of life - never to be tempted again.
The life of holiness is not without difficulties, struggles, temptations, and even defeats. The
difference is that these foes are encountered with a firm settledness of will - "Not my will, but
Yours be done."
Why in the world would a book on sanctification deal with the topic, "spiritual dryness?"
Doesn't the Lord eliminate any possibility of dryness in the life of anyone who is entirely
sanctified? Isn't the life of holiness one of constant bubbling and joy in one's soul? Could a
sanctified person remain sanctified through a time when the enthusiasm, excitement, and thrill of
growing in grace and serving Jesus evaporates?
To say the possibilities of spiritual dryness are gone for the sanctified would be untrue.
Almost every person testifying to sanctification will honestly admit that there are times when
God seems further away, daily study of the Word seems insipid, and church services leave the
individual unmoved and bored. What has happened? Is the work of sanctification lost?
Such spiritual dryness results from several causes. Disobedience could be one cause. It
is possible that God is urging the believer to move forward to a new area - say, being more
generous in giving to God's work - and that he or she is resisting the idea. This resistance to
moving forward will promptly dry up the soul of a sanctified believer. The sanctified life
prospers in proportion to our obedience to His know leadings. Any resistance or foot-dragging
will divert our lives onto a plateau of spiritual dryness from which the only return is repentance
and renewed commitment.
However, resistance to the Lord's will is not the only cause of spiritual dryness. Many
sincere believers have cast away their faith that the Lord had sanctified them fully when they hit
the first dry plain in their Christian walk. Assuming that the sanctified life is one of continual
joy and celebration, they figured that when things got difficult they had lost it all. So they gave
A great season of temptation can bring on a period of spiritual dryness. We can
experience an assault from the tempter with such vengeance, and for so long a season, that our
wrestling against evil leaves us spiritually wrung out. We have little joy or excitement about
Another cause is "spiritual burnout." Christian workers are especially prone to this
malady. It is possible to be so involved in church work, camps, retreats, evangelistic teams,
counseling, and a million other spiritual activities that spiritual exhaustion results.
Physical burnout is another cause of spiritual dryness. A sanctified mother of three,
with low iron, who is holding down a full-time job, carrying several responsibilities at church,
and sleeping five hours per night will naturally be tired and bored in church services. Her heart
will not leap at the idea of giving another night of her week to go soul-winning. Is she still
sanctified? Yes. Likely she does not need to go to the altar as much as she needs to go to bed!
Physical exhaustion can produce spiritual dryness.
The life of holiness is not based upon feelings. To be sure, a life of total submission has
feelings associated with it. But reliance on feelings will bring discouragement. What we call
"spiritual dryness" can sometimes come as a natural cycle of life. If it has been a general pattern
of your life to be somewhat "blue" on Mondays, entire sanctification will not necessarily make
your Mondays bright and exciting. One man was troubled because every spring he became
discontented, preoccupied, and yearned to quit his job. Only after reflection did he discover that
during the first eleven years of his married life he have moved home first from school, then to a
summer job or elsewhere every single spring. His uneasiness was a result of this natural "cycle of
life." Entire sanctification did not change his urge to do something different in the springtime.
It is important to determine the cause of spiritual dryness in the sanctified believer's life.
If it is caused by willful resistance to the Lord, repentance is the only cure. But, if it is caused by
physical or spiritual burnout, an assault of the tempter or a natural cycle of life, we should be
careful to recognize the reason for our "dryness" and not cast away our faith.
The faith by which we obtain the work of entire sanctification is not merely a one-time
exercise. It is a continual daily faith. To receive entire sanctification, I must come to the point of
saying, "I believe You are cleansing me - the work is done and I claim it by faith." To continue
in this life the same kind of faith is necessary. For example, "I am continuing in this life today
and I believe You continue to cleanse me."
Once doubt sets in, the life begins to slip away. As long as I believe it is possible to live
without willful sin, the possibility of full obedience to the Lord is there. Once I begin to doubt
the possibility, my life will follow my doubts. Continuous faith to maintain the sanctified life is
as much a necessity as initial faith is for obtaining it.
To receive the cleansing and power connected with entire sanctification, total
consecration is required. Likewise, to continue in this life, a continual consecration is necessary.
At the event of our sanctification, we settled the question of who will be the Lord of our life. As
each of us continues to walk with Him, new areas will arise where continued consecration is
required in light of the earlier one-time submission of our will to God.
These diagrams may help us to understand this process of "walking in the light:"
Light Light Light
1. My Life 2. My Life 3. My Life
At the initial event of our entire sanctification we consecrate all to God - our entire
future, time, talent, money, reputation - everything. There are often one or two specific areas of
holdout which focus on the question of who will be boss. However, when these are surrendered
to the Lord, He is free to do His work of entire sanctification.
1. Usually there follows a period of joy and excitement as the sanctified believer
now walks in full obedience to everything he or she clearly recognizes as God's will. It can be
said that the believer's life is in harmony with all his known light from God.
2. But the sanctified life is not static. There is growth and expansion. How does
this occur? God moves His light! In the midst of our living in total submission to all the past
leadings of God, He leads again. He moves His light forward. Now, two crescents appear - one,
an area of my life outside of God's light. These are things He leads me to put off. They are not
sin in themselves (yet, they may become sin if I refuse to lay them aside). Usually, they are
things of "second best" nature - items or practices not sinful, but nevertheless they are weights
which slow me down in serving the Lord.
Some call these "convictions" - meaning that God has convinced them that certain
things are better left beside the path if the race is to be run effectively. Obviously, these are very
personal and can never be applied to others. When God moves His light forward, He often
prompts us to lay aside particular things to make us more effective in serving Him. In this way,
the sanctified person experiences "conviction."
The second crescent includes new tasks and habits the Lord leads the believer to "put
on." Perhaps the Lord convicts the sanctified believer to begin a weekly habit of soul-winning, or
double tithing, or doing deeds of mercy for the poor. Again, this conviction is quite personal and
cannot be generalized. And again, if the sanctified believer rebels against the Lord's guidance,
sin will result.
3. The sanctified believer has settled the question - he or she will obey the Master
whatever the cost. The natural result of this process of continual sanctification will be a stepping
forward in to the full brightness of God's revealed light. Not the believer's life again corresponds
with all revealed light. The sanctified believer rejoices as he or she can say his life is in full
submission to the Lord in all areas where God's will is known.
This is the continuous walk of holiness. It is "walking in the light!" It is the natural
expanding process of becoming more like Jesus. At the moment of entire consecration, the issue
was settled - my will was and is submitted completely to Jesus. Yet, there will be multitudes of
challenging situations in my sanctified life that will provide opportunities for me to reaffirm that
initial commitment. Making Him Lord of my life in one moment of consecration must be
followed by keeping Him Lord of my life. This is done in subsequent times of reaffirmation.
Thus, the sanctified life, most simply put, is the obedient life. It is life lived out in light
of a one-time commitment that Christ will be the absolute Lord of our lives from that day
forward. It is the submissive life. It is a life where Jesus Christ is the daily leader, and we
faithfully follow all of His promptings daily. It is a life of continuous growth and expansion as
we obediently walk in the newly revealed light.
Where is this light headed? Why does He bring "new light" to us in this walk? Because
He is constantly at work in us, conforming us into an image of His perfect Son. His light leads us
closer toward Christlikeness. And we know that, if we are fully obedient to His leadings, we will
one day be like Him and we shall see Him face to face. Until then, to the extent to which we are
obedient, He is transforming us from "glory into glory," and we cannot even imagine what He
intends to develop in us in the future. But that need not matter. Our task is to obey. Thus, the
life of holiness - obedience.
As we walk in this kind of obedience, His blood cleanses us. From what? Weren't we
cleansed once and for all?
Christ's blood is a continued necessity for our daily walk. We will never reach a state of
life when Christ's blood will no longer be needed. His blood continually cleanses the obedient
believer as he or she walks in the light. We cannot receive a once-for-all cleansing and then go
our merry way in self-reliance. We must rely daily on the blood of Christ for continual cleansing.
We need His blood to cleanse us from the thousands of times we unknowingly fall short
of His perfect standard. We need Christ's blood to continually cleanse us of every thought,
attitude, word, or deed which does not edify and encourage. We need Christ's blood to cleanse us
from the daily accumulation of "dust" we gather by traveling the roads of this world. We need
the merit of Christ's blood to supply us with the daily cleansing required to maintain a life of
holiness. This life is not self-maintained. It is maintained only as I am in a love relationship
with Jesus Christ. Holiness is living as Jesus Christ lived. holiness is walking in step with Jesus.
If I am to be holy, it will only be in relationship with Jesus Christ.
Mildred Wynkoop illustrates this continued cleansing by asking readers to imagine
themselves as suffering from defective kidneys. There is no hope in yourself - your blood supply
is self-polluting. The only hope lies outside - if you can be attached periodically to a machine
which will cleanse your blood. But suppose there was a way in which you could be attached to a
healthy friend so that his kidneys could cleanse your polluted blood. Suppose that this friend was
willing to be connected to you. So long as you were connected to this friend, and walking step by
step with Him, your friend would insure a continuing perfection of your blood supply. An entire
life-style would be established to maintain this moment-by-moment cleansing.
This is what holiness is all about. It is being connected to Christ in a daily obedient
walk of submission. It is walking where He leads. It is relying on Christ, and Him alone, for
cleansing. The life commences with a once-for-all yielding of ourselves to His will. And, it
continues as we are connected to Jesus Christ and walk in daily submission to His leadings.
Holiness is Christlikeness. Christlikeness is not reserved for a select few older saints or
ministers. It is for every believer. Holiness is for ordinary people.
1. According to 1 John 1:5-7, on what is the continuous purification dependent?
2. Read Galatians 5:22-25. How do we "keep in step" with the spirit?
3. Read John 10:27. What relationship should we have to Christ as we follow His
4. Read John 15:5. What is the secret of the believer's continued vitality?
5. What is the specific request found in 1 Thessalonians 4:1?
For Review and Discussion
1. What parallel does this chapter make between the wedding/married life and entire
sanctification/living the sanctified life?
2. What are some causes of spiritual dryness which even the entirely sanctified believer
3. Entire sanctification is obtained through consecration and faith. how is this life
4. In what area is God "moving His Light forward" for you?
5. For what does the entirely sanctified person need "continual cleansing?'
If you are interested in this total cleansing, yet your are not sure you have received this
work of God, what should you do? You should "keep on keeping on." Holiness is not a message
designed to bludgeon honest believers into despair by telling them they are defective. It is a
message of hope, encouragement, and possibility. It marches into your life saying, "You can do
it. You can be Christlike, with God's help."
Sometimes this message of optimism has the reverse effect on sincere Christians. The
idea of perfect love for God and others may seem so distant a possibility to you that you are
tempted to give up in despair, or say the whole teaching must be false.
Don't respond either in despair or in doubt. If you are sincerely interested in the whole
matter of becoming fully Christlike, keep seeking! How?
(1) STUDY. Keep reading books, pamphlets, testimonies, magazine articles, and
especially God's Word. Ask people, who live exemplary lives, about holiness. Ask God, "If this
is really true, show me clearly in Your Word." No one is asking you to accept a dogma without
thinking. Use your own mind. Study the matter thoroughly, so that you might become convinced
(2) PURSUE HOLINESS. Even if you are unclear about entire sanctification, you
certainly would not deny God's progressive sanctification in your life right now. Undoubtedly
you would agree that it is God's goal to change His children into the image of His own Son - in
word, thought, and action. So, follow hard after holiness. Pursue it with single-minded
intensity. Become a "seeker." Actively crucify the deeds of the flesh. Methodically put on
thoughts, words, and actions of righteousness. If you seek holiness, you will find it. If you
hunger and thirst for righteousness, you will be filled.
(3) CONTINUALLY CONSECRATE YOURSELF. God wants all of you - all of
your thoughts, words, actions, talents, habits, time, possessions, every part of you. What areas in
your life are not now under the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Practice continually bringing each of
these under His full authority. Hold nothing back. As He prompts you to yield a new area to
Him, do so immediately, joyfully, and without resistance. Allow the Holy Spirit to fill every
corner of your entire life. Resist Him at no point. Give Him your all.
(4) RECEIVE THIS WORK BY FAITH. Your study, pursuit of holiness, and
continual consecration will invariably lead you to a point of decision. The moment the Holy
Spirit convinces you that He wishes to completely cleanse and empower you, surrender
completely to Him. reach out in faith and receive entire sanctification. Begin living the
sanctified life. How is it that you were converted? All your self-adjustment wouldn't save you.
You finally had to reach out in faith and say, "Save me now."
So it is that you can say, "Fill me now," and God's sanctifying work will be done. How
many times have you said, "Be gone!" to anger, jealousy, hatred, pride, impure thoughts, unholy
habits, and the like? Yet, they stay on. These spirits are stronger than you are. The Holy Spirit,
however, is The Strong Man. It is He alone who can drive these inclinations from the temple of
your heart. The fullness of the Holy Spirit drives out everything contrary to His Spirit, just as
when the sun rises the darkness flees. Let the Son rise in your heart!
From: Holiness for Ordinary People by Keith Drury
(c) 1983 Wesley Press
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To contribute to the thinking on this issue, or to contact the writer e-mail Tuesday@indwes.edu