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
What God Does in Sanctification
What does God actually do in me through entire sanctification? What changes occur in
my daily life? How will I be different than before? This is the subject of this chapter.
The changes accomplished in me through entire sanctification may be organized into
two general categories: (1) PURITY -- correction of my inward inclination to disobey God, and
(2) POWER -- renewed energy for serving God.
All serious students of the Bible and life recognize power and purity as results of an
after-conversion commitment to the Lord. But the degree of emphasis on either power or purity
One group places heavy emphasis on purity concentrating on the possibility of victory
over all willful sin. They emphasize how I may be delivered from the inclination toward sin:
lust, covetousness, pride, complacency, envy, impure thoughts, selfish ambition, sinful anger,
jealousy, and self-will. This deliverance comes when God does a work in me which corrects and
cleanses my inner nature of rebellion. thus, if my nature is to obey the Lord, I will obey Him to
the extent that I comprehend His will.
The second group emphasizes power and concentrates on the believer's new involvement
in God's work. They are inclined to cite energetic soul-winning as the best evidence of entire
sanctification. They emphasize that if I am a Spirit-filled believer, I will be witnessing, active in
the church, involved in helping others grow more Christlike, aiding the needy, and actively
involved in the world around me.
Our own personal experience may affect what we perceive to be true in this matter. For
instance, two individuals who have experienced entire sanctification may strongly disagree on
which aspect is predominant.
The first person may have been quite active in the work of the church but has struggled
for years with certain secret sins. Finally, after making a total consecration to the Lord, this
person's inner nature is cleansed. The most noticeable effect is a deliverance from some sin
which had long been a heavy weight. This, this person emphasizes purity.
However, a second person's experience is quite different. He or she had never had great
trouble with active secret sins, but has been lukewarm passive, and uninvolved. When this
person makes a total dedication to God, he notices a new energy for active involvement in God's
work. They naturally assert that power is the dominant expression of this experience. Which is
true? Which is the predominant result of entire sanctification -- purity or power?
Both are true. They are two sides of the same coin. When God does His work of entire
sanctification in me, I find: 1) a new purity in my deepest inner being. This results in a definite
victory over sin -- especially inward sin. But I will likewise experience 2) a new energy for doing
God's work in the world -- winning others to Christ, and helping believers become Christlike. It
is not an either/or proposition. Both purity from and power over evil result from this work of
God in my heart.
What kind of purity can I expect? Does God deliver me from all sin forever? Will I be
absolutely perfect from that moment? Is this instant Christlikeness? Will there be room for
growth? Is this "sinless perfection"?
There is more confusion and misunderstanding over this one point than over any other
question relating to holiness. Some argue that "holiness people" teach an instant perfection; that
they say a believer becomes completely perfect -- exactly like Jesus Christ -- so that there is no
need for any further growth -- ever. I doubt that this view has ever actually been taught.
However, if so, it is resoundingly false.
The root cause of this misunderstanding is confusion over what we mean when we say
"it is possible to be delivered from all sin." What do we mean by "sin"?
There are two general ideas of sin. It is vital to understand these in order to see clearly
what we mean when we say a believer may be "free from sin."
IDEA 1. This idea of sin focuses on my intentions -- or will. I sin when I purposely
disobey God -- when I decide to disobey. Sin in knowing something is wrong, yet doing it
anyway. Or it is knowing something is right, yet refusing to do it. Sin is willfully disobeying
IDEA 2. This idea focuses on God's standard of holiness -- the law of perfect love. It
states that sin is any word, thought, or deed falling short of this standard. Sin includes both
voluntary or purposeful transgressions plus the thousands of involuntary times I fall short of
God's perfection. Thus, it is easy for those who take this second idea of sin to say they "sin every
day in word, thought, or deed." They mean they fall short of Christ's perfect example daily. Of
course, in that sense we all do.
When we say God can work in our hearts so that we can live free from all sin, we are
speaking about the first idea -- willful disobedience (Idea 1). We are talking about a level of
living where one's will is so submitted to the Lord's will that, where He clearly leads me, I will
follow. Sanctification is the reality of living in total obedience to known guidance from God. It
is the confidence that I can cease from willful sinning against the Lord, obeying His promptings.
I still will fall short of His perfect standard (Idea 2), but I am not held accountable for these
involuntary shortcomings, mistakes, or human weaknesses. Though I do not measure up, I am
considered blameless, because my will is in submission to the Lord -- I am obeying all the light,
or leadings, I have. Of course, this blamelessness cannot be used as an excuse for laziness about
growth. As God reveals to me areas where I fall short and prompts me to change, I become
responsible for this light.
This idea should not be strange to anyone who works with children. If a 13-month-old
child knocks over his milk because of his immature clumsiness, he clearly falls far short of the
perfect adult standard of table manners. But no sensible parent would punish a child for this.
The parent overlooks this behavior because of the child's stage of development.
However, I have an eight-year-old son. Sometimes he fools around at the dinner table.
If, after receiving several warnings, he purposefully reaches out his finger and willfully knocks
over his glass of milk, he's better run!
This is the distinction between the two ideas of sin. The purity of entire sanctification
will not prevent me from falling short of God's perfect standard because of my weakness or my
stage of growth. However, He is able to purity my heart so that I will not willfully disobey Him
when I know what He wants.
After following the Lord for awhile, I will recognize that an inclination to disobey the
Lord is still present. This inclination leads me into repeated disobedience. The purity of entire
sanctification deals with this inclination, or nature -- cleansing, purifying, correcting -- so that I
am able to walk in habitual obedience to the leadings of my Master. Because of my immaturity,
inadequacies, and humanness I will still fall short of His perfect standard of righteousness. But,
if my will is totally submitted to His, He pronounces me blameless. He is the Perfect Parent.
So, when we emphasize the purity side of entire sanctification, we mean that God is able
to cleanse me from the inclination to disobey Him. It then becomes possible for me to live
without willful sin. Purity equals obedience.
Our discussion of the power aspect of entire sanctification may be introduced by the
Q: What is God's work in the world?
A: It is to bring unbelievers to spiritual birth and believers to maturity -- to
evangelize the lost and to help Christians mature.
Q: What is the greatest hindrance to God's work in the world?
A: Me! Consider it this way. He has no other hands but mine. He has chosen to
use believers to accomplish His work of evangelism and discipleship. I am either a help or a
hindrance to His glory and work.
First, my sins provide the devil a powerful handle on my back -- every time I start
moving forward the devil reaches out, grabs the handle, and whispers to my mind, "Where do
you think you're going? You know the kind of person you are." Willful sin, whether in action or
attitude, gives Satan a powerful handle to restrict our usefulness in God's work. It keeps us from
witnessing and helping other believers mature.
Second, I can hinder God's work with selfishness -- my self-will. If I am not totally
submitted to His will for me, He is greatly hindered in using me. Consider the absurdity of a
carpenter attempting to construct a building with a hammer that wanders off every time he sets it
down. he spends half his time chasing down the wandering hammer. how that is like us! If we
are not totally available and willing to do the Lord's will, He often spends more time "chasing us
down" than using us in the world.
Q: Why then does God want us to surrender to His will and receive His
A: So He can use us to accomplish His work in the world -- evangelizing the lost
and leading believers to maturity.
God does not want to cleanse and energize us so He can display us on the shelf for
admiration by all -- sweet saints, uninvolved with the world. He wants us to be perfectly obedient
and to receive power so we can work for him.
Sanctification is for service. Service means being "sent." Sent where? Sent into a dark,
evil world with the pure Light. When Jesus prayed for His disciples' sanctification in John 17,
He immediately spoke of their being sent into the world -- not to be taken out of it.
The cleansing and power is provided so that I can work in the dirty trenches of daily
life, yet remain unspotted; so I may take the light of the gospel and the salt of a Christian witness
and be of service in the darkest places. After the power has come, we become more effective
Most believers sooner or later recognize one or both of these problems: (1) an inward
inclination to disobey the Lord which may result in sinning, especially in sins of attitude and
thought; (2) an absence of power and motivation to do God's work in the world -- lukewarmness,
complacency, and coldheartedness.
The root cause of these problems is my self-will. the reason I am disobedient is because
I decide to disobey. The cause of my complacency is my decision to remain complacent. If God
is not the complete Lord of my life, the reason is that I have decided to be my own boss! Here is
the essential issue of total consecration -- the decision about who will be the boss of my life. I
must be willing to make God the Lord of my daily life -- to trust Him to perform His work in me.
Then I will receive 1) His cleansing from my inward nature to rebel, and 2) a new power and
motivation to accomplish His work in this world.
Once this cleansing and energizing is accomplished, I will have an abiding hunger for
Christlikeness. This thirst will drive me onward toward the perfect example of Jesus Christ. I
will experience ever-increasing joy, fellowship with other believers, love for the lost, a deep
settled peace in my heart, and a new energy for evangelism and involvement in the lives of
others. God will continue to work in my life, conforming me to the image of His Son -- in
patience, gentleness, humility, satisfaction, meekness, mercy, and love. He constantly will be
refining my life as I continue to submit to His will and consecrate my life to His purpose. His
cleansing of my inclination to disobedience, and the new power from His Spirit will make a
radical difference in my life. This is what God does in entire sanctification -- purity from
disobedience and power for service.
1. Turn to Jesus' prayer for His disciples in John 17:6-19 to answer the following
a. Who is Jesus praying for here (verse 9)? Who is He not praying for?
b. What does Jesus ask for His disciples in verse 11?
c. What was the general response of the world to the disciples, according to verse
d. What did Jesus say He was not praying for in verse 15?
e. What is His request in verse 17?
f. Following this request what does Jesus immediately talk about in verse 18?
2. Look up each of the following scriptures and write beside each whether it deals with
purity over sin, power for service, or both:
a, Acts 1:8
b. Psalm 51:7-9
c. Galatians 5:22-24
d. Acts 15:8-9
e. Ephesians 3:16-20
f. Ephesians 5:25-27
g. Matthew 3:11-12
h. Luke 24:49
For Review and Discussion
1. Describe what God does in entire sanctification under the two general categories of
"Purity" and "Power."
2. What may cause certain individuals or organizations to give greater emphasis to either
power or purity?
3. Which side of God's work in entire sanctification is emphasized most today in your local
church? Your denomination? By various para-church organizations? On Christian radio and
4. What are the two differing definitions of sin? When we say it is possible to "live above
all sin," of which definition are we speaking?
5. Make a list of what God does NOT do in entire sanctification.
From: Holiness for Ordinary People by Keith Drury
(c) 1983 Wesley Press
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