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
How to Be Entirely Sanctified
There are two parts to entire sanctification: God's part and man's part. Man's part is
consecration and faith. God's part is purifying and energizing.
Down through history believers who wrote, spoke, and testified to this deeper walk with
God have variously placed greater emphasis on either God's part or man's part. This is still true
Some talk with enthusiasm about God's part. They may give the impression that God
does this work in whomever He pleases, whenever He wants to, and perhaps for reasons unknown
to us. To them there is little we can do to receive entire sanctification except to become seekers.
It may seem that we are supposed to beg God to do something He is reluctant to do. Therefore,
we can expect that our seeking will be accompanied by much agony, strain, and pain.
However, others ignore God's part and emphasize man's part -- consecration and faith.
They take a most logical approach to the whole matter, saying: (a) Carefully consecrate your
total life to God. (b) Now, having done that, recognize that the Bible says He will receive your
gift and cleanse you. (c) Then, simply believe that the work is completed -- you are cleansed.
Both factors help us see the total picture -- God's part and ours. God works in us with
our cooperation. We are changed through a partnership with God. He has his part, we have
Only God can cleanse and energize us. We cannot do it ourselves. how many times
have we said to wrong attitudes, thoughts, and affections "Be gone!" yet they have remained?
How often have we tried to "work up" spiritual energy to witness or to minister to other believers,
yet we fail to possess true spiritual power. We cannot cleanse our own sinful "bent." We cannot
energize ourselves. This is God's work. Only He can cleanse my heart from its disposition to
disobey. Only He can energize my life for evangelism and ministry. It takes His grace, and His
power. These are His works.
However, my personal responsibility is to consecrate my life to Him. He cannot do this
for me. He will not blast down the door of my life and force faith into my heart. His work is
limited only by my own free will -- my right to decide. He wants me to dedicate my whole life
into His hands. He desires that I trust Him to cleanse and energize me. Yet it will not happen
until I decide to consecrate my life to Him and believe His promises. True, in a sense, all I do
can be credited to Him -- He convicts and tenderly brings me to a place of decision. He is the
author of my faith -- the earliest conviction is from Him. Yet, it is I, and I alone who must
Sanctification is a partnership -- I consecrate and believe; God cleanses and energizes.
With my commitment and faith He can purify and empower. In the preceding chapter we
examined what God does in entire sanctification -- purifying and energizing. Now let us look at
man's part -- consecration and faith.
John's testimony describes consecration:
"After I had walked with God for several years two things gradually became painfully
apparent to me: (1) there was power available that I did not have; and (2) I was naturally
inclined to disobey the Lord. These realizations came to me gradually, but they grew in strength
until I became convinced that I was not where I ought to be -- there must be something more.
"I had heard about total consecration and entire sanctification dozens of times. I had
always shrugged it off as something I couldn't understand. But last winter it all began to sink in.
It was as if a seed of truth had slipped into a crevice of my mind and began to sprout into a tiny
bit of faith. I started believing that maybe I could indeed be delivered from my inner rebellion. I
began to help that there was more spiritual power available than I was experiencing. I started
reading about the subject and I asked a few friends. Most of them didn't understand
sanctification either and couldn't help.
"Then I found Tom. He had always attracted me because of his dedicated work in the
church, and I knew how he regularly shared his faith with many people. He was very caring to
me. We started meeting each Tuesday for a Bible study. As we studied and shared together, the
truth about sanctification unfolded to me in the clearest terms ever. I knew I needed this work
and, with Tom's guidance, I finally came to the place where I totally committed my life to Christ
-- all of me.
"My real struggle surrounded one particular area which I had never allowed the Lord to
control. On the Tuesday that God sanctified me I was carefully committing my total life to Him
when this one area came to my mind. I quickly passed over it and began listing other things to
God. but the Holy Spirit kept bringing my mind back to that one area. I guess it was my real
area of holdout.
"Finally, I say my resistance in this area for what it really was -- rebellion against
Christ's Lordship. I felt crushed, but I surrendered to Christ in this area and trusted by faith that
He had filled me with a new power.
"Though I didn't feel any different right away, within several weeks my life took a
totally different direction. As I look back on it now, I wonder why I held out so long. After all, I
knew who Jesus was and all He had done for me, so why didn't I trust Him with everything
sooner? Why did I think I could do better at managing my life than He could? Anyway, I praise
the Lord for sending Tom my way to lead me into this new life of consecration. My life has been
wonderfully different ever since."
John's testimony illustrates what God urges us to do. He wants us to make a total
surrender of our lives to His leadership and direction. The emphasis is on "total." He wants all
of us -- our time, talents, thoughts, finances, hopes, aspirations, reputation, hobbies, thoughts,
friendships, habits, and future. He wants to be the Lord and Master of every single part of our
lives. He knows what is best for us, and He tenderly urges us to turn over to Him our total lives.
He wants to direct, guide, use, and change us into the image of His perfect Son. And, with our
cooperation, He does this.
Any of us who have walked with God for a time recognize that God regularly urges us to
consecrate to Him one or another area. This is the progressive sanctification we spoke of earlier.
All of us can think of several areas we have committed to the Lord already. What does He do?
He invariably moves into that part of our life, rearranging and changing things so that we can
now say with assurance, "He knows what is best for me."
Entire consecration is simply the act of giving Christ control of me total life. It is a one-
time dedication of my total future life to the Lord. It is covenanting with the Lord always to obey
His promptings. It is a commitment -- a vow to submit to His will for my life.
Jesus is our example. His prayer in the garden, "Not my will, but yours be done," is the
permanent commitment of entire consecration. I am saying, "From this day forward I am taking
a vow of total obedience to the Lord." I am promising that whatever He makes clear to me as His
will, I will obey. I am deciding to make Jesus the permanent supervisor of all of my life. I am
placing everything in His hands -- my burdens, my striving, my pains and hurts, and my faults.
My total reliance for the remainder of my life will be on Jesus. He will be my consuming passion
for living -- the absorbing desire of my heart.
This is more than feeling. It is a decision -- an act of my will. I am, with firm
intentions, placing my "all on the altar" as a sacrifice to God. I want Him -- only Him -- to rule
my thoughts, habits, words, and deeds from now until eternity. I am making an entire surrender,
a total abandonment to God -- spirit, soul, and body placed under His absolute management. I
am making a clear-minded determination to follow Jesus whatever the cost -- a vow to a life of
obedience. This is total consecration.
Does the idea appeal to you? Are you thinking, "I'd like to do that"? Then why not do it
right now? God does not want your total commitment in order to make you miserable. He wants
to give you to greatest joy and fulfillment imaginable! Why not trust Him now? Jesus is
trustworthy to the extent that you can surrender yourself to Him -- so that He will become the
Master of every area of your life.
Faith is man's other part in sanctification. Without faith there is no entire sanctification.
We must believe that God will do His work NOW. This is faith.
Faith is not feeling. It is not some sort of bubbly interior excitement which gives us an
enthusiastic anticipation that God is going to perform a miracle in our lives.
Neither is faith desire. We may want to be cleansed and energized more than we desire
popularity, power, wealth, food, drink -- even our next breath. Desire is vital, but desire alone is
Faith isn't hope either. We may someday hope to be entirely sanctified. We could say,
"He might do it -- He could do it -- it is possible." but this will not bring cleansing to our hearts.
This is hope, not faith.
And faith is not fact. We may accept the fact that God cleanses and energizes following
our consecration and trust. We may see this truth in God's Word. We may accept it as true,
recite it as our creed, and even teach it as dogma; but accepting the fact is not faith.
All of these have a part in our receiving entire sanctification. There is feeling, desire, hope, and
acceptance of the factual basis of this work. But none of these are sanctifying faith. We receive
God's provisions for us when we reach out in faith and accept them. Sanctifying faith is trusting
in Christ's promise now. It is receiving now. It is receiving cleansing and power, not hoping for
them. It is more than saying, "I want this work." It is saying, "I receive this work in my heart --
right here, and right now.
I may be lavishly loved by another, but until I believe I am loved, that love is never
really mine. Belief allows me to receive. Certainly we can understand this in light of the
preaching of forgiveness of sins. Some may hear the truth of the gospel for years. But, until they
repent and believe that this forgiveness is theirs, they do not receive it. When were you forgiven?
Was it when you said, "I think there is something to this"? Was it when you accepted the truth of
the gospel as fact? Was it when you began to anticipate that you would one day be forgiven?
Was it when you hoped God might forgive you? No. It was when you repented and said,
"Forgive me now!" that you received forgiveness. When you reached out on the basis of
information you had, believed that God did indeed forgive you, and began acting on that
assumption, then you were saved.
So it is with entire sanctification. At the moment I say, "Fill me now," I receive this
work. When I reach out on the basis of information I have and believe that God does indeed
sanctify me now, then He accomplishes His work of cleansing and energizing.
When Jesus visited the city of Nazareth, He could do few mighty works. Why"? Was it
because He was not God anymore? Was it because God is not sovereign? Was it because Jesus
was having a bad day? No. It was "because of their lack of faith." They could not believe that
this carpenter's son could perform miracles; thus they received no great miracles.
So it is with us. God's work in my life is limited by my own measure of faith. If I doubt
that I may be totally cleansed from my inclination to disobey, I will not be cleansed. If I am
uncertain about the possibilities of receiving new energy for doing Christ's work, I will not
receive this power. God's grace works in my life to the extent of my unbelief. If I believe He
cleanses, He will cleanse. If I believe He energizes, He will energize. My faith enables God's
work within me.
Have you made a total consecration of your life to God? Are you His and His alone? If
so, then believe He has accepted you now. Believe He had cleansed you now. Believe He has
energized you for His work -- now! For Christ stands nearby saying, "So be it unto you . . .
according to your faith." "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through
. . . the one who calls you is faithful and he will do it" (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
From Romans 12:1-2, think through the following questions:
a. Who is writing this? (See 1:1)
b. Is he talking to believers?
c. What is he urging us to offer to God?
d. What could it mean to be a "living sacrifice"?
e. In what ways should we not conform to this world?
f. How does God "transform" us?
g. If we make this "living sacrifice" and are no longer conformed to this world
because He has transformed our minds, what will we discover?
In each of the following scriptures, what strikes you about the idea of faith?
a. Luke 17:5-6
b. 2 Corinthians 5:7
c. Matthew 8:13
d. Matthew 9:22, 28-30
e. Mark 9:23, 28-29
For Review and Discussion
1. God's part in entire sanctification is cleansing and empowerment. What is man's part?
2. What images from Chapter 4 can you recall which illustrate the idea of consecration?
3. Why is it we cannot receive unless we believe?
4. What relationship do you see between having faith in the possibility of entire
sanctification and studying the Bible?
5. If you were to write a little booklet after the fashion of the "Four Spiritual Laws" about
entire sanctification, what would you use as your major points?
From: Holiness for Ordinary People by Keith Drury
(c) 1983 Wesley Press
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