Chapter 9

Dialogue on the Sanctified Life

  Confusion about the sanctified life abounds. Some folk have painted an absurd picture

of what it means to be sanctified. Many have the idea that this walk with God makes a person

some sort of spiritual superman, raising him above all human frailties and temptations and

providing a life of constant exultation and joy. This is not true.

This chapter is written in dialogue style between two individuals about the sanctified

life. The first (JL) has been a believer for eight years and recently made a total consecration to

God and was entirely sanctified. Yet, there are still many questions. The second, (SB), is JL's

spiritual mentor, and has been walking in the sanctified life for several years. This is their




JL: "It has been several months now since I experienced God's sanctifying work in my

life. I have shared this with several of my close friends, but I am not sure how widely I should

broadcast it. I almost wonder if it is something like humility -- once you claim it you no longer

have it. What do you think? Should I testify to entire sanctification?"

SB: "Sure, but with great care. Probably you should not talk about it to an unbeliever at

all. They do not have the spiritual perception to understand sanctification. And, in speaking to

believers, be careful to avoid the appearance of spiritual boasting. When you testify, speak with

humility, seeing that all the glory goes to God. Nevertheless, do speak up, for two good reasons:

(1) It will affirm the experience to you -- just as public confession about conversion was a great

aid to your life. (2) It will be a great encouragement to other believers who are seeking a deeper

walk with God. Certainly you should tell others. Just use discretion and care."


JL: "I'm beginning to get confused on one particular point concerning sanctification. I

think I really need help. Last month I was sure God had cleansed me. I am beginning to wonder

about that now."

SB: "What makes you question that this work was done in your heart?"

JL: "Well, for a month or so it seemed things were going well -- I didn't even give the

slightest consideration to some of the wrong thoughts and attitudes I had. It seemed like I would

not even be tempted again. Then, during this last month I have been tempted severely to think

the same kind of thoughts as before. And I've been tempted to develop some of those sinful inner

attitudes again. How could I be sanctified when I am tempted like this again?"

SB: "Have you given in to these temptations?"

JL: No, I haven't. But even when I resist them, they often do not go away. It's like a

giant battle, and I am getting shot at from all sides."

SB: "Why have you resisted so far?"

JL: "I want to be obedient -- I remember what I was like last year at this time, and I

want no part of my former defeated life. In fact, that's what is distressing me. I fear I might give

in and wind up even less happy than before."

SB: "Don't worry so much. Take heart that you have not given in to these temptations.

You have committed yourself wholly to Christ and the matter is settled -- you have decided to

obey Him. But no experience on earth can place you beyond temptation. There may be periods

of peace which remain for days, weeks, or even months. You might be lulled into thinking you

will no longer be tempted. How wrong! You will repeatedly be tempted. In fact, it is quite

possible that Satan will double his attacks on a totally committed person. So, don't be defeated by

temptation. A servant is not above his master -- Jesus was tempted; you will be too.

JL: "Then what was I cleansed from? If I am tempted by something, I must want to do

it or it wouldn't be tempting. So how could I have been cleansed from my nature of


SB: "You must not confuse temptation with the evil nature. Take Jesus for example.

His nature was pure. He was in the garden and the devil was tempting Him to avoid the cross.

Did He want to be crucified? Was He saying to Himself, 'This is what I really want to do'? No.

His humanness drew back from the painful experience before Him. His natural human

inclination was to avoid pain. There was still a struggle. In fact, He struggled so much He

sweated drops of blood. Yet the matter was settled from the start. His will was so completely

committed He could pray 'Not My will, but Yours be done.' His natural body resisted, but His

heart was set toward total obedience to God.

"When I am tempted, I try to remember Jesus' example. He was without an evil

inclination, yet He wrestled to the point of sweating blood. Entire sanctification does not deliver

you from human desires -- fear of pain, desire for acceptance, sexual drive, and so forth. It

cleanses your nature so that you are able to keep from abusing or perverting these natural desires,

becoming disobedient. When your will is set (you have settled the matter of total obedience to

God) and even when great seasons of temptation come, you can know that the whole business is

settled. Then when the curtain comes down, you will have resisted because the central principle

of your life is 'not my will, but God's be done.'"

Keeping Entirely Sanctified

JL: "Like I said, the life of total obedience to the Lord is so rich for me that sometimes

I'm afraid I may lose this walk with Christ. Have you ever felt that way?"

SB: "Sure. In fact, one time I did lose this walk with Christ."

JL: "How did it happen? How did you get back on track?"

SB: "Well, it's a long and painful story. I settled this whole thing of Christ's Lordship a

long time ago. I had placed all of my life in Christ's hands. Eleven months later I began to drift

into casualness. The zeal I had began to diminish. I quietly began to take one or two things back

off the altar of total consecration. They were areas I had trouble with before. The Spirit

convicted me, but I did not listen. Soon I was in purposeful disobedience to the Lord. My love

began to dry up, and I became unconcerned and critical again.

"Then I went to a renewal retreat in the mountains of Colorado, and the Lord made it

clear tome what I was doing. I was resisting His will in my life. He and I both knew it. The

blessing was gone. That night beside my bed in Colorado, I sobbed out my confession to Jesus. I

had taken myself back from His leading and control. I was resisting and rebelling against the

Lord -- sinning. That night I placed myself on the altar of consecration again, and the blessing

of this obedient life returned.

"I learned an important lesson through that painful time. Consecration is more than a

once-for-all event. Retaining entire sanctification is done the same way we receive it. I keep

sanctified by keeping my 'all on the altar.' I keep sanctified by keeping faith. It is a continuous

act of consecration and a continuous life of faith. So, I would advise you to worry less about

losing what you have and concentrate more on keeping your all on His altar and keeping your

faith in His work vibrant."


JL: "You are suggesting that the life of entire sanctification is ongoing -- it is not static

or fixed at some level of perfection that will never change. Right?

SB: "By all means. In fact, many are confused in thinking that once a person is entirely

sanctified, that's it for them for life -- they are in no need of any more growth. This is untrue."

JL: "I sure know how far I have to grow. In fact, I sense the disparity between my life

and the perfect standard of Jesus Christ more than ever."

SB: "Exactly. Entire sanctification cleanses me from my inclination to disobey, and

empowers me for service. It does not make me into an angel. He brings instant purity, but

maturity comes slowly.

"The sanctified life is expandable, like the annual rings on a tree. A 14-year-old tree

can be said to be a 'perfect' tree. Yet, 30 years later it will have grown to be much larger,

stronger, and more mature. It will now have 44 annual rings. We may be pronounced 'perfect' at

an early age of our Christian maturity, but there are many 'annual rings' of holiness the Lord

wants to add to our lives as we grow. The Bible repeatedly instructs us to 'put on' compassion,

kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, love, peace, self-control, and other qualities of

Christlikeness. At entire sanctification all of these fruits of the Spirit-filled life are present, but

they are expandable. our love, kindness, and deeds of mercy, may increase every day we are on

this earth, and perhaps through all eternity. The life of holiness is expandable. In fact, we

should grow even more after this work is done, because now we are in total submission to His

will for us. His will for us is always growth."

JL: "The biggest difference in my life now is this fresh hunger I have for Christlikeness.

That is why these temptations have been so troublesome -- I want so badly to be like Jesus that

any temptation to disobey is shattering to me. When I examine my life over the past few months,

I realize what a great leap my walk with Christ has taken. Sure, I realize I still have a long way

to go. Yet, I have experienced such dramatic growth during these months! It is exciting to

imagine what the Lord will accomplish in me over the rest of my lifetime."

SB: "If we keep walking in total obedience to Him, our lives will become more mature

as a result of His love at work in our lives. He is the Master Potter. Obedience is the key to the

sanctified life."


JL: "I want to change the subject a bit. Let's talk about self-control. I was reading in

Galatians 5:22 the other day, and one fruit of the Spirit is 'self-control.' I have been talking

about being 'Spirit-controlled,' but how is this different from self-control? A friend of mine says

the idea of being Spirit-controlled sounds like people becoming spiritual robots. What is the

connection here between self-control and Spirit-control?"

SB: "It is a cycle -- they feed each other. The Spirit will not control anything in my life

without my permission. As I exercise self-control, submitting myself to the Spirit's control, He

works in me to accomplish His will. As the Spirit moves throughout my life, a part of the 'fruit'

of His work is self-control. So the cycle goes on -- the more I control myself submitting to

Christ, the more He controls me, resulting in the fruit of more self-control. Like so much in the

Christian life, this is a partnership with God. As we continually submit to Him, it is easier to

continue to submit to Him in greater and greater degrees. The result is a continual growth

toward Jesus.

"The opposite is true as well. Disobedience and lack of self-control result in the fruit of

rebellion, which produces the by-product of greater disobedience and rebellion which then goes

on to catapult a person into a downward spiral of sinfulness, winding up in his becoming

completely reprobate."

JL: "Then it is not a matter of choosing between self-control and Spirit-control is it?

Both factors work together to help me grow more like Christ."

SB: "Yes, and the central issue preceding all this is who is the boss of my life. If God is

the Master of my life, I will find new self-control through His cleansing power, and this will

enable me to continually submit to His will."


JL: "I have a growing realization that there are some inherent dangers in this closer

walk with Christ. You have already cautioned me about the attitude I might portray in testifying

to this experience. What other cautions would your suggest?"

SB: "First, I would say watch for pride. You may have experienced such a dramatic

change in your life that the devil's best snare is to encourage you to begin thinking of yourself as

better than other believers -- as one of God's favorite children. Avoid spiritual pride at all cost.

Continually give all the glory to God in humility. Be careful of talking down to those who do not

understand or who disagree with you on some point. I think one of the best definitions of

humility is 'teachableness.' Continually develop a spirit of teachableness. Don't assume you're

always right and that everyone must now line up and become like you. Listen. Learn. Ask

questions. Keep a spirit of humble meekness about your spiritual walk."

JL: "What else?"

SB: "Be careful of going off the deep end emotionally. A person who is in total

submission to God has a new spiritual sensitivity. However, you can run off on a tangent

supposing dreams, visions, impressions, prophecies, languages, and ideas are from God. In fact,

your own imagination may be the source. All through history some who have experienced this

second work in their lives have tended to fly off into some sort of bizarre emotionalism. Be

careful of this. Much damage has been done to the teaching of the doctrine of holiness by these

extremists. The antidote -- stick to the plain truths of scripture as the central focus of your life."

JL: "I recognize this sideline. I have an aunt who was just an average Christian. She

got into a small-group Bible study and received some sort of new 'special baptism' as she called

it. She went right up the wall emotionally and finally wound up in all kinds of spiritism. She

even tried to make contact with the spirits of the dead. So, I know I should avoid pride and

extreme emotionalism. Is that it?"

SB: "No, there are dozens of other bits of advice top those who are walking in total

submission to Christ. We don't have time to cover them all. However, one of the most important

is to continually strive for the disciplined life. Some tend to think that their state of grace is so

high they are beyond the need of self-disciplined habits. Since they 'pray always,' they need no

particular time for prayer. Or, since 'to the pure all things are pure,' they can participate in

questionable activities or read material of dubious moral quality with no ill effects. Remember,

the devil does not scratch you off his list when you are wholly sanctified. In fact, he may place

you at the top of his hit list!

"There are a few others. For instance, be especially on guard for sins of omission --

things God prompts you to do which you are not doing. We can be disobedient to God as easily

through not doing right as through doing wrong. Prayerlessness is certainly such a sin.

"And be constantly on the watch against letting Jesus be pushed out of the center of your

life. Don't let anything begin to slip in and take dominance in your life again. Concentrate on

continual consecration to the Lord. Obedience to Him must be your central goal in life.

"Keep your relationships with others in loving harmony. Never -=- absolutely never --

break a relationship with another believer. Nothing will rob you of a sanctified life more quickly

than a broken relationship with a brother or sister.

"Finally, live an exemplary life in all aspects. Watch your example in spending money,

in conversation with others, in sharing your faith, in the manner of your dress and actions, in

your faithfulness in attending church services, and in serving the needy. Make sure everything

you do and say will be an example of holiness and will bring honor to the cause of Christ. If you

continually draw close to Him, He will draw near to you and you will have even greater power as

you become more like Him."


1. According to 1 Corinthians 15:10, what kind of attitude should we have in testifying to a

work God has done in our lives?

2. Find four truths about temptation from 1 Corinthians 10:12-13.

3. What kind of picture of the expanding Christian walk do you see in 1 Corinthians 9:24-

27? What are some ways to control our bodies?

4. What limitation does the treasure of this experience have according to 2 Corinthians

4:7? What is the advantage of this to God?

5. Write 2 Corinthians 3:18 in your own words.

6. From Hebrews 12:1-4 list five rules for effectively running the "spiritual race."


For Review and Discussion

1. What cautions should be observed in testifying to entire sanctification?

2. If an entirely sanctified person is still tempted, what real difference does sanctification

make in his life?

3. Can a person lose entire sanctification? How? How is this life then recovered?

4. In what way can an entirely sanctified person still grow?

5. What advice would you give an entirely sanctified person? What should he or she be on

guard against.




 From: Holiness for Ordinary People by Keith Drury
(c) 1983 Wesley Press
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