The author has invited me to stand at the threshold of this little book to open the door for the people. I gladly accept this service because, having been a visitor myself and found much to satisfy my own mind and heart, I can conscientiously urge others to enter.
The subject matter of this book is of prime importance, especially at the present time. The author has succeeded well in giving a clear, concise restatement of the doctrines treated, and in addition he has thrown fresh light upon them. This makes the new treatment both interesting and profitable.
A casual examination of this treatise may produce the impression at first that undue prominence has been given to the subjective, or cleansing, phase of the Spirit’s work; but in my opinion a careful study of the subject will show that the author has not minimized the objective work of the Spirit—the endowment and empowering of gifts for service. The author proceeds, and that rightly, on the principle that the cleansing work of the Spirit in the heart of the individual believer is first in importance, as well as first in point of time, being a necessary prelude to any successful subsequent operation of the Spirit through the individual. It is very evident to my mind that when in doctrinal teaching little stress is placed on the purification of the soul in entire sanctification, and extraordinary emphasis is given to the baptism of the Holy Spirit instead, the result is always superficial, ofttimes even deceptive and dangerous. “Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
Salvation results from the work which Christ performed for man; but it is faith in Christ and in His atonement that makes His work effective in man. The individual is not saved until the work of redemption is wrought in him; therefore the divinely appointed cure for sin becomes to us a matter of first concern, and theological inquiry is the legitimate and natural result. The sincere mind cannot rest until convinced that it has found the truth. It is to the Bible that we must turn for an authoritative statement of truth and for full light on God’s plan of salvation. Holy Spirit Baptism and The Second Cleansing presents the clearest statement of this important, fundamental truth I have ever found in so small a compass. I am sure it will supply a real need.
F. G. Smith
February 16, 1923
Two Works of Grace
Thousands of the most devout and spiritual Christians of the past and present have testified to and taught an experience of entire sanctification of the heart and Holy Ghost baptism subsequent to conversion. And these advocates of this second work of grace are not only the illiterate and uncritical as some might suppose, but include some of the most learned and discriminating minds—John Wesley, John Fletcher, Adam Clarke, George Fox, Hester Ann Rogers, D. S. Warner, Richard Watson, John Miley, Minor Raymond, Field, Bishop Foster, A. B. Simpson, Daniel Steele, J. A. Beet, and a great many others.
These witnesses testify that this experience has afforded them many rich blessings—a deep inner peace, greater victory over temptations, a greater measure of Holy Ghost power for Christian service, more joy and comfort, and a fuller measure of divine love in their hearts. Every true Christian is always reaching out for more of God’s grace, love, and power in his life, and desires to please God by attaining to the highest degree of Christian experience possible. If he sees by God’s Word and the experiences of his brethren that greater things from God await him, he is constrained to seek for them. The Christian experience of others may not be absolute proof of this doctrine, nor that we may possess a like blessed experience; but if it can be shown that such an experience and the possibility of all attaining to it is taught in the Bible, then we may confidently seek for the experience if we have not already attained it.
Hindrances to Belief in a Second Work of Grace
Before undertaking to set forth the teaching of the Scriptures on this important Bible doctrine, let us first consider some general facts relative to the doctrine and endeavor to remove any obstacles to a fair consideration of the subject.
Those who have doubts about a second cleansing often wrongly suppose that nearly all Christians believe that in regeneration they are saved from native depravity. But the truth is just the opposite. The belief of probably over nine tenths of professed Christians is that depravity remains in the regenerate believer. Nearly all Protestants believe this. This is held by the Episcopal Church; by the Westminster creed, representing the various Presbyterian bodies; it is held also by Methodists and Baptists. In fact, according to Dr. Miley, the theory of a complete deliverance from depravity in regeneration was new with Count Zinzendorf, the Moravian, in the eighteenth century. At present that theory is held only by some Pentecostal people and a few other small sects. Among those denominations who hold depravity in the regenerate have been numbered many devout Christians who are respected as great ministers, martyrs, and missionaries. Were these mistaken both as to the teaching of the Scriptures and the facts of their own experience of salvation? Reason leads us to believe they were not mistaken in this. The point where many have erred is in supposing that this depravity in the regenerate believer cannot be removed until death, whereas numbers of the more spiritual from their own religious brotherhoods have come to experience this second cleansing. We do not say this general acceptance of the doctrine of depravity in believers is proof of it, but it does show the unreasonableness of questioning the doctrine on the ground that few hold it.
Another hindrance to the acceptance of the doctrine are the unwise attempts to support it by unsound argument and texts that do not apply to the subject. But it is unreasonable to reject a doctrine on this ground when other sound proofs of it can be given. In rejecting the unsound supports of it one should not make the mistake of rejecting the doctrine itself. Such would be as unreasonable as it would be to reject the idea of God’s existence simply because certain teachers of theism have attempted to prove it by what is known as the ontological argument, which many able thinkers consider no proof whatever of the existence of God. Is it not better to believe in the divine existence, sanctification, and every other Bible truth for which clear proofs exist than to get our eyes on the unsound supports of them to such an extent that we are hindered from embracing truths that so nearly concern our present and eternal happiness?
Another thing that seems to have prejudiced some very good people against sanctification is the fact that some professors of the experience have been known to live ungodly and disgraceful lives. It is regrettable that such persons do put a stumbling-block in the way of good people’s accepting this glorious truth. Yet it is not reasonable to give place to prejudice because of such persons. As well might one reject the teaching and reality of regeneration because many profess it and live sinful lives, though the Bible plainly teaches that “whosoever is born of God [regeneration] doth not commit sin.” (1 John 3:9) We believe in regeneration because it is clearly set forth in the Bible, and many actually have the experience. May we not as reasonably accept sanctification on similar grounds in spite of false professors!
Extreme claims as to what sanctification will do for one have also been a fruitful source of confusion concerning the doctrine.
Extravagant teaching that if one is sanctified he will not have certain temptations or feelings has led some who sought sanctification, and did not get the results described, to doubt either their being sanctified personally or the possibility of anyone’s receiving a cleansing of the heart subsequent to conversion. It is unsound reasoning to decide that because sanctification is not exactly what someone has taught it to be it is therefore nothing. Wrong views of the nature of native depravity have led to some of these errors.
Another hindrance to some is that they suppose the doctrine of a second cleansing subsequent to conversion was new with John Wesley, and was not known to Christian theology prior to that time. But if a second work of grace is set forth in the New Testament, if it was taught by Jesus and by Paul, and the experience was enjoyed by the apostolic church, we have abundance of ground for accepting it regardless of its place or lack of place in the history of Christian doctrine. Likewise the doctrines of divine healing and the Holy Spirit organization of the church, though clearly taught in the Bible, were not formulated in theology until recent years. Even the doctrine of justification by faith was never very clearly stated until Luther. The doctrines of the Trinity and of the twofold nature of Christ were not clearly set forth until the fourth century, when heretical teachings made a clear statement of these doctrines imperative. Like other doctrines that were lost in the apostasy and recovered at or after the Reformation, so sanctification was recovered in Wesley’s day, when the occasion demanded a clear statement of the Bible teaching. The clear formulation of any phase of Christian doctrine usually takes place only when erroneous teaching and practice make such necessary. As Dr. Sheldon has said in his History of Christian Doctrine, “A system wrought out in conscious antagonism to a contrasted system naturally has sharper outlines than one developed apart from such antagonism.”
Nature of Sanctification Difficult for Thought
That there are difficulties for thought and some unexplainable things in this doctrine we agree; some people would give up the doctrine because of these. But where is a doctrine that does not possess such difficulties? Though there are difficulties in holding the doctrine, are there not greater difficulties in rejecting it? This question is worthy of consideration by those who question sanctification because of its difficulties. We do not reject other doctrines and facts because of unexplainable things connected with them. Many problems arise in connection with the proofs of theism or Christian evidence, but we accept the arguments we can understand in spite of those points that we cannot understand. The doctrine of the Trinity, which lies at the center of all Christian doctrine, is generally accepted by Christians, yet it is not only difficult for thought, but it transcends reason. Still we accept it because of the unanswerable proofs of the doctrine that we can comprehend. Should we not be as reasonable in our consideration of the doctrine of sanctification? Simply because our minds cannot comprehend the vastness of limitless space, shall we refuse to use a measuring rule or to recognize the reality of space? Or if we cannot grasp the vastness of eternity, shall we deny the actuality of time and destroy our clocks and watches? It would be no more unreasonable to do so than it is to refuse to believe facts that can be known about sanctification because some things about it are unknowable to us.
Others question sanctification because it is not discernible by the senses. This is a great fallacy. They overlook the fact that sanctification is a spiritual operation in the soul and does not have to do with the material, therefore cannot be known by the senses. A thought is somewhat parallel to this in that it is a spiritual operation. But what is thought? How is it effected? We do not know; psychologists cannot tell. All they can know about it is the phenomena of it. So likewise it is not possible to explain exactly what sanctification is. We know in experience the phenomena of a depraved nature. After sanctification we know by experience the phenomena resulting from a pure heart. So also it is in the new birth. Jesus answered this objection hundreds of years ago in these words: “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
The Holy Ghost Baptism
The Bible teaches not only two works of grace—the first commonly described as conversion, and the second a later special work of God in the heart—but it also clearly teaches a double phase of each of these experiences. The first work, conversion, includes both justification and regeneration, which are different in their very nature though both are received at the same time. These will be described more fully in a later chapter. The second work includes, not only a perfect cleansing of the heart from inherited depravity, but also the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Inasmuch as the Holy Ghost baptism is especially important in this second work and is held up by Jesus and the apostles as being necessary to the highest success in the Christian life, it is proper that it should be given consideration here before the cleansing phase of the second work of grace is described.
Those opposed to the doctrine of a second work too often overlook the fact that in rejecting it they reject, not only sanctification, but also the Holy Spirit baptism as subsequent to conversion. When they say and attempt to show by the Bible that they “got it all at once,” they must show they received not only entire sanctification, but also the Holy Ghost baptism. Failing to show this makes their position doubly unscriptural.
Only those who have received the blessed Holy Spirit of God into their hearts, the abiding Comforter, can know the sweetness of closest communion with God and the greatest measure of the joy of His presence. When God created man, He purposely made his shoulders too narrow to bear the burdens of life alone, and his wisdom too limited to know of himself what way he should take. God intended that men should be dependent upon Him. He knew this very feeling of dependence on Him would cause them to find the blessedness of trusting Him. He made a place in their hearts that He alone can fill, and created a longing there that only His indwelling presence can satisfy. In his very nature man is incomplete without God much as the man is incomplete without the woman. Through sin, mankind has been deprived of the indwelling divine Spirit; but, thank God, in the full salvation which Jesus provides the Spirit is again restored.
Jesus and the apostles give much importance to the baptism of the Holy Ghost and urge the disciples to receive him. In that great discourse recorded in John 13-17, given on the solemn occasion of the last supper, Jesus sought to encourage those He was about to leave by the promise of the Comforter whom He would send to them. Also when the apostle Paul came to Ephesus, the first question he asked of the twelve disciples he found was, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” (Acts 19:2) It was also the important thing in the visit of Peter and John to the newly established church in Samaria (Acts 8:14-17), in the visit of Ananias to Paul (Acts 9:17), and of Peter to Cornelius (Acts 10:44). And, reader, if you are a child of God and have not yet been baptized by the Spirit of God, it is of much concern to God that now, as you read, you open your heart’s door for Him to come in and abide there.
Holy Ghost Baptism After Conversion
Throughout the entire New Testament we find neither precept nor example indicating that the Holy Ghost baptism ever took place at the time of conversion. The Holy Spirit is not given to sinners, but only to those already saved. Jesus said, in promising Him to his disciples, “Whom the world cannot receive.” (John 14:17)
The first example of receiving the Holy Ghost after conversion is that of the disciples among whom were the twelve apostles. Before they received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, they were already converted. They had believed on Christ (John 17:8; Matthew 16:16), and therefore had been born again (John 1:12-13). They were regenerated and therefore in God’s kingdom to the extent that it was already set up. Their names were written in heaven (Luke 10:20). They had been sent out to preach the gospel (Matthew 10:7). They were not of the world (John 14:17; 15:19). They kept God’s word (John 17:6). Surely they were saved, yet they were commanded to tarry at Jerusalem until baptized by the Holy Ghost (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5). This they received on the day of Pentecost, when “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:4) And this was not different from the experiences of those converted after Pentecost.
The Samaritan church are a very remarkable example of receiving the Holy Spirit after conversion. The people of Samaria “believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, [and] they were baptized, both men and women.” (Acts 8:12) Did Philip, this mighty New Testament evangelist, baptize a company of sinners here? No. They had “believed,” had “great joy,” (Acts 8:8) and then Philip baptized them, as was done to the multitude converted on Pentecost. How long it was before the information reached Jerusalem that these Samaritans had been converted, we are not told; but when it did reach there, the apostles sent Peter and John to Samaria at least some days after the fact, and possibly a few weeks later. When these apostles arrived, they found that the new disciples there had not yet received the Holy Ghost. Therefore they prayed for them, and the new disciples received the Holy Ghost. Here is a plain case of a second work of grace.
The disciples at Ephesus whom Paul found on his first visit there, were saved. They had “believed” and were “disciples.” (Acts 19:1) Yet they had not received the Holy Ghost, and did not until Paul laid his hands upon them for that purpose. Paul’s question, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” (Acts 19:2) implies that Paul recognized the Spirit’s baptism as subsequent to conversion. But if the critic insists on the reading of the American Standard translation, “when ye believed,” the argument is not materially changed; for the fact still remains that these disciples received the Holy Ghost subsequently to conversion.
Even the apostle Paul received the Spirit three days after his conversion. He accepted and believed on Christ on the Damascus road. There he received his call to the ministry (See Acts 26:16). Also Ananias recognized him as a brother (Acts 9:17), and it was said of Paul, “He prayeth.” (Acts 9:11) But he did not receive the Holy Spirit until Ananias came to him. Other similar examples might be given.
Relation of the Spirit to the Justified
Though the foregoing Bible texts conclusively prove that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is subsequent to conversion, yet according to other texts the Spirit is with believers in some sense before. Jesus said to His disciples, “He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:17) Paul says, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:9)
These and similar texts cause confusion in the thought of some and furnish ground for objection to a second work for others. Jesus makes the distinction of “with” and “in,” but Paul seems to disregard such distinction. That the justified person has the Spirit working in him in some sense is certain. The Spirit even comes to and works in the sinner in conviction. He is everywhere present in His capacity to work, and it is in this sense that He is in the justified. But He is in the person who has been baptized by Him in a much greater degree to work in and through him. He works, not only in a greater degree, but also in different ways in the wholly sanctified person than in the one who is only justified.
Jesus’ use of the prepositions “in” and “with” may be understood as a practical rather than as being an exact distinction between the two experiences. The distinction is not one of the Spirit’s location so much as of His power to operate. Probably a clearer understanding would be possible to some minds by illustrating this distinction by that between the ordinary sinner whose evil deeds are actuated by suggestions of Satan and the demoniac who is possessed by the evil spirit and is much more fully under his power and control. The Spirit-baptized saint is possessed by the Holy Ghost and sustains a very close relationship indeed to Him. One great difference in the case of the individual possessed by the Holy Spirit is that he is not bound nor compelled as is the demoniac, but, thank God, is gloriously free.
One Baptism But Many Fillings with the Spirit
Another practical distinction which should be made is that between “being baptized with” or “receiving” the Spirit, and “being filled with” the Spirit. If one receives the Spirit, there need not be any repetition of it; because if he lives right, the Spirit remains in him constantly. But there will be times when he will need and should have fresh anointings of the Spirit for particular services or circumstances. This being filled with the Spirit does not mean that one receives a greater measure of the Spirit Himself, who is a person, but a greater measure of His working. One may or may not receive this fuller measure of the working of the Spirit at the time of the baptism by the Spirit. The apostles at Pentecost received it then and also at later times.
One remarkable instance of the reception of this fuller measure of the working of the Spirit was when the apostles on a certain occasion were persecuted and threatened. They prayed, and “the place was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 4:31) Now we know these apostles received and also were filled with the Holy Ghost at Pentecost. But this special occasion required another special filling of the Spirit or mighty working of the Spirit in them. This anointing was for the purpose of giving them boldness to preach in the face of persecution. Stephen was filled with the Holy Ghost at the time of his martyrdom that he might have grace to suffer (Acts 7:55). Paul was filled with the Holy Ghost to rebuke Elymas the Sorcerer and strike him blind (Acts 13:9-10). Elizabeth and others were filled to praise God and prophesy (Luke 1:41,67).
Every person today who has been much used of God is familiar with these special fillings of the Spirit. Often the preacher is temporarily filled with the Spirit for the preaching of God’s message. Sometimes it is for the praying of the prayer of faith for the healing of the sick, the carrying on of a revival meeting, or the winning of a soul to Christ. Every spiritual person should experience the special fillings. Reader, if you have received the Spirit, but have not been filled with His working, seek God more earnestly until you get an anointing for service.
This point is of practical importance, because some sincere people who have really received the Holy Spirit yet who feel the need of a new filling by Him, become troubled, and go back to seeking the baptism again instead of the fresh anointing they need. Also false teachers often take advantage of this craving for a fresh anointing of the Spirit to make people think they have never received Him. Thank God, you can become filled with the mighty working of God’s Spirit and do great things for God without getting confused about your past experience and baptism, or without failing under the “power” in an unseemly manner and getting what some are pleased to call “tongues.”
If we pray as earnestly as did the persecuted apostles described in Acts 4, if we labor for the advancement of God’s cause as diligently as did Paul when he met Elymas, if we are as devoted as Stephen when he was about to lay down his life for Christ’s sake, then we shall receive fresh fillings of the Spirit as the occasion demands.
Works of the Holy Spirit
The works of the Spirit are described as including a wide range in the matter of our salvation. He it is who convicts the sinner of his sins, regenerates the penitent, and witnesses to the adoption of the converted. But we are here concerned especially with His works in and through us at the time of the Holy Spirit baptism. His work in us, or the subjective operation, is alike in all because all have the same general need of salvation from the depravity that will later be shown to remain in the justified person. We are therefore “sanctified by the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:16) At the time of the Holy Spirit’s baptizing men, His principal work is “purifying their hearts by faith.” (Acts 15:8-9) There is a proper similitude between the incoming of the Holy Spirit and the making holy the heart in which He comes to dwell.
But in the objective phase of His works, consisting in His operation through His various gifts, or “manifestations,” there is variation in different individuals, as is definitely stated in 1 Corinthians 12. At the time a person receives the Holy Spirit he may receive any of the many gifts of the Spirit, or he may receive no particular gift at that time. One may receive the gift of tongues, or of prophecy, as did a few of those described in the New Testament. But there is no common need for these or any other gifts at the time of the baptism as there is need of a cleansing of the heart. In fact, one may as well obtain the gifts subsequent to the baptism according to Paul’s reasoning in 1 Corinthians 14, where he urges those who have already received the baptism of the Spirit and some of the less important gifts to “covet earnestly the best gifts,” (1 Corinthians 12:31) which were yet possible to them.
The Evidence of the Baptism
The evidence of the Holy Spirit’s baptism is deserving of brief consideration here because of the fact that many modern teachers of a certain class tell us that the only proper evidence is speaking in tongues, and that all who get the baptism speak in tongues. It is said that anything so important as the baptism must be witnessed to by such an outward physical sign. But is the baptism more important than the salvation of one’s soul? And since conversion is not witnessed to by a physical sign, surely there is no necessity for such a sign of the baptism. If the evidence of the spiritual work of regeneration is the witness of the Spirit (Romans 8:16) and if the call to service and other important things are witnessed to in the same manner, certainly such a spiritual work as the Spirit baptism requires only this spiritual evidence for spiritually-minded people. Only unspiritual, earthly-minded people could need a physical or outward evidence of a spiritual work, and such never receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
On only three occasions does the Bible state that tongues accompanied the outpouring of the Spirit (Acts 2:4; 10:45-46; 19:6). Of all the other converts who received the Holy Spirit there is no proof that they spoke in tongues. Those who on the ground of these three texts teach the theory that tongues is the evidence of the Spirit’s baptism are guilty of the fallacy of unsound reasoning. Peter, in speaking of the baptism of Cornelius by the Spirit, said, “As I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.” (Acts 11:15) If all the many thousands who had received the Holy Ghost during the eight years since Pentecost had always received the tongues, why did Peter say, “As on us at the beginning”? Why could he not as well have said, “As He has been baptizing all since the beginning”? Though not a complete proof, this is reason for believing the speaking in tongues did not usually accompany the Holy Ghost baptism.
Those who advocate the theory that all who get the baptism speak in tongues also hold that this speaking in tongues is different from the gift of tongues described in 1 Corinthians. But a careful consideration of 1 Corinthians 12 shows that the “gift” and the “manifestation” of the Spirit are identical, and the apostle closes with the clear implication that all do not speak with tongues (1 Corinthians 12:28-30). We agree with the apostle that all do not speak with tongues. The best evidence that one has the Holy Spirit is the Spirit Himself.
Man’s Moral Malady—Depravity
The ground of the need for the new birth and also for entire sanctification is the depravity of men’s natures, that spiritual disease which leads to spiritual death through sin. Though justification saves from committed sins, yet the reason why “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7) is because of this depraved nature, and we need entire sanctification for the same reason. If we reject depravity, consistency requires that we also reject, not only sanctification as a second cleansing, but also regeneration. Because depravity is fundamental to the work of salvation, it is important that we understand the fact and nature of the disease that we may the better comprehend the nature of its cure.
Native depravity is commonly known as original sin, inherited sin, inbred or indwelling sin, the Adamic nature, the carnal nature, or the flesh. The two latter designations and some others are sometimes criticized as not properly applying. But it seems, as is held by some very respectable theologians, that “carnal” and “flesh” have also a technical usage in the New Testament different from their more general meaning and refer to the depraved nature. However, the fact and nature of depravity is not dependent upon any particular designation.
Nature of Depravity
The nature of this depravity has been much misunderstood. Many have wrongly supposed that it consists of guilt for Adam’s sin and that it is punishable. We reject this view as we do also the theory resulting from it, that infants are punished in hell for the sin of Adam. While some reject these theories as being unscriptural and unjust, yet they have no clear idea as to what depravity is; and without a clear view of the nature of depravity it is not possible to understand what is comprehended in the work of regeneration and entire sanctification. Native depravity is not a physical entity or material substance. It is not a stump that may be removed nor a germ that may be eradicated. It is not a thing that may be extracted as a bad tooth.
It may be roughly illustrated in this way, but perhaps better as being like a poison in one’s blood resulting in disease and suffering in the body. Its immaterial nature may be still better illustrated as being likened to that which causes the ferocious lion to differ from the harmless lamb. No surgeon could find in the lion a physical thing that makes him ferocious. So, likewise, depravity is the very nature that makes unregenerate man what he is.
A Derangement of the Moral Nature
As depravity is not a physical something in man causing him to do evil, neither is it an entire subtraction of his moral nature. This is shown by the fact that the sinner possesses moral faculties such as conscience, though it is weakened. From a careful study of the subject it is evident that depravity is a derangement or enfeeblement of man’s moral nature. It is a perversion or weakness of his moral faculties. It is in this sense that the image of God is lost, and not in the sense of an entire loss of the moral nature.
In the depraved, conscience is perverted or weakened. Its power to discriminate between right and wrong is lost, to a great extent. Its power to impel to the right is weakened, so it fails to function as God intended. Its power to reprove is weakened insomuch that one may sin and feel very little if any compunction of conscience for it. The conscience becomes, as the Bible says, “seared with a hot iron.” (1 Timothy 4:2) Because the power of conscience is weaker in some than in others, we understand that there are degrees of depravity and that the hardened criminal is more depraved than the little child.
Also the affections are alienated or perverted. Man was intended to love God supremely and to love his neighbor as himself, which is keeping all God’s law. But by the perversion of this moral faculty, the affections, commonly referred to as an evil heart, he loves the creature more than the Creator, and he loves himself more than his neighbor. Depravity is the one reason why there is more love for things and self rather than for God and others. Man’s heart is not right. This is why man needs a new heart, or affections.
The will is also enslaved in moral volitions. One in sin may desire to do good, but is unable. In the words of Paul, “For to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Romans 7:18) In describing his condition before he found Christ, Paul says, “I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” (Romans 7:14-15) Probably in the will more than in any other of his faculties is depravity in man manifested. The depravity of the will is so evident that some have wrongly supposed that man’s free will is entirely lost.
Practical Consequences of Depravity
Probably one of the best ways to get a practical comprehension of the nature of depravity is to take a look at the effects of it in everyday life. When God created man, He placed in his nature a sense of justice, which in itself is a good thing, serving to aid man in his relations to his Maker and his fellows. But this sense of justice has been perverted in the depraved, insomuch that it not only causes him to feel that justice should be done in case of injury to himself or another, but it becomes a vindictive anger or hatred calling for revenge, and even injustice on the offender. When such a one is fully sanctified, or freed from depravity, he will still have that sense of justice and may feel displeasure and indignation if he sees an injury inflicted upon a helpless person, but he will not feel that hatred and vindictive anger which results from a deranged moral nature.
Man was created with a quality known as approbativeness—a desire to have the approval of his fellows. This is good and causes one to seek to please others and to do them good. But, because of the perversion of man’s nature and his consequent self-love, he desires not only to be well thought of but to be regarded as better than anyone else. This we call sinful pride. Sanctification eliminates this sinful, selfish pride, but it does not take away that natural pride or approbativeness which is a part of his nature and is for his good.
To illustrate further: Man has a quality known as acquisitiveness. It is this which causes one to provide for a time of adversity, to get a home, and other things needful. This is good. But depravity develops this into an inordinate love for things and money, which love is called covetousness. But even though by entire sanctification one may be saved from the disposition to covetousness, yet he will still have the natural disposition to acquire, in a greater or less degree.
Self-respect causes one to dress as is customary according to circumstances, that is, one will brush his hair, polish his shoes, etc.; but because of the perversion of this natural quality of self-respect man comes to be proud and wants to appear, not only respectable, but as better than any other person. This is selfish pride, and is sinful. Entire sanctification will destroy this sinful pride, but will leave one with the natural quality of self-respect.
Because of a lack of clear understanding of the nature of depravity, hence of what is eliminated in sanctification, many have been confused because they expected sanctification to take away a quality of the human nature, when it in reality merely restores the deranged human nature, or destroys the depravity in it. Clear ideas concerning depravity will aid much in understanding the whole process of sin and salvation from sin.
The Fact of Native Depravity
That man is fallen and sinful by nature has been generally held by mankind. Among all people in all ages men have believed this. With the exception of Pelagians and a few others, Christians have universally believed in native depravity in some sense. Pelagius, who lived in the early part of the fifth century, advocated the theory that sin consists only in actions, not in character, and that man does not have a deranged moral nature, but that he is as Adam was created. This phase of Pelagius’ teachings is held by Unitarians of the present time. Charles Eliot, ex-president of Harvard, and a leading Unitarian writer, says in his Religion of the Future, “The new religion rejects absolutely the conception that man is an alien in the world, or that God is alienated from the world. It rejects also the entire conception of man as a fallen being, hopelessly wicked, and tending downward by nature.”
That class of professed Christians who hold that man is evolved from a lower animal usually deny that he is a fallen being, because this is contrary to their theory of evolution. The tendency of liberal Christianity in this day is to deny native depravity. Some well-meaning people, not of the class mentioned above, through lack of information have been inclined to forsake the doctrine of depravity. Especially because the doctrine of native depravity is vital to the doctrine of the new birth, sanctification, and to experimental religion generally, attention is called to some of the many positive proofs of this doctrine.
More Positive Scripture Proofs of Depravity
In the earliest history of the human race, men are described as of evil character continually. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5) “The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” (Genesis 8:21)
The psalmist David was a believer in native depravity from one’s earliest existence. In his penitent prayer in Psalm 51 he said, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51:5) “They go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” (Psalm 58:3) Paul also clearly taught that he had sin dwelling in him even before he came to know right from wrong. “I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” (Romans 7:9) “We were by nature the children of wrath.” (Ephesians 2:3)
It Is Assumed in the Scriptures
The Bible teaches that sinful acts in man are the result of a sinful nature in him. It is taken for granted that character determines conduct. “Out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts.” (Mark 7:21) In other words, the stream will be like the fountain from which it flows. if the nature of man is sinful, the life will be sinful. And if the life is sinful, it is proof that the heart is depraved by sin. Jesus taught that a tree is known by its fruits. “A good tree can not bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” (Matthew 7:18) “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” (Matthew 7:16-17) This is too plain to be misunderstood. Native depravity is the cause of sinful deeds in men’s lives. The ancient Pharisees tried to live a good, clean outward life without an inward change, as many try to do today. They try to “make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.” (Matthew 23:25) Jesus said, “Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean.” (Matthew 23:26) The sense is clear, man’s inherent character determines his outward conduct. Also, as Paul taught, it is because of depravity that man cannot attain unto righteousness by the law. He does not have the power to obey the law.
It is on the assumption that man is depraved that the Scriptures teach, “Ye must be born again.” (John 3:7) If man is not depraved, then he requires no regeneration, but only forgiveness of committed sins. But the entire New Testament points to man’s need of becoming “regenerated,” “born again,” ("born again") “a new creature,” () “created anew,” having “a new heart,” () being “quickened,” () putting on the “new man.” (Ephesians 4:24) These and many other expressions in the Bible are senseless if man is not depraved. The fact that he is, is assumed in all of them. Also, unless man is depraved, there is no new birth or sanctification of his nature possible, and these are clearly taught by inspiration. The most vital facts in Christian experience are dependent upon the fact that the natural man is depraved.
Proofs from Reason
Even without a Bible the common sense of mankind has rejected the theory that man is not a fallen being. The universal prevalence of sin is proof in itself that man is sinful by nature. No people, however cultured or civilized, have risen above the love for that which is evil and detrimental. A child learns evil more easily than he learns good. He will learn to profane God’s name easier than he will learn to praise it. As we view the many ills of human life, we cannot believe that a kind Creator made man in his present condition, but that man is a fallen being, and not conditioned as originally created. Many other proofs may be given from both the Bible and reason, but we believe these are conclusive. Man is born in sin and can do good only by being made good at heart by the power of a new birth.
God’s Remedy for Sin
In view of the facts presented in the preceding chapter, it may properly be said that sin exists in two forms—committed and inherited, or actual transgression and a deranged moral nature that gives a tendency to that which is sinful. Because of these two forms of sin man has a double need in salvation, He needs salvation from each. He first needs to be justified from committed sins, or, in other words, he needs to be brought into right relationship to God; and, second, he needs right character effected in himself.
It is true that reason does not require that these two phases of salvation be accomplished at two different times, but it is also true that the need for salvation in two forms does allow the possibility of two works of grace. We do not hold that rational proof of a second cleansing can be given; but as with other doctrines based on revelation alone, this is not unreasonable, and when this doctrine is shown to be taught by revelation it is unreasonable to do other than accept it. Because the sinner is two steps down from the moral plane of which Adam was created, it is reasonable to suppose that there are two steps up to it. This is incomplete as a proof of two works, but it is valid and real proof so far as it goes when taken in connection with other proofs to be given.
Sin in Regenerated a Ground for a Second Cleansing
It has been the common belief of Christians that depravity in some sense remains in believers after regeneration. The most devout Christians of the ages have testified to this remaining depravity after their conversion. And that such is the condition of the converted has also been held by practically all the church creeds. The Anglican Church creed says, “And this infection of the nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated.”1 Also the Westminster Creed of Presbyterians says, “This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain, in them that are regenerated.”2 Dr. Miley in his Systematic Theology says, “That somewhat of depravity remains in the regenerate, or that regeneration does not bring to completeness the inner spiritual life, is a widely accepted doctrine. Indeed, exceptions are so few that the doctrine must be regarded as truly catholic.”
Even when all due allowance has been made for the views of baptismal regeneration held by some, or of a degenerate form of regeneration, it is difficult to believe that the multitudes of the most godly men and women of the past and present were and are mistaken so entirely concerning their own inner spiritual experience. Especially is this reasoning from experience convincing when we remember that many of these persons testify to having been definitely delivered from this remaining depravity at a time subsequent to their being regenerated.
But the idea of remaining depravity in the regenerated does not necessarily carry with it the doctrine of a second cleansing from depravity in this life. Many who have strongly held the former have as emphatically denied the possibility of one’s being delivered from this remaining depravity before the hour of death. But, on the other hand, we need not suppose that the impossibility of entire sanctification is proved by the incompleteness or lack of it in regeneration. The proofs of the possibility of this second cleansing in this life will be given later, but let it be here remarked that Christ “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity,” (Titus 2:14) that we might be pure “even as he is pure.” (1 John 3:3) Therefore we reasonably suppose that this remaining depravity may be removed from us in this life, else Jesus’ mission was not altogether a success.
But what are the proofs of sin in believers? First, it is worthy of note, as already stated, that it has been the experience of Christians generally. However, because some persons are more depraved than others, either because of inherited or acquired depravity, those more depraved will usually be more keenly aware of the presence of it than those not so greatly depraved, just as some notice a greater change in themselves than do others when depravity is removed. But though these facts of experience are very valuable as corroborative proof, yet experience of itself alone is not a proper source of doctrine, hence we shall go to the Bible.
We call attention first to John 15:1-6, where Jesus describes a cleansing or purging of those who have been converted, by the figure of the purging of branches of a vine. A purging of believers implies something in them from which to be purged, and that must be a second cleansing, because all who have believed are already cleansed from committed sins. It will be noticed that the Father is represented as the husbandman, Christ the vine, and men (v. 6) or his disciples (v. 5) branches of the vine. They are said to be “in” Christ (v. 2), and “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature,” (2 Corinthians 5:17) or has been regenerated. This is certain. They are not, as some wrongly suppose, merely justified and not regenerated. This is shown, not only because of the last-mentioned text, but also because to be in Christ is to be in His church or kingdom, which is possible only through the new birth, for “except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) This person is also one who bears fruits, which is only possible to the regenerated according to Galatians 5:19-24. Sinners bear the fruits of the flesh. Those branches joined to Christ do not bear sinful fruit.
Purge as used in this text means “to cleanse.” The original word, kathairo, according to the very best Greek authorities, means “to cleanse,” and when used metaphorically, “to cleanse from sin.” The cleansing Jesus speaks of here is that of the heart, not that of the outward life. It will be seen by the brief summary given in the following chapter that the cleansing which is done by God is that of the heart, but that men are exhorted to cleanse their conduct themselves (1 Peter 1:14-16). Also it is a mistake to suppose this is an outward cleansing merely because it is represented by the purging of a vine. It is only an example of the inadequacy of natural figures perfectly to illustrate spiritual truths. If there had been an inner cleansing of a vine, Jesus would doubtless have used that instead of “purge” to represent this cleansing to be accomplished in believers that their fruitfulness might be increased.
That this inner cleansing is referred to is also evident from other parts of Jesus’ discourse and prayer recorded in John 14-17, of which this vine figure is a part. It agrees with the prayer for their sanctification (John 17:17) that they might be kept from the evil of the world. It agrees also with the promise of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, the Sanctifier.
Other texts which imply sin in the regenerated by teaching a cleansing of believers are John 17:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Ephesians 5:27. These will be discussed in the next chapter.
Nature of Justification, Regeneration, Sanctification
A definition of this second cleansing from depravity naturally leads to the question of the distinction between regeneration and entire sanctification. What is justification? What is regeneration? And how does it differ from entire sanctification? That a distinction is to be made, not in time but in the nature, between the work of justification and that of regeneration is certain. These were distinguished in Old Testament type, being shown by the sprinkling of blood at the altar and washing with water at the laver. The two are different in their nature. Justification effects right relations with God; regeneration produces right character in us, enabling us to live right. “It [regeneration] differs from justification in this, that while the latter is an act of grace for or toward us, the former is a work done in us by which our nature is regenerated, the heart renewed and changed, enabling us to love God and His holy law.”—Hoke on Holiness. In the words of some of the older theologians, “Justification is salvation from the guilt of sin, regeneration is salvation from the reigning power of sin, and sanctification is salvation from the indwelling of sin.” This statement is clear and Scriptural.
Justification is not a real making just as if the sinner had not sinned, so that he deserves reward rather than punishment; but it is a remission of the penalty of sin. If one has sinned, it cannot be that he has not sinned nor that he does not deserve to be punished, but it can be that the penalty for that sin is withheld from the offender. Thus justification is a forgiveness or pardon of sins committed. It is an overcoming of one of the two forms of sin and the overcoming man first needs.
But at the very moment a person is justified he needs to be given power over the reigning power of depravity so that he can refrain from at once falling again into sin and thus again incurring guilt. This overcoming of the power of depravity must be either by a complete restoration of the deranged moral nature or by a suppression of its reigning power by the incoming of the greater power of the Spirit of God. But inasmuch as human nature as now constituted is depraved, and the person who comes to God for justification was depraved in infancy, before he ever committed a sin, it is reasonable to expect that when he comes to God repenting of his sins he should be forgiven and restored to that same state in which he was before he sinned. But it is also reasonable to expect that God will give him power over depravity, by His indwelling Spirit, to refrain from sinning again. This suppression of depravity is in the Bible called regeneration, or a new birth, receiving a new heart, or becoming a new creature, because of the practical effects resulting in a new manner of life. This reasoning is given to show the possibility of distinguishing between regeneration and sanctification rather than as proof of sanctification as being subsequent to regeneration—of this subsequence the Scriptures furnish the proof.
A practical though probably not a critical distinction between regeneration and entire sanctification may be stated as follows: Regeneration is a suppression of the depravity by the power of the Spirit of God coming into one’s life, but entire sanctification is the eradication or removal of that depravity from the nature. This idea of regeneration is well expressed by Paul in these words, “For the law [power, see Romans 7:23] of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law [power] of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2) Because of its effects in the life, being regenerated may be properly described as it is in the Bible, as becoming “a new creature,” or receiving “a new heart.” That regeneration should be what is here stated is reasonable. It would be useless for God to forgive a sinner if He did not thus bring depravity into subjection to the Spirit of God. We have already shown that, though depravity is suppressed, yet it exists in the regenerated. Therefore a subsequent cleansing from this depravity is real, Scriptural, reasonable, and according to normal Christian experience.
Meaning of Sanctification in Its Various Uses
Probably one of the most fruitful sources of controversy concerning the Scriptural doctrine of entire sanctification is the great amount of confusion and variety of opinion as to the meaning of the term “sanctification” as used in the Bible. We are prone to suppose that, because in one text or use it has to do with a particular phase of Christian life or experience, therefore it has that same meaning in every other use of it in the Bible. The mistake is often made of giving a technical meaning to this term and of trying to limit its usage to this one meaning. To illustrate: One man finds the term used of the cleansing from committed sins, therefore he decides that must be the Scriptural meaning of the word exclusive of all other meanings. Another man finds it used of the work of regeneration, or the new birth, so he decides it means that wherever it is found. Another finds it used of the cleansing of believers after conversion, and he tries to teach a second cleansing from every text in which the term is used. Still another person finds the term used in the sense of consecration, or a setting apart, so he contends it means that and nothing more.
The many one-sided views of sanctification as often held forcibly remind us of the story of the six blind men who went to see the elephant. The one who took hold of his leg thought the elephant was like a tree. Another who grasped his tail thought him like a rope. A third seized his ear, and decided he was like a fan; while the one who placed a hand upon his broad side said he was like a wall. And, as the story goes, when each had examined the beast and found him different from what the others had, they all disputed loud and long as to which held the right theory of the elephant. This is a homely illustration, but it is exactly parallel to the cause for much of the dispute concerning the nature of sanctification. Men see one phase of its meaning and suppose that is all there is to it. They are all partly in the right, yet they are all in the wrong as much as were the six blind men, and their conception of the meaning of the term “sanctification” is as inadequate as were the views of the blind men concerning the elephant.
The Meaning of the Term
To understand clearly the Scriptural meaning of the term “sanctify,” it is necessary to go back of the English word to the Greek term. The best Greek authorities hold that the Greek hagios and its derivatives are properly translated by the following English words in their various forms—sanctify, holy, pure, chaste, clear. In the Bible they are translated by these various words. They also include the idea of consecrating to a holy purpose or of ascribing holiness to a person or thing. However, the more common use of the Greek hagios is to cleanse. Likewise the primary meaning of sanctify is to cleanse. Therefore it is evident that wherever there is a cleansing, there must in that sense be a sanctification, whether that cleansing be of the heart or of the life, spiritual or physical, of committed sins or of inherited depravity, actual or ceremonial. If it were always borne in mind that sanctification may have this variety of meaning, as does cleansing or almost any other term, much misunderstanding could be avoided. The sense of the term or the sanctification referred to in a particular text of the Bible must be determined by the context, etc., as we determine the particular usage of any other term. We question whether the term sanctification has any technical use in the Bible as it seems to have in the minds of many people.
Eight Different Possible Uses of Sanctification
The term “sanctification” is capable of being used in at least eight different senses in respect to experience or practice and is used in most of these senses in the Scriptures. In some of these uses an equivalent term is employed. The following is a list of these uses, the first four of which it will be seen refer to a cleansing of the heart and are always used when the work is said to be done by God. The second four are other uses of sanctification and are applied to work performed by man.
- Sanctification wrought by God.
- Sanctification of the heart generally without distinguishing as to the particular works of justification, etc.: Acts 20:32; 26:18; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 6:11; Hebrews 2:11; 13:12; Jude 1; Romans 15:16.
- Justification as a sanctification or cleansing from committed sins: Revelation 1:5; 1 John 1:7,9; Hebrews 9:14; 1:3.
- Regeneration, or the removal of or cleansing from the stony heart and the giving of a new heart: Ezekiel 36:25-27.
- Entire sanctification: John 17:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Ephesians 5:26.
- Sanctification not wrought by God.
- Sanctification of the outward life: 1 Peter 1:14-16; 2 Timothy 2:19-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:7.
- Reverence, sanctification by ascribing holiness to: 1 Peter 3:15; Numbers 20:12.
- Consecration, or sanctification by setting apart: John 17:19; 10:36; Deuteronomy 5:12.
- Ceremonial and physical sanctification: 1 Corinthians 7:14; 1 Timothy 4:5; Exodus 19:23.
The foregoing, if not the only uses, are at least the principal proper uses of sanctification. Careful study of the referenced scriptures will be profitable.
Entire Sanctification Defined
While we allow these various senses of the term “sanctification,” it is not our purpose in this book to discuss all of them, but only that often described as “entire sanctification.” We define it briefly at this point as a definite cleansing, subsequent to conversion, from the depravity of the nature, which condition remains in the regenerated until the time of this entire sanctification, a work contemporary with the Holy Ghost baptism. As a matter of convenience we shall here commonly designate this second cleansing by the term “sanctification”; but it should be remembered that the word sanctification ordinarily has no technical meaning.
Bible Proofs of a Second Cleansing
There are a number of theories which are opposed to the doctrine of a second cleansing. The leading ones may be stated as follows:
- The common Pelagian theory held by modern Unitarianism and the Socinian theology generally that man is not depraved and consequently is not cleansed except from committed sins.
- The theory supported by several of the older church creeds that depravity remains in the believer and will remain until death.
- The Zinzendorf view that depravity is entirely removed in regeneration, and, as some adherents of the theory suppose, that the baptism of the Holy Ghost is received at the same time.
- That sanctification is contemporary with conversion, and the baptism of the Spirit is subsequent.
- That we are first converted, subsequently sanctified, and still later baptized by the Spirit. (This is a theory held by some branches of the “tongues” movement; some of them even teach a fourth work.)
These are all sufficiently refuted in the following proofs of a second cleansing.
The Nature of the Proofs
No normal or scientific statement of this doctrine is to be found in the Bible. Those critics of the doctrine who require such statement seem to forget that the Bible is not a work of systematic theology, and that no doctrine is so stated. The Bible reveals truth, not scientifically, but historically, and it might almost be said incidentally. To the objection that a formal statement of a second cleansing finds no place in church history from the early centuries until two hundred years ago, it may be answered that other vital spiritual truths were obscured during the apostasy only to be restored in recent years. An illustration of this is the doctrine of the Holy Spirit organization and government of the church.
It is also a mistake to oppose this doctrine on the ground that our own reasoning does not require that there be a double cleansing. Other vital truths of Christianity are not supported by rational proofs, examples of which are the doctrine of the Trinity, the resurrection of the body, and the general judgment. We accept these because they are taught by revelation. That tendency to reject all that may not be known by reason is the false position held by the destructive Bible critics in relation to the supernatural in the Bible. If the Bible is shown to be God’s Word, then it is reasonable to accept what it teaches even though it is beyond human comprehension. It should be remembered, however, that since sanctification and the other doctrines mentioned are revealed, they are found to be according to reason though they cannot be known by reason alone. Reason even supports them in connection with the Bible.
Unfortunately for the doctrine of entire sanctification, some, in trying to support it with a multitude of texts, have used a number that have no application to the subject. The result has been that some persons, upon finding that those texts do not apply, fall into the error of rejecting the doctrine completely, in spite of sound proofs elsewhere. The best proof of this or any other doctrinal truth is not a large multitude of proofs, nor yet one seemingly clear proof, but a variety of kinds of proof. These we have in support of the doctrine of a second cleansing. At least six main classes of proofs of this doctrine may be given, four of which are complete in themselves, and the remaining two, though incomplete, are strong when connected with the others.
Two Incomplete Classes of Proofs
These two classes of proofs have already been considered somewhat in a preceding chapter. They are, first, the proofs of two forms of sin as a ground for two works of grace; second, remaining sin in the regenerated as a ground for a second cleansing. Though they are not complete proofs in themselves and need to be used with other proofs, yet they are valid as far as they go, and to many minds, who from familiarity with the Scriptures are enabled readily to supply the missing links, they are convincing.
The Scriptures clearly recognize sin in two forms, committed sin and inherited sin. Formal proof of these is scarcely necessary here. It is assumed that every believer in the Scriptures recognizes the actuality of committed sin. Inherited sin, or native depravity, is also quite generally recognized as Scriptural. Definite proofs of native depravity have already been given. Though it does not necessarily follow that these two forms of sin must be overcome in us at two different times, yet their existence does positively prove the possibility of two works of grace.
Remaining depravity in believers, which has already been sufficiently shown, is, to the minds of those who believe in the completeness of Christ’s salvation, proof of a second cleansing. And when the Bible proof is given of a complete purifying of the heart in this life, it is conclusive; but without this proof it might be assumed, as is often done, that one may not be freed from depravity until death.
More Direct Scripture Proofs of a Second Cleansing
This is a third main class of proofs of a second cleansing. Under this, as under the other classes, various individual proof texts might be given, but for lack of space and to give more definiteness to the argument we shall consider but three, which will serve as examples of other such proofs.
Sanctification for Disciples
In Jesus’ notable prayer for His disciples offered at the close of the last supper, on the eve of His betrayal and crucifixion, He prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17) That this sanctification is important to His disciples is evident from the fact that He prayed for it on this solemn occasion, when the gloom of Gethsemane and the horrors of Calvary were so near. This was a cleansing of the heart and not of the life, it is certain, from the fact that it was to be done by the Father and not by themselves. As we have shown in a previous chapter, men are always instructed to cleanse their own lives; but God’s sanctification of men described in the New Testament is always a cleansing of the heart, and not of the life. Also it should be noted that this sanctification was in order that they might be “[kept] from the evil.” (John 17:15) It was a cause, and the holy living was the effect. Some have argued that this is a cleansing of the life because it was to be done by the “word”; but they seem to forget that we are said to be regenerated also by the “word.” Just as it is said, “Being born again… by the word of God,” (1 Peter 1:23) so it is also said, “Sanctify them through thy truth.”
These disciples for whose cleansing Jesus prayed were already justified, as is evident from several expressions in the same chapter as well as from other texts. They belonged to God and were obedient to His word (John 17:6), were not of the world (John 17:9,14,16), were kept from sin (John 17:11-12,15), had been sent to preach (Matthew 10:7), and their names were written in heaven (Luke 10:20). It has been objected that although they were justified, they had not been regenerated, and that this was the sanctification for which Jesus prayed. But that they were regenerated, or converted, can also be shown.
Regeneration sets one apart from sin. It is that which makes one “not of the world,” (John 15:19) or it is a being crucified to the world (Galatians 6:14). It is that which, from its very nature, keeps from sin (Ezekiel 36:25,27), and these men were “kept,” and were obedient to or kept God’s word (John 17:12,17:6). Can anyone believe that these men, sent to preach the kingdom of God, were themselves strangers to it through lack of regeneration, without which one “cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3)? These men had believed on Christ (Matthew 16:16), which is the necessary condition for regeneration, as is shown in these words, “he came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born… of God.” (John 1:11-13) This is conclusive. But let us notice another proof that they were regenerated at this time.
Regeneration makes one a member of the church. The kingdom and the church are practically identical, so regeneration is essential to entrance into the kingdom of God (John 3:3). “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it” (Luke 16:16) , therefore men were regenerated from the time John began to preach, or from the time the law dispensation ended and the gospel dispensation began. The disciples had believed (Matthew 16:16), and were in Christ (John 15:2-4), therefore were born again, for “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) Christ’s kingdom or church existed before Pentecost, but not until after the Holy Ghost came was it fully organized. Jesus’ prayer for the sanctification of His disciples is undeniable proof of a cleansing of the regenerated.
Sanctification for the Church
“Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it [the church] with the washing of water by the word.” (Ephesians 5:25-26) Here is described a sanctification, not of sinners, but of the church or those already saved. That this sanctification is a cleansing is evident from the argument already given in this chapter, that in the New Testament the sanctification done for man by God is always a cleansing of the heart. It is not consecration. Also it may be stated here that cleansing is always the end sought in the use of sanctification or consecration of men or things in the Old Testament.
That this sanctification is of the church and not for the purpose of constituting her the church is clear from the reading of the common King James Version. And it is even more definitely stated in the Revised Version, which is also borne out by the original, where the Greek participle is used in the aorist tense. And this cleansing of the church here described by Paul is in perfect harmony with Jesus’ prayer for the sanctification of those who have already become His disciples.
An Entire Sanctification
“The very God of peace sanctify you wholly [entirely]; and I pray God our whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23) This text teaches a sanctification to be done by God, therefore a sanctification of the heart, not of the life. The keeping them blameless in the latter part of the verse is the keeping from evil in John 17. It is an entire sanctification, which may reasonably be taken to imply that there is a sanctification that is not entire. Also it is to be done for those who were a church “in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 Thessalonians 1:1) those who were “brethren,” (1 Thessalonians 1:4) a very spiritual church, who a short time before this letter was written were converted through Paul’s labors, and from whom he was driven by persecution and to whom he now wrote praying for their entire sanctification. Read the account of their conversion in Acts 17.
Sanctification Contemporary with Holy Ghost Baptism
We now come to a fourth main class of proofs of a second cleansing. Our purpose is to show that a second cleansing is accomplished at the time of Holy Ghost baptism and then to show that this baptism is subsequent to conversion. It is said of Cornelius before Peter came to him, that he was devout, feared God, gave much alms, prayed always (Acts 10:2), that his prayers were heard (v. 4), and that he was a just man (v. 22). There can be little doubt about his being a truly saved man. Some would object that he was justified, but not regenerated. To this it may be answered that the work of justification and regeneration are contemporary, and the baptism of the Spirit is subsequent. There is no proof that Cornelius’ experience was abnormal, and from the fruits of his life that are mentioned we have reason to believe he was born again. Not many who are regenerated have a better record than that given of Cornelius. Also many of the critics of a second cleansing, especially Pentecostal people and some others, find themselves in a corner in taking this position that Cornelius was simply justified, because a vital point in their doctrine requires that the Holy Spirit baptism be subsequent to regeneration. To allow that Cornelius was not regenerated before requires them to allow that he received the baptism at the time of conversion, which they do not care to admit and which would be contrary to Scripture, as already shown.
After Cornelius had received the Holy Spirit baptism through Peter’s ministry and Peter had returned to Jerusalem, the apostle was called in question for going to these Gentiles. In his defense he said, “God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” (Acts 15:8-9) That Peter is talking about what occurred when he was there is evident. He states that God gave them the Spirit and purified their hearts. This must be sanctification as a second cleansing. He said it was “even as he did unto us,” the apostles on Pentecost. Therefore the apostles must have received a heart-cleansing at Pentecost, which agrees with Jesus’ prayer for their sanctification in John 17:17.
We have already shown conclusively that sin exists in two forms; that one form is overcome in the first work of grace, while depravity still remains in the hearts of the regenerated. Native depravity cannot be regarded as something minor or unimportant; for both Scripture and human experience testify that sin in the heart is the main cause of sin in the life, hence salvation cannot be said to be complete until sin in both forms is overcome.
It is evident that sin in the life is not overcome by some indefinite process or by a gradual evolution in human character; for according to the teaching of Jesus it is accomplished only by a sudden revolution in the moral nature, a revolution produced by the Spirit of God in the new birth. And if sin in the life can be overcome only by a definite act of God’s grace, it is not to be expected that that sin which is basic in depraved human nature will gradually fade away and disappear. If it is to be overcome at all it will have to be done by the power of God, and there will also have to be a definite time when it is done. In this case also the remedy will have to be equal to the disease, and nothing short of a definite, sin-killing act of God’s grace can dispose of this inward malady.
Since it is a fact, as already shown, that native depravity does remain in the heart of the converted, a subsequent cleansing is necessary. There is no Scripture proof of any time or place where depravity is removed except at the time of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Since receiving Christ in the first work of grace has a negative phase (deliverance from the guilt and power of sins committed), as well as the introduction of a new life in Jesus—thus disposing of one form of sin—it is only reasonable to suppose that the personal coming of the Spirit to the individual believer will also have its negative result, disposing of the second form of sin, as a necessary preparation for the indwelling and special work of the Comforter.
The Scripture text already cited, Acts 15:8-9, identifies heart-cleansing with the baptism of the Spirit, hence the Spirit baptism provides a definite remedy for a very definite need. To this agrees also the words of Paul in Titus 3:5-6, where the apostle affirms that Christ “saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly.” Salvation is therefore twofold, because there is a twofold need, occasioned by the two forms of sin. It is not complete until the baptism of the Spirit is received. In Matthew 3:11-12, Jesus also associates a purging, destructive work with the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
This also agrees with the Old Testament types. The coming of the Holy Spirit is described as being an anointing. The anointing of Aaron and his sons for the priesthood was typical of this anointing of the Holy Ghost which prepares us for God’s service today. And it is remarkable that after the sin-offering was offered, the oil with which those ancient priests were anointed was mingled with the blood of a second offering from the altar and sprinkled upon them (Exodus 29:21-22), thus beautifully typifying a cleansing from depravity at the time of the Holy Ghost anointing. Also it is worthy of mention here that the coming of God’s presence always hallows (Leviticus 22:32; 1 Kings 9:3), but cleansing always precedes and prepares for God’s presence (Exodus 19:10-11; 29:1,21). Whether or not critics are pleased to allow that Romans 15:16 teaches it, yet the fact remains that we are “sanctified by the Holy Ghost.”
Many examples of the Holy Ghost baptism after conversion might be given. We have already shown that the apostles and Cornelius were first converted then received the Spirit. The Samaritans were converted under the ministry of Philip (Acts 8:8,12), and at least some days later received the Holy Ghost at the hands of Peter and John (vs. 15-16). The Ephesians were disciples and had believed (Acts 19:1-2), and when Paul came to them later they received the Holy Spirit (v. 6). Paul was converted on the road to Damascus and was there called to preach (Acts 26:18), prayed (Acts 9:11), was the chosen vessel (v. 15), and was addressed by Ananias as brother (v. 17), after which he received the Holy Spirit.
We have now given briefly a few of each of the four classes of proofs of a second cleansing in this chapter. In our next chapter we shall set forth one of a much different nature. This very variety of proofs, as has been mentioned, constitutes the strongest proof of any doctrine.
A Second Cleansing Foreshadowed in Old Testament Types
A type, in the correct theological use of the term, is a prophetic similitude or an acted prophecy. It must be given primarily for the purpose of definitely foreshadowing a particular fact that shall follow after, just as a spoken prophecy is a foretelling of a future event. A type is not merely a parallel that may be shown, nor an illustration that may be found of a present event in an event of the past. Paul refers to the foot-races of ancient Greece to illustrate the Christian’s race, but as that was not the purpose of those races, therefore they were not typical of the Christian’s race,
Those institutions given through Moses, such as the tabernacle, priesthood, offerings, and feasts, were given primarily for the purpose of pointing forward to the truths of Christianity. They were but another form of prophecy of Christ and His salvation. Of these institutions Paul says: “Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (Colossians 2:17); “Which was a figure for the time then present” (Hebrews 9:9); “The example and shadow of heavenly things” (Hebrews 8:5); “The figures of the true” (Hebrews 9:24); “A shadow of good things to come.” (Hebrews 10:1)
The Mosaic Tabernacle Typified a Second Cleansing
It is not unreasonable to believe that the work of complete salvation should be foreshadowed in Old Testament type. We have shown in the preceding chapter that it was typified in the anointing of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood. Our present purpose is to show that it was also typified in the tabernacle.
The tabernacle as the dwelling-place or house of God in that dispensation was typical of the church. Christ is “a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” (Hebrews 8:2) “The house of God… is the church of the living God.” (1 Timothy 3:15) Christ built His church, which is His house and of which He is the priest. That ancient house was a figure (Hebrews 9:9). Christ is over “his own house; whose house are we.” (Hebrews 3:6) This could refer to nothing else than the church. This agrees with Peter’s statement, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house.” (1 Peter 2:5) These texts show clearly that the tabernacle as a house was typical of the church. But as a means for a system of sacrifice and divine service it also typified the work of salvation, or the way by which the sinner comes to God. This is the more common interpretation and is well supported by many scriptures and expressions in the Bible. This is clearly proved in Hebrews 10:19-22. That those sacrifices were typical of Christ’s blood, and those ceremonial cleansings of our cleansing from sin, does not admit of question. In saying the tabernacle typified both the church and the work of salvation, we do not allow a multiple sense of Scripture, because as a dwelling-place it represented the one and as a means of service represented the other. And this agrees perfectly with the fact that salvation makes us members of God’s church. What a wonderful type! Only the mind of the Infinite could have produced it.
The tabernacle was divided into two rooms, called the holy place and the holiest place. At the entrance of each of these two places was a veil. Two altars were placed, one before each of these veils. Blood was sprinkled upon each of these altars. What could be more perfectly typified by these two rooms, two veils, two altars, two sprinklings of blood, than the fact that there are two cleansings in the work of one’s salvation! Outside the first veil was the brazen altar and the laver. On this altar the blood of the offerings for sin was sprinkled. This sprinkling is generally allowed to be typical of justification from committed sin (Hebrews 9:13-14). At the laver they washed before entering the house of God. This has been generally and rightly understood as being typical of regeneration (Titus 3:5). But the blood of sin-offerings for the priests was also to be sprinkled on the golden altar inside the first room, before the second veil. Of what was this typical? Christ’s blood was shed to cleanse from sin. If that blood typical of Christ’s blood when sprinkled on the brazen altar typified justification, what must the sprinkling of it on the golden altar typify but the second cleansing or the entire sanctification of the believer?
This is clearly taught also in Hebrews 10:19-22: “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Here the exhortation is to “brethren,” those already justified and regenerated, to go “into the holiest” from the holy place where they then were. They were to enter it “by the blood of Jesus,” by which believers have their hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience (justified at brazen altar), and their bodies washed with pure water (regenerated at the laver), which admitted to the first apartment, after which they are urged to go on into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. This clearly teaches that these altars, veils, rooms, etc., foreshadowed the way of salvation and that there is a double phase to salvation entered by a twofold cleansing by the blood. And this agrees perfectly with the idea that the tabernacle was a type of the church, for is it not a fact that the church contains those merely converted as well as those wholly sanctified? This is in perfect harmony with the sanctifying of the church in Ephesians 5:26. Thus we see that the two apartments in God’s ancient house have a counterpart in His spiritual house, the church.
Some have objected to this interpretation of the tabernacle as a type on the ground that according to Hebrews 9:24 the holiest is a type of heaven. We believe it can be shown that such an objection is ungrounded and that the objection itself is open to objection. If this second room typified heaven, then in Hebrews 10:19-22 we have an exhortation to the converted to enter heaven. Such an exhortation would be improper, for at best we can only be ready for heaven; actually entering is never voluntary on our part. God is responsible for our entering, and even if we chose, we could not voluntarily enter, not even by means of suicide. But that which the text exhorts brethren to enter is that which may be entered voluntarily, which is true of entire sanctification, but is not true of heaven.
Also it should be noted in regard to Hebrews 9:24 that Christ’s mediation before God for us is the point under discussion, rather than the place. It is a service that is here represented in type, rather than a place. As the typical service was in the presence of God, so is the true mediation in God’s presence, regardless of where God is. Just as the ancient priest once each year on the great day of atonement appeared before God in the holiest as mediator, so Christ appears before God in heaven to mediate for us. Careful study shows that the text under consideration has no bearing on the antitype of the holiest place.
We have now considered five distinct classes of proofs of a second cleansing:
- Two forms of sin, which we allowed was incomplete in itself.
- Sin in the regenerated.
- Sanctification for the converted.
- Sanctification by the Holy Ghost.
- Old Testament types.
To these may be added another line of argument which though not positive proof, yet is corroborative—that of experience. Experience is not a proper source of doctrine, but as a corroborative of Scripture teaching it is unanswerable. It is a fact that Christians generally have testified to the existence of native depravity after conversion. Also many of the most devout and learned have testified to a removal of that depravity after conversion, by a second cleansing. This cannot be gainsaid. It is true that some have noticed these things more than others in their experience, just as some notice a greater change in conversion than do others. This difference is due to the varying degrees of depravity in different persons. In view of these many proofs of several kinds, which as we have said constitute the best kind of proof, we confidently affirm a second cleansing.
We allow that there are difficulties in holding this doctrine as there are also in every other doctrine, but the least that can be said of it is that it is easier and more reasonable to hold it than to neglect or refuse to hold it, and we must do one or the other. The reason with some for weakness in holding the doctrine is not because the doctrine is not well supported or is unreasonable, but rather because of their lack of knowledge of the proofs and nature of sanctification.
Nature and Effects of Entire Sanctification
The work of entire sanctification, like other spiritual operations, is not accurately and fully definable. It does not follow, however, as some have erroneously supposed, that sanctification must therefore be nothing because incapable of logical definition. Regeneration is equally indefinable and might as reasonably be rejected on this ground as entire sanctification, but some would reject one for this cause and retain the other. Many things that limited human wisdom is unable to explain fully are commonly believed and experienced. An illustration of this is that mental operation called thought. We all believe in the reality of thought, but what it is and exactly how thinking is done is unknowable to us. The mind itself is a mystery. Yet we believe we have minds, and we use them constantly during waking hours. But though psychologists may tell us much concerning the phenomena of the mind, yet they cannot tell us many important facts that we wish to know about the mind itself. So likewise we may know phenomena resulting from entire sanctification, but cannot know fully what it is. Likewise we know only the phenomena resulting from native depravity, but are unable to tell fully and exactly what that depravity is. We also know by His works in nature that there is a personal God, but we are unable fully to define and to comprehend God Himself. We may say He is a spirit, but we are unable to know what is a spirit. All we can naturally know of God is His phenomena.
Some things can be known only by experience. A person born blind can have no comprehension of color, even though one may try earnestly to explain it to him. He has nothing in experience with which to compare it. So also a practical idea of the nature of entire sanctification is possible only to one who has the experience. Exactly so, one can know the nature of regeneration only by being converted. But while such knowledge is possible only to those having the experience in their own hearts, yet it is a fact that many who have experienced regeneration are unable to give the philosophy of the experience; so some may have experimental knowledge of sanctification and yet be unable to tell exactly what it includes. But, happily, it is unnecessary to understand fully and to be able to reason out the nature of Christian experience in order to possess the experience. One desiring to take a trolley-ride does not need to possess a technical knowledge of electricity nor does he need to be able to comprehend and explain the intricacies and processes by which the current from a trolley-wire propels the car. All he needs to know is how to get aboard the car, to pay his fare, and to get off at his destination. But how foolish he would be who would refuse to board the car on the ground that he did not understand the philosophy of electricity, and who would demand that the motorman explain it fully to him before he would get on! But those who reject sanctification on the ground that we do not understand its philosophy are, we think, as unreasonable. Is it not better to accept it because God offers it, even though we cannot understand some things concerning it?
The Philosophy of the Second Cleansing
In the very nature of the case it is impossible that a cleansing of the heart subsequent to justification could be a cleansing from those sins which are already forgiven. Therefore we believe it must be a cleansing from that depravity in the nature which, as we showed in a former chapter, exists in the regenerated. This cleansing we understand is really a restoration of that derangement of the moral nature which resulted from Adam’s sin and which is inherited by all his posterity. It is simply an undoing of the perversion of man’s nature. It should be understood that depravity is not a root, a stump, a germ, nor any other physical entity, but a change in man’s nature. The difference between a depraved person and Adam before the fall is like the difference between the lion and the lamb. The fact that the lion is ferocious and the lamb gentle is due to the very nature of them, and is not fully explainable.
This depravity is especially a derangement of two faculties—the affections and the will. It manifests itself in inordinate love for things—for the creature rather than the Creator; it causes one to love that which is harmful and sinful; it causes him to love sinful things and hate God and right. It weakens the will; even though the unconverted one controlled by depravity may desire to do good, he finds himself unable to do so. The effects of depravity are described by Paul in Romans 7:14-25. Depravity gives a tendency to sin by the exaggeration of temptations from the natural. The second cleansing by a restoration from depravity overcomes that tendency to sin. Through depravity those natural qualities and desires which God placed in man are perverted until they become sinful.
God created man with a natural pride which we know as self-respect, which causes one to seek to be agreeable and pleasing to his fellows. But depravity causes him to want to be not only well thought of, which is proper, but to want to be thought of as better than anyone else. This is selfish and therefore sinful pride and is condemned as sin in God’s Word.
God placed in man a sense of justice, or that which causes a natural anger, indignation, or displeasure at an injustice. This is that which God felt toward sinful Israel and which Jesus felt as mentioned on one occasion. It is that which every good man feels at the sight of oppression of the helpless by the strong. It is good that man has this feeling. It is fundamentally necessary to his moral nature. But depravity causes him not only to feel displeasure at what he does not approve, but also causes him to have a vindictive selfish anger or hatred that would lead him to do wrong himself by retaliating. Also, depravity turns natural approbativeness into sinful pride, jealousy, and envy; natural acquisitiveness and the disposition to provide for dependents is turned into covetousness, dishonesty, and theft; the physical appetites are perverted into inordinate lust; natural desire for pleasure is turned to revelry; and wholesome humor to foolishness and jesting.
Sanctification does not take away those qualities which properly belong to human nature, but it does restore them from that perverted condition. A wholly sanctified man will possess natural pride or self-respect, feel displeasure at injustice, have the disposition to be provident, have physical appetites, will desire pleasure, and have a sense of humor; but he will be saved from the perversion of these.
What Sanctification Does Not Do for Us
The failure to distinguish clearly between human nature and the depravity of that nature has led many to misunderstanding much as to what effects should result from the cleansing from that depravity in the work of entire sanctification. It has caused some to claim for sanctification that which it does not provide, and because some who sought the experience failed to obtain that which they had been told sanctification would do for them, they have often been led either to reject the doctrine and experience entirely or else to doubt their having the experience and, as a result, become greatly discouraged. Such unreasonable claims for the experience of sanctification are always harmful. The harmful effects may not be apparent at once; but possibly years after, one thus wrongly instructed may be led to doubt his experience or to reject sanctification.
Another common error of teachers of sanctification has been to minimize the work of conversion in order to magnify more that of the second cleansing. Still another error is in preaching what sanctification does in a particular life—to preach personal experience and imply that the effects must be the same in all lives. As already explained, some are more depraved than others, because of either inherited or acquired depravity, therefore there must be a difference in the effects of entire sanctification; for the effects of cleansing from depravity must, in the nature of the case, be just as varied as are the effects of the depravity. Likewise, because some do not notice the effects of depravity so much as do others, they do not notice the effects of cleansing from it so much as do others.
Briefly, it may be said that sanctification does not make us infallible, does not make absolutely perfect in all respects, does not save from the possibility of sinning, and does not destroy the human nature.
How Does a Sanctified Person Feel?
Physical appetites and desires still remain in the sanctified for the reason that they are a part of the human nature and depravity is no essential part of them; these were in Adam before he sinned. However, depravity commonly manifests itself through these physical desires, and sanctification does purify these desires in that sense; but the desire itself was given of God for a good purpose and is not to be despised. Some have supposed that sexual desire should not exist in the sanctified and have been troubled because it did exist in them. The sanctified person is still human; but this sexual desire is exalted from its abnormal, lustful condition to that in which man was created so far as the heart is concerned.
Another person is troubled because he fails clearly to distinguish between natural and sinful pride. Normal self-respect and the quality of approbativeness are natural to man, and one should not suppose these will be destroyed in sanctification. Undepraved human nature is good, and these qualities are given man for his good that he might be respectable and pleasing to others. It is that selfish, sinful desire to be regarded as better than anyone else that is destroyed in sanctification.
Others are troubled because of a failure to recognize the difference between a proper displeasure at an act of injustice and vindictive anger or hatred. This sense of justice is essential to moral character, and without it man would be unable to determine what is right conduct toward his neighbor. But that which enables him to recognize what is right conduct in himself or others must also cause him to recognize that which is wrong in others. A good man must be displeased at injustice, and he will have certain feelings in the matter. To illustrate: if you see a strong, rough man cruelly beating a little boy or a crippled person, you will probably feel something within you stirring, and it is proper that you should have such feelings. We do not say you should blindly follow such feelings, for they might lead you to a sinful act, though they are good in themselves, just as certain physical appetites are good in themselves, yet may lead to sin if not controlled. The sanctified man will have these natural feelings, but he does not have that perverted, abnormal, or augmented form of them which we know as hatred or vindictive anger. The sanctified person may have feelings of impatience, and these if not controlled may lead him to do that which is sinful in itself; however, the feelings themselves are not sinful nor a result of depravity, but may be traceable to qualities that are good in themselves. We are instructed in God’s Word to “add… patience.” (2 Peter 1:5-8) It is a result of Christian growth, as are virtue and knowledge. it may not be possible always to draw a fine line of distinction between the natural and the depraved in some of these things either in one’s own experience or in that of others, but the important thing is that we have the experience.
Christian Perfection and Adam’s Perfection Distinguished
As far as heart-purity is concerned, we understand that Christian perfection is identical with Adamic perfection; but in various other respects there is much difference. The fall into sin affected the race, not only morally, but also mentally and physically. Not until we are glorified in heaven will these effects of the fall (such as physical death) be overcome. Adam, we understand, had a body not incapable of injury, fatigue, or disorder, yet there is reason to believe it was sound, healthy, and sufficient to meet all the demands put upon it by man’s duties and needs. But the sanctified man, even though his body is healed by God’s power, yet, as in Paul’s case, his duties may cause extreme weariness, weakness, and suffering. In other words, man’s body has suffered as a result of the fall of the race into sin.
Likewise, it is reasonable to believe that Adam possessed an intellect, not perfect, but so balanced and sufficient as to meet his needs. But how inadequate are the intellectual faculties of man in his present condition! His perceptive faculties are impaired, his judgment is enfeebled, the memory fails to perform its work, and the imagination is weakened. It is hardly possible to think that God created man without the mental capacity to do properly the work he should do. Evidently the fall has affected man’s intellect. Though it is true that heart-purity and right living may by a course of long training overcome these physical and mental deficiencies in a small measure, yet it must be allowed that in these things Christian perfection is vastly below the Adamic perfection.
Also, it must be allowed that in many qualities which have to do with the moral there is a lack of balance through an under-development or an over-development of those brain cells which have to do with that faculty of man’s nature. To illustrate: if a person’s foreparents have been much given to foolishness and lightness, and if he himself has during many years freely given place to it, he will likely find after he is wholly sanctified that he has an undue tendency to the humorous and must watch continually lest it hinder his spiritual development. Heart-purity is not the remedy for his trouble. It is caused by an over-development of certain brain cells. Just as it has taken many years and possibly generations to effect this development, so it will likewise probably take years or generations of training in sobriety to overcome it.
Likewise, there may be a lack of balance developed in this way in approbativeness, the sense of justice, acquisitiveness, self-respect, pessimism, optimism, physical desires, etc. One may be fully sanctified in heart, yet the effects of depravity in the physical and mental may have to be overcome and struggled against throughout many years. This is why some persons have special trials in one line and others in another. But God’s grace is sufficient for these things. It is here that we need to “grow in grace,” (2 Peter 3:18) and to add the fruits of the Spirit. Some persons by careful spiritual living have done much to overcome these faults, as we commonly call them. We are aware of the fact that some enthusiasts for sanctification would try to have us believe that Christian perfection is almost absolute perfection; but we have tried to claim for it only that which is in harmony with the Bible, experience, and reason.
Get the Experience
It can scarcely be hoped that in this brief treatment of the difficult subject of sanctification every question has been dealt with that may have come to the reader’s mind, but it is believed that sufficient has been said to show that the blessed experience of heart-purity and Holy Spirit baptism is graciously provided for all God’s children.
Now the important question is, do you have the experience? “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” (Acts 19:2) This was Paul’s method of getting at the subject. This is the most practical and profitable thing in relation to the subject. If you get the Holy Spirit’s baptism, He will take care of the cleansing part of the experience. You do not need to be greatly concerned about that nor to understand all the mysteries and philosophy of it.
Sanctification Is Not by Growth
As a first step in showing how one may know one is sanctified, or how one may obtain sanctification, it is necessary to give proof that sanctification is a definite, instantaneous work and not a gradual growth. In preceding chapters the idea of a definite, instantaneous second cleansing has been assumed. We now endeavor to give reasons for holding that view. The very nature of the work of sanctification, as we have set it forth, is opposed to the idea of a gradual cleansing. The growth theory is more in harmony with the idea of sanctification of the life than of the heart, and is usually held by those who define sanctification as being merely a purifying of the life. We readily allow that the purifying of the life in the sense of growth in grace is a gradual process. But we also allow and hold that there is an instantaneous cleansing of the heart from depravity subsequent to regeneration.
A change of nature is more than a mere development of it. A lion may be tamed, but this does not change his nature. The sight or smell of blood may awaken all the ferocity of his nature. The sanctification under discussion is not a mere suppression, but an eradication of the depravity of man’s nature. It is accomplished by the blood of Christ as is regeneration, and regeneration is not a gradual growth. A definite work is implied in the cleansing or “purging” of John 15 and also in the typical entrance to the holiest place by the blood of Jesus as described in Hebrews 10:19-22. The Bible describes some as having been already sanctified. It is worthy of remark that those who hold the growth theory and confuse the cleansing of the heart with growth in grace never seem to get sanctified; and they cannot, because no man ever reached the limits of growth in grace. We do not say that God could not sanctify from depravity gradually; but it seems clear that such is not taught in the Scriptures, and we prefer teaching what is taught in God’s Word rather than what is not taught there.
Also it is a noteworthy fact that those who testify to having really attained to the experience say they obtained it as a definite, instantaneous work of God in the heart. The following statements are from able exponents of sanctification.
Inquiring (in 1761) how it was that in all these parts we had so few witnesses of full salvation, I constantly received one and the same answer: “We see now we sought by our works; we thought it was to come gradually; we never expected it to come in a moment, by simple faith, in the very same manner as we received justification.” What wonder is it that you have been fighting all these years as one that beateth the air?
[John Wesley; Wesley’s Works, Vol. 7, pp. 377]
You may obtain a growing victory over sin from the time you are justified. But this is not enough. The body of sin, the carnal mind, must be destroyed; the old man must be slain, or we cannot put on the new man, which is created after God (or which is the image of God) in righteousness and true holiness; and this is done in a moment. To talk of the work as being gradual would be nonsense, as much as if we talked of gradual justification.
[John Wesley, quoted in Journal of Hester Ann Rogers]
I have continually testified for these twenty-five years in private and public, that we are sanctified as well as justified by faith. And indeed the one of these truths does exceedingly illustrate the other. Exactly as we are justified by faith, so are we sanctified by faith.
[John Wesley; Wesley’s Works, Vol. 1, pp. 338]
We are to come to God for an instantaneous and complete purification from all sin, as for instantaneous pardon. In no part of the Scriptures are we directed to seek the remission of sins seriatim—one now, and another then, and so on. Neither in any part are directed to seek holiness by gradation. Neither a gradation pardon nor a gradation purification exists in the Bible. For as the work of cleansing and renewing the heart is the work of God, His almighty power can perform in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. And as it is this moment our duty to love God with all our heart, and we cannot do this till He cleanse our hearts, consequently, He is ready to do it this moment, because He wills that we should in this moment love Him…. This moment, therefore, we may be emptied of sin, filled with holiness, and become truly happy.
[Adam Clarke; Clarke’s Theology, pp. 208]
Sanctification is instantaneous, in opposition to the idea of growth gradually to maturity or ripeness.
[Randolph Sinks Foster; Nature and Blessedness of Christian Purity]
Conditions for Sanctification
That sanctification is obtainable in this life has been sufficiently shown in foregoing chapters. The importance of the experience has also been shown. How is the experience obtained? The conditions may be stated briefly as follows: The apostles received it by prayer (Acts 2). The Samaritans and Ephesians by prayer and laying on of hands (Acts 8:15,17; 19:6). It is received by faith (Acts 15:9; 26:18). In the very nature of the case, however, a dedication of ourselves is necessary to the cleansing and infilling of the Spirit as in the sanctification described in the Old Testament. This should not be understood to be a dying to sin and the world, for that is necessary to regeneration. It is rather a dedication to God for service, and is beautifully illustrated by the dedication of Solomon’s temple in ancient times to be a dwelling-place for God. When built it was in one sense already God’s; but after it was finished, Solomon dedicated it to God’s special service and invited Him in. Then it was filled with God’s glory (2 Chronicles 7:1). So when we dedicate ourselves to God’s service to be a temple of the Holy Ghost, He comes into our hearts in sanctifying power as an abiding Comforter.
We should not regard sanctification (as is too often done) as a wonderful experience that only a favored few may obtain, or that can be had only after long years of praying and struggling. It is to be received by faith in answer to prayer and is for everyone, even the weakest, of God’s children, and God wants all to have it. As Peter said in his sermon at Pentecost in telling the penitent Jews of the possibility of their receiving the Holy Ghost, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:39) If you are saved—or if, in other words, God has called you—then God has promised you the Holy Spirit baptism and a pure heart. “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13)
If you are saved and not yet sanctified, at once dedicate yourself wholly to God, invite God’s blessed Spirit to come in and abide, and as you ask believe with all your heart that He does come in, and the experience is yours. It is received by faith as is justification or any other thing through prayer.
The Knowledge of Sanctification
It is reasonable to believe that one may know when he receives the second cleansing as truly as he may know he is regenerated. But in what does that knowledge consist? It is certain that a spiritual work in the moral nature is not to be known by the physical senses. Some critics of the second cleansing would oppose it on such ground. But one might as reasonably reject all experimental religion on such a ground. A spiritual work must be spiritually known.
This is the way we know when we are regenerated. In the words of Paul, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” (Romans 8:16) There are two ways of knowing we are saved; first, by the witness of the Spirit in our hearts and, second, by the knowledge of the fact we have through noticing the phenomena in our lives as agreeing with the fruits which the Bible teaches should accompany the new birth. To illustrate: A man believes on Christ and at once notices that he possesses a love for God, the brethren, and even his enemies, such as he never had before. Also, he finds that the world no longer attracts him, but instead of finding pleasure in worldly things he now finds his “delight… in the law of the LORD.” (Psalm 1:2) So his own spirit reasons and witnesses that he has been converted. But the witness of God’s Spirit is not to be confused with this. It is a conviction that comes direct from God.
In some cases people have this and yet do not recognize it as being the Spirit’s witness. It does not normally consist in words. Spiritual people often receive a witness, sometimes that their prayer for physical healing has been heard and that the sick will be healed, sometimes that God would have them preach the gospel, sometimes that God would have them go to the foreign mission-field. The Spirit witnesses to the sinner that he is a sinner and lost. We commonly call this conviction of sin by the Spirit. He witnesses to the regenerated that they are a child of God. And, as in every other spiritual work, we understand that He witnesses as surely to entire sanctification. This is a fact of experience even if it is not stated in the Scriptures in so many words.
But as in regeneration, so in sanctification there is also the witness of our own spirits to the second cleansing. A great change is noticed to have taken place in the heart. Certain feelings impelling to evil are no longer felt. So one’s own spirit reasons and witnesses that he has been wholly sanctified.
But just as some may not clearly recognize the witness of the Spirit of God, so others may fail to discern clearly this witness of their own spirits to sanctification. And just as some may be confused and uncertain as to the work of regeneration, so others may be confused or uncertain for a time as to their being sanctified. But to reject a second cleansing because someone fails of certain proofs of it in his own experience would be as unreasonable as to reject regeneration because someone doubted his experience.
But someone may object that he did not notice any special change in his heart when he sought God for the second cleansing. This may be due to his not really having obtained the experience; but if he met the proper conditions, it is more probable that he failed to notice a very marked change for the same reason that some do not notice so great a change in their regeneration as do others who were more depraved than themselves or in whom depravity was more manifested. Some are more depraved than are others; and in others, though not so greatly depraved, yet the depravity is very definitely manifested in some particular respect such as in feelings of anger. Those of either of these classes may notice a very special change in regeneration and also in sanctification, but the person of naturally good moral character or one who has lived a moral life before conversion or who is of event temperament may notice comparatively little outward change either in regeneration or in entire sanctification. Yet the experience is none the less real to them. Such persons because they did not feel such a radical change in their conversion have been led to doubt their experience, and some who have not noticed so great a change in their hearts in sanctification as others testified to have doubted their being sanctified personally or have questioned the reality of the experience of those who testified to a special change. This is an unreasonable attitude to take.
The second work of grace in the heart is as definite and real as the first work, and one may have as definite knowledge that he has the experience.
The plain statements from God’s Word and the undeniable facts of Christian experience given so far are conclusive and unanswerable proof of a second work of grace. The argument may be summarized briefly as follows:
- The Holy Spirit baptism, in every instance described in the Bible, is always subsequent to conversion.
- Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, “Whom the world cannot receive.”
- Two forms of sin furnish a ground for two works of grace or a double cleansing.
- That depravity remains in the regenerated is certain from the Scriptures and also from the experience of Christians generally.
- Various texts of Scripture teach clearly that this remaining depravity is removed in a second cleansing that takes place at the time of the Holy Spirit baptism.
- A second work of grace is strikingly set forth in the Old Testament types.
- This second cleansing is a definite, instantaneous work, not a growth.
- This second work of grace is the completion of the work of salvation in the heart that is begun in conversion.
- God wills that all His children have this blessed experience.
- You should obtain the experience at once if you do not now possess it. And those who do possess it need not fear the attacks of critics of the second work, for it rests on the unshakable foundation of God’s eternal truth.