QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:

Holiness

Where did the concept or idea of holiness begin?

Eph. 1:4 declares, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (italics mine). It has always been the plan of God for men to be holy.

Speaking of the second work of grace, why can't a person "get it all at once"?

The limitation is not with God. It is with man. To be saved, we must confess, repent, and believe God to forgive us of our sins. To be sanctified, we must consecrate ourselves to God, and believe Him for the cleansing of our hearts. This consecration presupposes that we already have repented, for we are giving our redeemed selves to God as a living sacrifice. Briefly, two distinct things happen in these two experiences. In salvation we are forgiven of sins, and in sanctification we are cleansed from sin.

What is the difference between sanctification and the baptism with the Holy Spirit?

Entire sanctification and the baptism with the Holy Spirit are not different. They describe two aspects of the same experience. Jesus prayed in John 17 that the disciples be “sanctified.” This prayer was answered in Acts 2 when they were “filled with the Holy Ghost.” Acts 15:8-9 says, “And God . . . bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost . . . purifying their hearts.” Their hearts were purified (or sanctified) at the same time that the Holy Ghost came in.

What must a person do to be sanctified?

1. There must be a conscious sense of the need for such an experience. This comes through reading the Word, hearing holiness preaching, listening to the testimonies of sanctified persons, reading holiness books, and becoming aware of one’s own spiritual lack.
2. There must be a confession of the need (Isa. 6:5).
3. There must be a complete consecration of the life to Christ (Rom. 12:1).
4. There must be a claiming of the promises of God’s Word (I Thess. 5:24; I John 1:7).

What is the evidence that a person is filled with the Spirit?

The evidence is not necessarily some particular gift of the Spirit (I Cor. 13:1-3). The evidence that a person is filled with the Spirit is twofold: (1) he has power to witness (Acts 1:8); and (2) he produces the fruit of the Spirit in his life: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (Gal. 5:22-23). These are the only scriptural tests as to whether or not a person is filled with the Spirit.

How can a person distinguish between carnality and humanity?

II Cor. 4:7 says, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels.” It is a glorious treasure, this precious possession of holiness, but it is still subject to the limitations of the human body that is its vessel. Paul makes a practical distinction in the eighth and ninth verses: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” The sanctified person will still be troubled, perplexed, persecuted, and at times cast down, but this is not carnality; it is normal reaction of the earthen vessel that holds our sacred treasure. The basic difference between humanity and carnality is that our humanity is ruled by physical and mental causes, whereas carnality stems from unsanctified selfishness and sin.

Will a Christian person be saved who died never having had light on some matters (for instance, on sanctification), but was a faithful Christian otherwise?

Yes. We are judged according to our willingness to obey God in what we know, and are not responsible for any light that we do not have. However, a word of warning is in order: We are responsible for all the light we have. It’s not the things we don’t know that matter; it’s what we do know.

Why two works of grace?

There are two works of grace because there are two basic needs in the human heart. There are two types of sin to be dealt with, the nature of sin with which we are born (Ps. 51:50), and the acts of sin which we commit. When we are saved, the sins we’ve committed are forgiven (I John 1:9); when we are sanctified, our sin nature is purged (I John 1:7). Toplady wrote in “Rock of Ages”: “Be of sin the double cure, save from wrath and make me pure”

Does a person have to understand sanctification fully in order to be sanctified?

No! Not any more than you have to understand salvation completely to be saved. None of us will ever fully understand, but we accept by faith. A perfect understanding is not required, but rather a complete willingness to obey. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit is given by God to “them that obey him” (Acts 5:32). You will better understand sanctification after you receive it.

Were the disciples saved before Pentecost?

Yes! (1) their names were written in heaven (Luke 10:20). (2) They were not of the world, even as Christ was not of the world (John 17:14, 16). (3) Jesus called them “not servants … but . .. friends” (John 15:15).

After a seeker has done all he knows to do to be sanctified and is still not satisfied, what else is there to do?

Let God search the heart to see that the consecration is complete — that nothing is held back from the Lord. When one is sure that all is on the altar, then he can trust God’s promise that He will perform the work. It is that final step of faith that brings victory.

What is the difference between surrender and consecration?

In the spiritual realm, surrender means saying to God, “I will no more rebel against You and Your will. I give up. You shall have Your way.” To consecrate is deeper. It is saying, “Lord, I love You so much that I dedicate my life completely to You to be used in any way You will.” Surrender is giving up our rebellion; consecration is giving over our all to Him because we love Him.

Can sin reenter once it has been destroyed?

Yes. When Adam and Eve were created, they had no sin in their hearts. However, by disobedience to God, sin entered into the human family. Even though our hearts may once have been cleansed from sin, disobedience brings sin back into the heart.

How long should a person wait after conversion until he seeks to be sanctified?

There is no need to wait! The sooner a person gets sanctified, the better equipped he will be to face temptation. I have known many to get sanctified in the very next service after they were converted.