In my own experience, the spiritual struggle over sanctification was seated in eradication. I
knew I was saved. I was consecrated, and I longed for a life of Christian service. I know now I was wrong in my approach; but as I examined my own life, and as I observed the lives of other ”self-professed” sanctified folks, I doubted eradication.
Having sought the counsel of several whom I trusted, I was more confused than ever. I read
widely on sanctification but found very little on eradication. What I did find was wrapped in such folds of “theological jargon” that I found difficulty in applying it to my life.
Although I could not testify to “complete cleansing,” I found less satisfaction in alternative
doctrines; their fallacies were glaring.
Over the period of a year I wrestled with this problem until finally I fell before God
praying, “Lord, there must be such a thing as heart cleansing. There is no other answer to the problem of sin. I can’t understand how it works, but I’m ready; sanctify me now.” I had many times gone through my consecration, but I had tried to find “rest” in a Spirit-filled life without eradication. But on that day when I cried, “Cleanse me now,” the Lord wrought a change in my heart that has been reflected in my spirit and attitude from then till now.
At the time I was sanctified, I squelched an intellectual curiosity about eradication, and
was reconciled to living my life, never understanding it. However, when my heart was right, I soon ”thought my way clear” on “cleansing.” It came in these four steps.
- I determined to find an answer to the question: “What is carnality?”
Carnality is not in your physical — the flesh. If so, you would be less sinful with your leg
amputated, and you would be wholly pure when your body was cremated. Carnality has nothing to do with your humanity. It is a soul condition which affects your motives, attitudes, and affections. It
is like a “spot on the lungs” or an “ulcer in the stomach.” As a condition it may be removed, but when the right causes are present the condition may return.
Before I was sanctified, I tried to make myself believe that it would be impossible to sin if
carnality were removed. This fallacy is evident. It is no more reasonable to believe this than to believe that, once cured of a disease, we have an eternal security against its return. Pneumonia will return the second or third time if we allow our physical condition to “run down” and then expose ourselves to the proper germs.
Richard Taylor says, “Eradication does not always mean a tone of voice, or facial
expression. But the delinquency is not due to a lack of Christlikeness in spirit or motive but a lack of Christlikeness in understanding and emotional balance. The carnal nature is simply a bloated self, a self nature that has become enlarged and distorted, an enlarged sense of one’s importance, a desire to have self honored, a hypersensitiveness to injuries, a tendency to magnify the faults of others, self-willed.”
In brief, carnality is unsanctified self: self-love, self-seeking, and self-will.
- The second step in “thinking through” eradication is: “Is God able to cleanse from all
Calvinism says that Christ can save from the result of sin but not from sin. If the sinner sins,
he is damned; if the Christian sins, he is taken to heaven. This unmistakably limits the power of God. If an omnipotent God can forgive sins, He can cleanse sin.
Our same Calvinistic brethren say that we must sin every day in thought, word, and deed.
This again limits God’s power. If He can save us from the grosser sins, then He can save us from all sin. Only the most prejudiced trend of thought will say that a God who can create a human soul does not have the power to cleanse that same soul from the sin in which it has become degraded.
- Next: “Is eradication scriptural?”
Here there is no stronger word than God’s Word.
Romans 8:7-8 — “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the
law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Since the carnal mind is enmity against the law of God, and since the law of God is “love,”
then to harmonize the soul with the law of love, carnality must be eradicated. Love cannot be legislated. It must come from the heart. Therefore, divine love must come from a pure heart.
Acts 15:8-9 — “And 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.”
In these two verses Peter concludes that the cleansing by the Holy Spirit may be
universally appropriated, no one being excepted.
Other fortifying scriptures are: Matthew 3:11-12; James 4:8; Romans 6:1-2; Romans
8:1-13; I John 1:9.
- The last step in “thinking through” on eradication is: “Determine not to judge the doctrine
by the lives of people.”
I know many whom I believe consistently live the sanctified life, but every time I’ve set my
eyes upon people, I’ve been disappointed. However, if every person professing sanctification were a hypocrite and were finally cast into hell, it would not change God’s Word one iota. Christian perfection is not an ideal. It is the normal stratum of victorious experience, attainable and livable now. But don’t be tricked by Satan into watching the fallacies of others.
In summary, I thought my way clear on eradication by these four steps:
- What is carnality?
- Is God able to cleanse the heart?
- Is eradication scriptural?
- Determine not to judge the doctrine by the lives of people.
Not only will sanctification cleanse the heart, but it will give spiritual power to your life.
Salvation is attractive. People may be condemned for their sins in your presence; but if you live the sanctified life, they’ll say, “If ever I get religion I want it just like So-and-so.”
I have a friend who held a revival in an isolated community in Texas many years ago. An
old fellow affectionately known as Uncle Pink arranged for the meeting, which was held in a tabernacle built for the purpose. There was no music and none of the advertising we feel necessary for a revival. But at the end of the five-day meeting (which did not include a Sunday) one hundred and eighty-five persons had knelt at the improvised altar.
Checking into the situation, my friend found that for twenty years Uncle Pink had lived a
good sanctified life in that community. He swapped horses and exchanged work with all the men of the neighborhood until they all knew him intimately. When he was ready for the revival meeting, they helped him build the tabernacle and then they all came to the meeting praying, “Lord, give me what Uncle Pink’s got.”
When the Lord sanctifies, He cleanses the heart and gives a power in your life that is an
attraction to the cause of Christ…
- Then we must have “plain determination.” When I attended elementary school, they had
us read about Theodore Roosevelt as an example in perseverance. Born frail, he could never play
with the bigger boys. They always taunted him, “Run on, Skinny; you’ll get hurt.” Finally he took enough and demanded that his father help him build a body. The wealthy parents outfitted the youth with a gym, a teacher, and the necessary equipment. And young Roosevelt started out to build himself a body. You know the rest of the story. He became a ranger on the Western plains, head of the “Rough Riders” during the Spanish American War, a president of the United States, and one of the greatest big-game hunters the world has known — all because of determination.
One night during the war, I was riding in the observation car on a train between New York
and Chicago. The man in the chair adjoining mine arose, leaving a magazine, which I picked up and opened at random. I’m sure I’ll never forget the true story that I read, written by an army doctor; here it is in essence.
During the war on a certain day when fighting was extraordinarily hard, the medical corps
officer saw it was useless trying to attend each casualty. Finally he gave this order, “Men, you can’t bring in everyone. Use your own judgment and help those who have a chance to live.”
Two attendants coming across a fox-hole saw a nineteen-year-old boy badly shot and
nearly dead. They said to each other, “He doesn’t have a chance to live. We’ll leave him and go after someone else.” Turning their backs on the dying boy, they started to leave. But even though the boy was more dead than alive he heard their conversation. Mustering all the power he could into his lips, throat, and vocal chords, he raised his head slightly and screamed, “I’m not going to die. I’m going to live. Won’t you come back and help me?” Turning back, the men with the stretcher looked again on the helpless youth. “He wouldn’t live until we got him to first aid,” they said. ”We’ve got to leave him. It’s orders.” Once more they turned to go, and again the lad screamed. As they looked on him the third time one said, “After all, it’s his last request. I guess if we were in his place we’d want this done for us.” So, placing his mangled form on the stretcher, they started for the first-aid station. As they walked through the entrance, the boy was still alive. Looking up into the doctor’s face, he blurted, “I’m not going to die. I’m going to live, and I’m going back to finish this war.” The doctor, who authored the article, confessed that after the boy went by he shook his head and said inwardly, “He doesn’t have a chance in a thousand.”
The youngster had so much spunk that they gave him a shot in the arm and a nurse began
cleaning the wounds. To shorten the story: at the end of three months the boy walked out of an army hospital under his own power, with the aid of a pair of crutches. The physician closed the very dramatic article by saying, “There is only one thing that saved that boy’s life, and that was pure determination.”
Closing the magazine, I tossed it back into the chair, and bowed my head while I prayed a
prayer many miles long that night as we sped across the rails. “O Lord, help me to have determination; determination to resist sin, to resist temptation, to resist those things which would drag me down in my Christian experience. Help me to have determination to keep my eyes off people and situations, and to keep them upon Christ.”
Our only hope to keep sanctified is to grow in grace, be sincere, follow God’s will, and
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Source: “What Is Sanctification” by Leslie Parrott
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HOW THEY ENTERED CANAAN (A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts) Compiled by Duane V. Maxey
Vol. I — Named Accounts