Summary: Entire Sanctification & its attributes.
"How Do I Know that I am Sanctified?"
(1 Thess. 5:23-24 & 1 Thess. 4:7)
Did you know that the author of Amazing Grace (John Newton), prior to his conversion, years as a pastor and theologian had sunk very low in his life. Early on in his life, Mr. Newton stole away on a ship, where he was found and sold to a black woman in Africa as her slave. He sank so low that he fed himself from the crumbs from this woman’s table and from digging up wild yams in the night hours. His clothing was reduced to a single shirt which he would wash in the ocean.
After years in slavery upon the Dark Continent, Newton came across a Christian mission station, where he came under the mighty power of God. After giving his life to the Lord, John Newton became a captain on a ship; then, the Lord called him to preach and he became a minister.
Also, Newton became a hymn writer; he authored well known hymns like: Safely through Another Week, Come, My Soul, Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken, How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds & One There is Above All Others, to mention a few.
In the Church in London where Newton labored for years as pastor, you can find the epitaph (that he wrote himself) - "Sacred to the memory of John Newton, once a libertine and blasphemer and slave of slaves in Africa; but, renewed, purified, pardoned and appointed to preach the Gospel which he had labored to destroy!"
Take notice that John Newton wrote his own words for his own tombstone. On it, he focused upon what God had done in his life; and, in those words Newton confidently establishes the fact that God had "purified" him!
So, how can one really know that God has, in fact, entirely sanctified and cleansed your heart (sanctification vs. entire sanctification)? Let me reassure you that you can know for sure that God has baptized you with His Spirit, or entirely sanctified you! While there really isn’t any ’test’ you can take to prove this, these questions I wish to pose to you may help:
I. "Have I made a total consecration to Christ?"
When you ask this question, amend the question this way: "Can I identify a moment in time that I can easily recall when and where I made a complete consecration of my all to Jesus?" Is there a time when you decided to submit to the Lord’s will in every area of your life? Perhaps this was a "big event," or it could have been the "final straw!"
A. The BIG EVENT - Consecration.
This moment is a memorable moment to those who are truly sanctified! You may remember that (before you were sanctified wholly) that you resisted and struggled against the Lord for many years; you resisted His lordship in one or more areas of your life. You lived in "part-time" victory and you sensed little to no power from God in your life. Finally, sick and tired of your own repeated uncooperative spirit, you surrendered everything to Christ! It may have taken place at an altar in a Church; maybe it took place in a certain revival or camp meeting. Maybe it took place at your bedside; maybe behind the wheel of your car or under a tree somewhere. But, you remember as if it took place yesterday! You "died out" to self! You made a total surrender to Christ! You asked Him to become the absolute Master of all your life! The date and time are fixed firmly into your heart and mind, that moment you made that final abandonment to God’s will! There was such joy and relief! This became a monumental event in your spiritual walk. So, only one question remains: Have you experienced a "BIG EVENT" consecration like this?!
B. The FINAL STRAW.
Then again, maybe you did not have such a dramatic event of consecration. Perhaps the total surrender was not as dramatic for you. Perhaps (for you), the final surrender came after many years of "walking in the light." Sometimes you resisted the Lord’s claims upon you, but more often you obeyed Him. One by one you yielded to God particular attitudes, thoughts or practices. Finally (and this is crucial), in your growth in grace, you came down to a "FINAL STRAW" area of commitment! You have been living with a heart and life that was willing to commit to the Lord…except one area in your life; you just could not let go. You could hear God saying: "Yet, one thing you lack." Finally, you determined that even this area would be His! With this final area in His hands, God now had all of you! It was the "FINAL STRAW!" Can you trace just such a story like this from your experience? REMEMBER: Though there was a process through grace that maybe some (maybe you) have come through, there still came (or must come) a moment where you finally commit your all and all to Christ!