Summary: Shares the process of sanctification
November 14, 2008
“Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. “ 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
A man once bought a home with a tree in the backyard. It was winter, and nothing marked this tree as different from any other tree. When spring came, the tree grew leaves and tiny pink buds. "How wonderful," thought the man, "A flower tree! I will enjoy its beauty all summer." But before he had time to enjoy the flowers, the wind began to blow and soon all the petals were blown in the yard. "What a mess," he thought. "This tree isn’t any use after all." The summer passed, and one day the man noticed the tree was full of green fruit the size of large nuts. He picked one and took a bite. "Bleagh!" he cried and threw it to the ground. "What a horrible taste! This tree is worthless. Its flowers are so fragile the wind blows them away, and its fruit is terrible and bitter. When winter comes, I’m cutting it down. But the tree took no notice of the man and continued to draw water from the ground and warmth from the sun and in late fall produced crisp red apples.
Some of us see Christians with their early blossoms of happiness and think they should be that way forever. Or we see bitterness in their lives, and wonder if they are even saved. We’re sure they will never bear the better fruit of joy. Could it be that we forget some of the best fruit ripens late?
I love our Scripture because it clearly tells us what God’s will is. We don’t have to guess. We don’t have to wonder. We don’t have to read between the lines. The Scripture comes out boldly and clearly and says:
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified” 1 Thessalonians 4:3
But what does that mean? How does that happen? What is this experience? First, I think we need to understand the word. The dictionary says:
“To sanctify is literally “to set apart for special use or purpose,” figuratively “to make holy or sacred,” and etymologically from the Latin verb sanctificare which in turn is from sanctus “holy” and facere “to make.”
In other words, sanctification is to make holy. Listen to what our Nazarene Manual says about it.
X. Entire Sanctification
13. We believe that entire sanctification is that act of God, subsequent to regeneration, by which believers are made free from original sin, or depravity, and brought into a state of entire devotement to God, and the holy obedience of love made perfect. It is wrought by the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and comprehends in one experience the cleansing of the heart from sin and the abiding, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, empowering the believer for life and service. Entire sanctification is provided by the blood of Jesus, is wrought instantaneously by faith, preceded by entire consecration;
and to this work and state of grace the Holy Spirit bears witness.
This experience is also known by various terms representing its different phases, such as “Christian perfection,” “perfect love,” “heart purity,” “the baptism with the Holy Spirit,” “the fullness of the blessing,” and “Christian holiness.”
14. We believe that there is a marked distinction between a pure heart and a mature character. The former is obtained in an instant, the result of entire sanctification; the latter is the result of growth in grace. We believe that the grace of entire sanctification includes the impulse to grow in grace. However, this impulse must be consciously nurtured, and careful attention given to the requisites and processes of spiritual development and improvement in Christlikeness of character and personality. Without such purposeful endeavor, one’s witness may be impaired and the grace itself frustrated and ultimately lost. (2005-2009 Manual of the Church of the Nazarene)