Back to the Basics: 6 THEORIES OF SANCTIFICATION

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ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION EXPLAINED
C. W. Ruth

No man can make an honest pretense to believing the Bible, and not believe in some sort of
sanctification. According to Cruden’s concordance, the words “sanctify,” “sanctified” and
“sanctification” may be found at least one hundred and sixty-four times in the Bible. So when one
declares he does not believe in sanctification, he simply exposes either his ignorance or his infidelity
concerning the Bible. In order to believe the Bible, we are bound to believe in some sort of
sanctification. Practically, there are but six theories regarding this experience.
FIRST THEORY
The first theory is that justification and sanctification are experienced simultaneously; that
whoever is justified is also sanctified. Those holding this theory may be heard to say they “got all
when they were converted.” But this theory is contrary to the Scriptures and universal experience.
Every command, exhortation, prayer, and promise in the Bible touching the subject of sanctification
is for Christians — never for sinners. If Christians are sanctified when justified, why should
sanctification be subsequently enjoined upon them? In writing to the Corinthian church (1 Cor.
3:1-3), the apostle addressed them as “brethren,” said they were “babes in Christ,” and declared he
had fed them “with milk.” A “babe in Christ” is just as certainly in Christ as an adult in Christ; there
must have been a spiritual birth — a spiritual being — or they could not have received spiritual food
and nourishment. But in verse three he says, plainly, “Ye are yet carnal,” which undeniably is
evidence that they were not yet wholly sanctified, though they were “in Christ.” In the first chapter
and fourth verse, he said, “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is
given you by Jesus Christ.” According to this they had “the grace of God given them by Jesus
Christ;” more, they had such measure of grace given them that the Apostle found it an occasion for
continuous thanksgiving. Still he declares they were “yet carnal.” Whoever heard a minister inviting
a sinner to seek sanctification? Not only is this theory contrary to all Scripture, but contrary to all
human experience. Every truly converted soul has felt the motions and stirrings of carnality in his
heart subsequent to pardon, manifesting itself in fear, anger, unbelief, pride, self-will, despondency,
etc., etc. We venture the assertion that no young convert has ever gone six months from the place
of his conversion without finding some of these things in his heart, which is in evidence that the
roots of carnality were still within. Again, no young convert has ever thought of testifying to
sanctification as an experience unless in a second blessing meeting. If space would permit we could
show that the apostles were not sanctified when they were justified, nor the Ephesians, nor the
Galatians, nor the Romans, nor the Samaritans, nor the Colossians, nor Abraham, nor David, nor
Isaiah, etc., but that all these obtained it as a second experience.
SECOND THEORY
The second theory is that sanctification is attained by a growth in grace. This theory is an
absurdity for the reason that we can never grow impurity out of the heart. If sanctification were by
growth, then time is a factor, for all will admit that it requires time to grow; if time is a factor, then
we may well raise the question, “How much time is required?” “How long must we grow in grace
before we are wholly sanctified?” Suppose one might be said to grow into sanctification in two years
(which would be a very short time as compared with many who have been known to he growing in
grace for the space of forty years and have not yet reached it); and now suppose that individual
should die at the expiration of one year, when it might be said he has come by the process of growth
just half way to sanctification; what about the matter? Would not the last half of sanctification, of
necessity, have to take place instantly? And if the last half of sanctification might be completed
instantly, why not the first half? To hope for sanctification by growth is hoping in a theory that can
never he realized. Sanctification is plainly a “divine act,” obtained instantaneously by an entire
consecration and faith. As well speak of growing into justification as growing into sanctification; as
in the former, so in the latter; it is something Jesus must do for us. “Wherefore Jesus also, that he
might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate” (Heb. 13:12).
THIRD THEORY
The third theory is that “sanctification takes place in death; that no one can be sanctified in this
life.” We answer death has no saving efficacy. If death could deliver a Christian from some sin, why
might it not deliver a sinner from all sin? Then there would be no need of a Savior or of the cleansing
blood, and death would be a savior. Satan is the direct cause of sin and sin is the cause of death; this
would make death Satan’s grandchild. One could hardly hope for deliverance from sin from this
source. While doubtless some persons have received the grace of sanctification on their deathbed,
it was evidently by the cleansing blood of Jesus and not by death. If the blood of Jesus can cleanse
us from all sin when dying, why might it not cleanse us from all sin while in life? Has the blood of
Jesus more cleansing power when a man is dying than when he is living? Certainly not. Not a single
passage of scripture can be cited that gives us promise of salvation or cleansing at the time of
dissolution. The Epistle of Jude was written “To them that are sanctified” (Jude 1:1). If they were
not sanctified until death, this epistle must have been written to them after they were dead, for it was
written after they were sanctified. But this verse says, they were “sanctified by God the Father;” not
by death.
FOURTH THEORY
The fourth theory is that sanctification is a sort of postmortem affair, and takes place after death,
in purgatory. While the priest may absolve the sinner from his guilt, it is necessary that he should
nevertheless pass through purgatorial fires in order to be thoroughly refined and freed from sin. But
we insist that this is sheer nonsense — that the Bible makes no mention of a purgatory, but rather
teaches that as death leaves us the judgment will find us. It has been observed that even they who
advocate this theory seem to believe that the time their dupes should spend in purgatory might be
determined by the size of the purse of the deceased. If they or their friends have plenty money the
priest will engage to pray them out speedily; but where the necessary fee is not forthcoming, the
deceased are left to sweat it through purgatory as best they may. How any sensible person could
accept such a delusion is indeed a mystery. Since Jesus has given definite promise concerning “every
branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it” (John 15:2), I prefer to trust Him for the purging, rather than
humanly invented purgatorial fires.
FIFTH THEORY
The fifth theory is the Calvinistic, Keswickian Antinomian theory of repression and imputed
holiness as opposed to the Wesleyan theory of eradication of inbred sin and imparted holiness. Says
one of their writers, “He who is our Great High Priest before God is pure, without sin. God sees Him
as such, and He stands for us who are His people, and we are accepted in Him. His holiness is ours
by imputation. Standing in Him we are in the sight of God, holy as Christ is holy, and pure as Christ
is pure. God looks at our representative, and He sees us in Him. We are complete in Him who is our
spotless and glorious Head.” According to this theory the individual in reality can never become
holy; that while he within himself is not holy, Christ’s holiness is imputed to him, and for His sake
the individual is accounted holy. This theory clearly makes void such passages as I John 1:7. “The
blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin,” etc. According to this theory Satan has
despoiled the holiness and image of God in man and Christ cannot restore it. What folly. “Blessed
are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
THE SIXTH THEORY
The sixth theory is, that sanctification is an experience subsequent to regeneration, conditioned
upon entire consecration and faith, the privilege of every believer, to be experienced and enjoyed in
this life. That by the baptism with the Holy Ghost inbred sin is destroyed and the heart perfected in
love. The people holding this theory are the only people who, personally, have any experience or
testimony to sanctification. These believe that sin has never gone so deep into the soul, but that the
blood of Jesus can go deeper. “That where sin abounded grace did much more abound.” Jesus
believed sanctification a divine act, for He prayed the Father to sanctify the disciples, John 17:17.
Indeed, the Trinity enters into our sanctification. God the father wills our sanctification, I Thess. 4:3.
In order to provide our sanctification Jesus suffered without the gate, Heb. 13:12. And the Holy
Ghost witnesses to our sanctification, Heb. 10:14,15. It is said of Bible saints, they were “sanctified
by God the Father,” Jude 1:1; also that Jesus sanctifies, Eph. 5:25-27; and of the offering up of the
Gentiles it was said they were “sanctified by the Holy Ghost,” Rom. 15:16. In Acts 26:18 we find
that sanctification is obtained by faith. Seeing it is a work that God must do for us, we need not wait
for growth, death or purgatory, but may by faith enter this blessed experience the instant the
consecration is entire and complete. While there is a gradual approach to the experience from the
human side, the divine work is instantaneous. Hallelujah!
*************************************

11 Comments

  • Troy Day
    Reply March 12, 2018

    Troy Day

    The Apostolic Faith newspaper is MORE than CLEAR on this:

    THE APOSTOLIC FAITH
    Vol. I. No. 2 Los Angeles, Cal., October, 1906
    The Pentecostal Baptism Restored

    The Promised Latter Rain Now Being Poured out on God’s Humble People.

    He has since been in evangelistic work over the United States, seeing multitudes saved, sanctified and healed.

    FIRE STILL FALLING: We have made no record of souls saved, sanctified and baptized with the Holy Ghost, but a brother said last week he counted about fifty

    – Since that he has been sanctified and anointed
    – sixty-five souls received the baptism with the Holy Ghost, thirty were sanctified and nineteen converted
    – …is now saved, sanctified and baptized with the Holy Ghost
    – He was sanctified about four years ago, and is now conducting Pentecostal meetings in the People’s church in Los Angeles.
    – SISTER HUTCHINS’ TESTIMONY: on the 28th of July, 1903, the Lord sanctified me. Before He sanctified me, He asked me if I would go to Africa. I promised Him I would.
    – The Lord reclaimed my husband and sanctified him wholly
    – Now she is nineteen years of age, is saved, sanctified and baptized with the Holy Ghost
    – I am saved, sanctified and baptized with the Holy Ghost and have the Bible evidence
    – since Bro. Seymour came to Los Angeles, there have been more souls converted and sanctified
    – One saved man was sanctified in the afternoon meeting and in the evening meeting received the baptism with the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues and magnified God.

    Jesus would be ashamed to present you before the Father if you were not sanctified

    Quoted freely from: http://www.azusabooks.org/af/LA02.shtml#polish

    Oh HOLY GOD I’m gonna stop here – over 29 mentions of entire sanctification in the 2nd issue alone. Hundreds if not thousands of mentions of entire sanctification in all publications of the Azusa Mission. This is what the first, real and true Pentecostals believed. Good luck with being a Pentecostal without believing what they believed.

  • Joseph D. Absher
    Reply March 12, 2018

    Joseph D. Absher

    Thank you. Seems plain enough. Surrender to God and consecration to do his will. The blood of Jesus cleanses a man’s heart and soul and mind and heals his passions so that loving the Lord our God with all the heart and mind and strength and Loving our neighbor is the ultimate test and boundry for the child of God. A thorough repentance and watchfulness unto prayer is enjoined.

  • Troy Day
    Reply March 12, 2018

    Troy Day

    Sanctification is plainly a “divine act,” obtained instantaneously by an entire consecration and faith. As well speak of growing into justification as growing into sanctification; as in the former, so in the latter; it is something Jesus must do for us. “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate” (Heb. 13:12).

  • Joseph D. Absher
    Reply March 12, 2018

    Joseph D. Absher

    Letting go of this old world and laying ahold of the promise of heaven. Namely the person and grace of Jesus Christ.

  • Troy Day
    Reply March 12, 2018

    Troy Day

    Cant do it on your own? Jesus can help

  • Joseph D. Absher
    Reply March 12, 2018

    Joseph D. Absher

    “With shouts of GRACE!”

  • Troy Day
    Reply March 12, 2018

    Troy Day

    In order to provide our sanctification Jesus suffered without the gate, Heb. 13:12. And the Holy
    Ghost witnesses to our sanctification, Heb. 10:14,15. It is said of Bible saints, they were “sanctified
    by God the Father,” Jude 1:1; also that Jesus sanctifies, Eph. 5:25-27; and of the offering up of the
    Gentiles it was said they were “sanctified by the Holy Ghost,” Rom. 15:16. In Acts 26:18 we find
    that sanctification is obtained by faith. Seeing it is a work that God must do for us, we need not wait
    for growth, death or purgatory, but may by faith enter this blessed experience the instant the
    consecration is entire and complete. While there is a gradual approach to the experience from the
    human side, the divine work is instantaneous. Hallelujah!

    • Robbie Asbury
      Reply March 15, 2018

      Robbie Asbury

      can you help me better understsnd the gradual approach from human side vs. instantaneous divine side? ive always thought of it like this…when I got the Holy Ghost it was like I got my foot in the door so to speak….but it would be a gradual process of God doing a work in me until I one day am with Him.? is this correct way to think? and im uncertain how to properly explain the divine side or when this occurs

  • Joseph D. Absher
    Reply March 12, 2018

    Joseph D. Absher

    He keeps us by HIS mighty power. Sometimes a little joy sometimes a little a comfort or a hot verse but always his promise. Lo I am with you always…

  • Troy Day
    Reply March 12, 2018

    Troy Day

    The Biblical Basis for Entire Sanctification Melvin Harter

    “Sanctify: 1. To make sacred or holy; to set apart to a holy of religious use; to consecrate by appropriate rites; to hallow. 2. To make free from sin; to cleanse from moral corruption and pollution; to purify.”

    “Sanctification: The act of making holy; the state of being sanctified or made holy. Theologically – The act of God’s grace by which the affections of men are purified or alienated from sin and the world, and exalted to a supreme love of God. Also the state of being thus purified or sanctified.” – Webster’s Dictionary.

    Sanctify yourselves Lev. 20:7
    Sanctify: keep from flesh Num. 11:18
    Sanctify yourselves Josh. 3:5
    I sanctify myself (Jesus) John 17:19
    Sanctify them (the Apostles) John 17:17
    Sanctify: cleanse the Church Eph. 5:25, 27
    Sanctify: purge conscience Heb. 19:13, 14
    Purge, sanctify 2 Tim. 2:21
    Sanctify, wash Ex. 19:10
    The priests cleansed the inner house/ type of heart purity 2 Chron. 29:15-19
    Holy Ghost brings purity Acts 15:8, 9
    Heart circumcision Deut. 30:6
    God of peace sanctify 1 Thes. 5:23
    He that sanctifies Heb. 2:11
    Jesus suffered to sanctify Heb. 13:12
    By God the Father Jude 1
    By the Holy Ghost Rom. 15:16
    Through the Spirit 2 Thes. 2:13
    God wills sanctification 1 Thes. 4:3
    According to His will Heb. 10:9, 10
    By faith in Jesus Acts 26:18
    Holy Ghost a witness Heb. 10:15
    Christ our sanctification` 1 Cor. 1:30
    God commands His sanctified ones Isa. 13:3

  • Troy Day
    Reply March 13, 2018

    Troy Day

    Dan Irving Joseph Kidwell I think Dr. Larry Martin from our group has written a great deal on the Azusa history and factors that promoted the revival. We will do our best to ask him to provide a list of his publications and try to offer them to the group for further consideration and discussion

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