SANCTIFICATION IS NOT GROWTH IN GRACE Here is where multiplied thousands fall into error. They have confounded two separate and distinct things. They have, in insisting that holiness and growth in grace were the same, made the work of man and the work of God identical. It is a very grave error. It is more than grave — it is calamitous. So long as the Church supposes that sanctification is a gradual growth in grace, so long will God’s people be kept out of the blessing of a holy heart.
How Satan smiles when he sees the Church seeking holiness in a direction and on a plane where it can never be found! He is not the least alarmed so long as God’s people look to themselves or to time or to growth, or to any thing but the blood of Christ, for holiness. While Christians thus wander about, he assumes a still easier attitude or position on his throne, and continues to smile. That entire sanctification is not growth in grace appears from several facts or considerations.
First, the words themselves. They are entirely different. One is agiasmos; the other, auxanete de en chariti. This fact alone should convince. Again, the meanings of the words are different. If they meant the same, why should the Spirit use different words. One means holiness; the other does not. One refers to a state; the other to a growth. One refers to a removal; the other to an addition. One signifies a death; the other a life. One is an impartation; the other an expansion and development. One takes away uncleanness and impurity; the other is the growth of purity.
One refers to a completed work; and the other to an, indefinite progress. And now, lest the last two expressions be misunderstood, we amplify by saying that the completed work referred to is the death of inbred sin or depravity, and that the indefinite progress is the growing holier all the days of the sanctified life; that sanctification is purity, but growth in grace is the maturing of purity.
Again, that they are not the same appears from Christian testimony. Did you ever hear a Christian admit that he had grown into the possession of a holy heart? You, my reader, may have been growing in grace for twenty, thirty, forty years. Have you obtained the blessing of a holy heart yet? No; nor will you ever obtain it that way. Many, many times at experience-meetings you have testified to listening hundreds that you were growing in grace, and yet never have you come into the possession of holiness. Has it not occurred to you that it is a long road you are traveling? You may be gray-haired now, and still you do not possess what you have been struggling for all your life. Does it not occur to you that it would be wise to try another route? You certainly ought to be convinced by this time that holiness of heart is neither growth in grace nor is it to be found by growth in grace. The other striking fact in connection with the thought of Christian testimony is that all the people you have ever heard claim the blessing of holiness testified that they obtained it instantaneously, by faith in the blood of Christ. The two testimonies agree. Both in different ways affirm–the one negatively, the other positively–that sanctification is not growth in grace, nor is it obtained by growth in grace.
The crowning proof that holiness is not growth in grace appears from the word of God. The Bible establishes the fact by teaching plainly that entire sanctification is an instantaneous work. It also confirms the thought and places it beyond all peradventure by a distinct recognition of the two works, and by specific commands relative to them. No one can read them without being impressed. For when the Bible speaks of the duty of growth it turns to man and says, “Grow in grace;” but when it speaks of sanctification it looks to God, and says, “The very God of peace sanctify you wholly … Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”
My beloved reader, why have you not this blessing? Have you sought it? or have you spoken and written against it? Have you believed or doubted? Remember, it is obtained by earnest, humble seeking, with consecration of self to God and faith in Christ for the blessing. If you have not sought for it, and if you do not believe in the attainment of it, who wonders that you have not obtained it? Christ’s words are as applicable to the converted man as they are to the man of the world: “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine.” – Beverly Carradine
Many people just do not want to believe God’s Word.
–Pastor Ward Clinton