It is time to be truly “woke”
In our day, when the Holy Bible is quite readily available, in multiple translations, just in the English, it is disturbing to observe that the overall trend regarding reading any books is on the decline. Even though the Holy Bible still has the status of being the “best seller of all time” it also likely holds a distinction of being the most neglected book. Therefore people in general only know what they pick up in bits and pieces through bits of sermons which they might not really be paying attention to or quotations, especially the popular misquotes. Therefore we really should not be surprised that there are so many ineffectual Christians as well as people who imagine themselves to be a Christian but have only had enough exposure so as to be inoculated against catching the real thing.
Those two groups occasionally find themselves annoyed by the spirit-filled, effectual, group of Christians; the second more so than the first but both tend to seek out the failures of the sanctified ones, or effectual Christians, in order to exploit them to make themselves feel better about their less=than-optimal level of spiritual living. But every one of us needs to be striving toward being more Christlike, as revealed in the Holy Bible, in order to be more properly equipped for residence in Heaven.
Ladies and gentlemen of the world; if you don’t like being in Church for a couple hours on a weekly basis, what makes you think you are going to like Heaven?
Only holy beings can handle residing in the habitation of the One True God who is the God of Father Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who is a holy God and He expects His people to be holy like Him. He cannot lie to Himself and call that which is unholy to be what it isn’t without making it be. Now, if someone is content to live in the “I sin daily in thought word and deed” rut, they ain’t holy by any stretch of the imagination. But they still need to be.
God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 1 Thessalonians 4:7
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God Matt 5:8
Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Psalm 119:1
Just as God who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16
May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thess 5:23
Get out of the sin daily in thought, word, and deed rut; that has a tendency to not end well.
The righteousness of the blameless makes a straight way for them, but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness. Proverbs 11:5 (Bye, bye, Hillary)
The man of integrity walks securely, but the one who takes crooked paths will be found out. Proverbs 10:9
It is in and through the power of the Holy Spirit that we may be found to be blameless before God and, being blameless, we are made pure in heart and able to leave the rut and move on to our higher calling.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
–Pastor Ward Clinton
SANCTIFICATION IS NOT REGENERATION, NOR REGENERATION EXTENDED OR PERFECTED
Sanctification is not regeneration. The very words teach us that. They are not the same, do not mean the same thing, and are not used synonymously in the Bible, Hymn Book, standards, religious biographies, and testimony of Christians. They are felt to represent two different things. Justification means pardon; conversion, a turning about; regeneration means renovation, reproduction, entering upon a new life, while sanctification means the act of being made holy. If regeneration and sanctification mean the same, and include the same work, then 1st Corinthians 1. 30 becomes senseless, and should read thus: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us regeneration and regeneration and regeneration and regeneration.” But the two words are different, and refer to different works wrought supernaturally in the soul, and so the passage reads: “Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” The word “righteousness” should be translated “justification.” Again, the two words, representing different works, follow each other in point of time.
To the Thessalonians, who were Christians, and possessed joy in the Holy Ghost, Paul writes that God wanted them to be sanctified. He said the same thing, in substance, to the Romans, the Corinthians, and to the Hebrews. Sanctification, or Christian perfection, comes after regeneration. The Saviour himself recognized this order, for while in the fifteenth chapter of John he tells his disciples that they are clean through his word, yet a little while after he informs them that they must yet be sanctified, which sanctification, we remember, took place on Pentecost.
The Hymn Book observes the same order. Open it and read the subjects as divided. First is the “Gospel Call,” then “Penitential Exercises,” then “Justification,” and then “Sanctification.” The same order is observed in our theological works. Sanctification follows regeneration. But clearer and more convincing than all is one’s own experience. On the twelfth day of July, 1874, God converted my soul, and fifteen years afterward, at 9 o’clock in the morning of June 1, 1889, he sanctified my soul and body. It was a different work from the first, and a different experience. My consciousness testified to the fact of the difference, and so did the Holy Ghost.
The emphasized words above are full of significance. A calm settles upon soul and body. The inward battle and tumult have ended. The flesh does not lust against the spirit as formerly, but is led by the Spirit and restrained by the Spirit, calmly and easily and without the fearful strugglings of other days. This experience alone gives to sanctification a peculiarity strikingly different from regeneration. Again, entire sanctification is not the deepening or perfecting or extension of regeneration.
Regeneration is a perfect work in itself; needs no improvement, and is given none. Sanctification has no quarrel with regeneration, either in the Bible or Christian experience, and is not in antagonism with it in any respect whatever, although some would so persuade the people. It aims to do another thing, and accomplishes another work altogether. It removes something from the soul that has been a constant trouble and hindrance to the regenerated man. It kills inbred sin; or, as Dr. Whedon calls it, the “sinwardness” in us; or, as some would recognize it, the “prone-to wander feeling.” That is the work that sanctification does: it removes or kills the “sinwardness” or prone-to-wander movement of the heart. It is idle to say that regeneration does this, when Christians in their experience universally testify to the fact that after conversion they still feel the stirrings and movement of sin within them. The sanctified man tells you that this is not the case with him. That dark medium upon which Satan and the world operated, to the inward disturbance and unrest of the child of God, is utterly removed or destroyed. Entire sanctification did that work, and can alone do it.
My will may be rectified in regeneration; but what if sin be something more than an act of the will? It certainly seems so when we behold it transmitted from Adam down to us without the consent of our wills, and exhibiting itself in children too young to exercise their judgment and moral powers. May not sin have left part of its life in the tendencies of the body, and exist also as a transmitted nature apart from my personal sin and guilt? Let Nos. 7 and 20 of our Articles of Religion answer. When I am born again I stand a regenerate creature in the presence of wayward tendencies of the flesh, and this dark element called original sin, that has been indescribably but certainly sent down from Adam to us, and interwoven in our natures. It is not long before the young convert finds out its presence and power. Why is it there in a regenerated life? Because there is no new birth or renovation for original sin. “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Rom. viii. 7.) It is hopelessly cursed of God now and forever. It has to be removed or destroyed. Spiritual Agags have to be hewed to pieces, not changed into Israelites.
Regeneration renews my soul, imparts power to resist and conquer sin; but does not rid me of the presence of depravity in the heart. This is done by another and distinct work of the Holy Ghost; and that work is entire sanctification. This marvelous work is one of removal or destruction. Both ideas are taught in the Bible. It is called a circumcision–i. e., a cutting out and off of something within our natures. And again, it is called a baptism of fire. We all know what fire does–that it consumes. Many difficulties may be urged by the skeptical; but the experience of the sanctified, without exception, is that sin has been removed from or destroyed in the heart. This is one of the secrets of the deep rest and perfect peace that constantly fills the soul of one who has received the blessing. Let us sum up the thought. We, as Methodists, believe in the existence within us of what we call in Article VII. original and actual sin. “Original sin” refers to the sin of Adam, and “actual sin” to our own personal transgressions.
In justification, which means pardon, my own actual or personal sins are forgiven, but not original sin. How can I be pardoned for what I did not commit? How could I ask God to forgive me for what I did not do? And how could God, in truth and justice, grant me pardon for what I had not done? Justification evidently cannot reach original sin, and the conclusion is that I stand a justified man, with inherited depravity within me. In regeneration the soul is born again, made new, entered upon a spiritual life. That personal depravity which arises from one’s own actual sin is corrected by regeneration; but original sin, or inherited depravity, remains untouched. Can depravity be regenerated, the “old man” in us be converted and made holy? Paul, in writing to Christians, did not say make the “old man” a new man, but “Put off the old man, which is corrupt,” and put on the “new man.” It is idle to say this was done in regeneration. Sound reasoning is against it, and a universal Christian experience. The fact to which we are driven is that the regenerated soul is left in the presence of an inherited sin or depravity.
We must also remember that in the spiritual life we get what we ask for. We approach a throne of grace praying for pardon and deliverance from personal sins and a personal sinful nature. What Adam did for us and to us is no more in the mind or prayer than something occurring in a distant world billions of leagues away. In either case I can see how God can regenerate my soul, save me from the effects of a personal depravity, or that evil I have brought upon myself by actual sin, and yet original sin, or transmitted depravity, remains intact within me. This latter sin remains for another work. To say otherwise is to confound two distinct works of the Holy Ghost, regeneration and sanctification; or it makes regeneration a partial or imperfect work, which thought cannot be entertained for a moment. Sanctification does not go over the work of regeneration, deepening the lines and making it more effectual. Sanctification is not a second touch upon the same blind eyes, but it is a second touch of the Holy Ghost laid upon something else altogether.
The first touch, regeneration, alters the personal sinful life and nature,for which I am accountable; the second touch, sanctification, removes the inherited sinful nature, for which I am not accountable, but which burdens and afflicts me not the less. We cannot afford to throw the slightest imputation upon regeneration; it is a perfect work of God, and does all he intended it should do. The expression “remains of sin,” I am confident is misleading, and we should discard it unless we are careful to have it understood that by it we mean original sin. Our hope for a perfect deliverance is in the sanctifying grace of God. Not that our depravity is sanctified any more than it was regenerated, but we are sanctified by the removal or destruction of depravity, and by the communication, at the same instant, of “the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.”
When that sanctifying work occurs sin dies in the heart. Various propensities of the body, which regeneration subdued, but could not eradicate, are instantly corrected, arrested, or extirpated. The craving of habit is ended, the root of bitterness is extracted, pride is lifeless, selfwill is crucified, and anger and irritability are dead. In a word, inward sin is dead. A sweet, holy calm fills the breast, actually affects the body, steals into the face, and rules the life. The millennium has begun in the soul.
–Pastor Ward Clinton
The true Christian ideal is not to be happy but to be holy – A. W. Tozer
We must learn that God is holy. If we are to experience the manifest presence of God’s glory, we must repent. When Isaiah saw he glory of God in the Temple, he was driven to brokenness, confession, and repentance. Too many in the West desire to know the manifest love of God without the manifest holiness of God. We have lost the message of repentance. – Sammy Tippit, “Fire in Your Heart”
“We must learn that God is holy” if we hope to experience the full measure of God’s presence possible during our tenure in this life. There is a popular level of Christian living that fails to comprehend the level of Christian living promoted as possible, and preferred, in the 15th Chapter of John. Completely committed Christianity is the type of Christianity that is fully abiding in Christ and it is quite commonly called consecrated Christianity although, unfortunately, it is an experience that is not quite as common as it should be. The cause of Christ suffers as a result of that fact.
Theologians whom I have a good deal of respect for have spoken of a point of grace to which all Christians are called to abide in that is as high above ordinary Christian living as ordinary Christian living is above the strictly secular state. Some of them did not openly subscribe to John Wesley’s way of understanding of the holy Scripture but they still acknowledged, in their own way, that all Christians are called to holy living in this life in the pursuit of purity which honors our Savior.
Thomas Brooks, English Puritan: “Ah, sirs, holiness is a flower that grows not in Nature’s garden. Men are not born with holiness in their hearts, as they are born with tongues in their mouths: holiness is a divine offspring: it is a pearl of great price, that is to be found in no nature but a renewed nature, in no bosom but a sanctified bosom.”
The serene, silent beauty of a holy life is the most powerful influence in the world, next to the might of the Spirit of God. – Blaise Pascal
The destined end of man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness. God’s one aim is the production of saints. He is not an eternal blessing machine for men; he did not come to save men out of pity; he came to save men because he had created them to be holy. – Oswald Chambers
When God purifies the heart by faith, the market is sacred as well as the sanctuary. – Martin Luther
It is time for us Christians, to face up to our responsibility for holiness. Too often we say we are “defeated” by this or that sin. No, we are not defeated; we are simply disobedient. It might be well if we stopped using the terms victory and defeat to describe our progress in holiness. Rather we should use the terms obedience and disobedience.
-Pastor Ward Clinton