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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Winter Edition 2007

The Old Methodist Doctrine Of Entire Sanctification

Many today teach a different way of seeking complete sanctification than does the Bible and than did old-school Methodism. This new way of seeking holiness makes a big deal of the seeker's preoccupation with his emotional experience of self-crucifixion, or what is termed the process of "dying out."

For example, it is taught that what is needed to obtain the experience of holiness is to "spill one's guts," so to speak, in a public display of the agonies of self-crucifixion, wherein so much excruciation over inbred sin equals so much progress toward arriving at the attainment of a pure heart. Perfect excruciation, it is taught, leads to perfect deliverance from the carnal mind. Failure to achieve the "n" th degree of expungement of the inner self, on the other hand, leads to the subsequent unsatisfactory result of involvement in what is termed the "recycling syndrome," wherein one professes, fails in, re-seeks, and reclaims, to be entirely sanctified over and over again.

The root of the recycling syndrome problem of getting genuinely entirely sanctified lies, foremost, in the issue of our authority focus. In modern liberal theology, or "existentialism," the authority focus is upon the subjectivity of our inner selves. We grasp at the desire to "feel" an "experience" we term entire sanctification. We then bury ourselves in the subjectivity of attempting to "die out," while at the same time we are deceptively trusting in the merits of our own efforts to achieve the desired result of the cessation of the motions of carnality in our consciousness, which we interpret in terms of an emotional release. The goose bump emotion may eventually flow over us, and we claim the blessing, only later to "feel" again the motions of carnality stirring within. This form of experiential emotional trickery leads many modern nominal seekers after holiness to abandon hope of ever attaining to a positive, know-so, and abiding witness to that blessed state of elevated grace that old Methodism called "entire sanctification."

How does true deliverance from carnality come to those so emotionally trapped by their own subjectivity?

First, we must totally give up our involvement in liberal theology by turning to the authority of the objective written Word of God rationally interpreted, rather than to a reliance on the subjectivity of our emotional experiences. Remember, it is not about us and our experiences, it is about God and His truth.

Next, change your religious focus to understand entire sanctification as fundamentally an "atonement issue." The only "death" that matters in our attainment of entire sanctification, friends, is not our death, but the death of Jesus Christ. The Bible says that our old man is crucified "with Christ" in order that the body of sin in us might now be destroyed (Rom. 6:6). Paul testified that he was crucified, not in tandem to himself alone, but, --hear it--, "with Christ" (Gal. 2:20)!

It is objective faith in the all-sufficient Blood of Christ that brings the genuine abiding release from carnality in the issuance of a pure heart. No amount of breadth, length, depth, or height of our own subjective struggling will do it.

Beware the teaching "saved by faith; entirely sanctified by subtle works." That was not John Wesley's understanding.

Holiness is an ocean-going vessel, it does not do well in the shallow waters of "pop" American culture/Christianity. Therefore, we must determine to be done with antinomian religious shallowness in all its forms. An initially sound Christian conversion experience that involves repentance (meaning sorrow for, and turning from, sin) is a prerequisite for making any progress at all in one's journey to meet a holy God in a holy heaven. The religiously shallow and the religiously indifferent are not proper candidates for entire sanctification. They need to get biblically saved first.

When we, as seekers after holiness, get our eyes off of ourselves and "see the cleansing fountain open wide for all our sin," then our faith is greatly helped to make the complete consecration of ourselves to God that is necessary to receive a pure heart.

Let it be now--this day--that you, dear reader, if you be without the sweet assurance of this blest rest/love relationship with the Saviour called entire sanctification, be inspired to press on to it.

It is God provision, will, and plan; and it is for us all today.

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