Knowledge of Salvation
I know that I am a child of God. I know that I am born again. That is the foundation which is necessary for entire sanctification. A person first must know that he has been justified, that he has received forgiveness of his sins.
The assurance of being God’s child comes about through genuine repentance and childlike faith in Jesus Christ and His death on Golgotha. As a child of God, I love God above everything, and I hate sin and everything that is sinful. My desire is to live completely pure and free of all forms of sin.
Many years ago, William Booth described his experience of sanctification after he had received the assurance of being God’s child through faith. He designated this experience as the first step to entire sanctification.
Recognizing the Necessity
Although I know that I am a child of God, I also recognize that there are leanings or inclinations in my heart that do not please God, inclinations that I want to be free of. I feel these inclinations are a hindrance to a truly successful Christian life. In my heart, I find there still a bent towards evil that comes from a moral depravity, sometimes referred to as inherited sin, that I was born with. But Christ, who died for us, who justified us and made it possible for us to be God’s children, is also able to cleanse us from this inherited bent towards sin. To recognize this is the second element necessary to experience entire sanctification.
An earnest desire to have a totally cleansed heart is the third necessity to experiencing complete sanctification. Whoever earnestly desires to be rid of all that displeases God and all that will hinder their Christian walk will stay away from such things they recognize as hindrances. Just like a person cannot find forgiveness for a committed sin if they are not willing to give it up, neither can their heart be fully cleansed if they want to hang on to something that is detrimental to the Christian life. Christ came into this world, died on the cross, and arose from the dead in order to destroy every work of the devil, no matter in which form. A person who has truly understood this and has a longing that Christ may fully have His own way in their life has attained the threshold of the next step.
A full consecration, or giving oneself fully to the Lord, is a vital element of entire sanctification. A person wishing to be fully sanctified must willingly submit themselves completely to the will of God. That includes one’s whole self, talents and gifts, time, and all that one has. It is to be dedicated to the Lord for time and eternity. This is what Paul brings out and emphasizes in Romans 12:1: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
As soon as this full surrender or consecration in full obedience and faith to God, His Word, and the Holy Spirit takes place in the heart, the Holy Spirit takes possession of the heart and will make it His abode. The heart is then cleansed from such inclinations that come from moral depravity. This full consecration and surrender is a necessary prerequisite in experiencing entire sanctification. This is enduring fruit of a fully sanctified person. Those filled with the Holy Spirit are totally dedicated to God with all they are and have. The Holy Spirit living in them makes this possible.
This necessary element means that we believe and trust that God will do as He has promised when we totally submit to Him. When a person complies with God’s prerequisites, he or she can be sure that God will do as He has promised.
The work of entire sanctification is magnificent and wonderful. One of the biblical designations for entire sanctification is also called the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit into our hearts. It can also be called the baptism into the fire of the Spirit, for it consumes and fully burns away all that is hypocritical.
The Holy Spirit’s work is to cleanse or to make holy. We are “sanctified by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:16). God gave the Holy Spirit and “purified their hearts by faith“ (Acts 15:8-9). In Matthew 3:11, we read: “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Fire is a cleansing as well as a devouring agent. Therefore, all who are sanctified by the Holy Spirit have pure hearts.
It is also the role of the Holy Spirit to bestow power, as verified by Acts 1:8. The Holy Spirit leads, comforts, and instructs God’s children, as Jesus promised (see John 16:7-14). Entire sanctification is of utmost importance for every believer and for the Church of God as a whole.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God“ (Matthew 5:8).