Genuine Sanctification: What It Is, What It Isn’t (Part 3)
“The doctrine of sanctification, or perfect holiness, which fills a prominent place in some of the religious movements of the day, is among the causes that have rendered modern revivals so ineffectual. True sanctification is a Bible doctrine. The apostle Paul declared to the Thessalonian church, ‘This is the will of God, even your sanctification.’ [1 Thessalonians 4:3.] And again he prayed, ‘The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ [1 Thessalonians 5:23.] But the sanctification now so widely advocated is not that brought to view in the Scriptures. It is false in theory, and dangerous in its practical results.
“Its advocates teach that the law of God is a grievous yoke. and that by faith in Christ, men are released from all obligation to keep his Father’s commandments. Bible sanctification is a conformity to the will of God, attained by rendering obedience to his law, through faith in his Son. Our Saviour prayed for his disciples, ‘Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.’ [John 17:17.] There is no genuine sanctification except through obedience to the truth; and the psalmist declares, ‘Thy law is the truth.’ [Psalm 119:142.] The law of God is the only standard of moral perfection. That law was exemplified in the life of Christ. He says, ‘I have kept my Father’s commandments.’ [John 15:10.] And the apostle John affirms, ‘He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.’ And again, ‘This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.’ [1 John 2:6; 5:3.] Those who love God will love his commandments also. The truly sanctified heart is in harmony with the divine precepts; for they are ‘holy, and just, and good.'” (Ellen White, Vol. 4, Spirit of Prophecy, 298, 299, emphasis added.)
“Just here we might distinguish between genuine and false sanctification. Sanctification does not consist in merely professing and teaching the word of God, but in living in conformity to His will. Those who claim to be sinless, and make their boast of sanctification, are self-confident, and do not realize their peril. They anchor their souls upon the supposition that having once experienced the sanctifying power of God, they are in no danger of falling. While claiming to be rich and increased in goods, and in need of nothing, they know not that they are miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. But those who are truly sanctified have a sense of their own weakness. Feeling their need, they will go for light and grace and strength to Jesus, in whom all fulness dwells, and who alone can supply their wants. Conscious of their own imperfections, they seek to become more like Christ, and to live in accordance with the principles of His holy law. This continual sense of inefficiency will lead to such entire dependence upon God, that His Spirit will be exemplified in them. The treasures of heaven will be opened to supply the wants of every hungering, thirsting soul. All of this character have the assurance of one day beholding the glory of that kingdom which as yet the imagination can only faintly grasp.” (Ellen White, Bible Echo, February 21, 1898, emphasis added.)