A Word Beforehand,
If only one inquiring soul shall be helped; a bewildered one led into the light; a hungry one fed; an uncertain one established; an opposer won; or any blessed with full salvation, the author, and his words in these few chapters, will be blessed indeed.
Let the blessed Christ, who giveth us all things richly to enjoy, 6 have all the glory.
I. Holiness Declared
Isaiah 35:8— “And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it.”
II. Holiness Commanded
1 Peter 1:16— “Be ye holy.”
Leviticus 11:44— “For I am the Lord, your God; you shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and you shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Genesis 17:1— “Walk before Me and be perfect.”
Matthew 5:48— “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
III. Holiness Provided
Hebrews 13:12— “Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.”
Titus 2:14— “Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works…”
1 John 1:7— “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, c1eanses us from all sin.”
IV. Received through Faith
Acts 26:18— “…sanctified by faith that is in Me.”
Ephesians 2:8— “For by grace you are saved through faith.”
Hebrews 11:6— “But without faith it is impossible to please Him.”
V. Holiness Enjoyed
Psalm 86:2— “Preserve my soul, for I am holy.”
2 Peter 1:21— “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
Luke 1:6— “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.”
VI. Holiness Essential
Hebrews 12:14— “Follow peace with all men, and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.”
Revelation 21:27— “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defiles, neither whatsoever works abomination, or makes a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of Life.”
What Holiness Is
- Holiness is a special religious experience, with definite steps, definite witness, and different results from any other experience previously received.
- It is an experience needed and offered to a soul already converted. In about the same sense as a building is only needed or possible where there is a foundation, is holiness needed after conversion. Regeneration is the foundation. God cannot do some things. He cannot lie. 7 He cannot make two mountains without a valley between them. Perhaps there are many things He might do if He would; but He does not. He might convert and sanctify wholly at the same time, but He does not. He cannot adopt a child who does not yet exist, nor wash a son not yet born. The experience of holiness is not represented, taught, or offered to any but converted people, and converted people are therefore required to leave the rudiments and “go on unto perfection” (Hebrews 6:1).
- Holiness is an essential, constituent element of individual salvation. It is not an extra, like a palace car on a train, that one can take if he chooses, but can get along without. Salvation is incomplete without it. Hence we are told that holiness is something “without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). And hence it is that God has commanded us to be holy: “Be ye holy” (1 Peter 1:16).
- Holiness is an experience for this life. All truly converted people, who retain their justification, hunger after it. Every Christian sooner or later feels the need of, and suffers for the want of it till he obtains it. That conviction of want, and lack in the soul, expressed by the terms, “I want a deeper work of grace,” “I want more religion,” “I want the baptism of power,” etc., is answered fully and permanently in the soul only by the obtainment of the experience of holiness. God intends we should have it here on earth, for it is needed here. It is not to be obtained in any other world than this. So God has caused it to be written in the word, concerning His children: “That we might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life” (Luke 1:74,75). “Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world according to the will of God” (Galatians 1:4).
- Doctrinally, holiness may be defined as that secondary work of grace by which the depravity of the soul is remedied. Experientally, it is being “cleansed from all sin” (1 John 1:7); being made “free from sin” (Romans 6:18); that putting to death of the “old man” by which he is “destroyed” (Romans 6:6); the heart being made “perfect in love” (1 John 4:17), or “pure in heart” (Matthew 5:8), or “without spot” (Ephesians 5:27); or having fulfilled in one’s experience the language of 1 Thessalonians 5:23—“And 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.”It may be well to explain a little more fully, so we remark further that holiness, or entire sanctification, is the application of redemption to the depraved, corrupt nature in which we were born. In reference to salvation, we speak of pardon, which addresses acts of sin; and justification, which refers to our adjusted relations with God; crowning all is sanctification, which deals with our depravity. For the inheritance of our depravity we are not responsible. We never committed it and cannot repent of being so born, nor seek pardon for it. God’s remedy is cleansing, also known as “Entire Sanctification,” “Holiness,” “Perfect Love,” “Christian Perfection,” “Full Salvation,” and “Higher Christian Life.” On the part of man, holiness is through consecration and faith. On the part of God, it is the application of the cleansing blood. As to our comprehension of its possibility in this life, our approach to it may be gradual. As to our obtaining it, that must be instantaneous and conscious. As to our living it, it must be ever the same in quality, and yet continually expanding in degree. Being God’s work of cleansing, it implies much more than mere consecration on the part of man.Entire sanctification makes us morally pure from inherited depravity. It destroys the old man of sin, the carnal mind. The subject is perfect as to the kind of his Christianity or religion, yet not in such a way that the measure of it cannot be increased. He is holy in the sense that he is morally pure. He is sinless in the sense that his past sinful acts have all been pardoned and his corrupt nature cleansed. He is blameless in the sense that God sees in his pardoned and cleansed soul nothing condemned by the gospel law. As to his love, it is perfect in kind, and perfect in the sense that he loves with all his heart, mind, soul and strength, and in the sense that “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10), and “the bond of perfectness” (Colossians 3:14). As to progress, he is growing in it. The measure, power and intensity of his sanctified life is on continual increase. His soul, made in kind heavenly, now matures in degree, and ripens for glorification.
Holiness is properly the name for the state of a soul sanctified wholly, and denotes: (1) the absence of a depraved nature; and, (2) the possession of perfect love. It is a heart emptied and a heart refilled. It is to be “free from sin” and to be “perfected in love”; and yet purity is not so much capacity of soul, or its degree of strength or filling of the Spirit, or its progress in divine life, as it is freedom from all sin.
- This experience, in its obtainment, is like getting lower-vein coal; to get it at all, you must go through the upper stratas. You cannot get it till you do. Radical conviction does not bring sufficient light to see the real need of it. The man who claims he “received it all at once,” that is, received entire sanctification at the same time he was converted, has no lower vein coal on hand. Neither has he anything to give as an experience, save that which any converted man has. He does not believe in a second work of grace for a good reason: he hasn’t the experience or fruit of a second work, and therefore cannot testify to it. A testimony to conversion is not a testimony to sanctification.
- People who do not have holiness as an experience cannot understand it. Its nature is such that to be fully known it must be experienced. It is therefore much spoken against, especially by unspiritual church members. Not understanding it, not seeing from its standpoint, or judging from its deeper measure of grace, they make all manner of remarks about it, and offer some very silly explanations for its presence.
- As a general thing, holiness is an unpopular experience. It is entirely anti-sin, and is opposed to seeing how nearly one can live like the world and still retain a respectable church membership. In so doing, it meets a fearful opposition. Unable to run any longer with the unspiritual to the same “excess of riot” 8—in worldly fairs, festivals, and shows (the devil’s revival meetings)—subjects the professor of the grace to much unkind criticism and remark. To live in sin generally is to be popular with the world. To live in “respectable” sin, or to be a respectable sinner, is to be popular with the sinners in Zion. To live in the practice of no sin is to be popular only with the holiness people and the Lord. But since the Lord and the holiness people are but a small minority in this world (although it will not be this way in the other world), to be holy now is to be severely unpopular.
- A holy experience separates a believer from association with that which is questionable, doubtful, or which has the appearance of evil. It has a continued aversion to that which tends to secularize and indispose the mind spiritually. The sanctified soul has done with the semi-religious. He is spoiled for church frolics. His taste and affiliation with the usual oath-bound lodges is destroyed. The insane rule of fashion is at an end. Love of amusements for the sake of diversion “from the strain of religion” has found a grave. The love of the “in crowd,” of society, of the theater and the show, of the card table, professional sports, and all such things has passed away. Questionable business pursuits must be abandoned. Questionable ways of raising money for the church can no longer be tolerated. Things about which you have doubt must be left undone, so that you may have the benefit of positively knowing that you have done that which is right.
- Holiness is an experience of purity rather than maturity. It is a question of seed, and not of the harvest yield. It pertains specially to the question of the seed wheat and not specially to the growth of that seed, or the amount of bushels in the granary at the harvest home. The seed is purchased or procured instantaneously, but growth is gradual. The ground receives the seed instantaneously, but matures the harvest by degrees. The experience of holiness is received instantaneously and afterward matured gradually. No one can mature a thing that they do not have. No one can perfect a thing that they do not possess. No one can perfect a thing that was “all completed at once.” The perfection of the grace received in the experience is in its quality. The imperfection that needs perfecting is the measure of that grace, not its kind. Those who are sanctified wholly are made every whit whole, so far as being completely cleansed from all sin is concerned. They have boundless expansion for every sanctified grace they possess. So far as this world is concerned, maturity ends with probation (that is, this earthly life), since it is possible for increase to go on so long as we can learn or are in a state of being tested. As for the uncleanness which is removed by sanctification, it is ended when the experience of holiness is received; and that freedom from uncleanness remains as long as the grace is retained.
- Holiness is an experience which includes the liabilities to mistake, to fall into sin, and to be lost. In this respect it is just like that condition which Adam possessed in Eden before the fall. Pure as God could make him, he possessed the liability to be tempted, and so to fall. But this liability is evident from the nature of the case—as our state of probation, our lack of perfect knowledge, and our lack of perfect judgment, memory, will, or surroundings show. Do not imagine, therefore, that in getting a holy heart, you will get a perfect head, have a perfect memory, never have any temptations, never more need the means of grace, 9 or never need to pray the Lord’s prayer. But remember, we do not mean by liability that there is any necessity in the matter. You do not have to sin, you do not have to yield to temptation. You are free. It is yours not to want to sin, and not to have to sin. It is yours not to want to, not to have to, and therefore not to sin. It is not an experience in which you cannot help but sin, but rather you don’t want to, don’t have to, and don’t.
- Holiness is a conscious experience. One cannot have it and not know it, any more than he can be mad or pleased, or in love, or in pain, and not know it. The conscious evidences of holiness are clearer and more apparent to the individual than the evidences of his conversion. Among these evidences are:
- The matter of the soul’s consecration;
- The inward rest of soul;
- The permanent peace;
- The greater joy;
- The new liberty in service;
- The sense of inward cleanness;
- The wider measure of love;
- The love of all holiness people;
- The closer communion with God, and the witness of the Holy Ghost.
It is utterly beyond question for one to have such feelings and desires and attitudes and aspirations and not know it.
- Holiness is an experience which more than all others satisfactorily adjusts one to his condition, place, and surroundings. With it one can be:
- Happy in prosperity;
- Happy in adversity;
- Happy in insults and abuses;
- Happy in sickness and suffering;
- Happy in living or happy in dying;
- Perfectly happy in heaven begun on earth, and have unquestioned assurance of having happiness in the heaven that is not on earth.
Consecration and Sanctification
A minister of the gospel, in reply to the question, “Are you sanctified wholly?” lately said, “O, yes, I am all consecrated to God.” He evidently intended to convey the impression that in his mind consecration and sanctification were synonymous terms. This is no new idea with many people, yet it will be remembered that God never consecrates for us, and we never sanctify for Him. It is true that the acts of consecration and sanctification are both combined in the work that produces the experience of holiness, yet those acts are forever separate and distinct. We consecrate. God sanctifies. We step on the altar. The blood cleanses. “I am the Lord who sanctifies you” (Leviticus 20:8). “The very God of peace sanctify you wholly” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). “Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate” (Hebrews 13:12). So reads the word. On the other hand, so far as we are concerned, it says, “Consecrate yourselves this day unto the Lord” (Exodus 32:29).
In justification, we surrender, repent, and believe for pardon, but it is God who justifies. In sanctification, we consecrate and trust the blood to cleanse from all sin, yet it is God who sanctifies. Consecration, though it cannot be properly done without the Spirit’s help, is after all but putting ourselves in readiness for God to sanctify us. The clothes we take to the laundry must be presented and turned over to the laundryman before they can be washed; it is no part of the laundryman’s job to surrender and turn them over. He receives; we give over. In the process of our cleansing we present and turn over—that is, consecrate; and God sanctifies. In justification we give up our sins, to be done with them forever. In entire sanctification we turn ourselves over to be washed, cleansed, filled, and fitted for the Master’s use. The turning over is our part; the cleansing and fitting up is His. So consecration is but half the work of sanctification, and the lesser half at that.
Besides, the view that takes consecration for sanctification always stops short of the experience of entire sanctification. Consecration is in order to sanctification. Consecration is compliance with the terms on which God proposes to do the work, and not the work itself. “The very God of peace is to sanctify wholly” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). The soul which stops short with only an act of consecration is falling short of that faith-step through which we are actually sanctified. Believing that the altar sanctifies the gift 10 cannot be, in our experience, till the gift is on the altar. Consecration puts the gift on the altar. Faith reckons that what God says of the gift on the altar is true, and God has a chance to fulfill all His promised goodness to that soul. The order seems to be:
- Consecration on our part;
- Faith on our part;
- Sanctification on God’s part.
It should not be forgotten that when the term consecration is used in connection with sanctification, it means the devotion of our regenerated being into God’s hand for the purpose of being cleansed from “all sin.” It is not consecration to God in the general way in which the term is sometimes used. In this case consecration means abandonment to God for the special purpose of being cleansed from depravity. It is not surrender to God, for that comes before pardon; it is putting oneself into God’s hands for entire cleansing. It is not devotion to the gospel ministry, or to missionary work, or to any kind of special service; it is consecration for entire sanctification. Living powers are to be made over to God “as those that are alive from the dead” (Romans 6:13), that the “very God of peace may sanctify wholly.”
At this point, the reader may well desire to make that consecration for entire sanctification. To such, we offer the following scripture, and a suggested prayer, pledge of faith, and vow:
A Form for Consecration for Holiness
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1,2
O Lord, in view of this thing You have besought me to do, I hereby now do really consecrate myself unreservedly to You for all time and eternity: my time, my talents, my hands and feet and lips, my will, my property, my reputation, my entire being, my all, a living sacrifice to be and do all Your righteous will pertaining to me. Especially at this time, do I, Your regenerate child, put my case into Your hands for the cleansing of my nature from the inherited taint of the carnal nature. I seek the sanctification of my soul.
Pledge of Faith
Now, as I have given myself away, I will from this time forth regard myself as Yours. I believe You accept the offering that I bring. I have put all on the altar. I believe the altar sanctifies the gift. I believe the blood is applied now, as I comply with the terms of Your full salvation. I believe that You now cleanse me from all sin.
By Your grace, from this time forth I promise to follow You, walking in the fellowship of the Spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord.
Name ______________________________ Date: ___________________
It is doubtless true that we must not be too dogmatic about these points of entrance. There is a margin for variety, as is usual with God’s plans. While it is always by consecration and faith, there may be different issues with each individual soul. The shaping of theories on this point usually have their foundation in some individual experience, and a mistake will be made in laying down a law for others, similar to one’s own experience, requiring all souls to enter upon our issue.
- You will hear some affirm that the soul enters in at the instant the consecration is complete. With a large class that is true. The special issue with them was the yielding of their wills. They felt and knew it was such. It was not that they did not understand the way, or that they were deficient in faith; the question with them was the “submission of the will,” and when that went, all went. They entered in when they gave up. They then got on “believing ground,” and having little trouble about faith, they were there as soon as they let go.
- There are others who do not seem to have such strong wills; they give up more easily. They do not “stout it out” so long, to use an old word. The fight with them is not over the will, so much. They may fail in a theoretical understanding of the way, or they may be weak in the believing powers, or they may be more attached to the world, and their spiritual perception so blunted, that they are scarcely able to apprehend a life so spiritual. If it be a case of the first kind where the soul was willing, but did not understand the way, the point of entrance will be when the light comes. Already the soul is willing. The issue with the will is past. Their trouble is like Thomas’s, about the way; 11 and when this is made plain they immediately enter in. There are many cases of this kind. They have usually walked in the light ot a justification experience, and have lived near to God and have hungered for greater victory in their life. Used to submission to God, earnestly coveting a more excellent way, they are ready when the light comes to walk in it. With these it is a question of light, and not of a stubborn will. Personally, for months before I entered in, I was so hungry I could not express it fully. There was no withholding of the will. There was no unwilling spot in me that I knew of. It was not my will. I was consecrated for months. I did not know how. When the blessed Holy Spirit showed me, there was no holding back of my will. That had all been previously yielded up. I lacked light. As this came I walked in it and lo! I was in. But it would not do to make an unvariable gateway of my experience for everyone else. Yet I have seen this done to the detriment of the work of holiness. This is written to correct and avoid such mistakes.
- There are those who try to obtain the blessing of a pure heart who are not wholly consecrated. So faith will not take hold. They cannot believe. God cannot consent to any kind of compromise whatever. The soul itself is uncertain. It must get to the end of consecration to reach clearness and end all doubt. Being willing to preach, or be a missionary is not the question. There must be utter abandonment to God, and no keeping back part of the price in anything. Self must be put into God’s hand, at once, wholly and forever. The future with all it may bring must likewise be surrendered as a sealed package of unknown orders. As Rev. M. L. Haney 12 says:My past, my present, my future. All I am, or have been, or hope to be. All I have, or hope to have, and all I control and shall ever possess, or control. My time, my whole time, by night or by day. All my enjoyments of whatever character. All my sufferings, however severe, or from whatever source. All my affectional nature with the objects to which it clings, or shall cling. Having thus without reserve surrendered my being to Thee for all time and eternity, I am simply at Thy disposal. Having surrendered my will to the guidance of Thine on every subject, I declare myself ready to accept whatever Thou shalt choose or appoint.
- God has His way with each soul. With another it is neither the will nor the understanding; it is weakness of faith. Such seem to be willing. They do not hesitate about consecration. They do not fail to see the way. Like a sick man, they see the cozy chair by the fireside and much desire to be seated in it, but they have no power to rise up and get to it. There is no failure of the will, nor of the understanding of what needs to be done; it is weakness of faith. Such seem to be afraid the promise will break, or that they·cannot walk its narrow pathway. The issue with them is their faith—not the road it ought to take, but the strength needed to go down that road. They need encouragement and help to trust God.
- Or the faith trouble may not lie in weakness, but in the object of faith. Such will come to the point of believing, and yet not know what to believe. If told, as they sometimes are, “To believe they have it, and they have it,” it may mislead them, or may only increase their trouble. To many souls such advice would seem both impractical and unreasonable. For one to believe he has something he knows he does not, is to ask him to believe that which he knows is not true, and he cannot. At this issue the soul is consecrated. It is not so much a matter of faith as knowing what to believe. Entrance by faith is now the issue. But here as elsewhere the soul needs to go by the way of certain truths and facts. On this line there is no mistake. As to facts, it may surely count as a fact that the soul has come to God and is received. It is true that the act of consecration is complete; this is a conscious fact in the soul’s experience. On this it can rely with certainty. What next it needs to reckon is that it can rest on some of the revealed words of God about a soul that has come so far at the call of God and by the way of conscious experience—in other words, it needs to believe what God says about a soul in such circumstances. If such statements can be found, the soul can proceed on the immutable line of the promise. This, reason can do safely; this the heart can do trustingly; this is faith’s victory. It is the way of certainty. Believe what God says of a soul thus consecrated. If we take these statements: “The altar sanctifies the gift,” or “Believe that you receive,” or similar expressions, it will be enough. But even here the soul is specially to believe what God says, because He says it. Leave it all there. Wholly. At once, and forever. What God says is truer than your feelings. Believe Him and have feeling. Confess your faith in Him. Confess your part of the work done. Rest there till the Holy Ghost reports the work done within, all the time owning that since you have complied with His terms He is doing it for you. Not yet because you feel it, but because God has said it. When you consecrate, confess it and hold to it. When you take Him at His word, immediately confess your faith; as soon as the witness is received confess that.It is no part of faith to believe after you receive. That is reason. Faith is the knowledge that the thing which you seek to receive is done. Faith for the thing believed for is done away once the thing is received.
(Continued in Part 2 of 3)
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Endnotes for The Holy Way
1 Acts 18:26
2 John 10:10
3 Revelation 6:2
4 Revelation 3:4
5 2 Corinthians 7:1
6 1 Timothy 6:17
7 Titus 1:2
8 The phrase comes from the King James translation of 1 Peter 4:4, which should be read in the context of verses 1-5.
9 The means of grace is a theological phrase denoting the methods or channels (the “means”) through which God, by the Holy Spirit, strengthens, matures, and confirms His work of grace in the hearts of His children. These means include, but are not limited to, the sacraments (such as water baptism and communion), prayer and fasting, studying the Scriptures, fellowship with other believers, and even the doing of good works.
10 The reference is to the words of Jesus in Matthew 23:19—“the altar…sanctifies the gift.” Phoebe Lankford Palmer, a woman mightily used of God in the American Holiness Movement, popularized this phrase as one of the simple steps to sanctification by faith, to wit—if the person seeking sanctification could say with all his or her heart that everything in the life was consecrated to God, or offered up on His altar, then the believer had a right and a duty to stand by faith that God would sanctify the gift of that fully surrendered life.
11 The intended allusion is to John 14:5—“Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way?’ ” Jesus’ famous reply follows immediately in the next verse: “ ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life….’ ”
12 Milton Lorenzo Haney, like Isaiah Reid, was a well-known Midwestern holiness evangelist in the last half of the 19th Century. Though based in Illinois, Haney served under Isaiah Reid as a vice president of the Iowa Holiness Association numerous times, and he and Reid were close friends.
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