“The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” (1 Thessa 5:23, 24:)
Nothing in the Bible is more expressly promised in this life than permanent sanctification. The apostle’s prayer in the book of 2nd Thessalonica 5:23 is unquestionably a prayer for permanent sanctification in this life, with an express promise that He who has called us will do it.
The Scriptures thought us that “after we believe” we are, or maybe, sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, and that this sealing is the earnest of our salvation. Ephesians 1:13, 14: “In whom ye also trusted after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.” This sealing, this earnest of our inheritance, is that which renders our salvation sure.
Hence, in Ephesians 4:30, the apostle says: “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” And in 2 Corinthians 1:21 and 22 the apostle says: “Now He which establisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God, who hath also sealed us and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” Thus we are established in Christ and anointed by the Spirit, and also sealed by the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
This is the blessing that we receive after that we believe, as Paul has informed us in his Epistle to the Ephesians, above quoted. Now, it is of the first importance that converts should be taught not to rest short of this permanent sanctification, this sealing, this being established in Christ by the special anointing of the Holy Ghost.
It is important for soul winners to have this blessing by their own experience, and lead converts to this experience. Though this experience is rare amongst ministers and it is also discredited by many of the Churches because so few preach it or believe in it, the new convert will fail to receive this anointing because of their unbelief. Soul winners under such circumstances should insist much upon the importance and privilege of permanent sanctification.
The baptism or sealing of the Holy Spirit subdues the power of the desires, and strengthens and confirms the will in resisting the impulse of desire, and abiding permanently in a state of making the whole being an offering to God. Sin consists in carnal-mindedness, in “obeying the desires of the flesh and of the mind.” Permanent sanctification consists of entire and permanent consecration to God. It implies the refusal to obey the desires of the flesh or of the mind.
Unfortunately many in the church have not intellectually believed on the subject and, of course, have not received Christ in His fullness into their hearts. Perhaps this doctrine to many has been a stumbling block and a rock of offense, yet it is the fundamental truth. Christians should not prejudice over it but venture upon Christ by a present acceptance of Him as your wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, and see if He will not do for them exceeding abundantly above all that we asked or thought.
Any man who has the hope to spend eternity with Christ should not be left to rest or be quiet in the indulgence of any sin. No one should entertain the hope of heaven if he lives in the indulgence of known sin in any form. The scriptural constant demand and persuasion are “Be ye holy, for God is holy.” “Be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Let us remember the manner in which Christ concludes His memorable Sermon on the Mount.
It is certain that no one could make it to eternal salvation who did not receive and obey the teaching of Christ. Thus rather than attempting to please our people in their sins, we should continually endeavor to hunt and persuade them out of their sins. Brethren, let us do it, as we would not have our garments defiled with their blood. If we pursue this course and constantly preach with unction and power, and abide in the fullness of the doctrine of Christ, we may joyfully expect to save ourselves and them that hear us.