Sanctified Wholly

1 Thessalonians 5:23

It seems to me that there is a large amount of uncertainly abroad among us on the subject of holiness. I have no new truth to set forth; the doctrine is as old as the Book.

Holiness to the Lord is to us a fundamental truth; it stands in the front ranks of our doctrines. We inscribe it upon our banners. Holiness in its broad significance means separation from all unrighteousness and consecration to God. It means that the soul is brought into a state in which it has both the liberty and the ability to serve God as He desires and that it constantly does so.

In the early stages of Christian experience this deliverance is only partial. Although the soul is delivered from the domination and power of sin, and is no longer the slave of sin, still there are the remains of the carnal mind which trouble the soul, often lead it into sin, and which, if not continually fought against and kept under, bring the soul again into bondage. Nevertheless in this state the soul, when faithful, has peace with God, the guidance, energy and witness of the Holy Spirit, which together create in the soul a blessed certainty of salvation, and a joy which is unspeakable and full of glory. All this is, however, perfectly compatible with the conscious existence of sin in the soul.

There are three broad relations in which a man can stand toward sin. He can be, firstly, under sin; secondly, over sin; and thirdly, without sin.

He can be under sin. He is not only exposed to the penalty which God has in infinite wisdom and benevolence attached to the transgression of that law, but he is under its power. Even when enlightened to see its cruel and ruinous character, and yearning for deliverance, he is powerless to free himself from its iron grip. He is a slave to the tyrant; he is under sin.

He can be over sin. It may be that the pride, anger, lust or whatsoever other evils ruled him with a rod of iron before, may be there. Bruised and broken and faint they may be, but still they exist; but the Master has taken them from the throne of the soul and has been given power over them. He is now no longer under sin, but under grace. The old habits and tempers and tendencies can still make their presence felt, but they are no longer the masters.

But there is another state, and that is without sin. In this experience, Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 5:23), and through them for all saints, is answered. The God of peace sanctifies wholly, and the whole body, soul and spirit are preserved blameless.

William Booth, Salvation Soldiery

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