Four Years After Sanctification
It was four years ago that the Lord sanctified me as I stepped into our kitchen to pray. I believe that my walk in the Spirit on this earth is far from being over. And so is my battle against sin.
As I was pursuing holiness, my reasoning was something like this: in sanctification, God delivers me from the authority of sin. I don’t want to sin, so my freedom and my will, together with God’s will and support will enable me to avoid sin completely. So hopefully, after I will be sanctified, I will simply never sin again.
When John Wesley was confronted with the question of “sinless perfection,” he said that he doesn’t want to dispute about a phrase that is not in the Bible. Other holiness authors clearly wrote that because our “free will” remains free even after entire sanctification, we remain capable of sinning.
When the Lord sanctified me, I enjoyed my new state and was eager to see how my life will go on.
But despite all my expectations, within about two weeks I said or did something sinful. I was very sad and deeply repentant. I even questioned whether my sanctification experience was really sanctification, or just another touch from God.
After about two days of remorse and fervent prayer, all guilt and sadness were gone. I felt so free and so pure again that I knew the Lord really put me into a new and better state than I was in before and that His sanctifying work was real.
So if I haven’t become absolutely sinless, then what is the difference?
One difference which is obvious to me is the frequency of committing wrongs.
Before the Lord sanctified me, sinning was basically a daily occurrence in my life. Probably during most of my Christian life I was sinning more than once a day. As I was getting closer to sanctification, if my memory serves me well, I would say that sometimes I went on without sinning for a few days.
After Jesus sanctified me, daily sinning was over. Of course, God is my judge, not me, but as I see it, nowadays I go without sinning for weeks and months. That is, committing a sin is a very rare occurrence. Sinning is just not a part of my everyday life. I can’t claim that it never happens, but on a daily level, it’s not the rule but the exception.
Of course, my experience is not a law for anybody. Our measuring-staff must be not the experience of another believer, but the Word of God. I’m still growing, and I’m going on unto perfection, which I haven’t reached yet.
The other difference is in the presence of sin. Before sanctification, I felt sin lurking around all the time. I knew that I would sin again and again. I was a slave, and I hated it.
Now I know and feel that I am free. I can be and will be attacked, and I may even stumble, but if that happens, I can go to Jesus, and He will quickly forgive, cleanse, and restore me.
The third area is the emotions. I knew the joy of the Lord since He saved me. I enjoyed the Lord, my family, and my life for over a decade. But before sanctification, the presence of sin was like a cloud on my emotional sky, a continual pressure robbing my joy.
Sin may feel good for a moment, but its presence is accompanied by unhappiness. When the Lord delivers us from sin, this unhappiness also goes away, and we enjoy life with Him even more.
These past four years were definitely better than the previous ones. But there is still more with the Lord. That’s what I am after. His Word still holds true: “He who has begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Amen.