Holiness and Perfection

“Be holy,
for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:16

“Be perfect, even as
your Father in heaven
is perfect.”
Matthew 5:48


How the Lord Sanctified Me

I was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1964. The Lord saved me when I was a second-year high school (secondary school) student in 1981.
A couple of years later, I began to ponder whether it is possible for a Christian to live without sin. As I looked at other believers, it seemed that the answer is no, but as I read the Bible, it seemed the answer is yes. I was touched by the thought of sanctification, and the pursuit of holiness became one of the main driving forces of my life.
Since I was saved, I read Christian books. It is my long-time habit to read the Bible and Christian literature parallel to it. That's how I came across a book with a title that indicated intimacy with God. I liked it in some ways, but I felt something was missing. I felt that the author, just like me, did not have the kind of relationship with God that He prepared for us and after which I was yearning for a long time.
At that point, I decided to read writings only from those who crossed a line beyond which they had a really good, intimate, loving relationship with the Lord. That's how I found items of the holiness literature.
The first two books I read were James Gilchrist Lawson: Deeper Experiences Of Famous Christians and R.A. (Reuben Archer) Torrey: How To Obtain Fullness Of Power. This was in 2005.
One evening, as I was walking to my daughter's school to pick her up, the Holy Spirit descended on me. He didn't sanctify me then, but a new period began in my life: the time of intense seeking for holiness.
Most of the available holiness writings were from the 1800s, so I could download a massive amount of materials from the Internet for free.
I delved into the writings of authors like Duncan Campbell (leader of the Lewis Awakening), Samuel Logan Brengle (Salvation Army), and Andrew Murray, who became my favorite at that time.
On the 16th of January 2008, I was at home with my family, and I read an article from Andrew Murray about entering the Lord's rest. After reading it, I went into our kitchen, which is a relatively quiet place in our apartment. I began to pray, and I felt the Lord's rest overflowing me.
For the first time in my life, I experienced what I was seeking for a long time: freedom from the power of sin. My old man was indeed crucified, and I felt the effects of it mostly in two areas: lust and anger. It was obvious to me before that I needed the Lord's deliverance on the area of lust, and I'm very glad for the work that He has done. Concerning anger, I didn't even think about it as my problem; only when God took it from me, I felt how poisonous it's presence was before that.
The experience was definitely good and uplifting, but not euphoric. My general mood obviously became better and is still getting better, sometimes I feel very blissful. But I also know that the fullness of God's love and joy are still ahead of me to obtain. This is what I am after. I believe that the Lord who began a good work in me will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Frank Warner
September 2010.

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.

Frank Warner
May 2012.

Ten Years After Sanctification

As I'm writing these words, more than ten years passed since the Lord entirely sanctified me. So walking in holiness became natural. This is simply how I live.
When I was a new believer, I felt I was sinning several times a day. As I was drawing near to entire sanctification, in my estimate, I committed wrong every two or three days. After the sanctification experience, sinning became much rarer. The gaps between saying or doing wrong grew to about two-three weeks and two-three months. So sin is not a part of my everyday life. I'm not sinless, but sinning is rare.
One of my daughters is also walking in holiness, which is a great joy to a Christian parent.
My wife and I always loved each other and had a great marriage. But it seems that the presence of sin in my life was not annoying me only, but her also. I liked to think about myself as an annoyless superhusband, but my wife told me there were some things that bothered her. As she looked back, she told me that since I was entirely sanctified, she was much more tranquil and less tired. So, yes, entire sanctification helped our marriage too.

Frank Warner
September 2018.

“Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).
“Be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).