Dear Salvation Army, 3 Things Every Soldier Should Know About Holiness

It can be quite easy to simply nod our heads when a topic such as holiness comes around.  We might nod our heads and deep down we really don’t understand much of it at all, we just don’t want anyone else to know.
I understand that, and I’ve been there.  Today on Pastorsponderings I want to delve into the topic Holiness AND be as simplistic as possible.

These are 3 Things Every Soldier Should Know About Holiness:
1.  What is Holiness? 
Wesley taught that genuine faith produces inward and outward holiness. The regenerative process inwardly cannot help but find expression in an improved moral character outwardly. The doctrine of holiness is grounded in the command to be holy as God is holy (Lev. 19:2 and other Old Testament loci). Jesus commanded, “Be perfect therefore as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). Jesus also taught that true Christian discipleship requires loving God with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving neighbor as self (Mt. 22:34-40).” (Asbury University/Wesleyan-Holiness Theology – source: Wesleyan Holiness Theology)

We become saved, we perhaps kneel at the mercy seat and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives.   What then takes place is the Holy Spirit comes and takes up residence within your life.  We receive this “second blessing” – as He indwells among us.  With the Holy Spirit’s promptings, we are then forced to confront the “old self” still remaining within our lives.   I know of individuals who, at the moment of salvation, seemed to be completely changed.  I also know other individuals (myself included) who, at the moment of salvation, still struggled with the old life and with temptation.

Just because we have this passion and desire to become like the Christ doesn’t always mean it will happen over night, in fact, in my experience it is both a crisis and a process.  Holiness begins on our knees accepting Christ into our lives, and it progresses so that we become less and He becomes more day by day, minute by minute.

purify2.  What is Entire Sanctification?  
The Bible often speaks of sanctification, which basically means the total, lifelong process of becoming holy.  Because the process begins with the new birth (salvation), we call the spiritual growth immediately following regeneration “initial sanctification.”  That is, we begin walking God’s way.  The fruit of the Spirit in our lives becomes evidence that a change has taken place…Entire Sanctification is God’s gift.  We do not earn or deserve it any more than we earned or deserved regeneration.  We consecrate; God sanctifies.”  (Frank Moore, Coffee Shop Theology p. 68)

Is entire sanctification possible?  You bet it is!
Many will struggle with this concept because we can become so tied up in the notion of perfection.  Entire Sanctification doesn’t mean “Human Perfection”, it means that we have surrendered fully and we have died completely to the old self and have begun to completely live for Christ in every facet and in every way.  John Wesley even addressed the debate about whether or not”ES” was a process or an instantaneous second work of grace.  His answer?  “Yes“.   It is both a crisis and a process.  From my experience the Holy Spirit still have much to teach me in regards to this faith.  I am not completely like Christ yet…but I desire to be.  This crisis and process has to first be an individual holiness before it can be a corporate holiness.

The difference between our spiritual progress before and after Entire Sanctification centers on the removal of the hindrance of self-sovereignty” (Moore, Coffee Shop Theology p. 69)

bible3.  Renew, Refresh, Restart!
How do we renew?  How do we maintain this “Holiness” in our lives when there are so many distractions all around?

Samuel Logan Brengle describes the need to study and diligence –
If you want to hold the truth fast and not let it slip, you must read and read and re-read the Bible.  You must constantly refresh your mind with its truths, just as the diligent student constantly refreshes his mind by reviewing his textbooks, just as the lawyer who wishes to succeed constantly studies his law books, or the doctor his medical works.  John Wesley, in his old age, after having read and re-read the Bible all his life, said of himself; ‘I am homo unius libri’ – a man of one book.  The truth will surely slip, if you do not refresh your mind by constantly reading and meditating in the Bible.” (Brengle, Helps to Holiness p. 74)

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t always understand these theological terms.
Be a faithful soldier of Christ.  Read the Bible.  Study.  Be mindful that life was never guaranteed to be easy post salvation and the second blessing.  Remember that there is more for us to learn, more room for us to grow.  Renew daily in Him.  Find a prayer closet, make it a discipline in your life.  Be aware of the distractions of life and perhaps fast from those distractions from time to time.  If He is to become more and you are to become less, then you must become disciplined in this path.

Do not be discouraged by the resistance you will encounter from your human nature; you must go against your human inclinations. Often, in the beginning, you will think that you are wasting time, but you must go on, be determined and persevere in it until death, despite all the difficulties.” -Brother Lawrence, The practice of the presence of God

Wrapping It Up: 

In concert with Phil Laeger

Where are you in your faith journey?
Is Holiness important to you?
How determined are we to sacrifice self-sovereignty and take on the mantle of selflessness?
Are we committed to Entire Sanctification?
Is Christ-likeness truly our goal and passion in our lives?

Dear Soldier,
We are a Holiness Movement, we don’t wear this simply as a badge of honor, it should propel in all we are and all we do.  How is your faith journey today?

Something more for our Army to ponder today, to God be the glory!

Re-read this week’s conversation on Holiness here by clicking on the links below:
Sin and Holiness
Cheap Grace
Unpopular Holiness

Disclaimer:  The writings, and opinions of Pastorsponders are the writers expressed opinions and do not always reflect the opinions and views of The Salvation Army.

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