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A STUDY ON SANCTIFICATION THAT BUILDS ON THE INFLUENTIAL TEACHING OF WILLIAM H. DURHAM (AD 1873-1912), PART 5
by Karl Kemp
4/12/2019 / Bible Studies
7. Some Excerpts from A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, as Believed and Taught by the Reverend Mr. John Wesley, from the Year 1725 to the Year 1777. John Wesley AD 1703-1791. I took this thirty-one-page document, which has a lot of small print on each page, from the internet.
I very much appreciate the ministry of John Wesley (and the holiness churches) and his emphasis on righteousness, holiness, and victory over sin, but I believe he overstated the entire sanctification/holiness that we are called to by not incorporating, or not sufficiently incorporating, the verses that speak of the warfare against us by the old man/the flesh/the human nature, along with the world and the devil and his hosts. I believe these excerpts also show that Wesley overstated what God expects (requires) of Christians before they receive the entire sanctification that Wesley spoke of. I agree with Wesley that we are called to walk with the victory over everything that God would call sin for us. There are a large number of passages in the New Testament that speak of victory over all sin (and with Wesley, I love those passages), but I don't believe that God intended those verses to deny that throughout this age we have to wage warfare against the world, the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature, and the devil and his hosts. This warfare isn't defeat, and it doesn't have to result in sin. The victory is far from being automatic or always easy, but it is available, and as we walk by the Holy Spirit on a continuous basis by faith, we will walk with the victory over all sin (over everything that God, the Judge, would consider to be sin for us).
Rather than speak of wrong thoughts and desires being eradicated as part of what it means to be entirely sanctified (to live in an abiding state of holiness), we should, I believe, have faith that the powerful saving grace of God in Christ will enable us to keep all wrong thoughts and desires from becoming sin. The wrong thoughts and desires that come with the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature, along with the input from the world and the devil and his hosts, are overpowered by the more powerful saving grace of God in Christ as we walk by faith. As I mentioned, I don't believe God considers wrong thoughts and desires that are resisted and overpowered to be sin. There is a substantial difference between these two viewpoints, and I believe Wesley missed the balanced truth of what the New Testament teaches here, but I very much appreciate his zeal to live at a very high level in the center of God's will.
I am not saying that a Christian could not experience what Wesley taught, but I am saying, when we consider all that the New Testament says relevant to this topic, that it does not back up what Wesley taught regarding the eradication of the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature and the level to which Christians are perfected in love. When I read what he said in the excerpts I'm including here, it is not surprising that very few in his day lived up to this ideal. Quite often while reading through these thirty-one pages it seemed obvious that there was a lot of straining going on trying to determine if Christians had actually reached the goal of the experience of perfection by Wesley's definition. Better to put the emphasis on walking in the truth, righteousness, and holiness of God on a continuous basis than arriving at an experience of perfection that includes the eradication of the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature.
I believe we are missing the balanced truth of what the New Testament teaches by pursuing an EXPERIENCE of the eradication of the sinful nature and a very high level of perfected love, which as described by Wesley, includes the removal of all wrong thoughts and desires and some others things that will be mentioned in the these excerpts. We should rather be aiming at the target of living in the center of God's will on a continuous basis, by grace through faith, with the victory over everything that God would consider to be sin for us, from the time we become Christians.
I'll quote several sentences from a tract titled "The Character of a Methodist" that Wesley quoted here (on pages 2-3), which he wrote (apparently) in 1739. Wesley's quotation of the tract covers one page of rather small print. I believe the excerpts I am taking from this tract, along with the other excerpts that I am taking from Wesley's thirty-one page paper, clearly demonstrate a failure to incorporate the passages that speak of the warfare that we must wage against the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature along with the world and Satan and his hosts. These words were written rather early in the ministry of John Wesley, but at the end of his quotation he mentioned that he still believes what he said in "The Character of a Methodist."
"A Methodist is one who loves the Lord his God with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his mind, and with all his strength. God is the joy of his heart, and the desire of his soul, which is continually crying, 'Whom have I in heaven but thee and there is none upon earth whom I desire besides thee.' ...
For he is 'pure in heart.' Love has purified his heart from envy, malice, wrath, and every unkind temper [frame of mind, disposition, mood]. It has cleansed him from pride, whereof 'only cometh contention,' and he has now 'put on bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.' [I believe it would be more accurate to say that things like "envy, malice, wrath, every unkind temper," and "pride" will not be able to manifest themselves in our lives in any ways that God would consider to be sinful as we walk by the Spirit by faith on a continuous basis.] And indeed all possible ground for contention, on his part, is cut off. For none can take from him what he desires, seeing he 'loves not the world, nor any of the things of the world;' but 'all his desire is unto God, and to the remembrance of his name.'
...his one desire...this one design of his life; namely, 'to do, not his own will, but the will of Him that sent him.' His one intention at all times and in all places is, not to please himself, but Him whom his soul loveth. He hath a single eye, and because his 'eye is single, his whole body is full of light. The whole is light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth enlighten the house.' [I can picture Wesley being overwhelmed by the amount of light produced by our modern lighting systems.] God reigns alone; all that is in the soul is 'holiness to the Lord.' There is not a motion in his heart but is according to his will. Every thought that arises points to Him, and is in 'obedience to the Law of Christ' " (page 4 of the 31 pages).
I'll include an excerpt from the bottom of page 5 and top of page 6 of the 31-page paper:
"... ...to be freed from evil thoughts and evil tempers. First, from evil or sinful thoughts. Indeed, whence should they spring? 'Out of the heart of man,' if at all, proceed evil thoughts.' If, therefore, the heart be no longer evil, then evil thoughts no longer proceed out of it. For, 'a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit.' [Evil thoughts can come from the old man, from the world, and from the devil and his hosts.]
And as they are freed from evil thoughts, so likewise from evil tempers. Every one of these can say, with St. Paul, 'I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me,' - words that manifestly describe a deliverance from inward as well as outward sin. [[To repeat what I say throughout this paper, I don't believe God considers "evil tempers," wrong desires, etc. to be sinful if we resist and deny them by the enablement of the indwelling Spirit by faith. And I don't believe the New Testament teaches that wrong desires, for example, are all eradicated before we are glorified. However, we should definitely see a decrease in such things as sinful desires as we grow in Christ. It doesn't work for good for us to call things sin that God doesn't consider to be sin, and it can be dangerous to think of the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature being eradicated if it hasn't been eradicated. It can lead to great shocks (and this has very often happened) to learn the hard way that the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature hasn't actually been eradicated when Christians were sure it had been. This can lead, and has led to Christians suffering mental breakdowns. We never get to the place where we need not be alert and on guard against the very real potential for sin. Wesley believed that Christians can fall into sin and can lose their salvation.]] This is expressed both negatively, 'I live not,' my evil nature, the body of sin is destroyed; and positively, 'Christ liveth in me,' and therefore all that is holy, and just, and good. Indeed both of these, 'Christ liveth in me,' and 'I live not,' are inseparably connected. For what communion hath light with darkness, or Christ with Belial?
He, therefore, who liveth in these Christians hath 'purified their hearts by faith'; insomuch that every one that has Christ in him, 'the hope of glory, purifieth himself even as He [Christ] is pure.' [[I love and emphasize the very large number of verses like these, but I don't believe they override the clear teaching on our need to always walk by the Spirit, which includes waging victorious warfare against our enemies, including the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature. We desperately need to hold the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches. As an important illustration, we cannot just take the verses that fit a Calvinistic viewpoint regarding God's all-important role in our salvation and neglect, or explain away, or misinterpret away all of the verses that fit an Arminian viewpoint. So too for the Arminian viewpoint. Like I said, we desperately need to hold the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches.]] He is purified from pride [It is at least true that as we walk by the Spirit by faith that the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature will not be able to manifest itself in any ways that God would consider to be sin for us.]; for Christ was lowly in heart: He is pure from desire and self-will; for Christ desired only to do the will of his Father [Two quick points; I don't believe we qualify to be fully like the Lord Jesus in our walk, and even He had to face His desire to avoid the infinite difficulty of His all-important atoning death, which desire He never yielded to for a microsecond. Jesus was "tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15). And Heb. 2:18 says, "For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted."]: and He is pure from anger [from any sinful anger], in the common sense of the word; for Christ was meek and gentle, I say, in the common sense of the word; for He is angry at sin [Are there not occasions where we should be angry at sin?]....
Thus doth Jesus save his people from their sins. Not only from outward sins, but from the sins of their hearts [referring to things like wrong desires and thoughts (unbelief, pride, and lust for example]. 'True,' some say, 'but not till death, not in this world,' Nay, St. John says, 'Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because, as He is, so are we in this world.' The apostle here, beyond all contradiction, speaks of himself and other living Christians, of whom he flatly affirms, that, not only at or after death, but 'in this world,' they are 'as their Master.' " I am sure that Wesley rightly understood the apostle John to say here that we can have boldness and not fear as we contemplate the day when we will be judged according to our works, if we have been living in His righteousness and the love of God, by grace through faith. However, I believe Wesley goes too far in what he means by our being saved "from the sins of the heart," which he understands to include the eradication of all wrong desires and thoughts. I am confident that rather than all wrong thoughts and desires being eradicated, they are kept from becoming what God would consider to be sin for us as we walk by the Spirit by faith. Again, we need the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches. I am confident that the apostle John understood that we must continue to wage warfare against wrong thoughts and desires, etc. by the powerful enabling grace of God in Christ. This victory is far from being automatic or always easy. That's why he exhorted his readers to walk in the righteousness and love of God throughout 1 John.
Starting on page 11 Wesley spoke of a tract, "Thoughts on Christian Perfection," that he wrote in 1759. "Question: What is Christian perfection? Answer: The loving God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. This implies, that no wrong temper, none contrary to love, remains in the soul; and that all the thoughts, words, and actions, are governed by pure love." I'll also include a short excerpt from this tract (from page 12 of Wesley's 31 pages): "The best of men still need Christ in His priestly office, to atone for their omissions, their shortcomings, (as some not improperly speak,) their mistakes in judgment and practice, and their defects of various kinds. For these are all deviations of the perfect law, and consequently need an atonement. Yet that they are not properly sins, we apprehend may appear from the words of St. Paul, 'He that loveth, has fulfilled the law; for love is the fulfilling of the law' (Rom. 13:10). Now, mistakes, and whatever infirmities necessarily flow from the corruptible state of the body, are noway contrary to love; nor therefore, in the Scripture sense, sin." I can agree with Wesley that some such things are not considered by God to be sin. However, it is clear to me that many "omissions" are clearly sin, if, for example, we don't do all that God requires us to do. I believe Wesley would surely agree with this. It is also clear to me that we are required to do more than to "walk in love," and we need God's definition of love. Many have very distorted ideas of what love means. We are required to do everything God has commanded us to do, including loving Him and living for Him as our God. If we don't it is sin. But again, I don't believe the New Testament teaches that wrong thoughts and desires, etc. are sin if we resist them. I'll also include a brief excerpt from the bottom of page 12 and page 13: "Question. How shall we avoid setting perfection too high or too low? Answer. By keeping to the Bible, and setting it just as high as the Scripture does. It is nothing higher and nothing lower than this, - the pure love of God and man; the loving God with all our heart and soul, and our neighbor as ourselves. It is love governing the heart and life, running through all our tempers, words, and actions."
I'll include another excerpt from the 1759 tract (on page 15 of the 31-page paper): "Question. How are we to wait for this change [referring to the experience of entire sanctification, which includes perfect love and the eradication of the sinful nature]? Answer. Not in careless indifference, or indolent inactivity, but in vigorous, universal obedience, in a zealous keeping of all the commandments, in watchfulness and painfulness, in denying ourselves, and taking up our cross daily; as well as in earnest prayer and fasting and a close attendance on all the ordinances of God [like communion]. And if any man dream of attaining it any other way, (yea, or of keeping it when it is attained, when he has received it even in the largest measure,) he deceives his own soul. It is true, we receive it by simple faith: But God does not, will not, give that faith, unless we seek it in all diligence, in the way which he has ordained. [This hardly sounds like receiving entire sanctification "by simple faith." And I don't agree that God "[gives] that faith." Faith is something we do in response to God and His Word and grace. Any of this strenuous activity that Wesley spoke of here that was not being done by grace through faith would be inappropriate. It is rather easy for sincere Christians to do quite a bit of striving in the flesh, which is quite different than walking by the Spirit by faith.] This consideration may satisfy those who inquire, why so few have received the blessing [my emphasis]. Inquire, how many are seeking it in this way, and you have a sufficient answer." The fact that so few received this entire sanctification helps convince me that something is wrong with this teaching. And aside from the difficult problem of determining who has received it, they had the problem that they found out that some of those who they thought had received it hadn't received it. And some who did receive it didn't keep it very long. However, let me say again that I very much appreciate the fact that John Wesley, and those who have followed him, put such a strong emphasis on totally living for God with the victory over all sin. And they don't misinterpret verses of the New Testament that are so often misinterpreted to try to show that Christians have not been called to walk with the victory over everything that God would consider to be sin. Also, as Wesley mentioned on pages 16 and 17, there were problems with pride and coming up with heretical ideas like they could not be tempted, or feel any more pain, or giving dates for the end of the world. Wesley always warned against all such things and did everything he could do to stop them when they happened.
I'll give another relevant excerpt that will help understand Wesley's viewpoint from the bottom of pages 18 and then page 19: "...Christian perfection... ...love filling the heart, expelling pride, anger, desire, self-will; rejoicing evermore, praying without ceasing, and in everything giving thanks. ... A person may be sincere who has all his natural tempers, pride, anger, lust, self-will. But he is not perfect till his heart is cleansed from these, and all its other corruptions. To clear this point a little further, I know many that love God with all their hearts. He is their one desire, their one delight, and they are continually happy in Him. They love their neighbor as themselves. They feel as sincere, fervent, constant a desire for the happiness of every man, good or bad, friend or enemy, as for their own. They rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks. Their souls are continually streaming up to God, in holy joy, prayer, and praise. This is a point of fact; and this is plain, sound, scriptural experience. But even these souls dwell in a shattered body, and are so pressed down thereby, that they cannot always exert themselves as they would, by thinking, speaking, and acting precisely right. For want of better bodily organs, they must times think, speak, or act wrong, not indeed through a defect of love, but through a defect of knowledge. And while this is the case, notwithstanding that defect, and its consequences, they fulfill the law of love. Yet as, even in this case, there is not a full conformity to the perfect law, so the most perfect do, on this very account, need the blood of atonement, and may properly for themselves, as well as for their brethren, say, 'Forgive us our trespasses.' " I believe some of what Wesley says here has him calling things sin that God doesn't call sin, and I again have to say I believe Wesley is requiring more from us than God is.
I'll give a few examples (from page 21) where Wesley is showing what happens when a person is sanctified entirely, perfected in love, the sinful nature has been eradicated: "One commends me. Here is a temptation to pride. But instantly my soul is humbled before God. And I feel no pride; of which I am as sure, as that pride is not humility. A man strikes me. Here is a temptation to anger. But my heart overflows with love. And I feel no anger at all; of which I can be as sure, as that love and anger are not the same. A woman solicits me. Here is a temptation to lust. But in the instant I shrink back. And I feel no desire or lust at all; of which I can be as sure, as that my hand is cold or hot." Wesley certainly is describing an eradication of the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature with his illustrations. Again, I don't believe God considers feelings of pride, anger, or lust to be sin if they are resisted through the indwelling Spirit by faith.
Here's another relevant example of what Wesley means by Christian perfection (from page 20): "Question. By what 'fruit of the Spirit' may we 'know that we are of God,' even in the highest sense. Answer. By love, joy, peace always abiding; by invariable long-suffering, patience, resignation, by gentleness, triumphing over all provocation; by goodness, mildness, sweetness, tenderness of Spirit; by fidelity, simplicity, godly sincerity; by meekness, calmness, evenness of spirit; by temperance, not only in food and sleep, but in all things natural and spiritual."
I'll just mention a few of many things Wesley lists as being incompatible with Christian perfection. Again Wesley puts the bar very high, too high I would say. Sin is a serious matter. "... But some are undeniably wanting in longsuffering, Christian resignation. They do not see the hand of God in whatever occurs, and cheerfully embrace it. They do not in everything give thanks, and rejoice evermore. They are not happy; at least, not always happy; for sometimes they complain. They say, this or that is hard! [I have a hard time thinking that saying "this or that is hard" is incompatible with living without sin. So too for quite a few other things Wesley has mentioned and will mention as we continue with these excerpts.] ... Some are wanting in goodness. They are not kind, mild, sweet, amiable, soft, and loving at all times, in their spirit, in their words, in their look and air, in the whole tenor of their behavior; and that to all, high and low, rich and poor, without respect of persons; particularly to them that are out of the way, to opposers, and to those of their own household. They do not long, study, endeavor by every means, to make all about them happy. ... Some are wanting in temperance. They do not steadily use that kind and degree of food, which they know, or might know, would most conduce to the health, strength, and vigour of the body: Or they are not temperate in sleep; they do not rigorously adhere to what is best both for body and mind; otherwise they would constantly go to bed and rise early, and at a fixed hour: Or they sup late, which is neither good for body nor soul. Or they use neither fasting nor abstinence. Or they prefer (which are so many sorts of intemperance) that preaching, reading, or conversation, which gives them transient joy and comfort, before that which brings godly sorrow, or instruction in righteousness. Such joy is not sanctified; it does not tend to, and terminate in, the crucifixion of the heart. Such faith does not center in God, but rather in itself."
I'll quote a few sentences from a 1762 tract (page 22 of the 31-page article): "Watch and pray continually against pride. If God has cast it out [eradicated it], see that it enter no more: It is full [fully?] as dangerous as desire. And you may slide back into it unawares; especially if you think there is no danger of it. ...." It is very significant that Wesley didn't teach that you have arrived and can begin to coast once you have been sanctified entirely. The eradicated old man can, and wants to live again. As I emphasize throughout this paper, I don't believe the New Testament teaches that the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature is eradicated before we are glorified, but we must make God and His will top priority and appropriate His enabling grace by faith on a continuous basis.
Lastly I'll include a relevant excerpt from the last two pages of Wesley's article, ("A Plain Account of Christian Perfection"). He is defining Christian perfection: "In one view, it is purity of intention, dedicating all the life to God. It is the giving God all our heart; it is one desire and design ruling all our tempers. It is the devoting, not a part, but all our soul, body and substance to God. In another view it is all the mind which was in Christ, enabling us to walk as Christ walked. It is the circumcision of the heart from all filthiness, all inward as well as outward pollution. It is a renewal of the heart in the whole image of God, the full likeness of Him who created it. In yet another, it is the loving God with all our heart, and our neighbor as ourselves. Now, take in which of these views you please, (for there is no material difference,) and this is the whole and sole perfection, as a train of writing prove to a demonstration, which I have believed and taught for these forty years, from the year 1725 to the year 1765. ... Yea, we do believe, that he will in this world so cleanse the thoughts of our hearts, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that we shall perfectly love Him, and worthily magnify His holy name."
I appreciate Wesley's zeal for Christians to walk at the very highest level possible, and his writing exhorts me to not be satisfied with less than what God has called us to, but I don't believe we are called to live at this level before we are glorified, and I have to insist that a failure to walk at this level is not considered to be sin by God. It also seems clear to me that we must avoid striving in the flesh trying to be religious: We must learn to walk by the indwelling Righteous, Holy Spirit by faith in agreement with God's Word. It is rather easy for sincere born-again Christians to walk and strive in the flesh to a significant extent. See Matt. 11:28-30.
8. Some Passages that Show that Although the Apostle Paul (and Other Writers in the New Testament) Frequently Spoke of the Ideal State (a Realistic Ideal State) of Christians Having Died to Sin; of Being Dead to Sin; of Being Baptized into the Death of Christ and Buried with Him; of the Old Man/the Flesh/the Sinful Nature having been Crucified with Christ (These Things Are All Mentioned in Romans Chapter 6, for Example), the New Testament Makes it Very Clear that We Must Walk in, Enforce, and Maintain this Death to Sin of the Old Man/the Flesh/the Sinful Nature by Grace through Faith. This Isn't a State that We Automatically Have or Walk In Just Because We Have Become Born-Again Christians.
The need for us to walk in these things by a continuous faith through the enablement of the indwelling Righteous, Holy Spirit of Life for as long as we live in this world demonstrates that the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature has not been eradicated/annihilated. The New Testament doesn't call Christians to seek an experience of the eradication of the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature, but to resist sin and continue to walk in the righteousness and holiness of God by the powerful saving grace of God in Christ on a continuous basis through faith. If we should sin, we must confess our sin and repent, believe we are forgiven, do everything we can do to prevent further sin and press on.
8.1. Romans chapter 6. In the heading above, I mentioned that in Romans chapter 6 the apostle Paul spoke of the ideal state of Christians having died to sin; of being dead to sin; of having been baptized into the death of Christ, and of our old man having been buried with Him; and, significantly, of our old man/the flesh/the sinful nature having been crucified with Him. If this was all that the New Testament had to say on this topic, we could rightly speak of the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature having been eradicated/annihilated. However, Paul said enough in this one chapter to refute that idea. We need the balanced truth of what Romans chapter 6 and other passages of the Bible teach. We desperately need to always be seeking for the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches. Very often Christians aren't doing much of this. For one thing, many Christians wrongly assume that they already hold the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches when they don't.
In Romans 6:11-13 the apostle made it clear that the required life of righteousness and holiness, with the victory over all sin, will not be manifested in us, and through us, if we don't continually walk by faith, and by the indwelling Holy Spirit, through the powerful saving grace of God in Christ. If we don't continually walk by faith and by the Holy Spirit, the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature will manifest itself in sin; it has not been eradicated/annihilated. (The old man/the flesh/the sinful nature will not be eradicated/annihilated until we are glorified at the end of this age. If some Christians seem to have arrived at the place where the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature has been eradicated/annihilated I rejoice with them, but I have to say that I don't believe we are called to that state of existence in the New Testament. And I would caution those who think they have received that experience to be extra careful that they don't fall into serious sin. It is good that those who believe the old man can be eradicated typically also believe that those who have been sanctified entirely can sin and can lose their salvation.)
Romans 6:11-13. Even so consider [I prefer the translation "reckon" of the KJV and NKJV]; reckon by faith in God and His Word] yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (12) Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts [It is necessary to understand that be Bible doesn't teach that the sin problem centers in our physical body. It centers in the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature. If the sin problem centered in the physical body, God could easily solve the sin problem by killing all the sinful bodies and taking the (supposed righteous) immaterial part of man to heaven, but the sin problem doesn't center in the physical body. Sin is of the heart (cf. Mark 7:20-23). Now our bodies are "mortal," but after we are glorified, including our bodies, the war against the world, the flesh/old man will be over. Now our mortal bodies and the members of our bodies can be used in many sinful ways, and if we do not walk by the Holy Spirit by faith our bodily appetites open the door for sin.], (13) and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. The apostle Paul doesn't communicate the idea here that the "lusts, etc." have been eradicated, even though you might have thought that he taught that based on what he said in Rom. 6:1-10, for example, but that we are kept from sin by the powerful saving, sanctifying grace of God in Christ, as we, by faith, reckon ourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. We must not let sin (or demons) have any place in us.
I won't quote Rom. 6:16-19, but these verses also demonstrate that we will be dead to sin only to the extent that we, from the heart, by grace through faith, obey God and His Word and present ourselves to Him as slaves to righteousness on a continuous basis. The New Testament doesn't teach that there is an experience that can eradicate the old man/sinful nature/the flesh.
8.2. Romans 8:1-4. I'll just quote Romans 8:4 here (but Rom. 8:1-18, Romans chapter 6, and many of the verses discussed below, are discussed in more detail in my book Righteousness, Holiness, and Victory Over Sin that is available at amazon.com): so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us [our fulfilling the moral requirements of God's Law (God's moral law) is the equivalent of our walking in the righteousness of God with the victory over all sin [cf., e.g., Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:25-27; Rom. 2:26-29; and 1 Cor. 7:19], who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Again, it isn't that the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature is eradicated/annihilated, but that as we walk by the Spirit in accordance with God's Word by faith (which we are commanded and enabled to do), we keep the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature from manifesting itself in sin.
8.3. Romans 8:12-14. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh [We always could "live according to the flesh" because the flesh/old man/sinful nature has not been eradicated, but we are obligated to God to always put to death the deeds [works] of the body [that is, to not sin] and to walk in the righteousness of God by the Spirit by faith. As the apostle Paul continues, he makes it clear that if we go back to "liv[ing] according to the flesh" we forfeit what it means to be a Christian and go back into spiritual death.] - (13) for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die [back into spiritual death; Paul is speaking to born-again Christians]; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds [or, works] of the body [[(This double bracket continues for two paragraphs.) The apostle Paul used the word "body" here with the same meaning the word "flesh" was used in Rom. 8:4 and Gal. 5:16, 17, 19, and 24, key verses for this study, and often. The word "body" was used with a comparable meaning in Rom. 6:6 and Col. 2:11. The contrast that the apostle Paul was speaking of in verses like these was the contrast between the Spirit and the flesh/body, not between the spirit/soul/inner man and the flesh/body.
To "[put] to death the deeds of the body" here means the same thing as not doing the "works of the flesh" Paul spoke about in Gal. 5:19-21. In Gal. 5:21 he warned Christians who were not walking by the Spirit and putting to death the deeds of the flesh on a continuous basis, but were doing the works of the flesh, that they "will not inherit the kingdom of God." They will not have a place in heaven.]], you will live [You will continue to live in union with Christ by the indwelling Spirit of life and be caught up into the fullness of eternal life and glory at the end of this age.]. (14) For all who are being led by the Spirit of God [In this context Paul was speaking of being led by the Spirit of God to "[put] to death the [sinful] deeds of the body," which means to stop sinning and live for God by grace through faith.], these [and only these] are sons of God. Those who are not living in the righteousness and holiness of God by the enabling grace of the indwelling Spirit are not, or will not continue to be, true "sons of God." When true Christians truly repent they will be forgiven, but we must make it a top priority to aim at the target of not sinning. God knows our hearts.
Again, I believe it is clear that Christians are called, and enabled, to walk in the righteousness and holiness of God with the victory over all sin by the powerful saving grace of God through faith, but not because the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature has been eradicated.
8.4. Romans 13:14. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. Romans 13:11-13 make it clear that the apostle was using the "flesh" here in the full sense that is the equivalent of the old man/sinful nature, which is a very common use for the word flesh in the New Testament. The old man/the flesh/the sinful nature hasn't been eradicated, and the enemies of the world and the devil and his hosts are waging war against us, so we must always walk in the Holy Spirit by faith to walk above sin.
8.5. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. (13) No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (14) Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry [from every form of idolatry, including bowing before any being or thing except God]. We always need to be conscious of the fact that we could sin, and we probably will sin, IF we don't make it a top priority to avoid places of temptation and make truth, righteousness, and holiness top priority on a continuous basis, by grace through faith. To think that we are to the place where the old man/the flesh/sinful nature is eradicated, or nearly eradicated, could easily prove to be a false and dangerous confidence.
8.6. 2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature [or creation]; the old things passed away; behold new things have come. A misinterpretation of verses like this one can lead to errors like the supposed eradication of the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature. We must always look for the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches. The apostle Paul didn't write these words to the Christians at Corinth so that they could boast in the fact that they had become new creations in Christ. In that context he wrote these words to exhort those who needed to repent to repent and become what they are called, enabled, and required to be as Christians. See Paul's call to repent, for those at Corinth who needed to repent (and all Christians who need to repent), in 2 Cor. 5:20-6:1. Throughout his epistles to the Corinthians, Paul frequently was calling the Christians at Corinth who needed to repent with the serious need to repent. (2 Cor. 5:20-6:1 are quoted and discussed with 2 Cor. 5:17 above in this paper in section 5.4.)
8.7. 2 Corinthians 12:1-10. In these verses the apostle Paul informs us of the "thorn in the flesh" that came to Him in the will of God to keep him from exalting himself in pride because of the "surpassing greatness of the revelations" (2 Cor. 12:7) he had received when he had been "caught up to the third heaven" (2 Cor. 12:2), not to mention the other supernatural things about which Paul could boast. I just want to make the point here that Paul's need for this thorn in the flesh isn't compatible with the idea that his old man/the flesh/his sinful nature had been eradicated.
8.8. Galatians 5:13-25. This passage probably is the most important passage to demonstrate that the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature isn't eradicated before we are glorified. Galatians 5:16-17 are key verses here. But I say walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the [sinful] desire of the flesh. (17) For the flesh sets its [sinful] desire against the Spirit [the Holy Spirit], and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you cannot do the [sinful] things that you please. The "[sinful] things that you please" (based on the activity of the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature) at the end of 5:17 builds on the words the "[sinful] desire of the flesh" at the end of 5:16. A point of key importance is that the Holy Spirit doesn't lose any battles to the flesh, and we won't sin as long as we walk by the Holy Spirit by faith as we are commanded, and enabled, to do in 5:16.
Galatians 5:16-17 build to some extent on 5:13, where Paul warned his readers to not turn their freedom in Christ into an opportunity for the flesh, which has not been eradicated, but through love to serve one another. In Gal. 5:19-21 the apostle listed many deeds/works of the flesh. The works of the flesh are, by definition, sinful works. Works of the flesh (sinful works) cannot be manifested when Christians walk by the Spirit by faith on a continuous basis. In 5:21 Paul says that "those who practice such things [sinful works of the flesh] will not inherit the kingdom of God." That is, they will not have a place in heaven.
Galatians 5:24 is another verse of key importance for the topic we are discussing: Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. As the apostle Paul frequently does, he speaks here of what is supposed to take place when we become Christians, but it is clear that the flesh/old mam/sinful nature will not be crucified except to the extent we appropriate God's sanctifying grace by faith on a continuous basis. See above in this section under Romans chapter 6 and under 2 Cor. 5:17. Romans 6:6 is a very important cross-reference for Gal. 5:24: "knowing this that our old man [the flesh/sinful nature; the Greek of Rom. 6:6 has the noun anthropos, which means "man"] was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin." In the ideal, our old man/the flesh/the sinful nature would be crucified with Christ and kept in the crucified state from the time we become Christians by grace through faith. Note that Gal. 5:24 speaks of the crucifixion of the flesh and Rom. 6:6 speaks of the crucifixion of the old man. These verses both speak of the same reality. The old man/the flesh/the sinful nature isn't eradicated: it doesn't cease to exist. It must be kept crucified by grace through faith on a continuous basis.
In Gal. 5:25 Paul again exhorts his Christian readers to walk by, or follow after, the Holy Spirit. See 5:16, and being "led by the Spirit" of 5:18 is the equivalent of walking by the Spirit. Although the apostle Paul spoke of being crucified with Christ, being dead to the old man and sin, and similar expressions, as you keep reading he makes it clear that our being dead to sin is a reality only to the extent that we walk by the Spirit by faith on a continuous basis. Being dead to the old man and sin doesn't come as a result of the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature being eradicated. This is one of the important things we must know to understand the balanced truth of what the New Testament teaches about sanctification/holiness.
8.9. Ephesians 3:14-21. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, (15) from whom every family [the whole family] in heaven and on earth derives its name, (16) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man [with some apparent emphasis on the Spirit's enabling us to be strong in faith (note the use of the word "faith" in verse 17); for one thing, we are sanctified and have the victory over sin and demons by faith], (17) so that Christ may dwell [fully dwell (Christ already dwells to some extent in every born-again Christian)] in your hearts through ["the"; the Greek includes the definite article here] faith; and that you, being [having been] rooted and grounded in love, (18) may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, (19) and to know the love of Christ [which includes a Person to person and person to Person experiential knowledge of the love of Christ] which surpasses knowledge [surpasses the knowledge of "the breadth and length and height and depth"], that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (20) Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, (21) to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. I believe these verses speak clearly of the continual need for all the work of the indwelling Life-Giving, Righteous, Holy Spirit of truth who enables us to live as we are called, enabled, and required to live. This, not an eradication of the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature, is what we need to live in the righteousness and holiness of God, with the victory over all sin, by a continuous faith. And, significantly, I believe the apostle included the idea in 3:16-17 that God enables us to be strong in faith as we continue to look to Him in humble faith with top priority and walk by the Spirit.
8.10. Ephesians 4:22-32, especially 4:22-24. In Eph. 4:22 the apostle Paul exhorted his Christian readers (including us) to once for all and completely put off the old man which is corrupt in accordance with deceitful lusts, wherever there was (and is) a need to do so. In Eph. 4:24 he exhorted them to once for all and completely put on the new man which has been created by God and is in accordance with Him in the righteousness and holiness of the truth. This does not mean that we don't need to keep growing in the things of God as we live in His righteousness and holiness. And it must be understood that we must keep the old man in a state of death so it cannot manifest itself in sin (the old man isn't annihilated/eradicated), and we must keep walking in the new man by a continuous faith.
Ephesians 4:23 is very important here. Paul explains how we put off the old man and put on the new man. He shows how God enables Christians to avoid "walking in the futility of their mind [or, thinking]" of the Gentiles who had not yet become Christians (see Eph. 4:17). I'll give a translation for Eph. 4:23 that perfectly fits the context and is, I believe, what Paul (and the One who sent him) intended: and that you be renewed by the Spirit in your mind [or, in your thinking]. The indwelling Spirit enables us to think right in our hearts and live right. (Romans 8:5-9 is a very important cross-reference that deals with being enabled by the Holy Spirit to think right, so we can live in the righteousness and holiness of God, with the victory over sin.) Of course we have to walk by the Spirit on a continuous basis by faith (cf. Gal. 5:16), and our thinking must be aligned with the Word of God.
We are called, and enabled, to walk by the Spirit, which includes thinking by the Spirit. This enables us to live in the truth, righteousness, and holiness of God even though the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature hasn't been eradicated yet. Even though the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature isn't eradicated during this age, it will be weakened as we appropriate and walk in God's saving grace in Christ. However, it can be dangerous to start thinking it has been eradicated when it hasn't been eradicated. We must keep the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature from manifesting itself in sin by walking in line with the Word of God, by the enabling grace of God, as we walk by the indwelling Righteous, Holy Spirit of God by faith.
In Eph. 4:25-31 the apostle goes on to mention some of the things that must be put off once for all and completely. In Eph. 4:32 he mentions part of what it means to put on the new man once for all and completely, and in 5:1 he exhorts us to be imitators of God, as beloved children (when we imitate God by grace through faith we won't be sinning at all). This goes along with having put on the new man which is in accordance with God of 4:24. Ephesians 5:2 goes on to exhort us to walk in love.
8.11. Ephesians 6:10-20. The apostle exhorts us to "be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might" (Eph. 6:10) and to "put on the full armor of God" (6:11), so that we can walk in the full victory over the enemies of God and our enemies, staying faithful to God and accomplishing His will for us. Paul specifically mentions Satan and his hosts that are arrayed against us, but as we read these verses we can see that the enemies consisting of the "world" (of which the devil is god) and the "old man/the flesh/the sinful nature" are included too. For one thing, to the extent the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature is permitted to manifest itself in sin, and the righteousness of God isn't manifested, the devil wins. We must always walk by the Spirit by faith. The victory consists of us staying faithful to God in His truth, righteousness, and holiness, etc., accomplishing His will for us by His enabling grace by faith. These verses further serve to confirm that the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature isn't eradicated as long as we live in this world. We can have wrong desires and wrong thoughts, etc., but we won't sin as long as we wage warfare against the world, the flesh/old man/sinful nature, and the devil and his hosts, appropriating all of the grace that God makes available to us, very much including the armor and other things that Paul mentioned in Eph. 6:10-20.
8.12. Philippians 2:1-11. This is one of many passages where God calls Christians to resist pride. If pride was eradicated from the heart through an experience of entire sanctification, we wouldn't have a serious need to resist pride. Pride with unbelief is the root of sin, and we must always be on guard that the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature is not allowed to manifest itself in pride (or any other sin). If we aren't very careful we might not recognize that we are leaving room for pride to manifest itself.
8.13. Philippians 2:12-16. These verses continue the theme that we must work out our salvation by the grace of God in Christ against the opposition of the world, the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature, and the devil and his hosts, by faith. The old man/the flesh/the sinful nature still exist, but they cannot manifest themselves in sin as we appropriate and cooperate with God's sufficient grace on a continuous basis by faith. So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more now in my absence [when the apostle Paul wasn't there to help them], work out your salvation with fear and trembling [The fear and trembling go with the awesome responsibility we have to be faithful to God and not sin against Him, while living in an environment where the opposition is very real, including the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature that wants to conform to the world and yield to sin and the demons. But as the next verse confirms, God's saving grace is sufficient to enable us to maintain the victory over sin and the demons through Christ by faith.]; (13) for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure. [We have to cooperate with God's enabling grace on a continuous basis, by faith, or we will sin, which isn't that hard to do. The victory doesn't come because the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature has been eradicated, but because we appropriate God's enabling grace against all that opposes God's will.] (14) Do all things without grumbling or disputing; (15) so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, (16) holding fast the word of life [Our holding fast to the "word of life" by faith enables us to live in line with the gospel of our salvation, which includes living in the righteousness and holiness of God with the victory over all sin (over everything that God would consider to be sin for us; again, things like wrong thoughts and desires aren't sin if we resist them in the power of the Holy Spirit by faith).], so that in the day of Christ [when we will stand before God the Father and His Son to be judged according to our works, which must demonstrate that our faith was real] I [Paul] will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. Paul would have run in vain and toiled in vain (but he would not have been at all responsible as long he was faithful in his ministry, which he was) if those who he ministered to abandoned their covenant with God. That wasn't going to happen with many, if any, of the Christians at Philippi. The Christians there were faithful to Paul, but, more importantly, they were faithful to God by His sufficient grace in Christ. It is also true that God or the apostle Paul could not be fully satisfied just because some Christians made it to heaven but were not fully ready to stand before God (cf., e.g., 1 Cor. 3:14-15). It is totally wrong for Christians to only care about making it to heaven: We are required to live for God, making it a top priority to live in the center of His will, by grace through faith, to glorify Him. We were created to glorify God! We are saved to glorify God!
8.14. Colossians 3:1-11. I'll quote Colossians 3:3: For you have died [died to the old man] and your life is hidden with Christ in God. However, it is significant that most of the rest of these verses demonstrate that we must enforce this death to the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature, which hasn't been eradicated. I'll quote Colossians 3:5-9: Therefore consider [[Significantly, the margin of the NASB shows that a literal translation of the Greek is Put to death. I'll quote Col. 3:5 from the NIV (I always quote from the NASB unless I mention otherwise): Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. As I have been demonstrating throughout this paper, the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature is dead (and we are righteous and holy new creations in Christ, etc.) only to the extent that we walk by the Spirit by faith on a continuous basis (which we are called and enabled to do) and put to death, and keep dead, the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature, which has not been, and will not be, eradicated as long as we live in this present world.]] the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and greed, which amounts to idolatry. (6) For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience [We are called, enabled, and required to be sons of obedience.], (7) and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them [before you became Christians]. (8) But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. (9) Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside [that is, we are called and enabled to have fully laid aside or put off the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature] the old self [man] with its evil practices.
8.15. 1 Timothy 6:12 with 6:3-21. I'll just quote part of 1 Timothy 6:12: Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called [appropriating God's saving, sanctifying grace by faith on a continuous basis].... There is a Christian lifelong fight, but God's saving, sanctifying grace will enable us to avoid doing anything that is sinful and ungodly (very much including the love of money mentioned in 1 Tim. 6:10) and to live in the righteousness and holiness of God (See 1 Tim. 6:11). For Timothy, and us too, we must fight, by grace through faith, the good fight against the world, the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature, and the devil and his hosts. The victory comes by a continual flow of the grace of God that is appropriated by faith, not because the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature has been eradicated. We can rest in some ways since God is carrying the load (cf. Matt. 11:28-30), but we cannot become passive or begin to coast as long as our enemies still exist and want to destroy us; we must walk by faith and by the Holy Spirit on a continuous basis. A key aspect of the fight of faith is resisting the temptation to doubt God or His Word along with every other temptation to sin. Doubt/unbelief is the opposite of faith.
8.16. 2 Timothy 2:11-13. It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him [In other words, if we died to the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature (but the old man/the flesh/the sinful nature were not eradicated; they did not cease to exist) and lived for God in His truth, righteousness, and holiness by grace through faith, as we are enabled and required to do.], we will also live with Him [We live in union with Christ now, but these words apparently look to our living with Him after we are glorified and caught up into the fullness of eternal life]; (12) If we endure [In other words, if we stay faithful to God and live for Him in His truth, righteousness, and holiness during this age where the world, the flesh, and the devil and his hosts are against us, by grace through faith. In 2 Tim. 2:10 the apostle Paul said, "I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen."], we will also reign with Him [We will begin to reign with the Lord Jesus when He returns and we are glorified at the end of this age.]; If we deny Him [which is the opposite of enduring and staying faithful to Him by grace through faith.], He also will deny us [He will deny us at the end of this age when He comes to gather the true Christians, those who have been faithful to Him and lived for Him by His grace through faith.]; (13) If we are faithless, He remains faithful [He remains faithful to reject (as He said He will) those who fail to endure and be faithful to Him and are not ready to stand before Him in judgment (they do not appropriate His saving, sanctifying grace by faith); those who need to repent and don't repent will be rejected (cf., e.g., Matt. 10:33; Rom. 11:20-22; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 2:5; 3:2-5, 15-21). God cannot allow unrepentant rebels into His eternal kingdom. They would destroy the divine order of heaven, and they wouldn't want to be there on God's terms.], for He cannot deny Himself [He will do what He said He will do! He must do what He said He will do! It is required!].
8.17. 1 Peter 2:11. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers [This world is not our home.] to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. The New Testament is quite consistent in teaching us that we must be diligent to walk by the Spirit by faith on a continuous basis in the righteousness and holiness of God because, for one thing, "fleshly lusts" will manifest themselves in sin if they are not resisted and overpowered by the powerful, sufficient saving, sanctifying grace of God in Christ, by faith.
9. Some Excerpts from, and Interaction with, William H. Durham and the 'Finished Work of Calvary' Theory of Sanctification within Early Pentecostalism, A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Department of Historical Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary, by Stephen R. Lewis, May 1986, for a Master of Theology Degree. The thesis is 79 pages, not including his Appendix C, which he titles "Research for Primary Source Material." I won't quote any of his Appendix C, but I was able to obtain a copy of an edition of Durham's Pentecostal Testimony that apparently Lewis didn't find that is quite relevant to sanctification, Vol. 1, No. 8, probably published in June or July of 1911.
I'll quote several sentences from his Introduction: "The one who was largely responsible for bringing this non-Wesleyan view into Pentecostalism was William H. Durham. [He is still considered a key figure in understanding the dramatic split within early Pentecostalism. (bracket by Lewis)] It was Durham who openly opposed the second work of grace theory held by Wesleyan Pentecostals of his day" (page 1). "This sharp distinction and disagreement between these two main groups was brought about by Durham, who following his own 'baptism with the Holy Ghost,' developed and taught a more reformed view of sanctification" (page 2). "...Durham held that God 'dealt with the nature of sin' at conversion in the one 'finished work of Calvary.' For him the initial experience of salvation included the crucifixion of the old nature: 'We are not saved simply because we are forgiven our sins' we are saved through our identification with our Saviour substitute, Jesus Christ" (pages 3-4). (Lewis had a footnote: "Pentecostal Testimony. February [January?], 1912.") As I have mentioned several times, although Durham spoke on occasion of the sinful nature being crucified at the time of conversion, it is necessary to see that he made it very clear that the sinful nature is only crucified to the extent we walk by the Spirit by faith, which is very far from being automatic, and therefore the sinful nature isn't eradicated.
"This baptism for power [the Pentecostal baptism in the Spirit] could only take place in 'clean' vessels which were those who had been 'sanctified' in a second definite work of grace" (chapter 2, page 10). This was a widespread viewpoint among the early Pentecostals.
I'll quote part of an excerpt that Lewis included from an address by Charles F. Parham (an important leader in the early Pentecostal movement who believed in entire sanctification as a second work of grace and strongly opposed Durham) gave in 1913 (page 10). This excerpt helps explain what they meant by the second work of grace for sanctification: "...entire consecration to God and abandonment to His will brings sanctification and cleansing to your life. ... Sanctification operates not upon the sins that you have committed but upon the sin that was born in you; it deals with his inbred sin. Justification deals with sins committed [he means being forgiven and having a right standing with God], but sanctification [entire sanctification as a definite, instantaneous, second work of grace] deals with that inbred sin that causes you to sin, that leads you to sin, and which conversion does not take out. These things are in the flesh-man; they are the inherited appetites, passions and lusts that rise in the flesh and are of the flesh. But friends, when God sanctifies you he will take all that out, not merely suppress, all that inbred sin which was your natural inheritance." (This address is included in the reprinted Apostolic Faith Report, October 1976, pages 2-4.)
Lewis quotes a lot from Durham and interacts with his teaching, but I won't quote any of that. I didn't find his analysis helpful. I don't believe he fully understood what Durham was saying. Lewis was coming from the point of view of believing in progressive sanctification (the viewpoint that we are being progressively sanctified as we continue to sin; there is no room for the idea that we are called, and enabled, to live in an abiding state of holiness/sanctification with the victory over everything that God would consider to be sin for us). He rightly pointed out that there is some inconsistency in what Durham taught. (I deal with that in this paper.) But he said that "his greatest inconsistency" is "the concept that a person once saved can be lost" (page 44). (I don't agree with Lewis on this point, but this is what I was taught and believed for a year or two until I was motivated to take the time to seriously study what the New Testament has to say on this important topic. See my paper Once Saved, Always Saved? that is on my internet site: Google to Karl Kemp Teaching and see under Articles/Papers.)
10. I'll Quote a Little, and Interact with, the Brief (a-little-less-than-one-full-page) Article Titled "The finished work" by Glenn Gohr in the May 31, 1998 edition of Pentecostal Evangel of the Assemblies of God. "The chief proponent of the finished work teaching was William H. Durham, renowned pastor of the North Avenue Mission in Chicago. ... This [sanctification according to Durham] is not viewed as a single experience, but rather an ongoing process beginning at salvation and continuing through the life of the believer. [[As my paper demonstrates, I don't believe this is an adequate description of what Durham taught: Durham taught that, according to the New Testament, we are called, and enabled, to live in a righteous, holy state from the time of conversion. He did, however, emphasize that we must continually be growing in Christ (but in the ideal we would not be growing out of sin, because we would be dead to sin through the enabling grace of God available in new-covenant salvation). He also made it clear that Christians will not be dead to sin if they don't understand the gospel, or if they don't keep the old man/sinful nature crucified by grace through a continuous faith. He made it very clear that true Christians can sin and that some/many Christians in his day were sinning,]]
At a Pentecostal convention in 1910, Durham began preaching against the view of sanctification as a second definite work of grace. He argued that salvation is complete the moment the believer receives it. No subsequent work of grace was needed. ... [Yes, and Durham would have included all that I said in the double bracket in the preceding paragraph. He was doing a whole lot more than "preaching against the view of sanctification as a second definite work of grace."]
Durham's views became part of the basic theology of the Assemblies of God when it organized in 1914 in Hot Springs, Arkansas. [I believe this statement must be substantially qualified. Gohr is referring to Durham's view that the New Testament doesn't teach a second definite work of grace for entire sanctification. Durham's strong emphasis on the fact that we should literally be dead to sin and living in the righteousness of God through union with the Lord Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit from the time of conversion was, at least for the most part, dropped. This is a key point that Farkas, who was quoted above, made.] ... Subsequently, practically every Pentecostal denomination organized after 1914 adopted this view of sanctification." That is, the "view of sanctification" of the Assemblies of God; I gave some examples of this view earlier in this paper. There is much room for exceptions, but for the most part that view could be called progressive sanctification, where we should expect to be progressing in sanctification throughout our lives in Christ and never being dead to sin and walking with the full victory over sin (by God's definition of sin) in an abiding state of holiness.
11. The New Testament Teaches that We Must Receive the Indwelling Spirit in Order To Be Christians. (We Are Born Again Through the Indwelling Spirit of Life. We Are Sanctified/Made Righteous/Made Holy Through the Indwelling Righteous, Holy Spirit.) The Spirit Was Not Poured Out - Not Given To Be Received - until the Day of Pentecost. That First Outpouring of the New-Covenant Spirit Clearly Included the Charismatic Dimension of the Spirit's Work too. However, Born-Again Christians Can Enter into the Charismatic Dimension of the Spirit's Work at a Time after Becoming Christians. It seems clear to me that the simplest view is the correct view (the view presented in the New Testament), that the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost included the new birth, the sanctifying work of the Spirit, and the charismatic dimension of the Spirit's work. As I have shown, the prophecies of God's pouring out the Spirit emphasized the new birth and the sanctifying work of the Spirit and included the charismatic dimension of the Spirit's work.
There are other views, which I will briefly discuss in the next paragraph, always aiming for the balanced truth of what the Bible teaches. I am not suggesting that other views cannot work effectively, but we should prayerfully consider coming into alignment with what the New Testament teaches. As I mentioned, it seems clear to me that the simplest view is the correct view: that the promised outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost included the new birth, the making righteous, sanctifying work of the Spirit, and the charismatic dimension of the Spirit's work. (Many scientists, philosophers, and others believe that the simplest view almost always proves to be the correct view. They call that viewpoint "Occam's [or Ockham's] Razor," named after the philosopher William of Ockham, who was born in AD 1285. The razor cuts away all that is not required.)
The holiness churches typically speak of the Spirit's coming in the new birth and then again with a second experience of entire sanctification - Two Experiences. Most of the Christians who became Pentecostals at the end of the 1800s or early in the 1900s were holiness Christians, who believed in two major experiences with the Holy Spirit. Typically they just added a third experience to the two experiences they had already received. The Pentecostal denominations that formed a little later, including the Assemblies of God, who formed in 1914, rejected the idea of a second experience to be sanctified (entire sanctification), but they teach that receiving the Spirit in the charismatic dimension as a second experience, typically subsequent to becoming born-again Christians.
As we continue, I'll list, quote (at least in part), and discuss (at least most of) the most relevant passages. (I'm not knowingly skipping any passages because they don't fit the pattern that I see presented in the New Testament.) The listing, etc. is quite extensive, covering 34 pages. Some of the passages are discussed in significant detail, typically because they are extra important.
This paper continues with Section 11.1 in Part 6
Copyright © by Karl Kemp (karlkempteachingministries.com)
http://www.karlkempteachingministries.com Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.
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