The Holy Spirit and Complete Sanctification
by Pastor Jack Hyles
(Chapter 8 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Meet The Holy Spirit)
John 17:17, "Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth."
Sanctification means to be set apart for special use. In a spiritual sense, the word "sanctification" means "being set apart for special use for God." Sanctification does not mean sinless perfection or the eradication of the flesh; it simply means to be set apart for the Lord's work. The church pulpit is sanctified;; it is set apart for the teaching and preaching of the Word of God. That does not mean it is a perfect pulpit; it simply means it is given to special use. The chairs in the church choir are sanctified. They may be imperfect chairs, as most church choir chairs are, but they are set apart or sanctified to be used only by those who sing the praises of our Lord. There are three ways which the believer is sanctified.
1. He HAS BEEN sanctified. When one receives Christ as Saviour, he is sanctified in the sense that he is set apart for Heaven. It is all settled. HE is God's child. God prepares a place in Heaven for him and he is sanctified or set apart eternally for heaven.
2. He IS BEING sanctified. This means that from day to day the Holy Spirit is conforming him more in the image of the Lord Jesus. As the artist slowly paints on the canvas what is already in his mind, even so the Holy Spirit gradually, day by day, is setting us apart more and more for the service of Christ. This is not done all at one time but rather from grace to grace. John 1:16, "And of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace." It is done from faith to faith." Romans 1:17, "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." It is done from glory to glory. II Corinthians 3:18, "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." The Word of God teaches us that He has predestined us to be conformed in the image of His Son. Romans 8:29, "For whom He did foreknow, HE also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren." This means that someday every believer will be like Jesus. That sanctifying process is a gradual one, from grace to grace, from glory to glory and from faith to faith as we yield ourselves daily to the Holy Spirit and He conforms us more and more to the image of our Saviour.
3. He SHALL BE sanctified. The day will come when every believer will be like Jesus and then we will be sanctified to awake in His likeness. Psalm 17:15, "As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness."
Now the question comes, "WHEN will we be completely sanctified and be like Jesus?" In a recent poll most believers expressed that they think that complete sanctification would be at death when the believe gets to Heaven. However, the Scripture does not teach that. Notice I Thessalonians 5:23, "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body BE PRESERVED BLAMELESS UNTO THE COMING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST." Now read I Thessalonians 3:13, "To the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, AT THE COMING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WITH ALL HIS SAINTS." Now read I John 3:2, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, WHEN HE SHALL APPEAR, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM: for we shall see Him as He is." Now when will we be like Him? These verses are very plain that we will be like Him WHEN HE SHALL APPEAR, or WHEN HE COMES AGAIN. This means that the believer in Heaven now is NOT like Jesus. To be sure, that believer is free from sin and he is in a body, but he is not in his final glorified body which is like the body of Jesus. Hence, he is not completely sanctified or set apart and will not be until he is like Jesus, and that will be at the appearing of our Lord. Perhaps this is why the saints in Heaven cry, "How long, O Lord, how long?" Revelation 6:10, "And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge out blood on them that dwell on the earth?"
Many Christians erroneously believe that at death the Christian becomes like Jesus and that he is immediately sanctified and set apart. True, the saints in Heaven do not sin; nevertheless, they are not mature yet. They have not reached their adulthood yet, which means that they continue to grow. Though they do not sin, they enter Heaven at the spiritual maturity with which they left earth. There will be room for more growth in Heaven until the rapture when Jesus comes and we shall then be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is! A Christian who never praises the Lord on earth will not suddenly upon his entrance into Heaven start shouting praises to God. The Christian who was not interested in his Bible on earth will not enjoy Heaven as much s the Christian who loved the Word of God and spent time with it and in it. The Christian who spent three hours a day watching television and five minutes a day in his Bible will not enjoy Heaven as much at first as the Christian who walked with God. The Christian who spends three hours on Sunday watching the football game and 15 minutes preparing his Sunday school lesson, the one who spends an hour after the service at a hamburger stand and 10 minutes in prayer before he goes to bed, the one who gets up before dawn to go fishing but never gets up before dawn to pray, the one who can spend four hours a week on the golf course and only one hour a week in prayer, one who can sit up until two o'clock to fellowship but never pray past midnight, the one who can sit in the rain at the ball game but won't drive through the rain to church, and the one who has beer in his ice box, rock music on his stereo, grudges in his heart and God's money in his pocket will certainly not enter into the presence of Christ with the same joy and delight as will the Spirit-filled Christian who walks with God, loves the Book and obeys the commands of Christ.
The Christian in heaven now is still a minor. He will not become an adult until he receives his glorified body. Romans 8:23, "And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, WAITING FOR THE ADOPTION, TO WIT, THE REDEMPTION OF OUT BODY." The word "adoption" here means "majority" or "adulthood." It is contrasted with "minority" or "childhood." Now it is plain that this adoption (majority or adulthood) comes when our bodies are redeemed. Our bodies will be redeemed at the coming of Christ FOR HIS OWN. This means that until Christ comes for His own, even the saints in Heaven are not yet adults. Therefore, they still have access to spiritual growth.
The Jewish male child wore a particular type coat which signified that he was a honor. This coat was worn until he became an adult. On the day of his adulthood (majority) he received another coat that signified his adulthood.
On the day that he became an adult, he was taken by his father to the Beam. This was a public place in a conspicuous part of town. He would stand with his son before the citizens of the town and would make several declarations. First he would say, "Thou art my son." He would then say, "Son, inherit my name. Son, inherit my wealth." Then he would remove the coat of childhood (minority) from his son and place on him the coat of adulthood (majority). Now he is an adult and all may see that the day of his adoption has come.
One day I too shall come to Beam (judgment seat). II Corinthians 5:10, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done inn his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." my Saviour shall appear with me. He shall say to the entire universe, "Thou art My son. Son, inherit my name. Son, inherit My wealth." and He shall give me a coat of adulthood; that is, my glorified body. This present coat of childhood shall be removed and then I shall be like Jesus and shall know complete sanctification. Hallelujah! No wonder this body groans and travails for its adoption (redemption). No wonder the saints in Heaven shout, "How long, O Lord, how long?"
This then leads to the conclusion that even saints in Heaven are still minors and will not become adults until Jesus comes. The old is gone, but the new is not yet grown. We await the rapture to be totally like Him and totally sanctified. This behooves the believer to grow in grace so that he will enter Heaven more able to enjoy it and more in the likeness of his Saviour.
The prophet Amos admonished the people the prepare to meet God. Amos 4:12, "Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD, O ISRAEL." Now this is interesting. These were saved people; these were God's people. Amos wasn't telling unsaved people to prepare to meet God by being born again. He was telling saved people to prepare to meet God.
Years ago I preached in Jamaica. I shared the platform with Dr. John R. Rice. He flew to Jamaica on Saturday; I joined him Monday. As I was clearing customs in Jamaica, the customs official welcomed me and asked me what I planned to do while I was there. I told him that I was there to preach. He asked, "Where?" To save my life I could not remember the name of the church. With a suspicious look he asked, "In what town?"
I told him I did not know in which town I was to speak, but that I was to be met at the airport by Dr. John Rice and a local pastor or missionary. He became even more suspicious. Then he asked, "What is the name of the pastor?"
Oh, brother! I could not even think of his name! The official became very disturbed. He said, "Sir, don't tell me you are coming to Jamaica to preach without even knowing the name of the pastor or the church or the town."
I said, "Neighbor, that's exactly the story." Suddenly I saw Dr. John Rice. Pointing to Dr. Rice, I told the customs official, "That man knows me. He will verify who I am and will tell you where I am to preach."
The official called Dr. Rice and asked him to identify me. Dr. Rice looked up with a sheepish grin and said, "Sir, I never saw that man before in my life!"
If someone had asked me on the airplane where I was going, I would have said to Jamaica. The airplane was going to Jamaica, and I was aboard the airplane, but I was not prepared for Jamaica! There are millions of Christians who are going to Heaven and know it, but they are not prepared to meet God.
suppose two people go to a football game. One knows the game and its rules; the other does not. They pay the same price for the ticket and sit side by side at the game. Who enjoys the game more? The one who knows the rules, of course, will enjoy it greatly. The one who knows little or nothing about the game will scarcely enjoy it.
Suppose two Christians go to Heaven side by side. One knows the Bible; the other doesn't. Which one will enjoy Heaven more? The one who knows the Bible, of course. The one who has not learned to Rule Book will be in Heaven but will not enjoy it as much as the one who has prepared to meet his God.
I am writing this chapter aboard an airplane flying from Pittsburgh to Chicago. In a few minutes we will land in Chicago. Suppose all of a sudden I removed my pocket knife, opened it and began to cut the seat in front of me. Now where am I going? To Chicago, of course. Suppose that the pilot or co-pilot came back and said, "Sir, I understand that you are causing some trouble." Let's suppose I took the knife and cut off the tie of the co-pilot or pilot. Now where am I going? I am going to Chicago, of course. Suppose the steward comes back and says, "Sir, you are going to have to behave yourself," and then I kick him in the shin. Now where am I going? I am going to Chicago, of course, but I am not prepared for Chicago and I will not enjoy Chicago as much as I would have enjoyed it had I behaved myself on the journey. The person who has received Christ as Saviour is going to Heaven, but his enjoyment of Heaven will be determined by his behavior on the journey. He will arrive in Heaven, but he is not prepared to meet his God.
Years ago I was preaching one night in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The next night I was to preach in Phoenix, Arizona. I took only one suit. It was a dark flannel suit. I also wore a heavy winter overcoat and a winter hat. That was fine for Minneapolis, Minnesota. Then the next day I flew to Phoenix, Arizona. It was 104 degrees. I got off the airplane wearing a flannel suit, heavy winter overcoat and a winter hat. People at the airport looked at me and began to laugh! I realized what I had done. I had arrived in Phoenix, but I was not prepared for Phoenix. Multitudes of God's people will arrive in Heaven, but they will not be prepared.
Many years ago I was asked to come to Tennessee Temple College and preach the dedication message for the Weigel Music Center built in honor of Dr. Charles Weigel, a blessed old evangelist who lived on campus to Tennessee Temple and who was one of the sweetest and happiest Christians I ever met. Dr. Weigle was approaching the century mark in years. I preached the dedication message and then the great crowd of several thousand went out to the street in front of the Weigle Music Center for the cutting of the ribbon and the dedication prayer. Many dignitaries were there, and it was a time of refreshment and blessing. After the crowd had left, I wanted to talk to Dr. Weigle. I went to his apartment, which was in the back of the new Weigle Music Center. Just before I knocked on his door I heard some noise. I heard clapping of hands and a squeaking of bed springs. I heard a old voice shout, "Hallelujah! Glory to God! Praise the Lord!" I waited for awhile realizing that the old man was up on the bed jumping up and down and singing and shouting praises. I then knocked on the door. When the door opened, there stood Dr. Weigle with bare feet, shirt unbuttoned, hair ruffled and a look of Heaven on his face. I said, "Dr. Weigle, what's going on in here?"
He sweetly replied, "I'm just practicing for Heaven, Dr. Hyles." That is exactly what all of us are supposed to do. We are supposed to be practicing constantly for Heaven!
How can this practicing be done? We should do those things on earth which we will continue to do in Heaven. We should chose friends on earth whom we will know in Heaven. We should realize that we are strangers here. We can praise God; that is something which will be continued in Heaven. We should live in the Word of God because that will also be continued in Heaven. How sad that most of us spend most of our lives doing those things which will not equip us for Heaven!
Not long ago, I was in the Philadelphia area. Suddenly I got happy late at night. I got up on the bed and began to praise the Lord. It must have been two o'clock in the morning and I was still praising Him. There was a knock on the door. I shouted, "Who is it?" A voice came from the outside and said, "It's the man from the next room. What's going on in there?" I replied, "I'm praising the Lord." He said, "Can't we praise the Lord in the morning and sleep tonight?"
I was just doing a little practicing for Heaven! This preparation for Heaven can be done only as we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit, realizing that we have been sanctified at salvation; at the coning of Jesus we shall be totally sanctified, but until then, we are yet minors needing to grow in grace. We need to yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit day by day so that w can grown from glory to glory, from faith to faith and from grace to grace!
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