Many years ago, the Higher Life/Holiness movement produced a book called “The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life”. It’s still sold for a couple of dollars in the cutout “Cheap book” bins at Christian book stores.
Countless millions have been led astray by her books. Speak in tongues? Your tongues speaking is an indirect result of her book. Why? That book influenced Frank Sandford, THE mover and shaker in Christianity who’s confused doctrine directly led to the Charismatic movement.
Why do I mention the “Christian’s Secret of a happy life?”
Because Hannah Whitehall Smith had not the slightest idea that there’s a difference between salvation… and sanctification. Literally, she uses the word Sanctification when she means salvation throughout the book!
She obviously was completely confused, and understood salvation to be a process – which it is not. The salvation by faith through grace part seems to compeltely miss her and pass her by – instead, she’s focused on salvation by how you live your life. Or perhaps, she thought of salvation as God’s gift, but you had to maintain it or lose it. Since they were moving in Methodist circles, that’s most likely what it was. I’m hoping for her sake she finally understood salvation.
Why do I bring this up? Most christians make the same mistake, but in the other direction. They assume since they get saved…
…you’re done. That’s it. No more growth.
Those are the same Christians who don’t read their Bibles.
Let me explain sanctification. Salvation is getting saved – free gift, nothing you do, all you do is accept it. No works involved. Ssanctification is “becoming holy” or “Set apart for Holy use”.
“But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: The LORD will hear when I call unto him. Stand in awe, and sin not: Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.” (Psalm 4:3–4, KJV)
“As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” (Acts 13:2, KJV)
ἀφορίζω aphoridzo is the word in Greek. It basically means to set aside, to pull from a group. YOU are set aside for holy use.
ἁγιάζω Hagazio is the word here for Sanctify. The word means to set apart, to make holy.
The two words together give us the sense. You are set apart from the rest of humanity, separated by salvation. After that comes the process of becoming holy, for holy use.
forget all the Catholic interpretations! EVERY Christian is set aside for holy use. And so, you must grow in the Lord. That’s Sanctification. Making yourself holy.
So, how do you do that?
The last two days, we discussed what to write down in your daily studies. Tim LaHeye in his book on How to Study The Bible For Yourself included in his example sheets of what to write down one thing in particular: “A command to keep” or “a timeless principle.”
The Bible is the word for today (John 10:9) – oh, wait, I borrowed someone else’s catchphrase. sorry. Anyway, the point here is, those commands in the new testament actually outnumber the ones in the old. Many are repetitions of the other. Let’s try a command (gasp, LEGALISM!!!!):
Love one another.
Oh. Really? That’s all?
Buddy, when’s the last time you tried being loving to today’s Christians? Man, they will cut you up and spit you out! I try to act in love when speaking to other Christians – the thing I keep finding is (to borrow 19th Century terminology) we have a lot of professors of Christ, verses possessors of Christ.
The most loving thing you can do once you become aware is to tell a professor of Christ is they are not a possessor of Christ. Seriously. “I have a lot of questions about whether or not you’re saved.”
That’s a heavy thing to tell someone.
What other highly legalistic things are Christians required to do.
Pray without ceasing. Be alwayss in prayer. Ya know, it’s kind of hard to sin while you’re in a constant conversation with God. I’m sure most of us can manage to do it, but… try it. I’ve often said, the only way to get some Baptists to pray is put food in front of them.
Forgive one another.
Hm! Let’s tackle some of the other ones. “Study to shew thyself approved.”
Witness. Pray. Give to charity. Tithe. And start putting the old man of sin to death.
If we start taking just one of these verses a week, and try working on it, perhaps we’ll all stop being baby Christians… and grow into what the Lord needs us to be.
I’m aware there’s a growing group of supposed Christians who teach Christians should not do ANYTHING, and call it Free Grace or hypergrace. It’s a serious error. It borders on heresy, because…
The Apostles wanted to see the fruit of salvation before they baptized you. If you’re not showing any fruit of salvation… They didn’t let you join the church. Because you’d be a professor of Jesus Christ, and not a possessor.