David  B. Updegraff’s Testimony To Entire Sanctification

There were a good many people who gave me trouble, but as I learned more of myself I discovered one “old man”* who gave me more trouble than all the others, and he was a member of my own household (part of me).

* His sinful nature.

His deeds had been put off (Ephesians 4:22), and truly there was no condemnation (Romans 8:1), yet when I would do good he was present with me (Romans 7:21). He was there to war against the law of my mind, with a resolute purpose to bring me into captivity to the law of sin (Romans 7:23). If he succeeded even partially I was humbled and grieved, and if he did not I was in distress with fear lest he might. The Lord taught me by some special providences, and I began to understand more clearly how the law of God was weak through the flesh (Romans 8:3). I hated pride, ambition, evil tempers and vain thoughts, but . . . they were a part of me — not as acts to be repented of and forgiven, but dispositions lying behind the acts, and promptings thereto, natural to the old man and inseparable from his presence in my being.

I began to ask God, with a measure of faith, to cast him out. Along with this desire I had a great hunger and thirst to be filled with all the fullness of God (Matthew 5:6; Ephesians 3:19). I longed for a clean heart and a steadfast spirit (Psalm 51:10), and in this attitude of soul I attended a special meeting for conference and prayer on one memorable evening . . . with the resolute purpose of presenting my body a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1-2). Such were my relations with Him that I saw a new light and a new privilege in entirely consecrating myself, and I went about it with great delight, but I speedily found myself in the midst of a severe conflict.

The things that were to be suffered for Jesus’ sake — the misapprehensions, suspicions and revilings of carnal professors of Christianity, as well as the conflicts with the world, the flesh and the devil, passed quickly before my mind; and these things were not fanciful exaggerations either. Selfishness, pride and prejudice joined forces and rose up in rebellion, while the “old man” pleaded for his life. But I could not, would not draw back. Vile affections were resolutely confessed and renounced, and those things that were gain to me — denominational standing, family, business, friends, possessions, time, talent and reputation — were irrevocably committed to the sovereign control and disposal of my Almighty Savior. With everything on the altar of consecration I had no sooner “reckoned myself dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God” (Romans 6:11) than the Holy Spirit “fell” upon me (Acts 10:44). Instantly I felt the melting and refining fire of God permeate my whole being (Matthew 3:11). I had entered into spiritual rest (Hebrews 4:9). I was nothing and nobody, and glad that it was forever settled that way. It was a conscious luxury to get rid of ambitions and self-will and have my heart cry out for nothing but the will of God. I was deeply conscious of His presence and of His sanctifying work.

It was not an effort to realize that I loved the Lord with all my heart, mind and strength, and my neighbor as myself (Mark 12:30-31). The inner calm and repose in God at that time was a wonder to me, and it continues to be so today. It was, and is, the “peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

The witness of the Spirit to entire sanctification was as clear and unmistakable to my own soul as it was in the experience of justification (Romans 5:1; 8:16). I have had abundant time and occasion in the nearly nineteen years that have passed to scrutinize and test the reality and nature of the work of entire sanctification wrought then, and perpetuated since by the power of the Holy Spirit. In and of myself I am neither holier nor stronger than before. I have learned that this wondrous baptism with the Holy Spirit is the secret of stability in the Christian character. . . .

Entire sanctification is . . . a way of life, which may and ought to be maintained by a continual faith in Jesus and His promises. His constant abiding puts in us a disposition to do the will of God. Letting Him work in us to will and to do of His own good pleasure (Philippians 2:13) constrains Him to abide in us (John 15:4).

I have proven the secret of victory in this life to be quietness, assurance and obedience, and loving God supremely (Isaiah 32:17). There must be a supreme dread of offending Him. If grieving the Spirit of God is regarded as the greatest evil that could befall us, the fear of man will not ensnare us, and our eyes will remain single and our whole body will be full of light  (Matthew 6:22). Let Satan stretch the last link in his chain — it is still too short — he cannot reach us. For the “Mighty to save” (Jesus Christ) is both able and willing to keep His own from the commission of sin, as well as to atone for and pardon sins already committed. Bless His holy Name. “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment” (Revelation 3:5). “And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ; John 1:29) and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11). Amen. – David B. Updegraff

David B. Updegraff’s Testimony to Entire Sanctification was taken from the book Forty Witnesses, condensed and revised, and may be reproduced and distributed.

“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. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24


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