Sanctification is Not a Growth in Grace

By Beverly Carradine

Here is where multiplied thousands fall into error: they have failed to distinguish between two sep­arate and distinct things. By insisting that holiness and growth in grace are the same, they have made the work of man and the work of God identical. This is a very grave error. So long as the Church believes that sanctification is a gradual growth in grace, so long will God’s people be kept out of the blessing of a holy heart.

That entire sanctification is not growth in grace appears from several considerations. First, the (Greek) words themselves; they are entirely different. One is “hagiasmos;” the other is “auxanete de en chariti.” This fact alone should convince us. Again, the meanings of the words are different. If they meant the same thing, why would the Holy Spirit use different words? One means holiness; the other does not. One refers to a state; the other to a growth. One refers to a removal; the other to an addition. One signifies a death; the other a life. One is an impartation; the other an expansion and development. One takes away uncleanness and impurity; the other is the growth of purity. One refers to a completed work; the other to an indefinite progress. And now, for fear that the last two expressions may be misunderstood, we amplify them by saying that the completed work referred to is the death of inbred sin or depravity, and that the indefinite progress is the growing holier all the days of the sanctified life.

Sanctification is purity, but growth in grace is the maturing of purity. You, my reader, may have been growing in grace for twenty, thirty, forty years. Have you obtained the blessing of a holy heart yet? No; nor will you ever obtain it that way. Has it not occurred to you that it is a long road that you are traveling? You may be gray haired now, and still you do not possess what you have been struggling for all your life. Does it not occur to you that it would be wise to try another route? You should certainly be convinced by this time that holiness of heart is neither growth in grace, nor is it to be found by growth in grace.

The crowning proof that holiness is not growth in grace is found in the Word of God. The Bible teaches plainly that entire sanctification is an instantaneous work. When the Bible speaks of the duty of growth it turns to man and says, “Grow in grace” (2 Pet. 3:18); but when it speaks of sanctification it looks to God, and says, “The very God of peace sanctify you wholly . . . Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (1 Thess. 5:23-24). Sanctification is obtained by earnest, humble seeking, with the consecration of yourself to God, and faith in Christ for the blessing. – Condensed and revised

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