Dangers to the Sanctified
Do not be shocked to discover that the life of the sanctified is beset by dangers. Overlooking that fact gives Satan an advantage in his attacks….
One danger is considering purity of heart as the goal, whereas it is “fitness” for life and service on earth, as well as fitness for Heaven. Purity is the foundation of character. Consider the words of Adam Clarke on Ephesians 3:19:
“To be filled with God is a great thing; to be filled with the fullness of God is still greater;
to be filled with all the fullness of God is greatest of all….”
The saintly Fletcher described this fullness as “a state of grace beyond sanctification. Sanctification does not graduate the believer in God’s love. It only conditions him to advance in that love….”
Another danger is that of misplaced emphasis. One of the spiritual giants in the holiness movement a generation ago warned against what he called losing the “force” (or power) through compromise, and losing the “field” (or following) through misplaced emphasis….
One must constantly guard against the imbalance between the devotional life and the practical life…. One must also guard against constantly shifting the emphasis so that folk are more conversant with what one opposes than what he favors, or why he opposes or favors those things.
It may be easier to denounce the socalled negatives than to defend one’s scriptural reasons for opposing them and for favoring the positive. Both the positive and the negative are necessary. A godly bishop is quoted as saying:
“If we lift truth out of its proper proportion and unduly stress a minor truth at the expense of a major truth, we spoil the symmetry of the whole….”
Another very real danger is allowing outward appearance to substitute for inward reality. It seems much easier to make the outward, visible aspects of life conform to a popular pattern, than to submit to the Holy Spirit’s requirements for the inward approval of conformity to the whole will of God. Dr. L.R. Dunn described this danger thus:
“There may be amiability of disposition, and a heart as cold and dead toward God as a flinty rock….
There may be honesty in dealing with our fellowmen, while our hearts by pride, or unbelief, or indifference, or rebellion, may be robbing God of the honor and glory due unto Him.
There may be benevolence toward suffering humanity, and be the basest ingratitude toward God.”
Furthermore, there is a danger of indulging in judging, name-calling, and labeling, evils which have done untold harm. It is true that “by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matt. 7:16-20).
But He who spoke those words had previously said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matt. 7:1). Some who insist that their judgment is based on “fruits” may not themselves be perfect examples of the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23). Even genuine fruit may lack what Dr. George D. Watson referred to as “October mellowness.”
It behooves each one to endeavor “to keep the sweet juices of perfect love from souring….” Self-confidence is a very real danger. Holiness is a great experience, and Satan may subtly tempt one to trust in self for security….
There is also the danger of self-satisfaction, which may arise out of the unwitting mistake of considering this glorious experience as the end (or goal) of salvation, rather than the means of salvation….
[Sanctification] “is only a starting point to infinite lengths ahead, a new departure in growth, knowledge, energy, and usefulness in service. How easy it is to…conclude that we have reached the climax…. We are not completed, boxed, and addressed to the glory world with nothing to do but shout all the way. There is work for us to do.”
Roy S. Nicholson (1903-1993) was a dominant figure in the Wesleyan Methodist Church before its merger with the Pilgrim Holiness Church in 1968. He then gave many years of service to The Wesleyan Church. This excerpt is from True Holiness (Schmul Publishing, 1985, pp. 107-110).