"For their sakes," says the blessed Saviour, "I sanctify Myself that they also might be sanctified through the truth," or as the margin, "truly sanctified," or as the Revised Version, "that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth." The Lord Jesus Christ most assuredly did not need to be made holy, but all His redeemed children being subjects of inbred sin do need it. As for Him, He was the "holy thing" that was to be born of the Virgin Mary. "He knew no sin," He "did no sin," He was "holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners," and, therefore, when He says "I sanctify Myself," He means nothing more nor less than I consecrate Myself, or I set Myself apart, but in the other clause where the term sanctify is used in reference to His people, it must mean that they may be cleansed from all sin entirely sanctified, made holy or pure in heart. He sets Himself apart, therefore, to the work of redemption and salvation that He may have a holy people on earth, as without controversy He must and will have a holy people in heaven.
We have shown that entire sanctification is coetaneous with the baptism with the Holy Ghost, in fact, that the two experiences are in an important sense identical, or, at least, so related to each other that whoever has one has the other. It is Christ and none other who baptizes with the Holy. Ghost. "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire," not as some imagine, I think erroneously, that there are to be two baptisms, first that of the Holy Ghost, and afterwards that of fire in the way of affliction or persecution, though plenty of these are promised and experienced by those who would live godly in Christ Jesus, but simply that He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost under the similitude of fire, that is, that dross and tin and reprobate silver, or, in a word, all inbred sin may be consumed.
Nor is it correct to say that there are "many baptisms" of the Spirit. The Holy Ghost baptism is received by the consecrated believer once for all, and is never repeated unless by unfaithfulness or backsliding he falls from the precious grace which this baptism confers upon him, from Christ through the Spirit, and again comes in repentance and confession to do his first works, and again to be filled with the Spirit and cleansed from all sin. And even in that case the Holy Ghost seldom or never repeats Himself, by giving the same emotional experience as at first, but may and must be received and retained by faith, and the amount of feeling and the kind of feeling which He will arouse must be left to Himself entirely, I mean to say that the experience may be lost and may be regained, but seldom with the same phenomena of consciousness as at the first. Do not speak, then, of having had many baptisms of the Spirit, but seek and find the one baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire. Do not say that you are desiring or that you have had a fresh baptism with the Holy Ghost, but let your thoughts and prayers be directed to the one baptism which cleanseth and endueth and anointeth.
But I would not be misunderstood on this point. The Psalmist says, "I shall be anointed with fresh oil," and to every sanctified child of God, there may and do come seasons of refreshing, also of girding and filling, and fresh anointing for particular services, which are sometimes called fresh baptisms, but which are not to be confounded with the one true abiding Pentecostal experience. These blessings are not to be undervalued or lightly esteemed, but they come because we already have the Blesser Himself as a personal indwelling Presence and Power.
Many teachers of holiness inculcate the doctrine that we are first sanctified by the blood of Jesus, and afterwards filled or baptized with the Holy Ghost. This opinion would necessitate three separate experiences, where, I think, the Scripture only speaks of two. We should have (1) pardon, (2) entire sanctification by the blood, and (3) the filling of the Spirit. There would thus be a separation between the removing of inbred sin from the heart, and the baptism with the Holy Ghost. This baptism would, then, be only a qualification for service. It is regarded by these teachers, as only given for an enduement of power, to do the work to which we are called. And the practical result of this error, for such with due deference I must regard it, is that some will be very anxious to obtain the baptism with the Holy Ghost to make them strong or powerful in their work, but will ignore, or even deny, the doctrine of entire sanctification. Dr. S. A. Keen tells us of a minister who wrote to him that he did not take much stock in sanctification, but that he was very desirous of the Holy Ghost baptism, in order that he might have increased power in the ministry of the word. And, indeed, this seems to be a very prevalent idea, that we are to be baptized for service, but not for cleansing.
I trust that no reader who has followed me through the different chapters of this book will imagine, for a moment, that I under-value, in the slightest degree, the precious blood of Christ, nor do I forget that it is that blood which, as we walk in the light, cleanseth us from all sin. I think I have sufficiently stated elsewhere that the blood of Jesus is the procuring cause of our sanctification, as well as of our justification, and that we are forever dependent upon the atonement for the one blessing as well as the other. The blood of the Son of God is the ground of our sanctification, but it is the Holy Spirit who is the effective agent in destroying the depravity of our hearts.
It is true that our Saviour received the Holy Ghost, and that God anointed Him for the great work of redemption. And in His case, the word used is anointed or descended, and not in any place baptized. He needed not the work of entire sanctification, and, therefore, He is not said to have been baptized with the Holy Ghost. As a man, He did need the energizing for His work, and, therefore, He is said to have been anointed. Beloved, let us not separate what God has joined together. The entire sanctification of the heart and the Holy Ghost baptism are coetaneous experiences, and must not be divorced.
And now, beloved reader, I have accomplished my task. I have shown that like a golden thread the doctrine of entire sanctification runs through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. It is found in patriarchal times, it is in the law and the prophets, the types and the ceremonies, the gospels and epistles, everywhere showing us that we have to do with a Holy God, and that we as His children are required to be holy men and women.
To all who shall read this book, I testify that by the grace of God, and the blood of Christ, and the sin-consuming baptism with the Holy Ghost, this poor man, the chief of sinners, is saved to the uttermost. Glory to His name.
And to you, my readers, I bid farewell, and say, May He "make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." Amen.