Testimony of Entire Sanctification
Written on 8/21/99
At a camp meeting in the summer of 1999, I heard Nelson Purdue preach on
holiness. And as he began to share a story about people testifying to the
experience of entire sanctification, I remembered that some dear old saints
of the church have told me that we don't see the move of God in our church
as in the days past. And I thought it odd, as he continued with his story,
that in all my time in the Church of the Nazarene, I have only heard three
or four people testify to being entirely sanctified. It was at that moment
that the Spirit impressed upon me, "Yes, isn't that odd? Barry, I want you
to testify." He always brings it home, doesn't He?
I wasn't sure about that. Up until now, I haven't openly testified of this
because I couldn't fully explain it; I still can't. But as Nelson Purdue
reminded me, I don't need to explain it, only proclaim it. I am not shy
about testifying to being saved, and I can't fully explain that, either.
Knowing my tendencies, my pastor in our church in Delaware said to me,
"Barry, now don't try to intellectualize the doctrine of entire
sanctification to death. I did that for years. It is a work of grace just
like salvation is. It's a gift from God given to us as we trust Him.
That's all that it is." In retrospect, I see this as perhaps one of the
very best pieces of advice I have received in my walk with Christ.
So, I believe that it is out of obedience to the Lord that I proclaim to
you my experience of entire sanctification. Several months after I was
saved, our church held a revival---the first revival I'd ever been to. The
evangelist I thought, quite frankly, was kind of dorky. I didn't like him.
Yet, I felt a compelling need to go to the altar one night. In the midst
of my blubbering, I could not speak. But the Holy Spirit, I am convinced,
granted my pastor discernment, for he knew what was on my heart. He prayed
with me as I threw myself fully with tears and a glad heart into Jesus'
arms and prayed that He would invade and cleanse every nook and cranny of
my heart and life. I didn't understand all that that meant, but I believed
by the measure of faith God gave me that He could do this. And so He did.
Many of the old saints of the church understood something that day that I
did not---I had received what they called "the fullness of His Spirit."
I knew things were different somehow after that time. Mostly because the
first thing that God invaded was my time. I must say to you that since
that day, I cannot remember even one moment of my life that God has not
been in front of me. When I wake up---"Hello God." When I lay down---God.
In my dreams---God! When I take a shower---God. When I pump gas into my
car---God. It became literally impossible to ignore Him, because you see I
didn't really want to. Every area of my life came under the scrutiny of
the Holy Spirit. I mean every area; buying a candy bar became a spiritual
decision for me. For some, that's a little too close for comfort, for we
all like to hold back little areas of our lives that are our own domain.
But I'm not sure that God calls me to comfort, and anyhow I want every area
of my life to be under the scrutiny of the Holy Spirit. It's a glorious
existence. Not wanting that seems like insanity to me now. Why wouldn't
you want that?
From that point in time, He began to lead me in so many areas of my life in
growth and sacrifice to Him. He revealed and continues to reveal
inappropriate responses to things and shortcomings in my judgment, and
teaches me to correct them. These, I've come to understand, are fueled by
my ignorance and thoughtless habitual behavior and just general stupidity
on my part sometimes. But what they are not fueled by is a rebellious
attitude of "go away God, I don't want you in this part of my life and
besides, I'm not going to consult with you about every little thing!" God
no longer has to fight me while He teaches me; the weeds have been cleaned
out of me so that His fruit may blossom abundantly. To whom I belong and
where my affections ultimately lie were by God's grace (not of me; God got
me out of that pew!) settled at that altar back in 1996 at a revival
meeting with a dorky evangelist in whose weakness, God's strength was made
complete in my life. I'm here to testify to that today, that God
sanctifies me wholly by His grace.