Thursday, April 23, 2020


From Conformed to His Image by Oswald Chambers:

"The doctrine of sinless perfection and consequent freedom from temptation runs on the line that because I am sanctified, I cannot now do wrong. If that is so, you cease to be a man. If God put us in such a condition that we could not disobey, our obedience would be of no value to Him. But blessed be His name when by His redemption the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, He gives us something to do to manifest it. Just as human nature is put to the test in the actual circumstances of life, so the love of God in us is put to the test. 'Keep yourselves in the love of God,' says Jude, that is keep your soul open not only to the fact that God loves you, but that He is in you, in you sufficiently to manifest His perfect love in every condition in which you can find yourself as you rely upon Him."

Critics of John Wesley's doctrine of Sanctification, or Perfect Love, maintain that the doctrine claims that those who have been sanctified have reached a state of "sinless" perfection. Unfortunately, that misconception has mislead many in Wesleyan holiness fellowships. When I was in seminary, another student spoke in class concerning a person in his congregation who claimed to have been sanctified twenty years before and had not sinned since. This quote from Chambers serves as an adequate rebuke to such foolish thinking. I don't know if Chambers' views on sanctification matched Wesley's, or if he attributed to Wesley the erroneous notion of "sinless" perfection. But if you believe that Wesley taught such a notion, read these quotes from John Wesley's A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, and decide for yourself if Chamber's quote would have been approved by Wesley:

  “We...believe that there is no such perfection in this life, as implies an entire deliverance, either from ignorance, or mistake, in things not essential to salvation, or from manifold temptations, or from numberless infirmities, which the corruptible body more or less presses down on the soul.  We cannot find any ground in Scripture to suppose, that any inhabitant of a house of clay is wholly exempt from bodily infirmities, or from ignorance of many things; or to imagine any is incapable of mistake, or falling into many temptations.”

“In one sense we do not, while all our tempers, and thoughts, and words, and works, spring from love.  But in another we do, and shall do, more or less, as long as we remain in the body.  For neither love nor the ‘unction of the Holy One’ makes us infallible: therefore, through unavoidable defect of understanding, we cannot but mistake in many things.  And these mistakes will frequently occasion something wrong, both in our temper, and words, and actions.  From mistaking his character, we may love a person less than he really deserves.  And by the same mistake we are unavoidably led to speak or act, with regard to that person, in such a manner as is contrary to this law in some or other of the preceding instances.” 

No comments: