A Sanctification Quiz
By: Dr. Mark Eckart
Recently I was teaching a class on the Doctrine of Holiness. It occurred to me while teaching that it is a lot easier to determine if someone is saved then sanctified. As we talked that day in class, a three part quiz (I call it) came to mind that I shared with the students to help someone know if they are sanctified.
For example, if someone gets saved or born again you can tell by a change in attitude, conduct, habits they stop and start, or the biggest way in my thinking someone can show they are saved is by getting baptized. This Biblical command stated all throughout the New Testament to “repent and be baptized” is certainly an objective way for someone to let God, the devil, and friends and foes know that have taken a new path. Certainly baptism does not save a person but a person that has truly been saved, I believe, will have a desire to obey and experience water baptism. We have heard that phrase that the sacraments are an outward sign of an inward work, or I like to refer to baptism as being a confirmation of my conversion.
We in the holiness movement, however, teach that there is a second work of grace that a Christian should experience. We just don’t make this idea of sanctification up because we like to use big theological terms or just because John Wesley taught a lot about the topic. We owe a lot to Mr. Wesley for bringing this topic to the forefront in evangelical thought, but it goes deeper than Wesley. The fact is the Bible talks a lot about sanctification.
The words sanctify or sanctification is used in at least seventy verses in the KJV English Bible. In the New Testament alone we have Jesus, Paul, Peter, and the Hebrews author (which very possibly was Paul) talking specifically about the importance of being sanctified.
The question is how can you know you are sanctified? I mean we know it is a Biblical concept. We also know that it is a theological doctrine that many church fathers down through the centuries have taught and expected believers to experience. One of my favorite verses that teach this is when Apostle Paul says, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it” (I Thess. 5:23-24*).
Now relax, because I am not proposing in this article a huge theology examination on the Doctrine of Holiness. I would just like for us to consider a short quiz about this topic. Certainly it is not exhaustive and it could be argued that these topics we are considering in this article are dealt with somewhat when someone gets saved. This could be true; however, I contend all of these areas are Lordship issues that God deals with when we surrender all to Him at a deeper level than we experience at conversion. So, in my humble opinion this is one objective way to determine if you have been sanctified wholly. This quiz only has three parts. Ready, here we go!
1. What about your money and possessions?
Someone that has experienced the second work of grace in their heart will not be stingy. If you find a believer that penny pinches on their tithe and offerings, never gives to missions or charities beyond their local church, more than likely they have NOT been sanctified. A big part of sanctification is giving God full control of everything we own. The attitude is He owns it, we are just stewards of what He entrusts us with while on this earth.
A friend of mine recently told me they felt like God was asking them to give 15% of what they make each week to the church. A pastor’s wife was sharing a while back with Deb and I that God was leading her to give double tithe on the money she was making in her business.
Don’t misunderstand, for the sanctified person giving to God is not a chore it is a privilege. You are so in love with God that you can’t wait to give offerings to His work. No wonder Paul said, “That God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7*). God’s love reciprocates and there is a special love bond that takes place between God and the person that loves to give to God.
If all you think about is saving money, hoarding possessions and 401k’s, then ask God to work in your heart so you can become a “cheerful giver.”
2. What about your submission?
Once again this topic cuts to the heart of the issue of being sanctified. If someone that claims to be a Christian is always wanting there own way, not coming under authority, showing a bad attitude when they are told no by a boss, parent, or a board of directors, they probably have not been sanctified. I am not talking here about an occasional struggle dealing with a set back we didn’t see coming, but rather an overall attitude of rebellion.
All through Scripture we are admonished to “obey those who have rule over you.” To “submit to those who are in authority over you.” The New Testament specifically says:
• Submit yourselves to God
• Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake
• Likewise, you younger people , submit yourselves to the your elders
• Children obey your parents in the Lord
I think by now you get the idea. Someone that is walking at the deeper level with God will do their best to follow these admonitions to obey and submit. Someone that has said the last “yes” to God’s will for their life will make it a habit to cooperate with people they are accountable to as well.
A friend of mine was comfortable as the senior pastor in a local church in the Midwest. The church paid well, took great care of his family, and he was positioned to advance in his denominational movement. However, one night he attended a camp service and was listening to a missionary speaker and seemingly out of nowhere God started talking to him about being a missionary. To make a long story short, today he, his wife, and three sons are now serving Christ on foreign soil.
There is a song we used to sing that says in part, “I’ll say yes, Lord yes, to Your will and to Your way.” That is what this point is all about – submitting to God and others.
3. What about your forgiveness?
A sanctified believer will not be a person that carries around grudges just waiting for the right moment to “get even” with someone else. How many church splits and divisions could have been avoided in the past if people would have just been forgiving Christians?
I have been serving the last few years in church administration. When I first started these responsibilities, a friend called me that had served several years in a similar position and said, “Get ready Mark, because you will soon find out how mean church people can be.” Thankfully, I have found a whole lot of church people are not that way.
However, my friend does have a point, but he is not talking about sanctified people. Because, if a sanctified person does have a bad day and react in a wrong fashion they call back the next day or two and ask forgiveness for their bad attitude.
Just think what a difference it would make in our homes, churches, and schools if sanctified people truly lived in a spirit of forgiveness. We talk about needing revivals; well this would be a good place to start. One prayer I have is for God to send a revival of forgiveness across the land. We all know God takes this topic very seriously.
How much clearer can it be than this: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt 6:14&15*). I realize for a person to stay saved they must practice forgiveness, but certainly if someone claims to be sanctified they should operate in an attitude of forgiving others.
I once invited a guest lecturer to speak to a counseling class I was teaching and ask him to specifically discuss the topic forgiveness. He told a powerful story from his own life that day to illustrate his point that we should forgive. His brother had many struggles and one day there was a conflict that arose and someone shot and killed my friend’s brother. The whole family was sad of course and grieved very much about this sudden and unfortunate loss. Our guest that day said he struggled initially forgiving the man that killed his brother. After awhile though, God helped him process the tragedy and forgive the murderer. This was the neat part. For years my friend had a prayer list with his brother’s name on it and he prayed for him often. After his death he eventually got to the point where he erased his brother’s name and inserted the murderers name in his brother’s place on the prayer list and now he prays for him often. This ladies and gentlemen is forgiveness.
One more thing about this topic of forgiveness that is crucial. A sanctified person will also keep a short account with God. If they are overtaken by a sin of surprise like unholy anger, or a sin of omission like prayerlessness, or even a sin of commission like disobeying one of God’s commandments, they will be quick to seek God’s forgiveness. The sanctified believer does not practice sin and makes a real effort not to sin, but if they do, as I John 2:1 reminds us, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” The good news is God will forgive us and we can go on walking in His light and in obedience.
So there you have it. It is a short quiz. It only has three questions. It is not scientific, but it is indicators to see if we are sanctified or not. I gave one person this quiz and they said, “Yeah, I pass on all three areas!” No doubt that person is sanctified. If you can’t answer yes to all three, ask God to do a work in your heart so you can be a sanctified Christian. Because as Paul said, “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”
*All scriptures used were from the NKJV