Recently, while browsing the Internet, I happened upon a Wesleyan Holiness preacher teaching about the necessity of a “second work of grace” in the lives of believers. He promised to anyone who would simply “empty their hearts of self” (whatever that is supposed to mean) that God would “eradicate their sinful disposition, freeing them from indwelling sin.” But, where in the Scriptures do we ever read an account of anyone ever receiving a second, more powerful, more conclusive application of God’s grace in Christ? Where do we ever read that a Christian can live above the daily warfare with sin? Hold up a blank sheet of paper and I’ll be the first to tell to you that you hold in your hands everything the Scriptures declare about Wesleyan Holiness/Perfectionism!
The Word of the Lord presents the application of God’s grace as a one-time event! It is also evident that salvation/sanctification are wrought, not by the will of a sincere and ardently praying sinner kneeling at a prayer bench begging God (for perhaps the 85th time) to be made free from indwelling desires to sin, but completed in the perfect offering of Christ for His people! Furthermore, how could a Holy God save His people without also sanctifying them? How can God’s people be sanctified (set apart as God’s people) without………being sanctified!?!
Hebrews 9:12-14 (ESV) – “he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”
Consider what the writer of Hebrews teaches us. Christ’s blood secures “eternal redemption” for God’s people! He goes on to write that this “securing” is accomplished precisely because Christ’s blood “sanctifies” God’s children, “purifying [them] from dead works to serve the living God.”
We are made holy (sanctified) by and through the imputed righteousness of Christ. Because of Christ’s work on our behalf, we are clothed in the very righteousness of Christ! The “dead works” from which we are purified are all of the efforts we used to trust for righteousness apart from Christ. That’s why they’re called “dead.” They cannot produce life. Only Christ, the light of life, can produce life!
Wesleyan Holiness Second Blessing theology is nothing else but a denial of the sufficiency of Christ’s “first” work of grace! Look to the true Gospel of God’s grace in the finished (completely settled for all time) work of Christ. No other message brings peace and genuine assurance to a believer’s heart like the true and lasting realization that salvation is not of prayer, not of faith, not of zeal, not of works, but of God!
For those who may be interested in reviewing the source material for this post, here is a link to the sermon in question.
Jason K. Boothe serves as Pastor of Horizons Baptist Church of Piketon, Ohio. Fore more information concerning the ministries of the church, please visit www.HorizonsBaptist.org