Epistles of Thomas

October 7, 2009

Wholly Sanctified review

wholly

Albert Benjamin Simpson, Wholly Sanctified: Living a Life Empowered by the Holy Spirit. Camp Hill: Christian Publications, 1991. 121pp. 0875094554, 9780875094557.

A.B. Simpson was the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance which has congregations around the world. Part of what makes the Alliance distinctive is its emphasis on the Fourfold Gospel which Simpson promulgated. The four parts centre on Christ and portray him as Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King. This book by Simpson defines that it means to be sanctified and how one can enter and remain in that state.

Simpson defines sanctification as “the inflow into man’s being of the life and purity of the infinite, eternal and Holy One, bringing His own perfection and working out in us His own will” (6). It means the Christian’s voluntary separation from evil; the dedication of ourselves to God for his personal use; our continuous filling with his Spirit and it works in all three realms of a human being: body, soul, and spirit.

He goes on to explain what this looks like in those realms. “A dedicated spirit is thus wholly given to God, to know Him, to choose His will, to resemble His character, to trust His Word, to love Him supremely, to glorify Him only, to enjoy Him wholly and to belong to Him utterly, unreservedly, and forever” (30). “This act of dedication should be made once for all, and then recognized as done and as including every subsequent act that we may ever renew as we receive more light in detail respecting His will concerning us” (30-31). Similarly, “the dedication of the body implies the setting apart of our entire physical beings…as the property of God, the object of his special care, and the instrument of His special will and service” (69).

Simpson explains what sanctification looks like in the four classes of mental endowment: understanding, tastes, affections, passions and appetites. He recognises that a Christian will not live a perfect life in all of those areas and therefore, “We must learn to recover instantly from failure by frank confession and prompt faith and recommittal” (91).

From this we can see that Simpson views sanctification as something that happens “once for all” but includes our living out that fact in continued development over a lifetime. The book concludes with six poems of Simpson including his famous hymns “Himself” and “Jesus Only.” These encapsulate his message – seek the giver, not the gifts and you will be sanctified and everything else will be given unto you.

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