By Ismael E. Amaya
A Second Work of Grace
One of the most important aspects of the experience of entire sanctification is that it is presented in the Bible as a second work of grace. This is very simple to comprehend for many sincere believers; however it is difficult for others. Many people accept holiness as a divine work, but not as a second experience reserved only for the believers regenerated by the blood of Jesus Christ Some accept it as imparted to the sinner in the experience of regeneration. This is not possible for several reasons:
In the first place, the need for a second work of grace stems from the nature of sin itself. Sin is twofold, consisting of (1) volitional acts (sins) of the individual (for which he is personally responsible) and (2) the inward pollution (sin) or the sin principle (which he has inherited and for which he is not personally responsible). For the first, man must seek forgiveness (the first work); but for the second, he needs cleansing (the second work). Furthermore, an unforgiven heart is not a candidate for cleansing.
It should be noted, too, that when the sinner comes to Christ he comes burdened by his own sins; comes in repentance and under deep conviction for the sins which he has committed. He may, and should, shed bitter tears of repentance. His heart and mind are concerned with only one thing -- to have the sins of the past forgiven, to have his load of guilt lifted. The experience of holiness is not his immediate concern. If he has not been taught about the "second blessing," the glorious experience he now enjoys, the relief from the burden of his sins, together with the emotion produced by that event so sublime, is completely satisfying. He cannot imagine that there is something better than the experience of conversion. The first work of grace is, indeed, a complete work.
The sense of need for a second work of grace may come to a person very soon, or more slowly, depending on his background, teaching, and experience. He may be already instructed in the way. He may be led to seek the experience through the study of the Scriptures, or through the testimonies of the persons who already have been sanctified. At the same time a sense of personal need will begin to develop -- a desire for an experience that will help him to live a victorious Christian life. When this need increases to the extent that it gets to be a petition to God, then the individual starts seeking the experience of entire sanctification.
Then, too, the Bible presents clearly both experiences. The more we study about them, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and through prayer, the more clearly we see them. The two experiences are so different that in certain aspects they seem to be the opposite of each other,
Regeneration is a birth. "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Cor. 5:17). According to these passages the person who is saved is born again spiritually and starts a new life in Christ. He is a new son of God by adoption and becomes a part of the great family of the redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
On the other hand, the experience of entire sanctification is, in a sense, a death. "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin" (Rom. 6:6). "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2:20).
Therefore, in regeneration man is born, while in sanctification he dies; in regeneration he is made spiritually alive, while in sanctification he is crucified; in regeneration he is freed, while in sanctification he is buried.
The record of the New Testament Church confirms that entire sanctification is a second work of grace. All Christians from all generations have agreed that something tremendous and miraculous happened to the disciples between the time Jesus was crucified and the time when Peter spoke with high courage to the multitude on the Day of Pentecost This remarkable change can be credited only to the heart-transforming filling with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost -- a definite, spiritual experience.
Another classic example of this second work of grace is found in Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians. He was writing to a group of people who had been converted for some time, a group of persons whose faith was abounding and their joy contagious. However Paul, sensing a certain lack remaining in their spiritual lives, prayed for them in these words: "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly" (I Thess. 5:23).
Throughout the history of the Christian Church, Christians have witnessed again and again to this second work of grace, Many of our own day could be called to the witness stand to testify of this experience.
Dr. Samuel Young testified that after a struggle with an unwillingness to trust God's judgment and plan for His life he came to the place where the old life died and in answer to a simple faith God's will became "a delight instead of a foreboding fear." The resultant life of holiness "is now a life of radiance," he testifies.
Dr. J. B. Chapman testified that he was sanctified in the same holiness camp meeting in which he was converted as a lad fifteen years old. Dr. Chapman confessed that it was not simply the clear, Bible preaching on holiness that won him, but the happy band of people whose lives backed their testimony.
These are reasons, logical, scriptural, and experiential, which support our position that there is a second definite work of grace which all Christians may enjoy.