Tom's Book

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Tom has recently published the book:  Holiness:  The Journey, The Joy, The Difference.

Do you feel dissatisfied with the way you are and long to be a better person?

Have you ever wanted to cry out to the Lord, "Lord, please change me?"

Read more ...

There are so many questions about what sanctification does and does not do in the life of the believer.  Dr. Hermiz explains in clear terms this vital doctrine and experience that is for every Christian.

Entire santification is a term we hear and often misunderstand. The idea is simply stated in one of God's oldest commandments, " holy, for I the Lord your God am holy" (Leviticus 19:2, NKJ).

God is holy, and the supreme passion of His heart is to have a family who will be like Him. The greatest incentive we have to live a holy life is the holiness of God. For that reason, we must understand something about His holiness.

The Holiness of God

The negative aspect of God's holiness is His hatred of sin. Habakkuk expressed this when he said, "You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness" (1:13, NKJ). In contrast to pagan gods who were usually amoral beings, there is a compelling consistency to the holiness of God. He separates himself from all sin, and is always righteous. It is the holiness of God that exposes the sinfulness of man. It was only after Isaiah "saw the Lord" and heard the seraphims crying, "holy, holy, holy," that he became aware of the corruption of his own heart (Isaiah 6:1-4, NKJ).

The positive aspect of God's holiness is His righteousness. Abraham confidently declared, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25, NKJ).

The absolute perfection of God's holiness was revealed at Calvary. The sacrificial death of His only son enabled God to satisfy the demands of His holiness in atonement and cleansing. God's holy love led Him to provide for man's sinfulness. The holiness of God is our pattern and standard for holy living.

Can We Meet God's Standard?

The immediate question that comes to mind in light of this command is, "Can we really be holy?" In order to please God and keep His command, we must. God never said, "Be omnipotent, for I am all powerful," or "Be omniscient, for I am all wise." Rather, He emphatically declared, "Be holy, for I am holy." Man was originally created in the likeness of God, not in His omnipotence or omniscience, but in His likeness-His holiness. Therefore, God does not expect us to attain to these other marvelous attributes. He does require that we live holy lives by His grace and power. A loving, holy God would not tantalize with a command as specific as this if it were impossible for us to live a life of personal holiness.

Personal holiness in its simplest and highest form is loving God with all our hearts, and our neighbors as ourselves. To love anyone or anything more than we love God is sin. In the Old Testament, God declared, "You shall have no other gods before Me" (Exodus 20:3, NKJ).

What God said negatively in the Old Testament, Jesus reiterates positively in the New Testament when He declares, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.., and you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-38, NKJ).

Human nature is such that it must have a master. We humans are going to serve someone or some thing. Holiness is giving our hearts wholly to God and allowing Him to be the master of our lives. To allow one's self, another person, or some philosophy to have the mastery of our lives instead of God is sin.

Be reminded that there will be only one God in heaven. Our hearts cannot be divided in their loves and loyalties. If we expect to enter into the gates of heaven, He must be the supreme object of our affections. Holy living is not an option for a few special saints. It is the explicit command of God for all men, everywhere.

How Do We Become Holy?

Before we can begin to live holy lives, we must repent of our sins and receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23, NKJ). When we repent of our sins, we become new in Christ Jesus. Paul expresses this in II Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things pass away, behold, all things have become new." This spiritual transformation, frequently referred to as the new birth, sets us free from the guilt of past sinful living. We are forgiven of every sin we have ever committed. The next step in beginning to live a holy life is making a complete surrender of our hearts and wills to God. At some point following conversion, the believer will sense the need of a deeper cleansing of his heart from its sinful condition. This experience, called entire sanctification, is different from the new birth:

  • The new birth deals with guilt caused by the acts of sin committed in the past.
  • Entire sanctification deals with the sinful condition of the heart which is the cause of rebellion against the Spirit of God until the heart is purified.

The Nature of Sin

It is only as we understand the two-fold nature of sin creating past guilt and a present condition that we can understand the doctrine of entire sanctification. Our spiritual condition causes us to rebel against God and commit acts of sin. When we repent of our sins, God, for Jesus' sake, forgives us. However, God cannot forgive us for the fact that we were born in a sinful condition. Adam must bear the guilt for this. We had nothing to do with this fallen condition; therefore, we bear no guilt for it. We cannot be forgiven for something for which we had no responsibility.

When a believer recognizes that he can be delivered from his sinful condition, he then becomes responsible to act on that knowledge. As he surrenders to God, his prayer is not, "Forgive me," but "Cleanse me." The new birth deals with the sins we have committed; entire sanctification cleanses our hearts from their sinful condition.

In chapters five through eight of Romans, Paul refers to "sin as "the sin It is in the singular-not plural, as in earlier chapters. A study of this section will reveal that Paul was not referring to the sin of murder, or fornication, or any other specific act. It is rather our sinful condition to which he refers. It is the source of rebellion, of disobedience, and of selfishness. It is a bent toward evil which betrays the heart of the bornagain believer.

The good news for the believer is triumphantly stated by Paul in Romans 6:1-14. Here he tells us that because of the work of Christ, "Sin shall not have dominion over you." The triumph is again expressed in Acts 15:9, II Corinthians 7:1, and James 4:8.

Entire Sanctification Has Two Parts

The word "sanctified" means to be set apart for holy purposes or to be consecrated.. .and to be purified for the possession of God. Our part in the work of entire sanctification is to completely consecrate ourselves or to set ourselves apart to God, willingly acknowledging the lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives. It is God's part to cleanse from "sin" and to fill with His Holy Spirit. Surrendered, cleansed, and filled, we are then enabled to live holy lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.

How Do We Know We Are Cleansed?

The Holy Spirit always bears witness to the work He does. Spiritual fruit produced by His presence is as natural as fruit on a natural tree. We are partakers of His divine nature. The presence of a holy God produces holiness of character and action. There can be no bitterness, resentment, ill will, or unforgiveness in the presence of a holy God who keeps the attitudes of the heart clean. As we walk in the light of His truth, we grow in likeness to Him.

Humanity will always remain. Its weakness and frailty will show themselves. We shall still be vulnerable to temptation and the possibility of sinning. Only heaven will bring deliverance from such. The person who is healthy spiritually is one who hungers and thirsts for more of God. This desire for more of God will keep him growing in grace. When our hearts have been cleansed from all sin, and our wills have been totally surrendered to God, we can live victorious Christian lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.