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Ladders are for Climbing


"Now God can work with us. We have a new nature that God can build up and work with. We can praise God for that, because that is the only thing He can work with. We can't do anything with the old nature. God can't do anything with it. He says that it is only fit to die, and it must rest there. Then you and I must reckon it to be a fact and keep it there - not because Satan has the ability to bring it back, but because he works in the feelings. He makes you think it is fact because you make a mistake and you sin. He whispers in your ear, "if it was really dead, you wouldn't have committed a sin." He gets you to commit a sin, then he turns around and blames you for committing it." Frank Phillips

These are my own notes and are not a word-for-word transcript of the message. However, by listening multiple times to the sermon and filling in what was missed previously, I have attempted to get as close as I can to what was shared. Quotations have, in many cases, been expanded to the sentences around what the speaker quoted to enable the reader to gain the full impact of what was shared in the sermon. Where the speaker referred to quotations without giving a reference, I have attempted to find the quotation that most closely reflects what was being shared. - © Cheryl Hosford


Ladder Handout

2 Peter 1:5-8
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We are talking about some very important items, as our message tonight is the first message on sanctification. This message of sanctification will be given in two meetings. There is much misunderstanding in this area. We will not be going into the theological differences that we find within the church or outside of the church. We will try again to study the "how" of sanctification. If we understand the "how," we recognize that the results will be right.


There is no Scripture or Spirit of Prophecy verification for the teaching that the that death experience leaves the individual with a dualistic nature - with a part newborn nature
and a part natural man.

In Romans 8, Paul moves from justification into sanctification. Romans 6 deals with the death experience as exemplified in baptism. Then it carries you into the reality being an essential part of the Christian's life before justification occurs. You may have heard, as I have heard many, many times, that the death experience before justification, or that death experience, leaves the individual with a dualistic nature - with a part newborn nature and a part natural man. These two natures battle against one another and that one of these two natures finally conquers, and whichever one conquers, that is the way the person will be. I want to say unequivocally, that there is no Scripture verification for this kind of teaching. Neither is there any Spirit of prophecy teaching which will validate this position.


There is only one way to erradicate
the natural heart - death.

When you crucify something,
you can't half crucify it.
It is either crucified
or it is not crucified.

Paul tells us in Romans 8:7 "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." It is perfectly clear that God cannot work with the old nature. It must be erradicated, and Ellen White makes this crystal clear. There is only one way to erradicate this nature - that is death.

Galatians 5:24 - "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."

When you crucify something, you can't half crucify it. It is either crucified or it is not crucified. It must be. There is no other way.

Romans 6:11 - "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." - not halfway but completely dead to sin. Immediately, there comes into the human mind the question, "if I am dead to sin, then why do I sin?" Because there is no answer to that, one thinks that we must have a dual nature. This is totally and completely unscriputural in every respect.

When we get into the seventh chapter, we get into the transition period between justification and sanctification, which every solitary person goes through. We went through this in a previous session and don't have time to go through it now.


God works on us through our mind and the devil works on us through our feelings...

That is why the world is caught in the Satan's trap, because almost everything that we do, we do because
of the feelings involved.

In Romans 7:24, Paul talks about 2 laws - One in the mind and one in the members or body or feelings. The Bible makes a very clear distinction between that which is in the mind and that which goes on in the feelings. God works on us through our mind and the devil works on us through our feelings. God deals directly with the mind, and the devil tries to reach the mind through the feelings. He never comes and knocks on the door and says, "Hello, I'm the devil. I would like to talk with you." That would be rediculous. You would slam the door in his face. But he works through the feelings and you can't slam the door. You would know what he is doing. You will follow what your feelings dictate. That is why the world is caught today in the Satan's trap, because most everything that we do, we do because of the feelings involved. No matter what it is, most everything is motivated by feelings. Ellen White has much to say about that. We will share more later.


Yo-Yo Christianity

I sin,
I feel guilty,
I repent - and the feeling is gone.

I sin again
I have guilt.
I repent and feel great.

What am I repenting for? I don't like the feeling of the guilt. This is nothing but absolute selfishness. It is not God's plan under any circumstance.

In Romans 8, Paul goes out of this experience and walks right into sanctification. The first thing he wants you to know is "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." God works on an entirely different basis than Satan does. Satan works through condemnation, guilt, and every related way. God never uses condemnation and guilt. The Christian world seems to be caught in a yo-yo syndrome. Up and down. High and low. That is caused because of the guilt feeling that comes in the heart. When that feeling comes so strongly in the flesh, the flesh tells the heart. The heart says, "I have to do something about this, because I can't stand this guilt." So I repent. The feeling is gone and I feel great. Then I sin again and then I have guilt. I repent and feel great. What am I repenting for? I don't like the feeling of the guilt. This is nothing but absolute selfishness. Nothing else. This is not God's plan under any circumstance whatsoever.

I didn't intend to read this, but I will anyway. There is a statement that Ellen White makes on this.

1 Selected Messages, p. 108

At times you may have a desire to repent. But unless you decidedly reform and put into practice the truths you have learned, unless you have an active, working faith, a faith that is constantly increasing in strength, your repentance is as the morning dew. It will give no permanent relief to the soul. A repentance caused by a spasmodic exercise of the feelings is a repentance that needs to be repented of; for it is delusive. A violent exercise of the feelings, which does not produce in you the peaceable fruits of righteousness, leaves you in a worse state than you were in before.

Who is doing this job? Who is promoting this type of thing. If this is true, then how does God work?


It is love and love alone leads me to repentance. When it is guilt, condemnation, criticism, or anything else that motivates this, you may be sure that it is the devil.

Romans 2:4 - "knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" God in His goodness leads me to repentance. It is love and love alone leads me to repentance. When it is guilt, condemnation, criticism, or anything else that motivates this, you may be sure that it is the devil. You can say, "Get thee behind me Satan." (Luke 4:8) It is not God speaking at all.

When I was a boy, I was the youngest of three children. My mother loved the Lord, but she didn't know exactly what she was doing always, as most of us didn't when we were raising our children. I remember I would get myself into trouble and I would be a bit stubborn. That is not really my nature -but it came out when I was young. (audience chuckle.) I would do something bad and mother would try to get me to repent or confess. I was stubborn and I wouldn't, so she would say, "you go sit on that stool then, in the corner." My brother and sister would run around playing. I would sit there, but I wasn't dumb in the least. I would see them playing and me sitting. I would say, "this isn't getting me anywhere." So I would shout "I'm sorry, mother." She would say, "Alright, you may get down and play." It didn't take me very long to learn that I didn't have to sit on the stool very long. I repented because I wanted to play. I repented because I wanted my own way.


There is no repentance that will work
a reform in you except a repentance
that leads you to calvary.

We teach our children from the time they are small this same philosophy. It carries right over into our religious life. There is no repentance that will work a reform in you except a repentance that leads you to calvary. That is the only repentance. That is where the love of God is revealed. It is only at calvary - never forget it.


We become "in Jesus" through justification.

He places His robe of righteousness around me, I am a member of the family of God - more than adopted - we are grafted in, and become members of His flesh and bone.

By faith, this is actually real in our lives.

Paul says in Romans 8:1 - "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." We become "in Jesus" through the process of justification. He puts His robe of Christ's righteousness around me and I become a member of the family of God. By clothing me with His robe of righteousness, I become part of His marvelous family. I am part of the family of God. Paul makes this so wonderfully clear. We simply are His! We are more than adopted. We are grafted in. We become members of His flesh and bones. Do you believe that? That is literally true. You say, "That is going too far." No it isn't. The whole picture is, if it isn't real, then it is all imaginary. By faith this is actually real in our lives. Jesus wants us to believe it is fact. That is why he says, "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:11.

Paul says this is an actual fact. God does not condemn us - what does He do? If I make a mistake, what does He do? He treats me as a true father treats his son. He puts his arm around me and in love, leads me to calvary. I take a look at calvary and I respond as David responded. David was a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22) - not because he never made any mistakes, but every time he made a mistake he didn't try to hide it or excuse it. He faced it and said, "That's right." He went to God in repentance.

We could very easily ask the question, "Is there any time that I have sinned that I didn't blame it upon circumstances or people?" It is never our fault. It is our natural response to blame it on something else. But David came to the point in his experience where he excused nothing, he blamed nothing. He said, "I am the man." He said, "God, create in me a clean heart and renew in me a right spirit." (Psalm 51:10) I have to be a new person entirely. We have to have the same experience.

Paul says this condition applies to those who are "in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1 - "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." The spirit of the Lord Jesus comes in and guides me.

If you have a habit of marking in your Bible, mark that there is an explanatory note in verse 2. "For the law, of the Spirit (insert comma) of life in Christ Jesus, (insert comma) hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Doesn't that make sense. You can leave the commas out and it still makes a full sentence. That is right. What is the law of the spirit? Life in Christ Jesus. Did Jesus ever give the Holy Spirit anything else to do? He said, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. John 16:13. He is not going to talk about Himself - He is going to talk about Jesus. That is all. He was going to bring back everything that Jesus had said to them. When that occurred, the disciples were so absolutely amazed, the said, "if only we had our life to live over again. We spent three and a half years with Him and we didn't even listen to Him. We heard Him say these things, but oh what a difference it would have made if we had believed Him!" They heard, but they didn't hear. Have you ever done that? We read, but we don't perceive. That is exactly what their condition was. But now, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to bring back to their rememberance so that they would know what it is to live the life in Christ Jesus.

That is sanctification. Walking with Jesus every moment of every day. God gives to us a much more detailed account of exactly what it is.

2 Thessalonians 2:13, "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth."

1 Thessalonians 5:23, "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; (completely) and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."


Sanctification.

Walking with Jesus every moment of every day.

It is the God ordained process to retain justification.

There is a preservative nature about sanctification. Do you know what it is?

7 Bible Commentary, p. 908

Justification means the saving of a soul from perdition, that he may obtain sanctification, and through sanctification, the life of heaven. Justification means that the conscience, purged from dead works, is placed where it can receive the blessings of sanctification.

Sanctification has a preparatory work of justification. That preparatory work does something for us by helping us to relate properly to sanctification.

Ellen White makes a statement to the effect of, "Sanctification is God's process whereby we retain justification." It is the God ordained process to retain justification.

With this thought in mind, we will look at what happens. Last session, we talked about the will. I don't want it to disturb your thinking, but I want it to be part of this.

Desire of Ages, p. 38

None but Christ can fashion anew the character that has been ruined by sin.


God doesn't leave us in this work of character development to us. It is not our business. It never has been and it never will be. God alone can do this. He is the architect and the builder of sanctification.

It is not part of God and part of you.
It is ALL of God.

God doesn't leave us in this work of character development to us. It is not our business. It never has been and it never will be. God alone can do this. He is the architect and the builder of sanctification. It is not part of God and part of you. It is ALL of God.

Satan does not want us to know this. He does everything he can to keep us from believing this.

None but Christ can fashion anew the character that has been ruined by sin. He came to expel the demons that had controlled the will. He came to lift us up from the dust, to reshape the marred character after the pattern of His divine character, and to make it beautiful with His own glory.

You remember that Adam surrendered to Satan the will of the entire human family, and hence yours and mine, when he yielded to sin. Ever since, Satan has been doing according to his pleasure in the will of man. When you understand this, it is only Christ who can expel these demons. You can take your will out of his hands and then Christ expels these demons out that had controlled the will. I am not a believer in demon possession, per se. But I do know that everyone of us is controlled by Satan, because Adam surrendered the will of man to him. He surrendered for you and me. We were born with a sinful nature.

Desire of Ages, p. 466

Every soul that refuses to give himself to God is under the control of another power. He is not his own. He may talk of freedom, but he is in the most abject slavery. He is not allowed to see the beauty of truth, for his mind is under the control of Satan. While he flatters himself that he is following the dictates of his own judgment, he obeys the will of the prince of darkness. Christ came to break the shackles of sin-slavery from the soul. "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" sets us "free from the law of sin and death." Rom. 8:2.


Every soul that refuses to give himself to God is under the control of another power - not will be but he is.

Every soul that refuses to give himself to God is under the control of another power - not will be but he is. "While he flatters himself that he is following the dictates of his own judgment" - we talked about this last time, that Satan controls you in such a way as to make you think that you are independent and free and doing your own thing. Nobody can tell me what to do. I can get along in the world fine with that type of thinking, but not with Christ. It doesn't work. We flatter ourselves, but are obeying the will of the prince of darkness. It couldn't be more clear.

In Romans 8:2, we learned that Christ in reality sent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit's work is to guide us by helping us to understand what "life in Jesus" is all about.

Desire of Ages, p. 805

The Holy Spirit is the breath of spiritual life in the soul. The impartation of the Spirit is the impartation of the life of Christ. It imbues (satureates) the receiver with the attributes of Christ.

That is what the Spirit does. It does not give you some euphoria or feeling. It gives you the peace and joy and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, walking with Him moment-by-moment, day-by-day.

Desire of Ages, p. 762

The law requires righteousness,--a righteous life, a perfect character; and this man has not to give. He cannot meet the claims of God's holy law. But Christ, coming to the earth as man, lived a holy life, and developed a perfect character. These He offers as a free gift to all who will receive them. His life stands for the life of men. Thus they have remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.

This is justification. Now the transition. Justification is absolute, wonderful, perfect and complete. We can have complete confidence. Sanctification does not add anything. But justification is a legal work taking care of my record and not changing me.

Desire of Ages, p. 762 (cont.)

More than this, Christ imbues men with the attributes of God. He builds up the human character after the similitude of the divine character, a goodly fabric of spiritual strength and beauty. Thus the very righteousness of the law is fulfilled in the believer in Christ. God can "be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." Rom. 3:26.

If He is building a human character, we must take careful note of this and make this transition in our thinking. If He is building a human character and He begins with sanctification to build and saturates the human character, yet I do not have a new character, this becomes a total impossibility. For He has already told us in Romans 8:7 that the carnal nature is enmity against God and is not subject to the law of God, neither can be. There is no way God can do anything with it. That nature has to die before justification and then Paul tells us that all things become new. We are new creation, new creatures.

2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.


We can't do anything with the old nature. God can't do anything with it. He says that it is only fit to die, and it must rest there.

Then you and I must reckon it to be a fact and keep it there - not because Satan has the ability to bring it back, but by causing you to sin, he works to destroy your faith in justification.

Now God can work with us. We have a new nature that God can build up and work with. We can praise God for that, because that is the only thing He can work with. We can't do anything with the old nature. God can't do anything with it. He says that it is only fit to die, and it must rest there. Then you and I must reckon it to be a fact and keep it there - not because Satan has the ability to bring it back, but because he works in the feelings. He makes you think it is fact because you make a mistake and you sin. He whispers in your ear, "if it was really dead, you wouldn't have committed a sin." He gets you to commit a sin, then he turns around and blames you for committing it and then he uses that to destroy your faith in justification. It is a nice little pattern.

Do you know it works. It works hundreds and thousands of times. People then say, "this righteousness by faith business works for some people, but it doesn't work for me, because I keep on sinning." Because they sin, they take this as evidence that they aren't reborn. Now the new birth doesn't guarantee sinlessness. God says through John in 1 John 2:1, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: "


The new birth doesn't
guarantee sinlessness.

God's plan is that we don't sin, but we have Jesus Christ the righteous as an advocate. If we confess the sin, He is faithful and just to cleanse us from all sin and all unrighteousness - everything. That is what David discovered back there in his time. David was not righteous because he did not sin. The moment he was conscious of sin, he repented.

This must become habitual in us. It must become absolutely habitual. Now what is natural is to protect self - to defend what we have done. We think we can hide behind it and blame someone else for what we have done. David says that is not the way we should do it. That is what we must learn also.

The followers of Christ become like Him by the grace of God. What did we learn that grace is? The charcter of God.

Christ's Object Lessons, p. 271 - the only place in all the writings of Ellen White that I have found that grace, or justification is defined.

"To learn of Christ means to receive His grace, which is His character."

Great Controversy, p. 469 defines Sanctification.

The followers of Christ are to become like Him--by the grace of God to form characters in harmony with the principles of His holy law. This is Bible sanctification.

6 Bible Commentary 1117

The sanctification of the soul is accomplished through steadfastly beholding Him [Christ] by faith as the only-begotten Son of God, full of grace and truth. The power of truth is to transform heart and character.

Justified Life, p. 9 (Also in The Faith I Live By, p 119)

Bible sanctification does not consist in strong emotion. Here is where many are led into error. They make feelings their criterion. When they feel elated or happy, they claim that they are sanctified. Happy feelings or the absence of joy is no evidence that a person is or is not sanctified. . . . Those who are battling with daily temptations, overcoming their own sinful tendencies, and seeking for holiness of heart and life, make no boastful claims of holiness. They are hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Sin appears to them exceedingly sinful.


There is no such thing as instantaneous sanctification.

There is no such thing as instantaneous sanctification. Write it down. There is no such thing as instantaneous sanctification. True sanctification is a daily work, continuing as long as life shall last. It continues throughout the lifetime. Justification is an instantaneous work. Sanctification is not.

Desire of Ages p. 312

The attributes of the character of Christ are imparted, and the image of the Divine begins to shine forth.

Justification is imputed, sanctification is imparted. We have the imputed - credited to, and the imparted - given to, actually, practically. So the attributes of Christ's character are given to - actually, literally. The image of the divine begins to shine.

The faces of men and women who walk and work with God express the peace of heaven. They are surrounded with the atmosphere of heaven. For these souls the kingdom of God has begun. They have Christ's joy, the joy of being a blessing to humanity. They have the honor of being accepted for the Master's use; they are trusted to do His work in His name.


The faces of men and women
who walk and work with God
express the peace of heaven -
Even in the midst of
trials and problems.

They consider it a joy to be
a blessing to humanity.

When God is truely working. I often look down on the faces in Seventh-day Adventist congregations and I am amazed because I see anxiety, tension, stress. It bothers me, because we ought to be the happiest people on earth. Our faces should reflect the character of Jesus. Jesus never looked that way - it never did. His expression bore the peace of heaven. Even in the trials and problems, it still bore the peace of heaven. For these souls, the kingdom of God has already begun. I like that. They consider it a joy to be a blessing to humanity - that was Christ's joy. He counted it a joy that He might come down here that He might be a blessing. You and I have the same source of joy to be a blessing to those with whom we come in contact. What greater blessing could there be?

The issue is that we have to get rid of self. We are so conscious of what the blessings of God will bring to me. But that can only be a blessing to me as He uses me to be a channel to be a blessing to others. Only then is it a blessing to me. But it doesn't come to me unless I am a channel through which it goes to someone else. Do you believe that? "They have the honor of being accepted for the Master's use; they are trusted to do His work in His name."


It is the process of sanctification
that causes us to hate sin.

This is the only thing that God
intended that we have hatred for.

There is something else sanctification is intended to do. It is through the impartation of the character of God in Christ Jesus that sin is discerned in its hateful nature, and finally driven from the soul temple. It is the process of sanctification that causes us to hate sin. The natural heart is hatred or enmity against God (Romans 8:7 - "the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.")

God takes the old nature and destroys it. The new nature, instead of having hatred against God, develops a hatred against sin. This is the only thing that God intended that we have hatred for. Jesus hated sin and loved people. Satan makes us hate people and love sin. Don't tell me that he hasn't given you a sample of it. That is his plan. God turns this completely around. We are told that in no being was that hatred developed in such


Jesus hated sin and loved people. Satan makes us hate people
and love sin.

a perfect way as in the life of Jesus. He hated sin with a perfect hatred. He hated sin with a perfect hatred. That is something to think about.

When we see all the things that are accomplished in sanctification, we see that it is utterly impossible.

6 Bible Commentary, p. 1080

We see by experience that in our own human strength, resolutions and purposes are of no avail. Must we, then, give up our determined efforts? No; although our experience testifies that we cannot possibly do this work ourselves, help has been laid upon One who is mighty to do it for us.


If only we could get over this idea that God is our helper. God doesn't want to help us to do good things for Him.
God says, "I will do this in you."

Help us? No. Do it for us! If only we could get over this idea that God is our helper. God doesn't want to help us to do things for Him - good things. If He did, He won't get the credit. You know who would. God says, "I will do this in you." Don't get confused because it says help here. The help of God is doing it for you just as it would in your own home if you had a plumbing problem and your neighbor is a plumber and knows how to fix it. He comes over and fixes it while you stand there watching him do it. When you tell your neighbor on the other side of the fence. "My neighbor helped me last night. I was in a desparate shape, but he came over and helped me." Did he assist you in doing the job? No you looked on and said, "what a wonderful helper he is." God is that kind of a helper. Do you believe that?

6 Bible Commentary, p. 1080 (cont.)

But the only way we can secure the help of God is to put ourselves wholly in His hands, and trust Him to work for us. As we lay hold of Him by faith, He does the work. The believer can only trust. As God works, we can work, trusting in Him and doing His will.

2 Peter 1:1-9

1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

This is to those who have obtained like precious faith. This is a general epistle - who is he addressing this epistle to? those who have been justified. They have accepted the righteousness of Jesus by faith. These are justified believers. Peter has a burden for these individuals.

2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

Grace (God's Character) and God's peace be multiplied to you. Ellen White tells us that God works on the basis of multiplication, while we work on the basis of addition. He multiplies while we add to. Don't get confused when we say that we "add to". In reality, we let Him add to - and He does both the adding and the multiplying.

Acts of the Apostles, p. 529 - 534

"The work of transformation from unholiness to holiness is a continuous one. Day by day God labors for man's sanctification, and man is to co-operate with Him, putting forth persevering efforts in the cultivation of right habits. He is to add grace to grace; and as he thus works on the plan of addition, God works for him on the plan of multiplication. "

"through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord" - isn't that what Jesus prayed in John 17:3, "this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." This is life eternal - that they might know God. To know God is to love Him. To love Him is to serve Him. That is life eternal. Walking with Jesus Christ. What an absolute clear picture!


3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Whereby - for this purpose, for this reason - that we might obtain a knowledge of Him and be partakers of His nature - God has given us precious promises, that involve this kind of relationship.

If you want to connect this with something interesting, go back and study this in connection with Romans 7. You will understand why Paul said, "For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." (Romans 7:9) The law, when it came to me and it showed me lust ("for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." Romans 7:7) Read what Ellen White describes as lust, and you will discover that Paul was talking about something that plagues everyone of us, for he was talking about an illicit desire for anything.

5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.


Justification takes care of the past record. If I am not walking in this plan of sanctification, then I am simply forgetful of the plan that God has given me in justification.

Justification is the only perfection you will ever attain. That is what you will be judged by.

Sanctification is a vital part, because it keeps justification current. It keeps it valid.

He that lacks these things is blind. Justification takes care of the past record. If I am not walking in this plan of sanctification, then I am simply forgetful of the plan that God has given me in justification. When I don't walk in the process of sanctification, I am saying, "Lord, your plan wasn't so great after all," and I let it go out of my life. If justification means to you what it should mean to you, you can't forget it, because that is what you will be judged by. That is the only perfection you will ever attain. Sanctification is a vital part, because it keeps justification current. It keeps it valid.

Ellen White tells us that justification is our title to heaven. Sanctification is our fitness for heaven. The first is imputed, the second is imparted.

The Faith I Live By, p. 116

The righteousness by which we are justified is imputed; the righteousness by which we are sanctified is imparted. The first is our title to heaven, the second is our fitness for heaven. {FLB 116.2}

I find difficulty in defining it, but I like to put it this way. Suppose you own a piece of property. You have a title for it, a clear title deed. There is an institution called the government that has a process that they say demonstrates your fitness to be the owner of the property. You need to recognize it once a year, or else you will find that someone else owns the property and you still hold the title.

It is possible to hold a title to heaven and never be able to claim it. Just the same as you could not claim the property, after you refused to pay the taxes.

God says, "You must walk with Me." Walking with God is the way God has designed for me to show my appreciation for what he has done for me in justification. It is saying, "Thank you Jesus, for that unspeakable gift." That is what it is all about.

In the handout, is a small portion of Ellen White's commentary on these verses. (Acts of the Apostles, p. 529 - 534). The other ladder handout there are 2 ladders with many quotations and verses listed. (To enhance your study time of this handout, the complete verses and quotations of the ladder handout are online in the page "ladder details.")

Ellen White, in Great Controversy, p. 470

Peter sets before us the steps by which Bible sanctification is to be attained: "Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. . . . If ye do these things, ye shall never fall.

This is the process by which Bible Sanctification is to be attained. I am glad that God does not leave us in the dark as to how we receive justification or sanctification. He makes it crystal clear. All of the argumentation would cease if we would simply accept God's plan. Man cannot change it no matter how long he argues. He can do what ever he wants to, but he cannot change it. This is still God's only way. I believe it because inspiration has given it to us.

Acts of the Apostles, p. 530

These words are full of instruction, and strike the keynote of victory. The apostle presents before the believers the ladder of Christian progress, every step of which represents advancement in the knowledge of God, and in the climbing of which there is to be no standstill. Faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity are the rounds of the ladder. We are saved by climbing round after round, mounting step after step, to the height of Christ's ideal for us. Thus He is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.

A keynote is the note that keeps everything in harmony. God's plan of sanctification is the note that keeps the whole plan of salvation in harmony, and in reality, righteousness by faith becomes a harmonious picture if we understand this.

"Every step of which represents advancement in the knowledge of God" - to know God is what sanctification is all about. To know God needs to be done in a gradual way. If God were to reveal Himself to us in all of His glory and beauty, all at once, we wouldn't be able to take it. Gradually He reveals Himself to us, and gradually we are drawn to Him in that knowledge.

Every step of which represents advancement in the knowledge of God, and in the climbing of which there is to a lot of resting spots -- NO. No standstill. It doesn't mean that you graduate from one step to the other and you say that you have attained. I like to think of it as a rope ladder that as you go up you pick up the step with you. When you get to the top, you have all of the rungs with you and the steps keep multiplying. God keeps revealing Himself to us in each and every one of life's circumstances.

"We are saved by climbing round after round, mounting step after step, to the height of Christ's ideal for us. Thus He is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."

Acts of Apostles, p. 532

Before the believer is held out the wonderful possibility of being like Christ, obedient to all the principles of the law. But of himself man is utterly unable to reach this condition. The holiness that God's word declares he must have before he can be saved is the result of the working of divine grace as he bows in submission to the discipline and restraining influences of the Spirit of truth.


Trials and problems are
God's workmen to
develop our character.
Do you bow in submission
or do you gripe?

What is the restraining influence of God? He is revealing God to us in the Life of Christ. There has to be some restraining and disciplinary actions. Ellen White says that trials and problems are God's workmen to develop our character1. Do you bow in submission or do you gripe? That is the first thing that we have to learn. Why? Because Christ's robe of righteousness is around us and nothing touches us, except that which passes through His robe - that is His permissive will. Anything that touches my life - I don't care what it is - For anything that touches my life, I have one response to make. That is to say, "Thank you Jesus. I know that that is for my best good." That develops in us the beginning of that which motivated the life of Christ.

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 71

The Father's presence encircled Christ, and nothing befell Him but that which infinite love permitted for the blessing of the world. Here was His source of comfort, and it is for us. He who is imbued with the Spirit of Christ abides in Christ. The blow that is aimed at him falls upon the Saviour, who surrounds him with His presence. Whatever comes to him comes from Christ. He has no need to resist evil, for Christ is his defense. Nothing can touch him except by our Lord's permission, and "all things" that are permitted "work together for good to them that love God." Romans 8:28.

Acts of Apostles, p. 532 (Cont. from above)

Man's obedience can be made perfect only by the incense of Christ's righteousness, which fills with divine fragrance every act of obedience. The part of the Christian is to persevere in overcoming every fault. Constantly he is to pray to the Saviour to heal the disorders of his sin-sick soul. He has not the wisdom or the strength to overcome; these belong to the Lord, and He bestows them on those who in humiliation and contrition seek Him for help.

There it is again. "The part of the Christian is to persevere in overcoming every fault. " Right back into works. Anyone who believes in works will grab that say "There you are. I knew that you are not preaching the truth. "

"We must persevere in overcoming every fault." Ellen White is speaking the truth. But notice the next sentence. Have you ever heard anything about persevering in prayer? "Constantly he is to pray to the Saviour to heal the disorders of his sin-sick soul. He has not the wisdom or the strength to overcome; these belong to the Lord." So his perseverence and his strenuous effort must be applied where? on his knees in prayer. "He bestows them on those who in humiliation and contrition seek Him for help."

Let's read the next paragraph. (AA p. 532)

The work of transformation from unholiness to holiness is a continuous one. Day by day God labors for man's sanctification, and man is to co-operate with Him, putting forth persevering efforts in the cultivation of right habits. He is to add grace to grace; and as he thus works on the plan of addition, God works for him on the plan of multiplication. Our Saviour is always ready to hear and answer the prayer of the contrite heart, and grace and peace are multiplied to His faithful ones. Gladly He grants them the blessings they need in their struggle against the evils that beset them.

There are those who attempt to ascend the ladder of Christian progress; but as they advance they begin to put their trust in the power of man, and soon lose sight of Jesus, the Author and Finisher of their faith. The result is failure--the loss of all that has been gained. Sad indeed is the condition of those who, becoming weary of the way, allow the enemy of souls to rob them of the Christian graces that have been developing in their hearts and lives. "He that lacketh these things," declares the apostle, "is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."

Who is the one laboring for man's sanctification? God! God labors for my sanctification. He is the one who accomplishes my sanctification. He is the one who accomplishes my justification. He is the one who is doing this job. "Man is to cooperate with him in putting forth persevering efforts in the cultivation of right habits." Here it looks like works again. I thought we had it all lined up - now we have it all flubbed up.

Let me ask you. If you were to cultivate a right habit, what would you do? Have you made a New Year's resolution? I know it didn't work, but you tried. What did you try? (answers from audience.) I hear somewhat the same thing. You do it over and over again. You decide what you are going to do, and then you school yourself into it.

You know, I am convinced that Ellen White chose words very carefully. She says that she was dependent for writing on the vision that she had seen, but yet the words that she wrote were her own. She chose words that depicted the very thing that God pictured for her. Here she uses the word "cultivate." If we want to understand it, all we need to do is change one word. If I said to you, how do we cultivate carrots? Would you have any problems? You know how to cultivate carrots, don't you? You break up the ground, you get rid of the weeds. What do you do with the carrot? You pet them and love them. "You say, "Lord, I've done everything I can. They are in your hands." He makes the carrots grow. He is the only one who can.

My two children, (who are now grown), when they were small, they loved to have a garden beside mine. One day they would plant the seeds, and the next day they would go out and uncover them. They wanted to see what was happening. When they saw a sprout coming up, they would try to stretch it up, to help it up a little bit more. They never did raise a garden. It didn't work.

You have to leave it in the Lords hands and take out only that which we are capable of doing.

Desire of Ages, p 250

He who loves Christ the most will do the greatest amount of good. There is no limit to the usefulness of one who, by putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart, and lives a life wholly consecrated to God. If men will endure the necessary discipline, without complaining or fainting by the way, God will teach them hour by hour, and day by day. He longs to reveal His grace. If His people will remove the obstructions, He will pour forth the waters of salvation in abundant streams through the human channels. If men in humble life were encouraged to do all the good they could do, if restraining hands were not laid upon them to repress their zeal, there would be a hundred workers for Christ where now there is one.

God will do this if we remove the obstructions.

In another place, (1 Selected Messages, p. 124), she says,

There is nothing that Satan fears so much as that the people of God shall clear the way by removing every hindrance, so that the Lord can pour out His Spirit upon a languishing church and an impenitent congregation."

Obstructions and hinderances. That is what weeds are. So God wants us to cultivate these out. The problem is, we already learned that we don't have the capacity to do this. We can't get rid of these habits. We can't get rid of these weaknesses or bad characteristics - she already told us that we can't, yet we are to put forth persevering efforts in cultivation of right habits.

This is why we need to understand the power of the will. All God expects you to do is to recognize a weed from a carrot, and not call a carrot a weed and a weed a carrot. You say, "That's easy." No it isn't. I was giving this message in another place, and the next evening a man came in holding a wild carrot enclosed in his hands. The top looks like a tame one, and he asked me, "Is this a weed or a tame plant?" I told him, "You are going to have to open your hand before I am going to be able to tell you."

We must know the difference between a weed and a carrot. We must know a hindering factor and recognize it. The hindering factors are in our habit patterns that have been there for generations of time, and have been protected and covered, nourished and we have excused it by saying "I inherited that - my dad was like that, and his dad was like that, and it went clear back. You can't expect me to be any different."


When we recognize a hindering factor, we must say, "Lord, I am helpless. I can do nothing about this. I choose to be free from this."

When I choose to be free from this, God says, "You've just opened the door now. Now I will take it away."

God says, we must recognize a hindering factor. When we recognize the hindering factor, we must say, "Lord, I am helpless. I can do nothing about this. I choose to be free from this." When I choose to be free from this, God says, "You've just opened the door now. Now I will take it away." God delivers you instantly from this experience and you are delivered. I have seen this happen hundreds and hundreds of times. In fact, I just heard of it happening last night again.

God is waiting for us to recognize those things that are hindering Him from working in our lives. As soon as I recognize it, we must say, "Lord, I've been that way, and I've always protected it. But now, I see it as sin. I simply surrender it to You. I can't get rid of it. I've tried and tried. I'm helpless."

That is why Ellen White said, when men see their nothingness, then God can work.

Special Testimonies for Ministers and Workers, # 9, p. 62

What is justification by faith? -- It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself. When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. When they begin to praise and exalt God all the day long, then by beholding they are becoming changed into the same image. What is regeneration? -- It is revealing to man what is his own real nature, that in himself he is worthless. {SpTA09 62.1}

I see my helplessness - my total abject helplessness, God says, "I want to take it away." Then in a few days, or hours, He reveals another problem. I must face that the same way. As long as I face the problems as David did, then I am growing, growing, growing. Step by step.



1 My Life Today, p. 92
The trials of life are God's workmen to remove the impurities, infirmities, and roughness from our characters, and fit them for the society of pure, heavenly angels in glory. . . . The fire will not consume us, but only remove the dross, and we shall come forth seven times purified, bearing the impress of the Divine.

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing," pp. 23, 24
The trials of life are God's workmen, to remove the impurities and roughness from our characters. Their hewing, squaring, and chiseling, their burnishing and polishing, is a painful process, it is hard to be pressed down to the grinding wheel. But the stone is brought forth prepared to fill its place in the heavenly temple. Upon no useless material does the Master bestow such careful, thorough work. Only His precious stones are polished after the similitude of a palace. 

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