From Trials to Triumph


Chapter 55—John's Secret of True Sanctification

In the life of John true sanctification is exemplified. During the years of his close association with Christ, he was often warned by the Saviour, and these reproofs he accepted. He saw his deficiencies and was humbled by the revelation. Day by day his heart was drawn out to Christ, until he lost sight of self in love for his Master. The strength and patience that he saw in the Son of God filled his soul with admiration. He yielded his resentful, ambitious temper to Christ, and divine love wrought transformation of character. TT 293.1

In striking contrast is the experience of Judas, who professed to be a disciple of Christ but possessed only a form of godliness. Often as he listened to the Saviour's words, conviction came, but he would not humble his heart or confess his sins. By resisting the divine influence, he dishonored the Master. TT 293.2

John warred earnestly against his faults, but Judas violated his conscience, fastening on himself more securely his habits of evil. The truth Christ taught was at variance with his desires, and he could not yield his ideas. Covetousness, revengeful passions, dark and sullen thoughts, were cherished until Satan gained full control of him. TT 293.3

John and Judas had the same opportunities. Both were closely associated with Jesus. Each possessed serious defects of character; each had access to divine grace. But while one was learning of Jesus, the other was a hearer only. One, daily overcoming sin, was sanctified through the truth; the other, resisting the transforming power of grace and indulging selfish desires, was brought into bondage to Satan. TT 293.4

Transformation as seen in John is the result of communion with Christ. There may be defects in the character, yet when one becomes a true disciple of Christ, he is changed until he is like Him whom he adores. TT 294.1

In his letters, John wrote, “Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” 1 John 3:3; 2:6. As God is holy in His sphere, so fallen man, through faith in Christ, is to be holy in his sphere. TT 294.2

Sanctification is God's object in all His dealings with His people. He has chosen them from eternity, that they might be holy. He gave His Son to die for them that they might be divested of all the littleness of self. God can be honored only as they are conformed to His image and controlled by His Spirit. Then they may make known what divine grace has done for them. TT 294.3

True sanctification comes through the working out of the principle of love. “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16. The life of him in whose heart Christ abides will be ennobled. Pure doctrine will blend with works of righteousness. TT 294.4

Those who would gain the blessings of sanctification must first learn the meaning of self-sacrifice. The cross of Christ is the central pillar on which hangs the “eternal weight of glory.” “If any man will come after Me,” Christ says, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” 2 Corinthians 4:17; Matthew 16:24. God upholds and strengthens the one who is willing to follow in Christ's way. TT 294.5