THE SECONDNESS IN SALVATION
Douglas F. Bayless
booklet is a transcription of a message preached by the author in July 2013 at
the camp meeting held at the Green Chapel Church of God, Oak Grove, LA.
am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He
takes away; and every branch
that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
(John 15:1–2, New King James Version)
thoughts in this message have to do with entire sanctification; not from a
doctrinal perspective so much as from a more practical aspect. However, of
necessity, I will make a few remarks regarding the theology of entire
sanctification. My actual burden is pastoral.
I studied theology in college, I was told that those who do not study theology
are bound to do bad theology. I have found this to be true especially when it
comes to the teaching of sanctification. There are differing ways to teach the
doctrine of sanctification, all of which have led to much controversy in
Christianity. Russell Byrum wrote:
one of the most fruitful sources of controversy concerning the Scriptural
doctrine of entire sanctification is the great amount of confusion and variety
of opinion as to the meaning of the term “sanctification” as used in the
Bible. We are prone to suppose that, because in one text or use it has to do
with a particular phase of Christian life or experience, therefore it has that
same meaning in every other use of it in the Bible. The mistake is often made of
giving a technical meaning to this term and of trying to limit its usage to this
did not lay out His teaching of sanctification in a theological or doctrinal
setting. Instead, He gave us His teaching through a metaphor: a gardener and his
grapevine. While it is true that there are some things we must explain about His
teaching, we will be wise if we do not stray from the concept of His metaphor.
using the metaphor of a grapevine, Jesus introduces us to five important truths
about a grapevine that are analogous to truths involved in entire
sanctification. First: the purpose of the grapevine is to produce fruit. Second:
He, Christ, is the grapevine. Third: The grapevine has branches, which, in the
realm of salvation from sin, are the individual Christians. Furthermore, the
branches are where the fruit grows. Fourth: Any branch that begins to grow but
does not produce fruit is cut out of the grapevine. This tells us that people
who profess to be Christians but do not bear the fruit of a Christian life,
which is the fruit of the Spirit, are not really Christians. And, Fifth:
Branches that bear fruit will be pruned so that they will bear more fruit.
last statement above is true in agriculture; to increase the quantity of fruit,
productive plants have to have the overgrowth cut off. If this is not done, the
overgrowth will destroy the plant’s ability to produce useable fruit. So, in
explaining this metaphor we can reduce it down to two facts as represented by
the metaphor. There is both a “firstness” and a “secondness” in
salvation. The “firstness” is being in the vine and the “secondness” is
being pruned to bear more fruit.
FIRSTNESS IN SALVATION
Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore,
if anyone is in Christ, he is
a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become
new.” (NKJV). By definition, a person in Christ is a new creation; there has
been a radical spiritual and moral change in his being. Some call this a first
work of grace, but that is not totally correct in an absolute manner. At the
time a person is saved from sin, there are at least six things that happen, each
of which can be called a “work of grace”:
Justification—the person is declared to be
Regeneration—the person is born of the Spirit
and given spiritual life;
Sanctification—the person is made holy;
Conversion—there is a distinct change in the
spirit and lifestyle of the person.
Adoption—the person is added to the family of
Baptism into the Body of Christ—the person is
added to the body of Christ, the church of God.
me add a comment about point 3, sanctification. The Holiness Movement became so
obsessed at proving sanctification as a second work of grace that it apparently
forgot that there is a sanctification that takes place the moment a person is
saved from sin. If in justification a person is declared to be without sin, he
must of necessity be a holy person. The verb “to sanctify” essentially means
to make holy; from this we understand that a person cannot be without sin and
yet unholy. Our beloved John Wesley, whom we revere for bringing back the
understanding of entire sanctification from the obscurity of close to seventeen
hundred years of neglect, divided sanctification into three categories: initial
sanctification at the time of conversion; entire sanctification some time
subsequent to conversion; and, final sanctification at the time of or close to
problem in over emphasizing sanctification after conversion is that, to prove a
greater experience in sanctification, we have downgraded the power of the
initial experience in salvation. By limiting salvation to justification followed
by sanctification as a second and more powerful work of grace, we have implied
that somehow justification is inferior to sanctification. But this cannot be
true. Russell Byrum says of the power of regeneration in the initial experience
would be of little practical value to us without
regeneration. This regeneration is variously described as a new birth, becoming
a “new creature,” receiving a “new heart,” and as being “created”
anew. It may be well described as salvation from the reigning power of the
sinful nature. We naturally have a depraved nature that impels to sin. This
depraved nature is a derangement of the moral nature. It is a perversion of the
affections, and a weakening of the conscience and of the will . . . We know that
when one is born again a new power comes into his life that makes him triumphant
over the depravity of his nature. . . . Thank God, we are not only pardoned at
the altar, Christ, but we are enabled to live well-pleasing to God by the laver
SECONDNESS IN SALVATION
secondness in salvation is really quite simple to understand if you follow
Jesus’ metaphor. In an attempt to explain sanctification, some have tried to
prove too much and made claims for sanctification that have perhaps done harm
when intended to do good. In his book Holy Spirit Baptism, Byrum makes
the following observation:
claims as to what sanctification will
do for one have also been a fruitful source of confusion concerning the
doctrine. Extravagant teaching that if one is sanctified he will not have
certain temptations or feelings has led some who sought sanctification, and did
not get the results described, to doubt either their being sanctified personally
or the possibility of anyone’s receiving a cleansing of the heart subsequent
to conversion. It is unsound reasoning to decide that because sanctification is
not exactly what someone has taught it to be it is therefore nothing. Wrong
views of the nature of native depravity have led to some of these errors.
goes on to say later in this book:
failure to distinguish clearly between human nature and the depravity of that
nature has led many to misunderstanding much as to what effects should result
from the cleansing from that depravity in the work of entire sanctification. It
has caused some to claim for sanctification that which it does not provide, and
because some who sought the experience failed to obtain that which they had been
told sanctification would do for them, they have often been led either to reject
the doctrine and experience entirely or else to doubt their having the
experience and, as a result, become greatly discouraged. Such unreasonable
claims for the experience of sanctification are always harmful. The harmful
effects may not be apparent at once; but possibly years after, one thus wrongly
instructed may be led to doubt his experience or to reject sanctification.
the teaching of Jesus about the grapevine, He says, “every
branch that bears fruit He
prunes.” The Authorized King James Version uses the word “purgeth”
instead of “prunes.” One view of sanctification understands this purging, or
pruning, to be a one-time event in the life of a Christian. But, this does not
fit the agricultural metaphor Jesus uses to teach us about the secondness in
salvation. If the purging were a one-time event, there would never be a need for
another purging. Whatever is purged would be gone once-for-all and its influence
forevermore gone out of our lives. However, pruning a real grapevine is not a
one-time event; it is something that is done time and again over the productive
life of the grapevine.
with pruning the grapevine, the pruning of our lives is an ongoing process. This
is not to teach a gradual sanctification, but a growth in sanctification. There
is a difference! Entire sanctification has a definite point of beginning that is
not identical with the initial experience in salvation, call it a first work of
grace or any of the other terms mentioned above. Entire sanctification is a
definite and unique work of God’s grace made possible through the blood of the
Lord Jesus Christ. But, it is a process that continues from that time forward in
our lives. We do not grow into sanctification, as some teach; rather, in
sanctification we grow.
word translated in the Authorized King James Version as “purge” and other
versions as “prune” is the Greek word kathairo.
The literal meaning is to cleanse, and when applied to trees and vines it means
to cut away useless shoots—to prune.
Young’s Literal Translation renders this part of verse 2, “Every one bearing
fruit, He doth cleanse it by pruning it, that it may bear more fruit.” While
Dr. Young’s rendering is somewhat clumsy to modern English, it does capture
the exact meaning of Jesus’ statement. Adam Clarke comments on this word:
purgeth it—He pruneth. The branch which
bears not fruit, the husbandman taketh IT away; but the branch that beareth
fruit, he taketh away FROM it, i.e. he prunes away excrescences,
and removes every thing that might hinder its increasing fruitfulness. The verb kathairo;
from kata, and airo, I take
away, signifies ordinarily to cleanse, purge, purify, but is certainly to be
taken in the sense of pruning, or cutting off, in this text.
purpose for the secondness in salvation is to continually cut away or purge
things out of our lives that may or may not be sinful but have become part of
our dispositions, attitudes and interests that are contrary to the will of God.
These are things that are part of us from having been born and lived a life
under the dominion of moral depravity until the moment we are saved.
just used the expression “moral depravity.” Theologians have invented words
to describe and explain the effect of Adam’s fall on the human race. Original
sin is the term generally used in Christianity; but, that term can have many
different meanings. Some differences are the product of semantics, how people
use words and attribute meaning to them, and some differences are
substantial—what people really mean.
holiness people the terms “inherited sin” or “inbred sin” are thought to
offset some of the problems caused by the term original sin. In a sense, these
terms are synonymous with original sin because they imply that a real condition
of sin exists from conception. The distinction attempted by these terms is that
there are two kinds of sin: a sin of being, or a sinful nature, and a sin of
commission. The sin of being is said to be a sin for which people are not
personally responsible while the sins of commission are acts of sin stemming
from the sin of being and for which people are personally responsible. The
problem in trying to make these distinctions is that the word “sin” is used
for both conditions and as such loses its distinctions.
theology uses the term “native depravity without demerit” instead of
original sin. In simple terms, it means that people are born in a moral
condition that does not have an internal influence of the Holy Spirit. It is not
sin, properly so called as Wesley would say, and it is not punishable as sin. It
is that in people which bends them toward sin. Byrum explains:
nature of this depravity has been much misunderstood. Many have wrongly supposed
that it consists of guilt for Adam’s sin and that it is punishable. We reject
this view as we do also the theory resulting from it, that infants are punished
in hell for the sin of Adam. While some reject these theories as being
unscriptural and unjust, yet they have no clear idea as to what depravity is;
and without a clear view of the nature of depravity it is not possible to
understand what is comprehended in the work of regeneration and entire
sanctification. Native depravity is not a physical entity or material substance.
It is not a stump that may be removed nor a germ that may be eradicated. It is
not a thing that may be extracted as a bad tooth. It may be roughly illustrated
in this way, but perhaps better as being like a poison in one’s blood
resulting in disease and suffering in the body. Its immaterial nature may be
still better illustrated as being likened to that which causes the ferocious
lion to differ from the harmless lamb. No surgeon could find in the lion a
physical thing that makes him ferocious. So, likewise, depravity is the very
nature that makes unregenerate man what he is.
goes on to say:
depravity is not a physical something in man causing him to do evil, neither is
it an entire subtraction of his moral nature. This is shown by the fact that the
sinner possesses moral faculties such as conscience, though it is weakened. From
a careful study of the subject it is evident that depravity is a derangement or
enfeeblement of man’s moral nature. It is a perversion or weakness of his
moral faculties. It is in this sense that the image of God is lost, and not in
the sense of an entire loss of the moral nature. In the depraved, conscience is
perverted or weakened. Its power to discriminate between right and wrong is
lost, to a great extent. Its power to impel to the right is weakened, so it
fails to function as God intended. Its power to reprove is weakened insomuch
that one may sin and feel very little if any compunction of conscience for it.
The conscience becomes, as the Bible says, “seared
with a hot iron.” . . .
Also the affections are alienated or perverted. Man was intended to love God
supremely and to love his neighbor as himself, which is keeping all God’s law.
But by the perversion of this moral faculty, the affections, commonly referred
to as an evil heart, he loves the creature more than the Creator, and he loves
himself more than his neighbor. Depravity is the one reason why there is more
love for things and self rather than for God and others. Man’s heart is not
right. This is why man needs a new heart, or affections. The will is also
enslaved in moral volitions.
addresses the primary cause and fruit of sin in our lives, but the secondness in
salvation deals with the impact depravity made on our dispositions, attitudes,
human appetites, and interests that are contrary to the will of God through
having been born and lived a live under the dominion of moral depravity up to
the time we are saved.
last thing before I move to my last point. Charles Finney is held in high esteem
by many evangelicals and holiness people. Finney did not believe in original
sin, but he was not truly Pelagian. He did believe that people inherit something
that disposes them to sin.
depravity, as I use the term, does not consist in, nor imply a sinful nature, in the sense that the substance of the human soul is
sinful in itself. It is not a constitutional sinfulness. It is not an
involuntary sinfulness. Moral depravity, as I use the term, consists in selfishness;
in a state of voluntary committal of the will to self-gratification.
(Bold added for emphasis)
goes on to say, “It is not a sinful
nature but a sinful heart.”
What is the difference? In the minds of many, those terms mean the same thing
even though Finney tries to make a distinction between them. Here we have
another example of semantics confusing an important doctrinal issue.
sanctification is not an invented term, it is quite scriptural. An understanding
of this biblical term will help us to understand the meaning of entire
Thessalonians 5:23, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely;
and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming
of our Lord Jesus Christ” (NKJV). The expression “sanctify you completely”
is rendered “sanctify you wholly” in the Authorized King James Version. The
word “completely” or “wholly” is the Greek word holoteles,
which is a compound word combining holos
and telos meaning complete to the end.
is a question concerning entire sanctification that goes back to the days of
John Wesley and has been the basis for controversy among the proponents of
entire sanctification. The question is, “Is entire sanctification a definite,
one-time experience with God or is it a gradual process?” The answer is
“yes”—it is both.
Apostle Paul’s statement in 1 Thessalonians indicates that this entire
sanctification is something God does for believers subsequent to their
conversion. In the context of 1 Thessalonians, he lists several things that are
part of a believers experience: rejoice, pray, thanks, etc. He closes his letter
with a prayer for their sanctification, which he describes as a complete
sanctification. Since this experience with God is something they may not have
realized by this time, it is obvious that entire sanctification is an experience
that will occur subsequent to conversion. The saints at Thessalonica were
justified, regenerated, and sanctified—they were holy people. But Paul
encouraged them into a degree of sanctification that went beyond their initial
experience with God. Clearly, Paul is praying for them to experience a
secondness in salvation.
complete sanctification of which Paul speaks is not identical with the initial
sanctification that occurred at the time the Thessalonians were converted. It is
similar in purpose in that it is a factor in being holy people, but different
from initial sanctification in the manner in which it works. Entire, or
complete, sanctification was to begin at some point in time after their
conversion, and it was to be a definite and distinct experience as much as their
conversion was a definite and distinct experience. However, the nature of this
second experience is that it is a process that continues over time—holoteles,
complete to the end.
terms complete and to the end at first sound contradictory. “Complete” sounds as if
it is finished and no more can be done. But, “to the end” sounds as if it is
not complete—at least not until the end. If your mind can take it in, think of
entire sanctification as a completeness that progresses over time. In other
words, you are as complete as you can be at the time you enter this
sanctification, but over time you realize there is more to this completeness
than you first understood. But at all times as you live for God you are as
complete as you can be at any given time. By this I mean that God will time and
again show you something about yourself, your whole spirit, soul, and/or body,
that you previously had not seen; something God wants you to consecrate to His
will. This does not mean you were not sanctified before you saw this something
God wants you to consecrate and it does not mean that you are more sanctified
after you consecrate this something. What is happening is that God is preserving
you blameless, keeping you blameless, as you live your life for God and grow in
the knowledge He gives you.
EXPERIENCE WITH ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION
person’s experience with God is completely typical of all people’s
experience. While there are many similarities, there are perhaps more
differences in how God deals with each of us and brings us to understand our
need for salvation. I am somewhat reluctant to relate my experience, but it
might be helpful in understanding what the “pruning” is all about.
became a Christian at the age of 14 under the ministry of Youth for Christ.
While I knew God had forgiven my sins and He was involved in my life, I still
had some struggles with sin and self that discouraged me. I was taught in YFC
and the church I attended that this was a normal Christian experience. While I
tried to be satisfied with that explanation, I was not.
my high school years I found that things in my life did not necessarily go the
way I wanted them to go. Things happened to me I did not want to happen; and
some things I wanted to happen did not happen. I did what I could do to make
things happen the way I wanted, but I found that I could not do that all the
time and I was very frustrated. I developed a physical condition with my left
leg and my lower back and I found that, to some degree, I could use this
condition to control some of my circumstances—but not all of them.
graduating from high school I attended a Christian college and experienced a
“church problem” on campus at the end of the school year. This so
discouraged me that I did not go back to school the next fall. I got a job,
waited for my draft notice to come, and when it came, I joined the Army.
in the Army and trying to live like a Christian, God confronted me with many
things about myself, most of which I knew and Army life seemed to exacerbate
these things. This confrontation happened while I was attending the Armed Forces
School of Music in 1967. It was a beautiful spring day and I was sitting under a
big shade tree on the School campus. God spoke to me as clearly as I have ever
heard God speak and He said, “Bayless, get in or get out! Quit feeling sorry
for yourself!” Being a good soldier, I said, “Yes, Sir!” A radical change
happened in my life at that moment.
had been so discouraged because I was not getting my way that after class I
would just go to the TV room and watch television until “lights out.”
Believe me, I was not the only one sitting there fighting discouragement. After
God spoke to me, I started taking my Bible into the reading room and studying
until “lights out.” Eventually, other bandsmen came in with me and we
enjoyed evening Bible studies until we graduated.
I came to the Church of God I made the obligatory second trip to the altar to be
sanctified, but there was really no major change in my life because of that
trip. At that time I did not realize that I had already entered into entire
sanctification. The theology I was under said that you can’t be sanctified in
Babylon because Babylon doesn’t teach real sanctification, and to be
sanctified you have to go to a Church of God altar: two trips; two works of
I became a pastor, I needed a more effective way of counseling people that were
seeking entire sanctification. I encountered many people that had made the
second trip to the altar over and over again with no apparent success. God
helped me by bringing me into contact with Oswald Chambers, one of the most
effective and practical teachers of a holy life.
is not wrong doing, it is wrong being,
deliberate and emphatic independence of God. That may sound remote and far away
from us, but in individual experience it is best put in the terms of “my
claim to my right to myself.”
Every one of us, whether we have received the Holy Spirit or not, will denounce
selfishness, but who amongst us will denounce “my right to myself”?
As long as my right to myself remains, I respect it in you, you respect it in
me, and the devil respects it in the whole crowd, and amalgamates humanity under
one tremendous rule which aims at blotting the one true God off His throne.
(Bold added for emphasis)
found this concept of my right to myself is far more effective in helping people
understand the object and focus of entire sanctification. My right to myself is
what God had spoken to me about under the tree that day in 1967. From this I
understood that on that day I entered into entire sanctification. Preachers may
talk about stumps, inherited sin, or getting mad when the laundry falls in the
mud; but, nothing seems to help people more than realizing that my right to
myself is what puts me at odds with God and God’s will.
sense of my right to myself does not go away in the firstness of salvation, even
though we are regenerated and have stopped sinning. The secondness in salvation
begins when we are bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives and God
shows us something about ourselves that hinders a greater expression of that
fruit; something I perceive to be my right to myself gets in the way of the
fruit of the Spirit. This encounter comes to us at some definite point in time
after we are a branch in Christ. The particular time differs for different
people; it is not the same for everyone. There are those who experience this
early in their Christian lives, there are those who experience it later, and
there are those that experience it any time in-between.
it is an attitude that disrupts the joy of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Something happens that violates your perceived right to yourself and it quenches
the joy you once felt. Or, it could be any other fruit of the Holy Spirit that
has been quenched by coming into conflict with your perceived right to yourself.
See Galatians 5:22, 23 for a definition of the fruit of the Spirit. By the way,
all nine of the things mentioned constitute the fruit of the Spirit; all of them
must be present in your life.
will make an issue with you over anything you perceive to be your right that
conflicts with any aspect of the fruit of the Spirit. When God confronts you,
you will have to give up what you believe is your right and submit your will to
His will. When you submit your rights to God’s will, the characteristic of the
Spirit’s fruit at issue will return in a greater degree than you experienced
before. If the Spirit’s joy was quenched by your perceived right, it will
return with a greater degree of joy than you could have imagined. You have just
been pruned and now are able to bear more fruit, more of the Holy Spirit’s
the pruning will not stop there. There will be another characteristic of the
fruit of the Spirit that God will want to increase in your life and He will come
to you and clip off another one of your perceived rights. Once God has made the
rounds of all characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit, He will go over you
again, and again, and again. This is a process that will go on for the rest of
is God’s will to preserve you blameless in spirit, soul, and body every day of
your life until such time the Lord Jesus Christ comes for you, whether it be in
death or the day He returns to planet Earth and calls an end to time.
may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit,
soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Holy Spirit Baptism and The Second Cleansing, Faith Publishing House:
Guthrie, OK, pg. 54
Shadows of Good Things to Come or The Gospel in Type.
Holy Spirit Baptism, pg 33.
Ibid, pg 88.
Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon #2508.
The word “excrescences” means outgrowths.
Holy Spirit Baptism, pg 33.
Ibid. pg 34.
Systematic Theology, Colporter Kemp: South Gate, CA, pg. 231.
Chambers, Oswald, 1947. Biblical Ethics. Marshall, Morgan & Scott: Hants UK