The true question is, "Is a state of entire, established, abiding consecration to God attainable in this life in such a sense that we may rationally expect or hope to become thus established in this life? Are the conditions of attaining this established state in the grace and love of God such that we may rationally expect or hope to fulfill them and thus become established or entirely sanctified in this life?"
“And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul?”
Upon this passage I remark: It professedly sums up the whole duty of man to God--to fear and love him with all the heart and all the soul. Although this is said of Israel, yet it is equally true of all men. It is equally binding upon all and is all that God requires of any man in regard to himself. Continued obedience to this requirement is entire sanctification in the sense in which I use those terms.
“And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine hearts, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.”
Here we have a promise couched in the same language as the command just quoted. Upon this passage I remark: It promises just what the law requires. If the law requires a state of entire sanctification or if that which the law requires is a state of entire sanctification, then this is a promise of entire sanctification. As the command is universally binding upon all and applicable to all so this promise is universally applicable to all who will lay hold upon it. Faith is an indispensable condition of the fulfillment of this promise. It is entirely impossible that we should love God with all the heart without confidence in him. God begets love in man in no other way than by so revealing himself as to inspire confidence, that confidence which works by love.
We need the revelation of Christ to our souls in such power as to induce in us that appropriating faith, without which Christ is not and cannot be our salvation. We need to know Christ...
When we are led by the Holy Spirit to look down into the abyss of our own emptiness--to behold the horrible pit and miry clay of our own habits and fleshly and worldly and infernal entanglements, when we see in the light of God that our emptiness and necessities are infinite, then, and not till then, are we prepared wholly to cast off self and to put on Christ. The glory and fullness of Christ are not discovered to the soul until it discovers its need of him. But when self in all its loathsomeness and helplessness is fully revealed, until hope is utterly extinct as it respects every kind and degree of helping ourselves, and when Christ, the all and in all, is revealed to the soul as its all-sufficient portion and salvation, then, and not until then, does the soul know its salvation. This knowledge is the indispensable condition of appropriating faith or of that act of receiving Christ or that committal of all to him that takes Christ home to dwell in the heart by faith and to preside over all its states and actions. Oh, such a knowledge and such a reception and putting on of Christ is blessed. Happy is he who knows it by his own experience.
(Charles Finney)