Inside each person is a house. In that house are numerous rooms...closets, a basement, an attic, and perhaps an out-of-sync south wing that was added on throughout the years. When a person gets saved, he or she invites Jesus into the internal house's parlor (John 3:16-17). There Jesus dwells, and the person begins a relationship with Christ that is both life-altering and troubling. The trouble is the saved person still experiences the old self-centered desire to control his or her own house, despite the fact that Jesus is urging the person to release control to Him. In this setup, in the parlor Jesus is only the house resident, not the House President. Jesus desires to be the House President so that His perfect love can be expressed through heart holiness (1 John 4:7-16; 1 Peter 1:13-16; 1 Thess. 5:23).
However, the saved person often struggles at the point of consecrating all to Christ and relinquishing control to Him. As the war of wills continues, Jesus asks for the one and only master key to the whole house...the key that will allow Him access to every room and closet...the key that unlocks the basement where miserable memories lie buried, yet still live...the key that opens the door to the out-of-sync south wing that was never His will. The longer the saved person insists that Christ should remain exclusively in the parlor, the more intense the spiritual battle will become (Romans 7:14-25).
When the saved person finally relinquishes the master key to the Master, he/she is modeling Joshua's consecration command to the Children of Israel (Joshua 3:5). The Children of Israel's following the Ark of the Covenant across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land is symbolic of the saved person entering the experience of entire sanctification and making Jesus president of the house (Joshua 3:6-17). At the point of entire sanctification, the Lord cleanses the person's internal house of the self-centered attitude as the Spirit of the Living God floods each and every room (Romans 6:1-14).
As God commanded the Children of Israel to purposefully purge the Promised Land of heathen influence, so handing the master key to the Master begins a purge process in the believer's house. In this process, the Holy Spirit, often working in partnership with the person, will purge the house of anything that does not bring glory to Him (Joshua 6). This "anything" can involve generational sins woven in the floorboards, as well as emotional issues lurking in the attic (Psalm 103:1-5). In the basement, the Master will dig up and heal those miserable memories, alive and kicking and barely buried (Matthew 8:17b). In the closets, He will pull out the wadded mass of relationship turmoil and instruct the person how to untangle the web (Romans 12:18; Gal. 5:19-26). And the out-of-sync south wing...the shame room...the guilt room...the wound room...the Holy Spirit will deconstruct those rooms in a process of deliverance that will free the person from demons of addictions and tombs of coping mechanisms (Mark 5:1-13).
The person who has consecrated all to Christ and moved beyond denial to absolute truth understands that entire sanctification is not a point of arrival; it's a point of beginning that initiates a lifelong process as growth and deliverance progress and maturity is attained (Gal. 2:20; 1 Cor. 15:31; Romans 12:1-2; John 8:32).
Debra White Smith is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene; she is an author, speaker, pastor, and professor with over a million books in print. Debra is the best-selling author of Christian non-fiction and fiction and has contracted 60 books for publication. She holds two graduate degrees-an M.A. and Ed.S. and is a PHD candidate at Northwest Nazarene University.