What happens when Christians try to skip over dealing with their sin, and go straight to holiness? Put another way, what happens when you try to skip conversion and go straight to power, or to sanctification? You end up with the crippled, disempowered, and disgraced church that we see everywhere in America. Abuse, destruction, and the absence of the Holy Spirit are the result of the raw, unchecked, ugliness of sin.
In the first work of grace–also called conversion, regeneration, and the new birth–a person becomes victorious over sin. The sinner stops sinning and becomes a saint. In the second work of grace, this saint is entirely sanctified and baptized in the Holy Spirit with power for ministry.
So, if you sin repeatedly against the Lord, with no victory over sin, then you haven’t even gone through the first work of grace. And if you haven’t received the first work of grace, then how can you receive the second?