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2.2.0 Sanctification


1. The Nature of Sanctification

A. The Definition of Sanctification:

Sanctification means to separate from sin and set apart for God. The two parts of the definition of sanctification are closely aligned. One cannot truly be separated to God without being separated from sin.

Part #1: To sanctify means to SET APART for God.

Sanctification is the process of "setting apart" for God. This is the primary meaning of the word. Lev. 27:14,16; Num. 8:17; II Chron. 7:16; Jer. 1:5; Matt. 23:17; John 10:36

Since holiness is primarily the attribute of God, what is 'sanctified' is removed from 'profane' or 'secular' use and reserved to the Lord."—Harper's Bible Dictionary

Part #2: To sanctify means to SEPARATE from sin or ceremonial defilement.

(II Chr. 29:5,15-18; Lev. 11:44; I Chr. 15:12,14; I Thess. 4:7)

For God called us not for uncleanness, but for holiness [Grk: hagiasmos]. I Thess. 4:7.

The Greek word "hagiasmos" is translated both "holiness" and "sanctification." Holiness and sanctification are used mostly interchangeably throughout the New Testament.

B. The Necessity of Sanctification (Holiness)

It is the will of God for the life of the Believer to be sanctified, and therefore is not an option. Holiness is an attribute of God and demanded by God in the life of the Believer. (remember: "holiness" and "sanctification" are often translations of the same Greek word.)

I Thess. 4:3-4—For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;

I Peter 1:16—Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Hebrews 12:14—Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

NOTE: God is spoken of as being "sanctified by the revelation of His Character" meaning not that He is made holy, but that He is shown to be Holy. (Eze. 20:41; 28:22; 36:23) God never changes, but we must change!

C. The Evidence of Sanctification

Sanctification is one of the aspects of salvation and begins INWARD and progresses to OUTWARD change. A truly born-again person is made new in Christ. (II Cor. 5:17). That is, he is inwardly purified from sin's influence and outwardly purified from sinful deeds.

INWARD—Change in Character & Desire

OUTWARD—Change in Action & Appearance

Outward sanctification/holiness does not produce salvation, but our salvation must manifest into holy vessels before God and this world as bright lights!

Titus 2:12—Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

2. The Means of Sanctification

How is a person sanctified or made holy? Sanctification is mainly a Divine and miraculous work that must be pursued and yielded to by each person. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as well as the Believer, are active in sanctification.

A. The Father sanctifies the Believer

I Thess. 5:23; John 17:17

In the Old Dispensation, God set apart the firstborn unto Himself, so God in the New Dispensation sets apart the Believer unto Himself and separates him from sin.

As Father, God will correct his children. We became partakers of God's righteousness and holiness through the administration of chastisement by the Heavenly Father. Heb. 12:10,11

Hebrews 12:11—Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

B. The Son sanctifies the Believer.

Jesus Christ was made our sanctification. (I Cor. 1:30)

Separation from sin and separation unto God was provided for us in Christ. Through faith receiving Christ's life, the Believer obtains the sanctification provided in the person of Christ. The more completely we appropriate Christ, the more completely we are sanctified. Perfect sanctification is provided in Him just as perfect wisdom is. (Col. 2:3)

The Blood of Jesus Sanctifies the Believer.

The sacrifice of Christ puts a difference between the Believer and the world just as the Passover lamb's blood put a difference between Israel and the Egyptians. (Ex. 11:7; 12:12,13)

The Believer belongs to God by the redemption of Christ's blood. By the offering of His own blood,Jesus has set the Believer apart for God. (Heb. 10:10; 13:12)

The blood cleanses Believers from all guilt of sin and, thus, separates them from the mass of men under the curse of the law, and sets them apart for God. (Compare I John 1:7,9) In the Old Testament, the blood sacrifice cleansed Israelites from the guilt of ceremonial offense and set them apart for God. In the New Testament, the blood of Christ cleanses the Believer from the guilt of sin and sets him apart for God.

C. The Holy Spirit sanctifies the Believer.

II Thess. 2:13; I Peter 1:2

The Anointing. Just as in the O.T. type where tabernacle, altar, and priest are set apart for God by the anointing oil (Lev.8:10-12) so, in the N.T. antitype—the Believer (who is both tabernacle and priest)—is set apart for God by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

The Fruit of the Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit's working in the heart of a man that causes him to overcome the flesh and sin, and clothes the Believer with Divine graces of character and makes him fit to be God's own. Compare Gal. 5:15-23

The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to sanctify the Believer. We are sanctified in the Truth, the Word of God. (John 16:13; 17:17; Ps. 119:99; John 15:3) As Believers bring their lives into daily contact with the Word, the sins and imperfections of their lives and hearts are disclosed and by putting them away are increasingly separated from sin unto God. (2 Cor. 3:18; I Cor. 15:31)

D. The Believer is active in sanctification.

The Believer is not passive in the work of sanctification. That is, God is not going to completely sanctify a person with no effort of their own.

  1. Sanctification is something that we must pursue or seek earnestly.

While it is God's work, we have a part: make complete sanctification the object of our earnest desire and pursue it.

Hebrews12:14—Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man shall see the Lord. (R.V.)

Matt. 6:33—But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

  1. We attain unto sanctification through presenting our members as servants (literally "slaves") to righteousness and becoming bondservants unto God. (Rom. 6:19,22)

Rom. 12:1—I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

I Cor. 15:31—I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

  1. We perfect holiness by cleansing ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and Spirit.

2Co 7:1— Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

  1. To reach the end of perfect holiness: we must come out from among unbelievers, refusing all alliances with them, and touching no unclean thing. We must conduct ourselves as strangers in a strange land.

Heb 11:9,10—By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

II Cor. 6:17,18—Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

I Peter 1:22—Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

It is, of course, under the guidance and power of the Spirit that we do this, but it is us that must separate ourselves from this world and its sinful influences.

  1. The Time of Sanctification

When does sanctification take place? Sanctification is both instantaneous and progressive.

  1. Sanctification is Instantaneous

  1. Sanctification begins at salvation, and in relationship to God, the Believer is completely sanctified at salvation.

John 15:3—Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

As far as our standing before God is concerned, the born-again believer is completely sanctified in that he is cleansed from the guilt of sin unto God. Heb. 10:10, 14. As a newborn babe in Christ, the Believer is completely sanctified. (As perfect as a newborn infant is perfect.)

Hebrews 10:10—By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (See also verse 14.)

2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

  1. Sanctification is instantaneous as man yields his will and offers himself to God.

It is the Believer's present and blessed privilege and immediate and solemn duty to present himself to God as a living sacrifice. Rom. 12:1,2 When such a presentation of our bodies is made to God in the faith that "our old man is crucified with Christ, that we are dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God," (Rom. 6:6,7), God will respond with fire upon the sacrifice, as He did upon the gifts of His people in the Old Testament. The believer then, so far as his will, heart, and the governing purpose of his life are concerned, is wholly sanctified.

  1. Jesus gives the Believer His righteousness.

Romans 5:17—For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

Romans 3:22—Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Man has no righteousness of his own. The Scripture declares that all our righteousness is as filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6)

  1. Sanctification is Progressive

I Thess. 5:23—And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 3:1—And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

Paul describes babes in Christ as being carnal. Sanctification begins at the new birth. Those truly in Christ are justified and cleansed from sin through the blood of Jesus. Yet, the Scripture tells us that the babes in Christ are still carnal. The Scripture instructs the Christian to mature in Christ and to put off the carnal nature. Sanctification is both immediate and progressive. The born-again are immediately washed in the blood of Jesus and by grace brought into a right relationship with God. But there is also a progressive or continued work of Sanctification of putting off the old nature and maturing as Christians. Let us look to the Word of God to explain this progressive work of Sanctification.

1. A growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

II Peter 3:18 refers to growing or maturing in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. If it were not possible to grow in grace then the Bible would not encourage us to do so. There is a definite process of growth as the Christian learns more about Jesus and who He is.

2. The Word will produce growth in the Christian.

I Peter 2:2—As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

As has already been stated the Scripture indicates that babes in Christ are still carnal.

That is they are justified in Christ through the blood, yet there is a continuing growth process of putting off the old man. It is neither the will nor plan of God for Christians to remain as babes in Christ. Babes need to be taught the Word of God so they can follow the Word and grow in Christ.

3. An abounding more and more in a Godly walk and in pleasing God.

I Thessalonians 4:1—…ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

4. An increase in love

I Thessalonians 3:12—And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:

5. A transforming into the image of our Lord Jesus, from glory to glory, each new gaze at Him making us more like Him. - II Cor. 3:18

6. A growing up into Christ in all things, until we attain unto a full-grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. - Eph. 4:11-15

Ephesians 4:13—Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

  1. The Results of Sanctification

A. Christ has perfected forever those who are sanctified.

Hebrews 10:14—For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

1. By the one offering of sacrificing Himself for our sins.

2. Their standing before God as guiltless is already forever secured for the sanctified.

3. The sanctification spoken of here is the separation from the guilt of sin and secured unto God by the shed blood of Jesus.

B. Those whom Jesus sanctifies are one with Him and He is not ashamed to call them brethren.

For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, - Hebrews 2:11

C. We are saved through sanctification.

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: - II Thessalonians 2:13

1. Sanctification results in salvation.

2. The sanctification spoken of here is the sanctification that the Holy Spirit works.

3. The salvation spoken of here is not salvation in the mere sense of the forgiveness of sins, but salvation in the fullest sense of deliverance from sin's dominion and presence.

D. Sanctification results in seeing the Lord.

Heb. 12:14—Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

1. Holiness also refers to sanctification.

The Greek word for holiness is also rendered sanctification.

HO'LINESS, n. [from holy.] The state of being holy; purity or integrity of moral character; freedom from sin; sanctity. Applied to the Supreme Being, holiness denotes perfect purity or integrity of moral character, one of his essential attributes. - Webster

2. Without sanctification no man shall see the Lord.

E. Sanctification secures us an inheritance. - Acts 20:32

Acts 20:32—And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

1. The believer receives the initial part of the inheritance at salvation.

The children of God are heirs of God. An heir is one who receives the inheritance. God does not give the fullness of His inheritance to a child. Galatians 4: 1-2 tells us that the child heir is under tutors until the time appointed of the Father. That is until the child becomes of age to take the responsibility of being an heir.

Romans 8:17—And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

2. The Holy Spirit filled Believer receives the earnest of their inheritance.

The word earnest means "a down payment" with more payment to follow. God will bestow a greater measure of Holy Ghost power as the individual matures and is able to walk in that power. God has so much in store for the Holy Spirit filled believer. The Holy Spirit filled believer experiences more of the inheritance and power of God as they mature in Christ and yield to God. Why is it that some men walk in more of the power of the Holy Ghost than others? It is not the Holy Spirit that lacks, but it is the individual that lacks faith and needs to mature spiritually.

Ephesians 1:13-14—In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

3. The more sanctified a Believer becomes, the more power of God he can receive.

As the Spirit filled Believer experiences the progression of sanctification he is able to receive more of God's power and to walk in more of his inheritance. God does not give us more than we can receive. The Believer can only receive more of God as they separate themselves from the world and crucify the old nature.