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WHAT IS SANCTIFICATION?
Sanctification is the process of becoming free from sin, pure, clean, and holy through the atonement of Jesus Christ. To sanctify is to set apart to God, for His use to fulfill His purposes.
Sanctification is a progressive work of God through His Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18) and His word (John 17:17) to conform us into the image of His Son Jesus Christ.
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification…” ~1 Thessalonians 4:3
Sanctification is God’s will for every Christian who believes in Him and is a true disciple of Jesus Christ. When we believed in what the Lord Jesus Christ did for us on the cross and turned away from our sins, the Bible says we became the righteousness of God. Sanctification is the process of seeing that truth become a reality in our daily walk with the help of the Holy Spirit.
When we said yes to Jesus, we said no to sin; for everyone who continues to sin is working with the enemy and hence working against God.
“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God” ~1 John 3:8-9
When we persist in sin, we are working for the agenda of the enemy. But through the process of sanctification, we are set apart to do God’s will and purposes here on earth. When we choose to allow God to work in us through His Holy Spirit, we are partnering with God in His Agenda. Every day we get to choose whose agenda we want to partner with.
While Sanctification is an act of God in the life of a believer through His Holy Spirit and His Word, God requires our cooperation in making us more like Christ. God never forces anything on His Children and therefore Sanctification is a cooperative work of God and the believer.
“Work out your salvation is fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure” ~Philippians 2:12-13
This is one of my favorite scriptures because it assures me that God is actively giving me the desire and ability to do what pleases Him. It reminds me that I don’t have to depend on my own strength to do His Will, but rather I can lean on Him in this journey of sanctification and He is always there to guide me and show me the way I am to walk in. Even when temptation comes my way, I can always trust Him to provide a way out. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Our responsibility is to actively strive to turn away from sin and demonstrate our faith in Jesus Christ by obeying God’s commands. The Holy Spirit plays a vital role in this journey and as we walk with Him, He helps us not to gratify the desires of our flesh (Galatians 5:16) and instead walk in obedience to God.
Sanctification begins at the moment of conversion and it is not a one day process; in fact, it may appear to be slow with many twists and turns. It is the lifelong journey of Christian. No one can stand and say that they have now been fully sanctified. It is a daily journey of persistence where we are daily being perfected, and daily being sanctified.
“For by one offering, He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” ~Hebrews 10:14
I love this verse. Who has been perfected for all time? Those who are being sanctified, those who are being made Holy. This means that the evidence that we stand Holy or Just before God is that we are becoming Holy with the work of sanctification by the Holy Spirit within us.
It sounds like a paradox but it is the key to Christian life. The power by which we daily strive to overcome the imperfections in our lives is the confidence that we are already perfect through the finished work of Jesus on the cross.
It’s important not to switch this around. If we think that we have to be perfect in our behavior for God to count us as righteous or perfect, we will have missed it because we will be striving to please God in our own strength which can never happen.
Instead, it is because of believing in Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross for us. By that faith God unites us to Christ and His perfection is counted as our perfection. The evidence that we stand perfected in Christ as the righteousness of God is that we daily strive to become who we already are in Christ Jesus.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God” ~2 Corinthians 5:21
In other words, we are not striving to be righteous or holy by our own works but because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have been made righteous (Philippians 3:9) and His Holy Spirit has made us holy (1 Peter 1:2). Therefore our daily walk reflects that and through the journey of sanctification, we are really becoming righteous in our behavior and resembling Christ more and more every day.
“This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” ~Romans 3:22
And now because believers have been set free from the slavery of sin and have become slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:18), the fruit we get leads to sanctification and its end is eternal life.
“But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” ~Romans 6:22-23
Sanctification is a journey taken by all who turn away from their sin and are justified through their faith in Jesus Christ and His marvelous grace. For the process of sanctification to continue in our lives, we have to lay aside every sin and every weight that so easily entangles us. We have to be willing to walk every day in obedience to God and His word, honoring His commands in everything we do.
Do not be deceived by false doctrines that condone sin in the life of a Christian. If we continue to sin we show by our actions that Jesus has not saved us from the bondage of sin and we continue to work for the purposes of the devil.
As true believers, our hope is fixed on the glorious day when our Lord Jesus Christ will return. But as we eagerly wait for that day, in the meantime we have been called to pursue godliness and work with God in our daily sanctification. This is how John brings these realities together;
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” ~1 John 3:1-3
Jesus loves you so much and He wants you to know Him and to know His truth. This happens as we spend time with Him in prayer and study His word, meditating on it day and night and doing what it says with the help of the Holy Spirit. This is how sanctification continues to be part of our life journey and testimony. I know God is with you in this journey and May you be aware of His presence every step of the way. God Bless You