Many times in church or when we are listen to Bible teaching we hear words that we don’t really understand. I believe some pastors and teachers simply take it for granted that we all know them. Sanctification is one of those words. Do you know what it is?
According to Webster’s Dictionary:
SANCTIFICA’TION, n. [See Sanctify.]
1. The act of making holy. In an evangelical sense, the act of God’s grace by which the affections of men are purified or alienated from sin and the world, and exalted to a supreme love to God.
God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. 2 Th 2. 1 Pet 1.”
Sanctification is very important for us to understand. You will see that word, and also sanctify, and sanctified in the Bible and we need to know what they mean so we can understand the scripture.
In my own words:
Sanctification is a process which begins when we get saved. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us right then and sets us apart as something different from what we were. When we are saved we are actually made a new person by the Holy Spirit. But, that is not the end of it. All during the time we are alive here on earth we are continually shaped and molded into the image of Christ. This is God’s desire for us. This is a process which continues on until we reach Heaven, and reach perfection. So, if you are a Christian you are somewhere on the road of sanctification. You are being sanctified.
Let’s look at some scriptures that show us that:
1Co 6:11 NASB Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Here we see right from the Word of God that we were washed, sanctified, and justified when we were saved.
2Co 5:17 NASB Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
One of the first things we must get a hold of is the fact that now that we are believers we are actually and truly a new person. We are not the person we were when we were born. Then we were dead (spiritually) in trespasses and sin. We were dead because of Adam and Eve’s sin of disobedience which was passed down to us. We could not please a holy God. A holy God cannot look upon sin.
I don’t think I realized at first after I was saved that I was actually a new person. It wasn’t until I read the verse above that it sunk in. It doesn’t matter what has gone on in your past, what your life was like, you are now a NEW person inside. Do you get that! It is so important and wonderful. You don’t have to live like you did in the past. You don’t have to continue in the old habits that dragged you down. God in His mercy has given you a second chance. You have been set free!
Joh 8:36 NASB “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
Gal 2:20 NASB “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
You see we died (our old person) when we accepted Christ and were saved. Then the Holy Spirit came to live inside us. He gave us a new spirit (new person inside us) so now we have the ability to live as God would want us to. We could not please God before. We live this new life by faith in Christ. He loved us enough to take our sin penalty and die for us, therefore, we can love Him as we give our lives to Him.
So, how does this sanctification process work in our everyday lives?
We must die to our old self. You may say, I thought you said we died with Christ when we were saved. That is true our old person did die and we were recreated a new person inside. But, we still live in this old physical body with it’s desires, and it can and does influence us.
See what Paul says in, 1Co 15:31 NASB I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
He said he dies daily. He had to die to his flesh everyday, and so do we. Otherwise, we will be tempted to follow the desires of the flesh and live in disobedience to God. When we were saved we were made alive spiritually, but we still do have our same minds and memories. We still can stray away from pleasing God. I think you will agree with me on that. We are far from being perfect. And where does temptation to sin start? In our minds. That is Satan’s playground.
Mat 16:24 NASB Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
Jesus said to deny self and take up your cross and follow Him. The cross speaks of death and to deny self is to die to our old selfish desires. We are naturally self-centered. We need to take our eyes and mind off from self and get them on things above.
We are a work in process. God has given us the Word that tells us how to live a Christian live. We need to keep in the Word and obey what it tells us. When we do, we grow in Christ. God has told us to renew our minds. As we do we can resist the devil and he will flee from us. We do not have to live in sin as a Christian. Sure there will be a constant battle, but we can overcome by God’s grace and power.
Rom 12:2 NASB And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
As we renew our minds we become transformed, and we know God’s will for us. We can only renew our minds by our study of the Word of God. When we read the Bible and obey it, we become transformed. We change. Again this is a process. Look back to the time you were saved and compare yourself to now. Do you see any change for the good? If so, you are being transformed. If not, you should revisit whether you are truly saved.
So, we die to ourselves and our selfish desires, we renew our minds and become transformed.
Rom 8:28-29 NASB And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (29) For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
“to become conformed to the image of His Son.” That’s God’s goal for our lives.
If you always wanted to know what God’s will is for you, well there it is. He is now, right now, working in your life to make you more and more like Jesus. You have a choice. You can obey God and grow in grace toward that goal, or you can disobey God and live a miserable Christian life, always fighting it, not wanting to die to self. Yield to God and let Him live His life through you.
Now we are being sanctified as we live the Christian life according to God’s will, and finally we will be totally sanctified when we get to Heaven and see that we are like Christ. Rom 8:29 “…He would be the firstborn among many breathern;” Just think how wonderful that will be! All true Christians will be fully sanctified, and we will have the same kind of bodies as He has, we will have the same kind of mind and attitude that He has. We will be joint heirs in all that He has. Oh, it is more than I can comprehend! All I can say is “Thank you dear Heavenly Father, that you chose me to be a part of this great eternal adventure!