“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” 1st Thessalonians 5:23
Todays Gospel Word – Sanctification
The term sanctification fills the pages of Scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments. In fact, we see this word 1,060 times as The Spirit of God inspired the ancient writers to address it. Each time its mentioned in scripture, sanctification means to “set apart”.
Throughout the Old Testament, we see sanctification in a variety of ways…We see days and seasons sanctified (Gen 2:3, Duet 5:12). We see physical objects sanctified (Exodus 19:23, 29:27, Lev 27:23). We see people sanctified in Lev 11:44 and Exodus 13:1-2.
In The New testament, we see sanctification taking place in the fact that God sanctified Christ and even our own sanctifcation is addressed!
I’ve given a lot of thought to a simple, good, working definition of sanctification that speaks to our own sanctification as it relates to the Christian faith and I think that a beneficial description of the great Gospel Word would be, “the lifelong process of being set apart by growing in grace and spiritual maturity“. Made even simpler, sanctification is in essence the process of becoming less like ourselves and more like Christ.
When it comes to this beautiful process, there are some erroneous views such as…
Sanctification is the eradication of our sinful nature – This is simply not true. Fact is, those who boast of the eradication of their sinful nature are actually making the claim which Peter, The Apostle Paul and John had admitted they did not possess.
Consider Pauls thoughts, “Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus” Philippians 3:12-14
The opposite (end equally erroneous view) is called antinomianism. This is the theory that the Christian was under no moral obligation whatsoever to observe the commandments. The first view was an attempt to eliminate the possibility of sin and the second view spoke to the enjoyment of it. Both views are unscriptural at their core.
Another unscriptural view of sanctification is to view it as justification – There is a difference! While justification deals with our standing, sanctification deals with our state. Justification is accomplished for us, sanctification is accomplished in us. In other words, while it’s true that justification declares us good, it’s sanctification that makes us so.
The “how” of sanctification is far simpler than we tend to make it.
In Romans 6:1-10, Paul lays out the program of growing in grace and spiritual maturity…the plan of a believer becoming less like ourselves and more like Christ. The process of sanctification is so clearly seen here that it needs no commentary from me. Read, pray, soak and grow…
“What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life. For if we have been joined with Him in the likeness of His death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of His resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him, because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Him. For in light of the fact that He died, He died to sin once for all; but in light of the fact that He lives, He lives to God”
Soli Deo Gloria! – Pastor Kyle