Thursday, May 27, 2010

Terminology - Sanctification

In prior occasions we have looked at the union between Christ (His divinity) and Jesus, Salvation (being saved), and Justification.  As we continue to dispel some of the ignorance of some to terminology that is basic to the Christian faith we now turn our attention to Sanctification or its root Sanctify.  So with it being Thursday, yep you guessed its Terminology Thursday. 

Webster’s 1828 dictionary [in part] defines Sanctification as:

Sanctification (or to Sanctify):

Is FIRST 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 Thess 2; 1Peter 1).

And SECOND it is the act of consecrating or of setting apart for a sacred purpose, that is consecration.

Sanctification is closely aligned with Justification in that just as God justifies the sinner He also sets them apart (Sanctifies them) for salvation and ministry.  So that there is Sanctification in our Atonement which is the process by which God purifies the believer, and is based on the sacrificial death of Christ.  For instance in his letters, Paul noted that God had "chosen" and "reconciled" us to Himself in Christ for the purpose of sanctification (Eph 1:4; 5:25-27; Titus 2:14).

We must acknowledge that Sanctification is God's Work.  We are sanctified by God the Father (Jude), God the Son (Heb 2:11), and God the Holy Spirit (2 Thess 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2).  Perfect holiness is God's command (1 Thess 4:7) and purpose.  As Paul prayed, "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely" (1 Thess 5:23).  Sanctification is a process that continues during our lives as believers (Heb 10:14).  Only after death are the saints referred to as "perfect" (Heb 12:23).


However, there is also the Believer's Work in Sanctification.  Numerous commands in the Bible imply that believers also have a responsibility in the process of sanctification.  We are commanded to "be holy" (Lev 11:44; 1 Peter 1:15-16); to "be perfect" (Matt 5:48); and to "present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness" (Rom 6:19). Writing to the church of the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul made a strong plea for purity: "This is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God" (1 Thess 4:3-5).

So that we see sanctification is both a completed work in which God sets us apart and a continual work in which we are being sanctified.  So that Sanctification is God's gracious and powerful work of making sinners holy in heart and conduct through the internal ministry of the Holy Spirit, applying the death and resurrection of Christ to them, so that they increasingly die to sin and live unto righteousness in the whole man.

See you next week.

1 comment:

allthyngs said...

Great stuff! Best summary of sanctification I've ever heard is/was:

Dependence and Diligence

We absolutely rest in the finished work of Christ, he started and WILL finish the work within us. We’re dependent upon no greater anchor for our soul. He who has called us is faithful and He will do it.

BUT

We also absolutely strive to run the race, fight the fight, put off the old, put on the new and work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Becoming who we are! Diligent to the end.

great post, great blog. Welcome to the Caffeinated Cavlinists!!

-paul