Memory Verse: 2Corinthians 6:17-7:1
Prayer: That the Holy Spirit will enable us to understand the truth.
Key Verses: Phil. 1:6; 1Pet. 2:2, 9-11; Eph. 4:24; Acts 20:32, 26:18; Rom. 6:6
1Thess. 5:23; Jn. 17:17.
Sanctification has to do with our character and conduct. It is what God does in us. It exhibits the fruit of our relationship with God - a life separated from a sinful world and dedicated unto God. 2Corinthians 6:17 says, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” To get the proper meaning of theological words like regeneration, justification, adoption and sanctification you do not need a through knowledge of Greek, but you should have “An Expository Dictionary of N.T. Words” by W. E. Vine.
The doctrine of sanctification has to do with holiness. 1Peter 1:15 says, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” It’s importance is to be seen in that it is an absolute prerequisite for entering into God’s presence. Heb. 12:14 says, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Some Baptists, in their ignorance, have shied away from this doctrine, thinking it to be “Holy-roller” doctrine; but sanctification is a Bible doctrine, and therefore is the duty of all believers to know and practice. Just because false teachers have perverted the truth does not excuse us from knowing and obeying the truth.
The noun “sanctification” is the translation of the Greek word HAGIASMOS used of:
· Separation to God (1Cor. 1:30; 2Thess. 2:13; 1Pet. 1:2
· The course of life befitting those so separated (1Thess. 4:3,7; Rom. 6:19,22).
The Greek verb HAGIAZO is translated “sanctify”, is used of:
· The gold adorning the Temple and of the gift laid on the altar (Matt. 23:17,19)
· Food (1Tim. 4:5)
· The unbelieving spouse of a believer (1Cor. 7:14)
· The consecration of the Son by the Father (John 10:36) and many other illustrations.
The basic meaning of sanctification is “to be set apart” unto God and declared to be holy unto Him. It is in this sense that the believer is set apart in salvation even though he may not as yet have begun to practice a holy life. It is for this reason that believers are called “saints.” Sanctification has three tenses to it:
1. initial or positional sanctification when one is saved
2. progressive sanctification as one lives the Christian life (2Tim. 2:19-21)
3. perfective sanctification when God’s redemptive work is completed at the rapture and the saint is finally and perfectly set apart.
Compare this to the three tenses of Salvation:
1. Past - Saved from the penalty of sin
2. Present - Saved from the power of sin
3. Future - Saved from the presence of sin
Sanctification is a divine work of God’s grace, and it is not a state of sinless perfection attained through a “second blessing” or through a special “Baptism of the Holy Ghost,” (1Thess. 4:3; 5:23). Man is not admonished to sanctify himself, only God can do this (Jn. 17:17-19. Yet we are told to “Come out from among them” and be separate. We must strive to live a godly life if we are to please God. The Holy Spirit continues to work in the believer through life to bring him into the likeness of Christ (Eph. 4:11-13). It is a work that is never completed in this life, and any person who claims to have achieved sinless perfection shows himself ignorant both of himself and of Scripture teachings concerning man, and he makes God a liar and deceives himself (1Jn. 1:6,8,10). The apostle Paul, whom God set forth as a human example for believers (1Tim. l:16), and in whose life we are not sure that any fault may be seen, had not, even in his old age, attained sinless perfection. This is evident from Rom. 7:12-24. The total victory over sin comes only with the redemption of the body, which will take place in the resurrection. The fact that all of God’s children are chastened of Him shows that all of them sin (Heb. 12:5-8). We are told in Matt. 5:48 to be perfect, but this is the ideal. God always sets the ideal or perfection as our goal. We will never attain it, but it must still be our goal. Jesus could have set nothing less than this without condoning and encouraging sin. This is something for us to strive for. So remember that the doctrine of a “second blessing” of sanctification is a human doctrine conceived less than a hundred years ago and is totally false.
The sanctified are those only who are in Christ Jesus, who have been regenerated, and have been justified through faith. No man can cleanse or purify his heart or life. He lacks the will and power to do so. A new nature must be attained which will love and seek after holiness, the flesh and the old nature cannot do this. It is the work of the Triune God. Sanctification is God the Father’s work (Jn. 17:17). It is the work of the Son, He purchased it (1Cor. 1:30). It is the work of the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 6:11). How does the Holy Spirit accomplish His work? Just as in the Old Testament type, the tabernacle, altar, and priest were set apart for God by the anointing oil (Lev. 8:10-12), so in the New Testament anti-type, the believer, who is both tabernacle and priest, is set apart for God by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Sanctification is accomplished in each individual personally. It is real, not merely one that is imputed as in righteousness. Holiness becomes the characteristic of the new nature. It is to be habitually exercised in your life. It will eventually be possessed in perfection. God’s spiritual nature demands not only spiritual worship, but holy spiritual emotions and affections; and these belong to the heart. Hence the need of inward conformity to His will and commands is set forth in the New Testament, as to mark its teachings as essentially spiritual (Matt. 12:33-35). The body’s appetites and passions are to be controlled, wicked actions are to cease, and unholy habits to be put away, the members of the body are to be mortified, and good works are to be exhibited to mankind (2Cor. 7:1; Eph. 4:17-24; Col. 3:5-10; 1Thess. 5:23; Rom. 6:12-13).
The manner in which the Spirit operates in sanctification is beyond our knowledge (Ec. 11:5; Jn. 3:8). We can only know the effects produced, and the means which are revealed in the word of God, and in Christian experience. The primary means which the Spirit uses for our sanctification (as already stated), is the truth of God (Jn. 17:17,19). Growth in Grace is also connected with it (2Pet. 3:l8). The Spirit constantly works in the saved to continually set him apart more and more to do God’s will, and to become like Christ. He does not leave off this work until He has completed it (Phil. 1:6). By the one offering of Christ, the saint is positionally perfected forever (Heb. 10:10,14), for part of Christ’s redemptive work has to do with sanctification (Heb. 13:12). The abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in the believer teaches him God’s truth (1Jn. 2:27), and also enables him to fulfill the truth as it relates to him personally.
One cannot become a saint in his sleep. The lazy man will not be the holy man. Holiness must be the object of one’s pursuit. You have to continually and constantly present the members of your body as holy instruments unto God for the accomplishment of His holy purposes. We cannot boast of any goodness before God in ourselves. We can only exhibit a deep sense of unworthiness (Job 40:4, 42:5-6; Eph. 3:8; Isa. 6; Phil. 3:12-15). We must show an increasing hatred of sin (Rom. 7:12-24). We will also show a growing interest in the means of Grace. The more the Holy Spirit works in one the more he appreciates the word of God, prayer, worship, the Lord’s day, the association of believers in church relations, giving to support the Lord’s work, observing the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper and faithfully witnessing to the lost around us as to our own personal salvation. God promises to withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly (the sanctified), (Ps. 84:11-12).