WE BELIEVE THAT SANCTIFICATION IS THE PROCESS BY WHICH, ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD, WE ARE MADE PARTAKERS OF HIS HOLINESS; THAT IT IS A PROGRESSIVE WORK; THAT IT IS BEGUN IN REGENERATION; AND THAT IT IS CARRIED ON IN THE HEARTS OF BELIEVERS BY THE PRESENCE AND POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE SEALER AND COMFORTER, IN THE CONTINUAL USE OF THE APPOINTED MEANS - ESPECIALLY, THE WORD OF GOD, SELF-EXAMINATION, SELF-DENIAL, WATCHFULNESS, AND PRAYER.
I. "WE BELIEVE THAT SANCTIFICATION IS THE PROCESS BY WHICH, ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD, WE ARE MADE PARTAKERS OF HIS HOLINESS."
A. I Thessalonians 4:3-5 – "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:"
1. Paul is speaking to saved people in this verse.
2. He tells them it is God’s will for them to be sanctified.
3. Saved people become partakers of God’s holiness by sanctification.
B. In order to understand the doctrine of sanctification, we must understand what the word means.
1. Sanctification does not mean to get better and better until some condition of sinless perfection is reached.
2. The words "saint, sanctuary, holiness, and sanctification" are from the same root work, which means "to set apart", or "to cause to pass over".
3. By comparing Exodus 13:2, with Exodus 13:12, we get the Bible meaning of the word sanctify.
a. In Exodus 13:2, God says, "Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast: it is mine."
b. In verse 12 the same command is repeated but instead of the word sanctify, the words "set apart" (margin: ‘‘to cause to pass over") are used.
c. The thought is that of separating from and setting apart to or causing to pass over to.
d. The firstborn Israelite was separated from the other children in the home and considered the peculiar possession of the Lord on the ground that the death angel passed over the house, sparing the fate of the first-born Egyptian. (C. D. Cole)
C. We find that people and things can be sanctified (set aside) for both good and bad purposes.
1. Genesis 38 – When Tamar played the harlot, she sanctified (set aside) herself for an evil purpose.
2. Ruth the Moabitess sanctified (set aside) herself for honorable purposes.
3. Rahab the harlot was set aside for evil, then set aside for good.
4. Isaiah 66:17 "They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the garden behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together saith the Lord."
a. This verse is speaking of idolaters as "sanctifying themselves", which means they separated themselves from the true congregation of Israel to engage in idolatrous worship.
b. The word "purify" speaks of ceremonial cleansing, not actual (spiritual) cleansing.
c. It is obvious that the appearance of purity can be vastly different from actual purity.
D. We find that vessels, and beasts and a mountain (things without moral value) are said to be sanctified.
1. Sin in these things were not the object of sanctification, but they were simply separated from one use and set apart to another use.
2. A car could be "set aside" (sanctified) for racing. This car should not be driven on the street.
E. There is a two fold sense of the word "sanctify" in the Bible.
1. Sanctified unto salvation.
a. Hebrews 10:10 states, "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
b. Hebrews 13:12 states, "Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate."
c. II Peter 1:2 states, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied."
d. All of the above verses speak about our being separated unto God for the salvation of the spirit; the forgiveness of sins.
2. Sanctified unto works; which is progressive, or continuing.
a. This is the primary meaning of the word "sanctification", but it must be clearly understood that sanctification in the body is the result of sanctification in the spirit, not the cause.
b. The remainder of this message will be to explain progressive sanctification as taught in the Bible.
c. Ephesians 2:8-10 gives the proper progression of sanctification.
1) We are saved by grace through faith, without works on our part.
2) Salvation of the spirit is entirely a work of grace from God.
3) After salvation, we save our lives by obeying God’s Biblical commands.
4) Philippians 2:12 – We "work out" (perform, accomplish, or achieve) our spiritual salvation in these physical bodies (which is the salvation of the life – the salvation of the body is accomplished at the resurrection).
F. The idea that sanctification is a second work of grace whereby the person is made absolutely sinless in this life is false.
1. There is no such thing as a person never sinning in this life.
2. I John 1:8-10 states, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
3. I spoke to a young lady one time that told me she doesn’t sin any more.
a. She said she made mistakes, but did not sin.
b. To her, a sin was against God, while a mistake is an error of the flesh that affects only people.
c. A mistake is physical, fleshly, and has nothing at all to do with the spirit.
d. A mistake would be turning left when you intended to turn right.
e. A mistake would be saying one thing, but you meant to say another.
f. Those things are mistakes, they are not sins.
g. But if God told you to do one thing and you did another, or you did not follow him perfectly in this body, that is a sin.
4. I believe she was referring to I John 3:4-10, which state, "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother."
a. These verses are not speaking about sinless perfection in this life, in this body, in this mind.
b. These verses are speaking about the eternal spirit, not the temporary body or mind.
c. These verses do not contradict I John 1:8 and 10.
d. These verses can give the believer much confidence in this life, while never relating the thought of sinless perfection.
G. Our sanctification is:
1. Positional - We are separated from one position (the sinner) to the position of a saint.
2. Eternal - Hebrews 10:14 states, "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."
a. In Christ the believer is Holy forever.
b. He is eternally perfect.
3. Absolute - In Christ, we are as holy, I John 4:17 states, "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world."
a. Our love is made perfect (complete, or perfected) when we understand the love Christ (who is God Almighty) has for us.
b. The love of God will cause us to have boldness in the day of judgment.
c. There is no need for the saved, scripturally baptized, progressively sanctified person to have fear of the judgment.
d. Because as he is, so are we in this world.
H. Other scriptures that teach this to be true are:
1. I Thessalonians 5:23 – "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
2. II Corinthians 7:1 – "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
3. II Corinthians 13:9 – "For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection."
4. Ephesians 1:4 – "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:"
II. "THAT IT IS A PROGRESSIVE WORK."
A. There is a progressive sanctification in the life of the believer that takes place day by day.
1. This has to do with our daily walk, or every day life. It is a personal and practical sanctification.
2. Proverbs 4:18 states "The path of the just is as the shining light which shineth more and more unto the perfect day." (Progressive sanctification)
3. II Peter 1:5-18 - Believers are to grow in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ and this is what sanctification is, growing in the things of God and getting away from the things of the world.
B. Other scriptures that teach this to be true are:
1. II Corinthians 3:18 – "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
2. Hebrews 6:1 – "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,"
3. Philippians 3:12-16 – "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing."
III. "THAT IT IS BEGUN IN REGENERATION; AND THAT IT IS CARRIED ON IN THE HEARTS OF BELIEVERS BY THE PRESENCE AND POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE SEALER AND COMFORTER, IN THE CONTINUAL USE OF THE APPOINTED MEANS - ESPECIALLY, THE WORD OF GOD, SELF-EXAMINATION, SELF-DENIAL, WATCHFULNESS, AND PRAYER."
A. I John 2:29 – "If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him."
1. John says that everyone who continues or keeps on practicing righteousness has been born of God, or in other words, they are continuing on in the practice of living righteously because of the New Birth.
2. The Spirit of God who brings about the New Birth keeps on working in the life of the saved.
3. Those who profess to be saved and continually and habitually practice sin have never been born again!
B. We are sanctified by the Word of God.
1. John 17:17 – "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."
a. The word of God has a separating influence upon the life of the believer. If the word has small place in our life, sin will have a large place, and if the Word has a large place in our life, then sin will have a small place.
b. An increased desire for the Word will mean a decrease in the desire for sin.
2. "Sin will keep us from the Word or the Word will keep us from sin." (C. D. Cole)
3. Romans 8:5 "They that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh, but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit."
C. We are sanctified by the Spirit of God.
1. Philippians 2:12-13 – "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
a. Sanctification is a divine work and a human obligation.
b. The Spirit of God works in us the grace to work it out.
2. II Thessalonians 2:13 – "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:" It is all of God!
D. Other scriptures that teach this to be true are:
1. John 3:6 – "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
2. Philippians 1:9-11 – "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; 11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God."
3. Ephesians 1:13-14 – "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
4. Ephesians 4:11-12 – "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:"
5. I Peter 2:2 – "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:"
6. II Peter 3:18 – "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."
7. II Corinthians 13:5 – "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"
8. Luke 11:35 – "Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness."
9. Luke 9:23 – "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."
10. Matthew 26:41 – "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
11. Ephesians 6:18 – "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"
12. Ephesians 4:30 – "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."