The Doctrine of Sanctification (Holiness)
The Doctrine of Sanctification (Holiness)
Dr. Mike Johnston
To them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints . . . ye are sanctified . . . in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 1:2; 6:11).
SANCTIFICA’TION, n. [See Sanctify.] (From Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of American English)
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.
2. The act of consecrating or of setting apart for a sacred purpose; consecration.
Sanctification is used 5 times in Scripture:
(1 Corinthians 1:30) But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and right-eousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
(1 Thessalonians 4:3) For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
(1 Thessalonians 4:4) That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
(2 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:
(1 Peter 1:2) 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.
Romanists decrying Scripture claim their organization has the sole prerogative to declare sainthood. Scripture, however, reveals that every born again believer in Christ is automatically declared to be a saint from the moment of salvation through an act of divine grace known as sanctification. Dr. Chafer writes: [Sanctify in its various forms] is used 106 times in the Old Testament and 31 times in the New, [it] means to set apart, and then the state of being set apart. It indicates classification in matters of position and relationship. The basis of the classification is usually that the sanctified person (or thing) has been set apart, or separated, from others in his position and relationship before God, that is, from that which proves unholy. This is the general meaning of the word. (Chafer’s Systematic Theology)
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JUSTIFICATION and SANCTIFICATION. Many Christians don’t un-derstand the difference between these two doctrines. Justification is the merciful and gracious act of God the Judge whereby the sinner on account of his faith in Christ is now declared not guilty. The act of jus-tification brings about salvation and sanctification occurs as a result of salvation. Sanctification perma-nently sets us apart as holy saints (same Greek root word for holy, saint, and sanctify) eternally in Heaven in Christ (Eph. 2:6). This happens from the moment of conversion, whereby the Holy Spirit sets us apart permanently through Holy Spirit baptism (1 Cor. 12:13), and seals us unto the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30).
Ryrie’s Systematic Theology teaches: “Regeneration and sanctification serve to renew the believer according to the image of Christ, to whose image we shall someday be perfectly conformed (Rom_8:29; 2Co_3:18).” We are thus sanctified (made holy) simply because of our standing as lost souls saved by the matchless grace of Almighty God. God no longer sees us (remember He cannot look upon sin- Hab. 1:13; Matt. 27:46). Once sanctified in Christ, He no longer sees the sinner, but the Sinless One who covers him. Dr Chafer’s comments are very informative here also: The Believer’s Sanctification Comes from God. (a) By Union with Christ. “To them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus” (1Co_1:2); Christ has been made unto believers their sanctification (1Co_1:30). (b) By the Word of God. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (Joh_17:17; cf. 1Ti_4:5). (c) By the Blood of Christ. “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate” (Heb_13:12; cf. Heb_9:13-14); “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1Jn_1:7).. (d) By the Body of Christ. “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb_10:10). The cross has separated believers from the world: “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal_6:14). (e) By the Spirit. “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit” (2Th_2:13; cf. 1Pe_1:2). (f) By Choice. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb_12:14; cf. 2Ti_2:21-22). (g) By Faith. “Sanctified by faith that is in me” (Act_26:18).
SANCTIFICATION, WHEN USED OF CHRISTIANS HAS A THREEFOLD MEANING:
We are sanctified POSITIONALLY: In position, believers are eternally set apart for God by redemption, “through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once” (Heb. 10:9-10). By means of the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13) Christians are placed in the body of Christ and, as such are now viewed “In Christ.” Therefore, believers are “saints” and “holy” from the moment of believing; (Phil. 1:1; Heb.3:1). When God- who cannot look upon evil- looks toward the sinner, He sees instead the Son whom they reside in- forever.
We are being sanctified PROGRESSIVELY: In experience, the believer is being sanctified by the work of the Holy Spirit in obedience to the Word of God (John 17:17; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 5:25-26; 1Thess. 5:23-24). This is not to receive salvation, but in response to possessing it.
We will be sanctified (one day) PERMANENTLY: In consummation, the believer’s ultimate sanctification awaits the appearing of the Lord (Eph. 5:27; 1 John 3:2). Paul called this being glo-rified (Rom.. 8:30) which was a finished process the moment it began in eternity past with God’s foreknowledge of our choosing Him and Him choosing us (Rom. 8:29-30).