Saturday, May 26, 2012


Webster's definitions of sanctify/sanctification are: 

1. To make holy, to set apart as sacred
2. To purify or free from sin
3. to render legitimate or binding
4. to entitle to reverence or respect
5. to make productive of or conducive to spiritual blessing

The Theopedia (Biblical Dictionary) has these definitions:

1. To set apart by God for special purpose
2. Riches of Divine Grace
3. Change brought about by God

The Westminster Shorter Catechism says Sanctification is "the work of God's free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness."

This is a word from the Bible used in sermons in different ways to get Christians motivated to get better.  The definition is rarely explained and new Christians probably just glaze over the deeper meaning of it.  I know most of my life, until recently, I have never really looked into what this means and how God does the work in us.  I wanted to get my thoughts down on the subject after reading three or four articles/sermons relating to "Christian Progress".
Too many of us think that Christian progress is about us and our dedication and love for God.  Or we think that we get better with each "good" work we do for God.  Let me remind you that our dedication and love for God is not unconditional or enduring, but His love endures forever (Psalm 136).  Others look at it as they make progress with each time they refrain from outwardly sinning.  The older a person gets, the more tired they get.  If Christian progress is based on a mature 50-something or 60-something outwardly sinning less because they've already sowed the oats of their youth, then sanctification isn't very powerful or meaingful.  I believe, Biblically, there is more to it.  God gets all of the Glory in our sanctification.
Sanctification is a work of God through the Holy Spirit.  Sanctification is a process that will be completed in glorification before we reach His presence.  We have to be Holy as He is Holy to be present with Him (Matthew 5:48).  We are not Holy in the least but the Bible promises that this work process in Christians will be faithfully brought to completion (Phil.1:6). 
My default position on things biblical are these truths:  1. God is Sovereign over everything and has had His plan before time began.  2.  He gets ALL the Glory and is deserving of it.
When I put those two things to my thoughts on Sanctification I have to take myself out of the equation.  I have no part in santification.  The more the Holy Spirit reminds me of that and helps me remember God's gospel of grace found in Jesus, the more thankful and responsive I become.  That is sanctification in my life, Andy getting smaller and Jesus being magnified by the Holy Spirit.  This act of "dying daily" is sanctification.  This produces the fruits of the Spirit through thanksgiving in our life.  We are saved by Grace alone through the gift of Faith.  Therefore, our sanctification or Christian progress is not by our own works or efforts (Romans 11:6) but by standing still as what we are, sinners helpless without God's grace.  Being sanctified is living under the freedom-giving Grace of God and knowing you can't earn it in any way.  We are saved by Grace alone (Romans 3:24) and sanctified by growing in Grace alone (2 Peter 3:18). 
When we fail to look to God's grace and Jesus Christ, we start looking at ourselves.  When this happens a self-righteousness can take over because our hearts are sinful.  The act of holding in sinful desires and not acting on them is not what it means to be a better Christian.  Realizing and believing more and more that your only Hope, because of this sinful heart, is found in God's grace alone and is defeated by Jesus' finished work in His life and on the Cross, is the act of Sanctification.  This makes me so thankful and gives me a heart to respond to these truths (Hebrews 13:8-9).  Amen!  Love Y'all.

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