Biblical Teaching from a Reformed Perspective

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy
name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou
hast magnified thy word above all thy name. Ps. 138:2

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the process of sanctification by Mike Aldridge


KEY VERSE: 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (KJV)

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.

A Definition of Sanctification:

Sanctification, says the Westminster Shorter Catechism (Q.35), 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." The concept is not of sin being totally eradicated (that is to claim too much) or merely counteracted (that is to say too little), but of a divinely wrought character change freeing us from sinful habits and forming in us Christlike affections, dispositions, and virtues.

Consider these verses:

1 Corinthians 15:49 (KJV)
49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

Colossians 3:10 (KJV)
10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Romans 8:29 (KJV)
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Being changed into Christ's image (i.e. sanctification) is progressive:

2 Corinthians 3:18 (KJV)
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.

J.I Packer writes:

"Regeneration is birth; sanctification is growth. In regeneration, God implants desires that were not there before: desire for God, for holiness, and for the hallowing and glorifying of God's name in this world; desire to pray, worship, love, serve, honor, and please God; desire to show love and bring benefit to others. In sanctification, the Holy Spirit "works in you to will and to act" according to God's purpose; what he does is prompt you to "work out your salvation" (i.e., express it in action) by fulfilling these new desires (Phil. 2:12-13)"

He goes on to say:

"Christians become increasingly Christlike as the moral profile of Jesus (the "fruit of the Spirit") is progressively formed in them (2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 4:19; 5:22-25)."

Sanctification is a cooperative effort:

I. THROUGH THE EFFORT OF GOD

Thus we are sanctified.

BY FAITH

Acts 26:18 (KJV)
18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that  is in me.

BY THE OFFERING OF CHRIST

Hebrews 10:10 (KJV)
10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Hebrews 10:14 (KJV)
14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST

Hebrews 10:29 (KJV)
29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under  foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Hebrews 13:12 (KJV)
12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

BY BEING IN CHRIST

1 Corinthians 1:2 (KJV)
2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

BY THE SPIRIT

1 Corinthians 6:11 (KJV)
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

BY THE FATHER

Jude 1 (KJV)
1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

BY THE WORD OF GOD

John 17:17 (KJV)
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Ephesians 5:26 (KJV)
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

II. THROUGH OUR OWN EFFORT AS WE COOPERATE WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD

Thus we are sanctified.

As we put to death the deeds of the body

Romans 8:13 (KJV)
13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

As we put off the old man and put on the new man

Ephesians 4:22-24 (KJV)
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

As we cleanse ourselves

2 Corinthians 7:1 (KJV)
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.

As we walk in the Spirit

Galatians 5:16-17 (KJV)
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Our sanctification ends when we have our glorified bodies:

Philippians 3:20-21 (KJV)
20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

1 Corinthians 15:49 (KJV)
49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

CONCLUSION

4 Nevers:

  • Never cheapen the Blood of Christ
  • Never underestimate the power or the importance of God's word
  • Never give in to the onslaught of Satan's attacks
  • Never tire of good works
 
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notable quotes
Our business is to present the Christian faith clothed in modern terms, not to propagate modern thought clothed in Christian terms. Confusion here is fatal.
                                       --JI Packer
 
 
 
     

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