I have been thinking a lot about sanctification lately, especially my own. Sanctification is that process by which Christians are made holy- that is, made more like the person of Jesus. There is a bewildering sense in which Christians are already sanctified. “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:11).” “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession (1Peter 2:9).” “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Hebrews 10:10).” We have been made holy by “Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood (Revelation 1:6).” Jesus bore the penalty for our sins and thereby broke the power of our sin. His righteousness was imputed to us when we first believed. It is these two truths that make it possible for God to look at us, reborn sinners who still sin, and to call us Holy and beloved.
This fact of sanctification, along with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the reality of a new nature in us, gives us great assurance of our salvation and our position before God. These realities give joy, peace and hope, and I would not shy away from rejoicing in them. I thank God that He has set me apart and declared me righteous, totally and completely apart from anything I have done. I know that kind of talk can make people nervous, but for the Christian it is truth, and for the Christian- it is truth that produces fruit.
But there is a second reality. It’s the reality that as “God’s people… (who) have received mercy” as “sojourners and exiles”, we must “abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against (our) soul (1 Peter 2:11).” Continue reading