Friday, March 23, 2007

Santification - What's it all about?

We looked at Sanctification in Church recently and this was a follow up study. So what does that big holy word mean?

7 Now if the ministry of death, chiseled in letters on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel were not able to look directly at Moses' face because of the glory from his face—a fading [glory]— 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness overflows with even more glory. 10 In fact, what had been glorious is not glorious in this case because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was fading away was glorious, what endures will be even more glorious. 12 Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness— 13 not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel could not look at the end of what was fading away. 14 But their minds were closed. For to this day, at the reading of the old covenant, the same veil remains; it is not lifted, because it is set aside [only] in Christ. 15 However, to this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts, 16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 We all, with unveiled faces, are reflecting the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:7-19)

(Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.)

  • Sanctification is a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives. (Systematic Theology, © Wayne Grudem, IVP)

  • Continuous through life of believer, completed in Heaven, Growth in likeness to Christ, progressive process after we become Christians, becoming progressively more like Jesus.

Started at Conversion:

1 Corinthians 6:11

11 And that is what some of you were. 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.

Therefore we are no longer to be dominated by sin:

Romans 6:11-14

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

Romans 6:17-18

17 But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were entrusted to, 18 and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.

So on the one hand sin is no longer our master but we will never be able to say ‘I am completely free from sin’ since sanctification is never complete while we are alive (1 Kings 8:46 — for there is no-one who does not sin—). But we are now slaves to righteousness. Our hearts have been changed and sin is not the dominant driver in our life.

Romans 6:19

19 I am using a human analogy because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you offered the parts of yourselves as slaves to moral impurity, and to greater and greater lawlessness, so now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification.

So sanctification is an ongoing process requiring us to cooperate with God.

Romans 12:1

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God— this is your spiritual act of worship.

It requires a heart of flesh not a heart of stone:

Ezekial 11:19

19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.

Q: Think for a moment, How soft is your heart and how yielded are you God?

Sanctification is primarily a work of God with the Holy Spirit enabling us.

Hebrews 13:20-21

20 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Our part is to yield to God and then to actively pursue holiness and work at it.

Philipians 2:12-13

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed— not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence— continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Hebrews 12:14
1 Thess 4:3
1 John 3:3
1 Corinthians 6:18
2 Corinthians 7:1
2 Peter 1:5

All the above verses are all about our part in the process!

Q: How Free is you heart? What Areas do you know you don’t live in freedom? What areas of your heart do you keep as stone?

Galatians 5:3

1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Often our past can bind our hearts up. Emotional hurt/abuse/rejection can cause us to not trust and risk being hurt again. We are not free to truly love God and our neighbour.

Q: How transformed is you life?
  • Can you see growth in sanctification over the past few years in the following areas:
    • Your emotions
    • Your physical body
    • Your thinking
    • Personal holiness, being more conscious of the weight of sin in your life.
  • Are there things you used to like doing that no longer interest you?
  • Are there tings you now find interesting that used not to be?
  • Is there the fruit of the spirit evident to some degree?
Galatians 5:22-23

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

None of these things should make us feel condemned. If we are saved then we will have moved forward to some degree or another. We should be spurred on to open our hearts to God and ‘…14 press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus’. (Philipians 3:14)

There are many things that God can do in an instant but as George Macdonald put it ‘It takes time to make a saint’

(All bible references should be except where stated:

New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society)


Alastair said...

Spot on!

I think there is a huge misunderstanding amongst Christians that somehow confessing Jesus as lord is enough - but miss the fact that allowing God to move us on and transform us is what this walk with Christ is all about. Christ has saved us, and through him we are being sanctified...

Anonymous said...

Your understading of sanctification is on the right track, but are you aware of the fact that it leads to the purification of the spirit through the remission of sins, ultimatley making a man holy and able to have heavenly communion with Christ and the angels? If you doubt our true human potential and think it's not possible because of our sinful nature, then why does God promise us that "only those who are holy will see the Lord."
The bible is a handbook for human spiritual acention by deliverance.

The work of sanctification has a beginning and an ending which prepares a man's soul for works of service that include miracles, signs and wonders, just as it was in early Christian times. The saints are the ones who have been sanctified and therefore genuinely saved. The modern church is perpetuating a lie and a distortion of truth. As it says, "they believe not the truth and so are not saved" This is the stone that makes men stumble.

Current church ideology erroneously states that we are saved by simply accepting Christ into out lives when we begin our walk with God. In 1 Peter 9-10, we are told "the goal of our faith is the salvation of our souls." You cannot attain the goal when you first set out in faith. You must first endure the testing of your faith and fight the good fight. You need to know what is blocking you from the kingdom and how to fight it. Yo need to know how to overcome evil spirits.

The goal of the Christian faith is not about going to heaven when you die, but about entering while you are alive.

Andrew said...

Soterios, welcome to my Blog. I am not sure what denomination of the Christian church you are from. I would be interested to know how you support your views biblically. Obviously I don't agree with your comments and I believe my post supports itself biblically. However I am always interested to here alternative views as long as they are supported with scripture.

Regards, Andrew