A. MEANING OF SANCTIFICATION
Sanctification means to be set aside for God or to be made holy.
For I am Jehovah your God, and you shall sanctify yourselves, and you shall be holy, for I am holy. (Lev 11:44).
B. JUSTIFICATION OPENS THE WAY FOR SANCTIFICATION
A religious man, living a respectable life in the eyes of man, but who has not surrendered his life to God, structures his spiritual life, his spiritual home, according to his own plans and builds it with his own materials. It is intended to satisfy his own desires. God will not help him to patch it up here and there so as to look a little bit better, bringing more praise to the owner.
C. THE HEAVENLY BUILDING CONTRACTOR MOVES ONTO SITE
When however, a person despairs of his own efforts as described previously and hands over his house to God, the Lord scraps the house entirely and, in its place, He erects a holy temple on a new foundation which is Christ, in which He and the person will dwell together. It is built by The Holy Spirit.
This work is called sanctification and continues for a lifetime. The old selfish, disobedient, distrusting Adam building which you built, the old Adam shack which you built in God’s world on his property, is demolished brick by brick, the rubble carted away, new golden bricks, sand, cement and other building materials, bought on Christ’s account, are brought in and then commences the erection of the new temple of God, brick by brick, layer by layer and strictly according to the heavenly plan.
D. BECOME WHAT YOU ARE
Once a person is justified (legally clothed with the holiness of Christ) he is ready to be thus changed inwardly into the likeness of Christ. So, you must now become what you are. What do I mean? You must become inwardly what you already are legally. The new man, the new Adam must be built into you. The end goal with sanctification is to resemble Christ in all his splendour.
But we all, with our face having been unveiled, having beheld the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are being changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord Spirit. (2Co 3:18).
Jesus is our building plan and we are being shaped into his exact glorious image.
E. SANCTIFICATION COMPARED TO THE GROWTH OF A CHILD
The new birth is just the beginning of the process of sanctification. A new-born baby has the potential to become a full-grown spiritual man, but to get there, he must grow, day by day. That will take a lifetime.
Christians, therefor, are in different stages of development and need to be patient with one another. You cannot expect a toddler not to fall. On the other hand, it is a heart-breaking experience to see a fifteen-year-old member of the Body still crawling on the floor, throwing tantrums and not understanding the rules of the house.
I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father. (Children, young men, fathers) (1 Jn 2:13).
F. THE CHRISTIAN’S ROLE IN SANCTIFICATION
In this process of sanctification, you cannot just sit back passively, expecting the Holy Spirit to do everything for you like a lady reclining in a chair while her hair is being plaited or a man having his head shaven.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, cultivate your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. (Php 2:12, 13)
You need to work with God in four ways:
- Study his Word intensely to: discover his will, to continually get cleansed and to be nourished thereby.
Sanctify them through Your truth. Your Word is truth. (Joh 17:17).
… desire the sincere milk of the Word, as newborn babes, so that you may grow by it; (1 Pe 2:2).
- Confess known sin immediately; thereby you authorize the Holy Spirit to deliver you of it.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 Jn 1:9).
- Trust God with all your heart/Be led by the Spirit
Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Pro 3:5,6).
I say, then, Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. (Gal 5:16).
- Testify of what He is doing in your life.
And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony … (Rev 12:11).
G. BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF
But also in this very thing, bringing in all diligence, filling out your faith with virtue, and with virtue, knowledge and with knowledge self-control, and with self-control, patience, and with patience, godliness, and with godliness, brotherly kindness, and with brotherly kindness, love. For if these things are in you and abound, they make you to be neither idle nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Pe 1:5-8).
Demolishing the old shack piece by piece and building the new temple brick by brick, takes time. Be diligent but also realistic or else you will lose faith that the job will ever get done.
H. RENEWAL OF THE MIND
And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Rom 12:2).
Renewing your mind to continually think godly thoughts, is going to be a great challenge, for you have, in secrecy, indulged in thinking in a worldly way and your mind is now programmed to do so, but do not despair, for God is well able to change your mind for you.
And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My judgments and do them. (Eze 36:26, 27).
Hallelujah; God promised it, He’ll do it!
I. WHAT SANCTIFICATION ACHIEVES
- It grants you the desire of your heart in that it changes you into the being you always wanted to be, but could not be, due to your sinful character.
So that if anyone is in Christ, that one is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2Co 5:17).
- It glorifies God who is doing this marvelous work within you.
Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven. (Mat 5:16).
In this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you shall be My disciples. (Joh 15:8).
- It attracts unsanctified people to God.
… and more believing ones were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women; (Acts 5:14).
J. BEING PERFECT
The Lord Jesus commands us to be perfect.
Therefore be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect. (Mat 5:48).
Is this at all possible? Just as with the Great Commandment of loving God and neighbour, we will always fall short, but we can at least in our attitude towards this commandment approach nearer to the fulfilling of it. Here is a practical tip:
Do not analyze your life over a long period such as a day at a time; rather live hour by hour. Ask the Lord what you are to do for the next hour, then do that with all your heart. Should you fail in essence in any way, confess it straight away. Then proceed to the next hour, and the next, until you go to sleep that night.
You will be amazed how much more at peace you feel about your walk with God for that day, having ticked off your job cards hour by hour. It is the devil that makes us feel vaguely uneasy about a past day, although we cannot really point to anything which we consciously did wrong. He is a liar and works hard at undermining our faith and rest in God.
K. TRUST GOD FOR YOUR SANCTIFICATION
Sanctification is a work of God’s grace, just as much as justification is – it is the leaning of the entire personality upon God. We just learn to become more and more dependent upon Him.
Once, on driving through the Kruger National Park, a huge elephant came right up to my window, so near that I could have touched it. We did not know what its intention was and the lady next to me got so frightened that she was thinking of jumping from the car and making a dash for the bushes. That would have been fatal.
The devil sometimes scares us terribly but, … remain in Christ by faith where you are quite safe, where no-one and nothing can lay a hand or a paw on you.
L. SANCTIFICATION AND FELLOWSHIPPING WITH GOD.
A young bride is not enjoyed by her husband for the quality of the bread she bakes, but for her affection towards him. This is very important; do not let your imperfections keep you from enjoying the Lord, for He is enjoying you.
Delight yourself also in Jehovah, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Roll your way on Jehovah; trust also in Him, and He will work. (Psa 37:4,5).
Sanctification is not a purpose in itself, for then it becomes selfish, but is intended to pave the way for a more intimate fellowship with a holy God.
M. A NEW PERSPECTIVED ON GOD’S LAW
Sanctification should lead us to a new perspective of God’s will as it finds expression in his multiple prescriptions in his Word as to our attitudes, thoughts, do’s and don’ts.
An unbeliever often pictures God’s Law as a ferocious judge out to rob him of every little pleasure and punishing him severely for the smallest transgression. When the person gets born-again, he radically changes his viewpoint and accepts that God’s Law is good but sometimes somewhat taxing and incomprehensible.
But, as we begin to walk intimately with Him, should we not get to the point where we admit that his will is not something that He lays down arbitrarily just because He is God and can do as He pleases, but that it is, as we say “The right thing to do”, that, if you were in his place, you would have laid down exactly the same laws for that is the very best for mankind?
Having this attitude towards his will, makes it so much easier to obey, because we then work together with him to “do the right thing”.