Doctrine of Sanctification. Sanctification is a wonderful and necessary doctrine of God's Word. The work of sanctification by the indwelling Holy Spirit will foster a state of continued growth into the likeness of Jesus Christ. What does it mean to be sanctified?
First: Sanctification is not the eradication of one's sinful nature (1 John 1:8,10).
Second: It is not the second blessing. The false teaching on this subject is often taken from2 Corinthians 1:15. However, Paul taught these believers in his first epistle that they were sanctified (1 Corinthians 1:2; 6:11). This is important. Many Christians are chasing after something they are already in possession of.
Third. It is not the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Note 1 Corinthians 12:13. Paul makes it clear that all believers have been baptized by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:1,4).
The word sanctification occurs in various forms over 1000 times in the Bible. The essential meaning of this term is: to set apart.
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At this point it will help to contrast sanctification with justification
When a sinner is saved by God's grace through faith, God imputes the righteousness of Christ to the believing sinner, whereby, the sinner becomes a child of God by virtue of the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Justification is thus, that legal act whereby man's status before and with God is changed from damnation and separation to transformation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Note The Difference:
So how is sanctification achieved by the Holy Spirit? Romans 6 demonstrates how this is accomplished.
In verses 1 through 10, Paul emphasizes the need for knowledge, especially as it relates to our identification with Jesus Christ. After all, it is the lack of knowledge that is destroying many of God's people (Hosea 4:6). Thus, sanctification requires the knowledge of God's Word by the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit (Psalm 119:11; Josh 1:8).
In verses 11 and 12, Paul emphasizes the need to reckon. That is, we are to believe what knowledge God has given in His Word. Remember, faith cometh by hearing... (Romans 10:17)
In verses 16 through 23, Paul emphasizes the need to yield. That is... based on God's Word, we are to acknowledge God in all our ways with our body, mind and spirit (Proverbs. 3:5,6; Rom.12:1,2).
The hall mark of sanctification will always be obedience expressed in a disposition of contentment with the will of God (Romans 6:16).
Simply put: sanctification will always reflect the life and likeness of Jesus Christ.
Sincerely, Dr. Arthur Belanger