Biblical Sanctification and Erroneous Views
Sanctification has a primary and secondary meaning that must be kept in order.
It is like a connoisseur of fine brass who was searching through a pile of junk on the outskirts of an eastern city, when he suddenly spied an old, battered brass pot. It was dirty, stained and beaten up, but his practiced eye recognized a thing of value. He made his way through the junk and picked up the old pot and set it apart by itself. In so doing, he sanctified that vessel. This is Sanctification in its initial application. Of course he must spend many hours cleansing, straightening out the dents and polishing the old pot, until it becomes a thing of beauty to grace his living room table. We have been set apart by God in Christ through HIS Spirit at salvation now we are to yield to Him that we may be a vessel of honor.
|1. The Primary Meaning||5. The True Way|
|2. The Secondary Meaning||6. Erroneous Views of Sanctification|
|3. Sanctification is Progressive||7. Perfection of the Child of God|
|4. Sanctification is by the means of three things.|
1. The Primary Meaning
The primary meaning —a dedication, consecration, or a setting apart for some specific and holy use. God himself has set us apart for himself and this takes place at salvation when we believe. In the OT we read of a house, a field, and the vessels of the Lord being set apart and sanctified unto the Lord (Lev. 27:14, 27:16 and 2 Chr. 29:19). These things were set apart, dedicated and sanctified for worship and service unto the Lord and His Temple.
Lev 27:14 - Shall sanctify his house - The yearly rent of which, when thus consecrated, went towards the repairs of the tabernacle, which was the house of the Lord. Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible. A house, field, animals and other things were called devoted thins unto the Lord, done so with a vow according to the Law of Mosses. Things devoted unto the Lord were for the specific use of the Lord and could not be used for any other purpose. In the sanctification of each of these things, no thought of moral cleansing is implied. They were simply separated to the service of the Lord. It is important for every Christian to realize that he is a chosen vessel set apart for a very special purpose for the glory of God. In this sense he is already sanctified.
Jesus is said to have been sanctified (John 10:36). This verse is speaking of how Jesus was set apart for His redemptive work and purpose for coming into the world. He needed no cleansing as always being the perfect pure and holy Son of God. Jeremiah was sanctified before he was born (Jer. 1:5). No cleansing could be done here. Its speaking of how God had chosen Him and set him apart for service and a specific use. The popular Greek word for “church” is ekklesia, which means “the called out ones.” Each member of the Church is especially set apart to bring glory to God being set apart for His purpose and use. He or she is sanctified unto Him in this initial sense of the word.
We've been set apart in Christ called unto virtue and glory (2 Pet 1:2-3). Paul addresses all believers as saints, sanctified ones, or holy ones ( 1 Cor 1:2 and 6:11). Some teach that at justification Christians are not sanctified, but its not scriptural. Paul wrote to the Corinthians to correct carnality, but still addresses them as sanctified in Christ, though some were far from being in daily conduct. Notice he called them saints the italics to be in 1 Cor 1:2 were added by the translator, but not in the original transcript. It does not say called to be saints they were saints. Other examples of all Christians being called saints are (Eph 1:1,Col 1:2 and Jude 1). The basis of our sanctification is the Cross of Christ (Heb 10:10). Sanctified by His Blood (Heb 13:12).
This is positional Sanctification. At this time the Holiness of Jesus is imputed to the believer. He may not yet be holy in his daily living, but the Holiness of Jesus is put to his account, much like the Righteousness of Jesus is put to the account of the believer when he is justified. Christ is made unto us both Righteousness and Sanctification. “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us … righteousness, and sanctification …” (1 Cor. 1:30). There seems to be a difference between righteousness and holiness. Righteousness is a legal expression and has to do with rightness. It applies to conduct—what a man does; while holiness is related to character—what a man is. Holiness has to do with being right with God while righteousness has to do with being right with man. The very life and seed of God may be in a Christian, but only through staying right with God can we developed and grow in the divine nature we have received (2 Pet 1:3-11).
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2. The Secondary Meaning
The secondary meaning —that of cleansing and purging from moral defilement. Our hearts are purified through faith in Christ (Acts 15:9).
The word saint in the NT means - holy, set apart, sanctified, and consecrated. Its fundamental idea is separation, consecration, devotion to the service of God, sharing in God's purity and abstaining from earth's defilement. Metaphorically it means morally pure, upright, blameless in heart and life, virtuous, and holy.
(a) Generally (Mark_6:20; Rom_7:12; 1Co_7:34; Eph_1:4; Eph_5:27; 1Pe_1:16; Lev_11:44). Same Greek Word G40 as Saints as Paul speaks of as set apart and holy for the purpose of God to be cleansed from earths defilement.
(b) Spoken of those who are purified and sanctified by the influences of the Spirit. This is assumed of all who profess the Christian name, hence hágios, saint, hágioi, saints, Christians (Act_9:13-14, Act_9:32, Act_9:41; Act_26:10; Rom_1:7; Rom_8:27; 1Th_3:13). Same Greek Word here also G40 used in the context of Saints sanctified and purified.
Our fruit is to be unto holiness for we have been baptized into His Spirit to Identify with Jesus in his death and resurrection (Rom 6). The word holiness used in chapter 6 of Romans means - To sanctify, translated "holiness" (Rom_6:19, Rom_6:22; 1Th_4:7; 1Ti_2:15; Heb_12:14). Separation unto God (in 1Co_1:30, cause or author of sanctification; 2Th_2:13, "sanctification of the Spirit," meaning produced by the Spirit; 1Pe_1:2). (Our separation resulting in abstention from fornication,1Th_4:3-4).
When Christ died on the Cross Paul saw his own death and his old nature crucified with Christ. Not only had Paul already died, but also he saw himself risen with Christ and the life which he then lived was by faith in Jesus who loved him and gave Himself for him.
(Rom 6:3-4) Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
We must see our self as having died in Christ, and freed from sin to serve God in holiness and true righteousness. Because Jesus bore our sins in His own body on the Cross our sins having died in Him freed us from its power (1Peter 1:24) rendering it powerless and fruitless. This passage is clear that we are dead to sin because Jesus as our substitute bore our sins on the Cross. We must believe and act upon this truth to receive this promise of God personally in our lives. Only as far as the believer has been conformed to the image of Christ is he or she delivered from there sins. Christ was made sin that we might be made the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21), through the eye of faith we can act upon this truth. Through the finished work of Christ on the Cross, sin nor the law has dominion over us that we might bear fruit unto God ( see Rom 6:14 and 7:1-6). Notice Rom 7:6 it says we have been delivered from the Law wherein we were held that now we can serve God in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. Meaning that we are no longer at enmity with Gods law, but now can serve Him not held down to the letter, but in truth and Spirit. Now we can serve God with all it says and teaches from our heart. The very inner core and truth of Gods Law and principles can be fulfilled in us through Christ by the Spirit (Rom 8:1-4).
The key to Rom 6 is verse 11 reckoning ourselves dead to sin and alive to God. Our identification with Christ's death and resurrection is considered an accomplished fact. All true believers have died with Christ on the Cross of Calvary and have been raised with Him far above all principalities and powers seated in heavenly places, quickened in Christ through faith by the operation of God (Eph 2:5-6 and Col 2:12-13). So Paul says Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof (Rom 6:12).
In some parts of the United States, “to reckon” means “to think” or “to guess.” “I reckon” is also the equivalent of “I suppose.” But none of these popular meanings can apply to this verse. The word reckon is a translation of a Greek word that is used forty-one times in the New Testament—nineteen times in Romans alone. It appears in Romans 4 where it is translated as “count, reckon, impute.” It means “to take into account, to calculate, to estimate.” The word impute—“to put to one’s account”—is perhaps the best translation.
To reckon means “to put to one’s account.” It simply means to believe that what God says in His Word is really true in your life.
Paul didn’t tell his readers to feel as if they were dead to sin, or even to understand it fully, but to act on God’s Word and claim it for themselves. Reckoning is a matter of faith that issues in action. It is like endorsing a check: if we really believe that the money is in the checking account, we will sign our name and collect the money. Reckoning is not claiming a promise, but acting on a fact. Warren Wiersbe
(Rom 6:14-16) For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
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3. Sanctification is Progressive - (2 Thes 2:13 and (1 Thes 5:23).
In Col 3:8-12 They are told to have put off the old man, and to have put on the new man which is renewed in the knowledge after the image of him that created him verses 9 and 10. But in this same passage they are admonished; But now ye also put off all these anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communications out of your mouth … Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering” (vv. 8, 12). What they had positionally, they must seek experientially.
Sanctification is a gradual growth through out our entire life. God has chosen us through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth 2Thess 2:13. Though we do not arrive in this life we can grow into maturity. We cannot be more forgiven than the day we gave ourselves to Christ, but we can grow in grace.
In Rom 6 Paul admonishes us to reckon ourselves dead unto sin and alive unto God (Rom 6:11). Though the sinful nature has died on the Cross the flesh constitutes the house it used to live in and only knows one principle which is sin. Some try to suppress the old nature through the power of the will. Its not eradication or suppression, but identification with Christ on the Cross. It's not of the will of the flesh nor the will of man but the will of God John 1:13. Its those who believe what God has said in His Word about Jesus and our identification with Him on the Cross. The old nature has already died on the Cross we must believe and act upon that truth. We grow through the knowledge of Jesus and following Him. Only the truth of God's Son will God the father honor, for its only in Him and through Him are we sanctified.
(Gal 2:20)I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Out of what Christ has done for us we are admonished to live for Him. To dedicate and separate ourselves unto Him to set our affections on things above where Christ is. Whereby through the grace of God we are renewed after the image of God and more and more enabled to die unto sin and live unto righteousness. Its not a growing into sanctification, but a progression in sanctification. There must be a personal commitment to Him as Lord and Savior crowning Him King of Kings and Lord of Lords in our lives. The condition to sanctification is the yielding of our members to His will (Rom 6:13). And be servants to righteousness and holiness (Rom 6:19). We must not be conformed to this present world, but transformed by the renewing of our mind and proving what Gods good and acceptable will is ( Rom 12:1-2). The desires that are contrary to holiness, and Gods will must be crucified, and dethroned (Gal: 516-17; James 1:14-18). (Rom 12:1-3) speaks of proving Gods will which is our reasonable service or worship, to offer ourselves up holy and acceptable unto God. The Israelites had been delivered out of Egypt which is a type of the world. Although they had been delivered out of Egypt, Egypt was still in there heart, and true worship comes from the heart. There must be a progressive cleansing of that old life of sin the sin that is still in our heart because we as Paul said have given ourselves to in our past Rom 6:19-22. This brings me to the truth of young people that they be careful not to give there lives to such for as we have sown we shall reap.
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4. Sanctification is by the means of three things.
A. The Blood of Christ - Eternal absolute and positional (Heb 13:12, 10:10, 10:14 and 1John 1:7). Through the Blood of the Cross we are changed from a defiled sinner to a holy worshiper. Its through the finished work of Christ at the Cross. We can not fully understand the atonement for it is the Blood of the Son of God wondrous and wonderful. Although there are some things concerning the necessity and development of it in the OT and NT it is not the concern of this article. But that it is through the Blood of Christ that we are cleansed.
B. The Spirit of God - Internal sanctification (1 Cor 6:11, 2 Thes 2:13, 1 Pet 1:1-2, and Rom 15:16). In these passages we see the beginning of Gods work in the soul, leading men to the knowledge of justification through faith in the Blood. Just as the Spirit brooded over the earth when it was without form and void, and God began to speak bringing beauty and order out of chaos. The Spirit of God broods over the regenerate soul, opening it to receive the light and life of God (2 Cor 4:6).
—The Holy Spirit never forces Himself upon anyone. There must be a surrender and a yielding of our members to His anointing. How graciously He takes the Word and makes its message plain, giving the believer the desire and the power to obey it. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come” (Jn. 16:13). Duffield, G. P., & Van Cleave, N. M. 1983. Foundations of Pentecostal theology . L.I.F.E. Bible College: Los Angeles, Calif. The things to come also speaks of Gods will for our lives.
C. The Word of God - (John 17:17, Eph 5:26, John 15:3, Ps 119:9, and James 1:23-25). We are born again by the Word of God (1 Pet 1:23). Its the Word that awakens us to the realization of wickedness and folly in our lives. When we respond to it in repentance and faith we are clean through the Word that was spoken to us. Its the beginning of cleansing that must continue through out our life. At the consecration of an Israelite Priest there was a bath that was never repeated. Although it was done only once there was a continual washing required of his hands and feet daily. In like manner the regenerate have been bathed (Titus 3:5); but there must be a daily putting away of defilements and imperfections as there are revealed by the Word of God which is the mirror of the soul (James 1:22-25). He must wash his hands, that is his deeds must be right; he must wash his feet, that is keep himself from those earth stains which are so readily contracted sandaled pilgrims feet pressing along this worlds highway. Myer Pearlman
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5. The True Way -
1. Faith in the atoning and cleansing Blood of Christ. Through patience we posses our souls and continue to press down the narrow road of holiness which few travel. Not only must we have faith in the atoning blood of Christ, but also in His resurrected ministry in heaven as our High Priest. Without faith we cannot please God. Nor will He have anything to do with us outside of faith. Remember to keep a good conscience, separation, daily spiritual discipline (2 Tim 2:3-5) and faith. Faith and a good conscience are extremely important lest we become spiritually shipwrecked on are journey (1 Timothy 1;19 and Acts 23:1) Conviction is our friend, it tells us when to pray, and what to pray about. God knows the future, and wants to protect us, and separate us unto Himself. We must remember (Prov. 4:23) keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life’. We are sanctified by faith (Acts 26:18). “And purifying their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:9). It is by faith that the believer lays hold of the sanctifying blood of Jesus Christ.
2. Yield to the Spirit of God daily in separating yourself unto Him. Only by the Spirits direction, strength and wisdom can we progress in sanctification given to us in Christ. We have the promise He will guide us and lead us into all truth. Rom 6 shows victory over sin through faith, chapter 8 shows the Spirit as our strength and power doing what the law could not do because of the weakness of the flesh. But the back drop of Rom 8 is Rom 7 in which we see the picture of a man turning to the law for sanctification to find only condemnation. Paul shows the true ministry of the law. In the latter part of the chapter we find a man with every attempt to sanctify himself by the law having discovered its heart searching spirituality is defeated and helpless with all his efforts thwarted because of indwelling sin. Speaking of the flesh this bodily house that once had its fruit unto sin, but now unto holiness through the Spirit. Paul describes his experience under law then describes his experience under grace a walk in the Spirit. I thank God that deliverance comes through Jesus Christ our Lord. Death to our old sin comes by way of the Spirit. What is true for us must be made real in us (Rom 8:13).
3. Devote yourself to the Word of God which is able to save your soul for it is alive, quick and powerful, daily bringing life and faith. Unbelief is a result of sin in the human heart, but faith comes by hearing the word of God.
“If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth [keeps on cleansing] us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7). Walking in the light is walking according to the Word of God. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105). The only way the Word of God can be a cleansing agent in our lives is through obedience. This we must provide. Duffield, G. P., & Van Cleave, N. M. 1983. Foundations of Pentecostal theology . L.I.F.E. Bible College: Los Angeles, Calif.
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6. Erroneous Views of Sanctification
About two weeks after I was saved I began to come down from cloud nine. I realized the closeness and joy I had in Christ was fading so I fasted three days, because I did not want to lose what I had in Christ. The flesh has its way of getting back into our lives, and its not long before we realize something needs to be done. Many have realized this but have turned away to error in trying to deal with the flesh. There are three erroneous views I'd like to look at.
1. Eradication of inbred sin is one view that is taught, but not scriptural. Lewis Sperry Chafer writes if eradication of sin-nature was accomplished there would be no physical death; for physical death is the result of that nature (Rom 5:12-21). Parents who had experience eradication would of necessity generate unfallen children. But even if eradication were secured there would still be the conflict with the world, the flesh (apart from the sin-nature) and the devil; for eradication of these is obviously un-scriptural and is not included in the theory itself. Eradication is also contrary to experience. Rom 6:6 clearly speaks of the old nature as having been put to death in Christ when he died upon the Cross the word destroyed meaning rendered useless or powerless, but because of our past sin and the principle of sin living in these bodies sin has been condemned in the flesh Rom 8:3. We die because we have sinned and because these bodies have been sown in weakness and dishonor 1 Cor 15:43-44. This does not mean our bodies are sinful, but they are weak and will always be prone toward sin. There is a natural body and a spiritual body. Death will be swallowed up in victory and the very presence of sin with the new spiritual body that awaits us in Christ and our resurrection.
2. Legalism - Bible gives prominence to this error in devoting much to the subject. Paul teaches that the law cannot sanctify (Rom 6) any more than it can justify (Rom 3). This truth is stated and developed in the book of Galatians. Paul is in no way depreciating the law, but defending it against a mistaken conception of its purpose. If a man is to be saved from sin it must be from a power apart from himself. Sanctification must come from a power from out side of our self. Imagine a thermometer saying I'm not quite up to the mark today. I aught to be up to 80%.Could the thermometer raise itself up to the required temperature. No, it would have to depend on a condition outside of itself. In the same manner someone who perceives they have come short of the divine standard cannot raise themselves up to the divine standard. They must be acted upon from a force apart from themselves, and that force or power is the Spirit of God. The Law can help us in our understanding. Paul said if it were not for the Law I would not have know sin (Rom 7:7). The Bible is not against standards or rules, but it is against worshiping our standards and rules. I explained to my sister and nephews when they moved in with me for almost a year my personal convictions and gave the scriptural principles they were based upon. But made it plain they were my personal convictions. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. There aught to be a godly restraint in our lives, but we are born again, justified, sanctified and set apart unto God only through the operation of faith. Salvation is by grace through faith alone and is the gift of God (Eph 2:8). Only through faith can we please Him and only through faith will He have anything to do with us.
Paul suffered much persecution with this message of faith without the works of the law, even being accused of promoting a doctrine of sin (Rom 3:8 and 6:1). Someone said to me, but times have changed. I agree things are getting worse and worse, sin is abounding and the love of many is waxing cold, but the message of grace cannot be changed. Paul preached the message of faith in very sinful cities, and just as it bore fruit then it can now. The doctrine of obedience and preaching under the anointing is neglected in many Churches today, but God is able to keep us sanctified and help us grow in Christ if we will look to Him in faith. The works of the law is legalism not faith (Gal 2:16, and 3:12).
3. Asceticism represents the attempt to subdue the flesh and attain to sanctify means of self-inflicted deprivations and sufferings- a method followed by Roman Catholics and Hindu ascetics. This method seems to be based on the ancient belief that all matter including the body is evil. They seem to believe that the body is a clog to the spirit and that the more they can beat it down the quicker there spirit will be released. But this contrary to scripture which teaches that God created everything thing very good. There is nothing evil about the body it is neutral to serve sin or God. What constitutes the need of a resurrected body is its weaknesses and infirmities that sometimes because of pain and temptation draw people away from God. Sin is in the heart, soul and mind that can only be dealt with by the power and provision of Christ. If you cut the hand of a thief off he is still a thief at heart. Though the body was sown in weakness it shall be raised in power apart from pain, weakness and infirmities. Its the sinful impulses of the soul that must be crushed. We need an appetite for the things of God. To set our affections on things above where Christ is. The appetite is not sinful unless misdirected or abused. Asceticism is an attempt at self-deadening; but self cannot overcome self. That is the work of the Spirit.
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7. Perfection of the child of God
“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” (2 Cor. 7:1). “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Mt. 5:48).
We need, however, to understand the scriptural use of this word “perfect.” It has the sense of “maturity,” and implies growth in spiritual stature, not sinless perfection.
Noah is said to have been “a just [righteous] man and perfect in his generations” (Gn. 6:9). But his later drunkenness and shame shows that he was not sinlessly perfect (Gn. 9:20–27). Nor was Job sinlessly perfect even though he is described as “that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil” (Jb. 1:1). He later confessed, “Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Jb. 42:6). Maturity depends on constant growth. A green apple may be said to be perfect for that stage of its development, but it is not mature. So the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23) may be said to be perfect in the life of the young Christian, although it has not yet come to full maturity. Paul holds out before us that final maturity: “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13).
First John 3:9 has caused considerable misunderstanding: “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin: for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” The question is cleared up when one notices that the verbs here are all in the present tense, and what John is saying is that he that is born of God does not “practice” sin. It is not the usual experience of his life. Sinning is the usual life of the sinner; it is the unusual experience of the Christian. Duffield, G. P., & Van Cleave, N. M. 1983. Foundations of Pentecostal theology . L.I.F.E. Bible College: Los Angeles, Calif.
There are two kinds of perfection, absolute and relative. That is absolutely perfect which cannot be improved upon; this belongs only to God. That is relatively perfect which fulfills the end for which it was designed; this perfection is possible to man. (Myer Pealman)
Sanctification will not be complete till we see the Lord in the rapture which is also the resurrection of our body. Sinless perfection and being wholly sanctified await the Coming of the Lord Jesus. At that time we will be delivered “from the body of this flesh.”(1 Thes 4:16-18, 1 Thes 3:13, Phil 3:20-21, 1 John 3:20). For when we see him we shall be like Him. In the meantime we are encouraged to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pt. 3:18). Beholding the glory of the Lord as in a glass, we are “changed into the same image from glory to glory
The Lord Bless you.
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