If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, [and] prepared unto every good work.
2 Timothy 2:21
Tonight we explore the 7th component of Salvation called Sanctification. It is the next rung in the nine step process. There are three major views on Sanctification (and many competing within), they are:
Wesleyan Christian Perfection or Entire Sanctification: in this view, the state of holiness begins at regeneration and is completed by an instantaneous work of the Holy Spirit (the Baptism of the Holy Spirit) subsequent to regeneration, in which the old Adamic sin nature is actually abolished ‘Christian perfection… is nothing more or nothing less than a heart emptied of all sin and filled with a pure love to God and man.
Reformed: Ongoing or Progressive Sanctification: In this view, the state of holiness begins with regeneration and conversion, and is to grow throughout the believer’s life through the ministry of the Word and Spirit and through personal faith and obedience. In this understanding, the old sin nature is progressively subdued but never entirely abolished in this life. Westminster Larger Catechism, q 77
Pentecostal: Sanctification via The Baptism in the Holy Spirit: “This wonderful experience is distinct from and subsequent to the experience of the new birth… the baptism of believers in the Holy Ghost is witnessed by the initial physical signs of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance.” Articles Seven and Eight, “Statement of Fundamental Truths,” 35th General Council of the Assemblies of God, August 16-21, 1973
Here are two definitions that may help us better understand Sanctification:
“The generic meaning of sanctification is "the state of proper functioning." To sanctify someone or something is to set that person or thing apart for the use intended by its designer. A pen is "sanctified" when used to write. Eyeglasses are "sanctified" when used to improve sight. In the theological sense, things are sanctified when they are used for the purpose God intends. A human being is sanctified, therefore, when he or she lives according to God's design and purpose.” (Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary)
Note the part where it says things are sanctified when they are used for God’s intended purpose. Think about that God intended man to live a life that honored and glorified Him. A sanctified man or women will do just that.
“Sanctification is the work of God's Spirit (2 Thess. 2:13), whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God (Eph. 4:24), and are enabled more and more to die to sin, and live to righteousness (Rom. 6:11)” (Puritan Catechism #34)
Less one should think this is a one and done operation we need to remember that just as we get older we mature (grow mentally) so too does the believer grow. We are not infused with all things that pertain unto life and godliness. No these things says Peter are made available to us and over time (God willing) we learn their uses.
I want to spend the majority of our time looking at three areas. They are the 1) Differences between Justification and Sanctification, 2) the processes of Sanctification and finally 3) the results of Sanctification.
1) Differences between Justification and Sanctification
I know it took me a while to distinguish Sanctification from Justification. The following chart may help.
Attributes Christ’s righteousness
Here it is Christ’s righteousness that is covering the sinner in order to make him acceptable
Instills grace to exercise own righteousness
Here it God’s grace manifested in us so we can demonstrate our own righteousness in Christ
Sin is pardoned
Here God pardons our sin because he sees only Christ’s righteousness
Sin is subdued
Here the power of the Holy Spirit works in us to subdue (conquer) our sins
Total, equal in all, complete
Justification is equally handed out to all God’s children. Nothing done by man can change this.
Partial, different in all, growing
God here hands out only the amount of Grace that each man can handle. Never to little or too much.
We can see from this illustration that the righteousness by which we are justified is imputed or attributed to us via Christ’s work at Calvary. The righteousness by which we are sanctified is instilled or infused into us via the Holy Spriit. Another way of saying could be the first is given the second learned. One requires nothing on our part the other much work is needed to succeed.
Perhaps an illustration will aid in grasping the distinction: Here is a wooden post. It is painted on the outside to cover up all the stains and spots, thus to beautify and perfect its appearance; but the paint does not change the inside of its structure. How different with a vine. The sap flows from the vine into the branches, and imparts new life within. It does not simply cover up the outside, but changes the inside. The paint changes only the exterior, while the sap changes the interior.
The paint was “imputed” to the post and covered up its blemishes. Likewise the righteousness of Christ is imputed to cover our blemishes (sins). But the like the sap, Sanctification does not cover the blemishes but imparts or works from the inside of man to change his entire presence. One of my favorite quotes comes from Theology for the People or Biblical Doctrine Plainly Stated by William S. Plumer: Justification is sin pardoned. Sanctification is sin subdued.
2) The processes of Sanctification
God tells us in 1 Peter 1:15-16 to be Holy in all our parts of life, why because He is Holy. As we learned last week as Adopted Children of God, we are to obey our Father.
So one morning we wake up having been regenerated and indwelled by the Holy Spirit (First Step in Sanctification) and wham all our sins are subdued. Easy cheesy it is a done deal. No worries mate as they say down under.
Oh that it could be so easy. How do we get to the point where we are a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master's use as our base text says.
The Second step in the process of Sanctification is growing in knowledge.
Romans 12:2 - And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God
How do we grow? By renewing our mind and how do we accomplish that? See the next verse.
John 17:17 - Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
We grow via God’s Word. There is NO OTHER WAY.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 - All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Anything we hope to master in life comes only from knowledge. We must apply ourselves daily to God’s word that we might grow in knowledge therein.
The third step is growing in understanding.
Prov 18:2 A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.
It is one thing to read God’s Word it is quite another to understand it. Foolish men have knowledge yet little understanding of how to use it.
Proverbs 2:2-5 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; 3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.
Notice the words in bold print. They are all actions words. Growing in understanding of God’s Word requires effort on our part. This is not one of those let go and let God moments.
1 John 4:6 (AMP) We are [children] of God. Whoever is learning to know God [progressively to perceive, recognize, and understand God by observation and experience, and to get an ever-clearer knowledge of Him] listens to us; and he who is not of God does not listen or pay attention to us. By this we know (recognize) the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error
Although understanding can be a synonym for knowledge biblically speaking they are quite different. Many have knowledge of God without any comprehension or understanding of who God really is.
It is the sluggard (lazy man) who depends only on his own interpretation of Scripture. One who does not take the time to research and study the original languages with all their distinctions CAN NOT have a right understanding of God’s Holy Word.
God uses many ways to bring us to this understanding. Sometimes it is the indwelling Holy Spirit speaking to us that illuminates a passage of scripture. Sometimes it is through Chastisement Heb 12:10 (AMP) For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them; but He disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness. Prayer, meditation, fellowship and encouragement from likeminded believers are all part of this process of growing in understanding.
The final step is growing in conviction.
Matthew 6:24 - No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon
As we grown in knowledge and understanding so to should we be growing in faith.
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
I love the use of unmovable here. Synonyms for it include: unwavering, unswerving, resolute, determined, firm, unshakable, adamant, unfailing, dogged, tenacious, inflexible, unyielding, unbending, uncompromising, dogmatic, iron-willed; rock-steady, diehard.
Let me back up a moment and put the verse in context. Paul has just finished his discourse on Victory in Jesus. He says listen up because we have a guarantee victory go about your labors for God with confidence and a determined spirit. Because we know the outcome is preordained there is no reason to waiver.
Titus 1:9 - Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers
As our faith gets stronger our conviction or steadfast belief in sound doctrine should be growing so that we might exhort and to convince the gainsayers
John Bunyan spent twelve years in jail, but it wasn’t the stone and the steel that held him there. He could have gone free if he simply agreed to stop preaching. Instead, he wrote,
"If nothing will do, unless I make of my conscience a continual butchery and slaughter-shop, unless putting out my own eyes I commit me to the blind to lead me, I have determined, the Almighty God being my help and shield, yet to suffer, if frail life might continue so long, even till the moss shall grow on mine eye-brows rather than thus to violate my faith and principles."1
As we noted in the beginning of this section no short cut to the process. Both the Apostles Peter (2 Pt 1:5-11) and John (1 Jn2:3-6) noted that it requires steadfast effort and obedience to His commandments to succeed. That conviction of belief is the rock solid foundation of our faith. It allows us to weather the storms of life coming out stronger than we entered.
3) The results of Sanctification.
1 Peter 1:2-4 tells us: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Our growth results in increased Grace, peace, power, and great promises.
Romans 6:13-23: 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
Obtaining the fruits of holiness and assurance of everlasting life are a definite benefit.
For God’s Glory:
John 15:8: Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
James says faith without works is dead. It is real simple God saved you and sanctifies you so you can serve Him. What are you waiting for?
Eph 5:25-27: 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish
The church is described as the “bride of Christ”. By the giving up or sacrifice of Himself, Christ sets the Church apart for God. The sacrifice of Christ sets apart the Church and the world, just as the blood of the Passover Lamb set apart the Children of Israel and the Egyptians.
In closing the Greek word translated "sanctification" (hagiasmos) means "holiness." To sanctify, therefore, means "to make holy."Sanctification is the separation of the believer from evil things and ways. This sanctification is God's will for the believer. It is a process that includes knowledge, understanding and conviction requiring effort and obedience on our part. The results will always glorify God and edify your fellow saints.
In HIS Service