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Bible Sanctification

Bible Sanctification              Friday, February 23, 2018



By, James L. Thornton

We don’t hear much preaching any more about sanctification, yet it is a Bible doctrine which the Apostle Paul and Peter and John and Jude wrote much about. Therefore I felt, as Jude did, that it was necessary to bring it back to our attention. Peter tells us “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)

Peter also tells us to, Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity” (2 Peter 1:5-7)

Our Christian walk is a continual process of growth, and improvement in Holiness of character and spirit. This continual growth can only take place if we invite Christ to be the overwhelming entity in our life.

Sanctification is also a work that can only be done as we cooperate with the indwelling Holy Spirit by constantly making adjustments of our life-style under the directions of God’s Word and Spirit.

Christ Our Sanctification:

It has been rightly said that “Salvation is the work of a moment, but the making of a Saint is the work of a lifetime.”

Bible Sanctification Is A Very Basic And In-depth Work Of Grace:

In the King James Version of the Bible the same basic Greek word (Hagios) is translated into six different English words, depending on how the word is used in the text.

The words holy, saint, sanctify, hallow, holiness, and sanctification all have the same basic meaning, or root.

In the Old Testament, especially Leviticus, the Holy Spirit stresses the importance of holiness in everyday life.

Peter quotes Leviticus 11:44, “Be ye Holy: for I am holy,” as crucial to a true Christian walk. (1 Peter 1:16)

Holy, Saint was a very rare word in classical Greek, but is an important part of the New Testament Vocabulary.

Its fundamental idea, or meaning, is separation, and consecration and devotion to the service of God.

The word is first used in the New Testament for the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18), and many times after.

We find “Holy Father” in John 17:11.

And Thy Holy Child Jesus in Acts 4:27.

Because God is thrice Holy Himself (Isaiah 6:3), He wants His People to be Holy, too.

Sometimes the word (Hagios) is used as a noun, and then it is translated “Saint”.

In the New Testament, it is always plural, “Saints”.

“Saint John” and “Saint Mary” are Postbiblical expressions.

For example, 2 Corinthians is addressed to “all the saints which are in all Achaia.” (2 Corinthians 1:1) 

In New Testament times, all Christians were called Saints. We may ask, “How can this be when we know of the very unsaintly goings on in the Corinthian congregation?

The answer is that sanctification has a positional, as well as a practical aspect.

All believers are set apart by the Holy Spirit when they are born again of the water and the spirit.

They become saints, that, is positional sanctification.

But these saints should also be constantly growing more holy in actual life style.

That, is Practical or Progressive Sanctification.

The Corinthians were urged to join Paul in Practical Sanctification, “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Paul prayed that God would establish the Thessalonians’ “hearts unblameable in holiness.” (1 Thessalonians 3:13)

Practical Sanctification, or, “Perfecting Holiness”, is an on going process in our lives, and requires us, “to put off the former conversation (life) the old man, which is corrupt”… and to, “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,” (Ephesians 4:22 & 24)

Jesus Christ came to this world and walked among men demonstrating the life that He asked His followers to lead.

He became the supreme example of the pure and holy life.

N. Christ Our Sanctification: 

1 Corinthians 1:30. "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:"

Here we find that Jesus is our Sanctification. It is of God. Jesus is made unto us Sanctification, that is, of His Deity (not his humanity).

The Divinity of Christ is none other than the Holy Spirit that comes into us and becomes our Sanctification, it is He, and He alone, that can set us apart from our self life (the old self).

Some will inquire why the old self is not educated, disciplined, or reformed, and brought into a spiritual state.

Why is it set aside and nailed to the cross? We will turn to the Bible for the answer to these questions.

The scripture plainly teaches us that the old fleshly nature of the unsaved man is incapable of improvement or transformation.

Therefore, there was but one way to deal with it, and that was to set it aside and bring in an entirely new nature that is fitted for the service of God and the fellowship of Heaven.

Jesus had this truth in mind when he said to Nicodemus in John 3:5, 6, “Ye must be born again…that which is born of flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.”

Here Jesus shows the utter impossibility of the improvement of the flesh and the absolute necessity of the New Birth.

Romans 8:3. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

4. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.

Here Paul says that the flesh is weak. If there had been any moral or spiritual strength in the flesh, sanctification might have come by the law for “the law is holy…and just and good,” (Romans 7:12)

The law was even spiritual, but the ones who tried to keep it were carnal, sold under sin; the flesh was too weak to meet its requirements.

Likewise today we might set up high ideals and make good resolutions, but cannot live up to them because there is no strength to carry them out.

One may talk much of Christ as an example but he finds that in the natural he has no strength to follow him.

Romans 8:7. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be.

Here we find that the carnal mind is enmity against God. There is a difference between being at enmity against someone and being an enemy of someone.

Enemies can be reconciled, but there can be no reconciliation where there is Enmity.

The flesh is not only weak, but it is at enmity against God. Any show of piety one has before he is saved and filled with God’s Spirit is only a sham.

Romans 8:8. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

9. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.

You can whitewash the flesh and put it forward and exalt it, but its nature remains the same.

Human Nature Is The Same Regardless Of Environment Or Position:

A kitten has clean habits.  By nature it will wash and keep itself clean, but the swine is a creature of filth and never will be found with clean habits.

You can take a little pig before it has ever seen a mud hole and bring it into the house, wash it, put a ribbon on its neck and give it the place of a kitten; but at the first chance it will plunge into the filthiest mud hole it can find, ribbon and all.

On the other hand you can put a kitten into a mud hole and it will get out as soon as possible and clean up.

Why is this difference between the pig and the kitten?

It is because of their nature.

One tree will bring forth good sweet apples and another tree will bring forth sour apples.

You can take the tree that bears sour apples and cultivate it, prune it and give it the best of care, but it will continue to bring forth sour apples because that is its nature.

Man is just as helpless to change his own nature as is the pig, the kitten, the apple trees.

Therefore, God gives us a new nature and nails the old one to the cross. The new nature is given to us in Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Romans 8:12. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

13. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

14. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Let us now consider Romans 6:6 as given in the Weymouth translation: 6. “This we know that our old self was nailed to the cross with him, in order that our sinful nature might be deprived of its power.”

From this verse we see that it takes Christ to deprive the self life of its power, as it is reckoned to be dead.

Romans 6:11. Brings out that there is to be a double reckoning, first, that we “be dead indeed unto sin.”

Then comes the second, and more important, that we reckon ourselves “alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Herein Lies The Secret Of Our Victory Over Sin:

Paul says, “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.” (Galatians 2:20)

Notice He says, "I am crucified" and "I live."

These sound like paradoxical statements and no doubt would be confusing to non spiritual people; but to the believer, who has found a victorious life with Christ as his sanctification, there can be no conflict.

He lives after the new nature while he is dead to the old self.

O. Sanctification By The Word:

John 17:17. (Jesus praying for His Disciples) “Sanctify them through Thy Truth: Thy Word is Truth.”

In this lesson we will see that Sanctification of the Spirit and Sanctification by the Word are linked together; They carry out the same purpose, and both are equally necessary for our Salvation.

1 Peter 2:2.  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby:

3. If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

We have been studying how the Holy Spirit is on the inside of us working to purify and cleanse us from sin.

In this lesson we will study how that the Word of God (the Bible), which is on the outside of us, but as we eat of it and get it on the inside, it, too, works to sanctify us.

The Word of God is spiritual food we eat; we live by it.

Matthew 4:4.  Jesus told Satan that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

The Holy Spirit in us receives the Word and reveals, through the Word, the will of God to us.

God gives us a perfect standing when the blood is applied because, by it, we are cleansed from all sin.

But we can only hold this perfect standing on condition that we walk on towards the perfecting of our state as the will of God is revealed to us by the Word.

Psalm 119:105. Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

The One hundred nineteenth Psalm contains one hundred seventy six verses and in all but two of these verses it speaks of the necessity of God’s Word in our life.

In this chapter the Psalmist uses several different words to describe the Bible.

He calls it,

The Law of The Lord,

His Testimonies,

Thy Precepts,

Thy Statutes,

Thy Commandments,

Thy Righteous Judgments,

Thy Word."

Colossians 3:16. (The Apostle Paul to the Church at Colosse) Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Nothing In Our Christian Walk Can Take Precedent Over The Word Of God:

Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit will lead us and guide us in understanding the scripture. 

John 16:13. 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.

14. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

It does not say that the Spirit will thrust us immediately into all truth, but it does tell us that the Spirit will “guide you into all truth.”

This, of course is a progressive work, rather than an instantaneous work.

If we are led by the Spirit of God, the Truth of the Word will be opened to us as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. (Psalms 119:105)

As we walk in the light that is shed upon our path by the Word, the blood by which we were sanctified and given a perfect standing in the beginning of our Christian life, will continue to cleanse us from all sin.

Psalm 119:9. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word.

This Scripture Shows That Individuals Are Sanctified By The Word:

When Jesus prayed for his disciples, He said, “Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth,” (John 17:17)

Ephesians 5:25. Says that Christ “Loved the church and gave himself for it that he might sanctify and cleanse it by the washing of water by the Word.”

We see that whether it be an individual, the Disciples, or the Church, they are all alike sanctified by obedience to the Word.

This is not an Instantaneous Work of Grace, but a growing in the Grace of God. (2 Peter 3:18)

The Word can only come to us in a progressive way, “precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little.” (Isaiah 28:13)

2 Timothy 3:16. 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, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Sanctification by the Word can only be accomplished when the believer does the will of God as it is revealed to him by the Word.

Some will put their own revelations and dreams ahead of the Word of God, but any experience that has not grown out of definite contact with the Word may be called into question.

One may spend whole nights in prayer without profit if he is not willing to do the will of God as it is revealed to him by the Word.

The depths of all Christian experiences must be determined by the measure of one's compliance to the Word.

God’s Word is full of Doctrine, and how very inconsistent it is for anyone to claim Sanctification and not be willing to listen to the preaching of Doctrine, let alone be willing to walk in it!

If Truth is the means of our Sanctification, it is very necessary that we as Saints should know what the Truth really is.

Jesus told the Sadducees that it took both the power of God and the scriptures to keep them from error. (Matthew 22:29)

One may live in the dead letter of formalism if he takes the stand that he needs the scriptures only, and refuses the Holy Spirit’s operation in his life.

On the other hand, some who have been filled with the Spirit have been overcome with fanaticism because they did not see the need of studying the scripture and seeking the wisdom it imparts.

So I hope we can all see that both the Holy Spirit and the Word are necessary for our Sanctification.

P. Conclusion:

At the conclusion of this study we would like to emphasize that man is a sinner, having inherited Adam’s sinful nature at birth.

And that man does not have it in his power to save himself, but God made provisions for the Salvation of man through the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ.

The blood of Jesus Christ is applied to our hearts and lives through Repentance and Water Baptism in the Name of Jesus Christ for the Remission of our sins.

Our souls are clean, all past sins are forgiven, the blood of Jesus Christ has accomplished it’s work of Sanctification, and we invite the Holy Spirit to come into our hearts and establish rule over our human nature.

The perfect standing that the believer obtains through the Blood should be the strongest kind of an appeal for him to live a Holy and Victorious life.

The Holy Spirit continues the work of Sanctification by prompting us to be obedient to the written Word of God as it is revealed to us by studying and meditation thereof.

Let us boldly affirm that God has made full and free provision for a life of unbroken victory over every form of sin.

This is not only plainly taught in the word, but it has been the happy experience of hundreds of thousands of useful men and women all down through the Christian era.

It is generally admitted fact that we can live this kind of a victorious life; but when it comes to the method of bringing it about, there are several conflicting views.

We want to spend a moment discussing some of those views and then contrast them against God’s Word.

1. It Is Not By Self-Inflicted Punishment:

There are religions that teach that the soul can be purified by the practice of self-inflicted punishment, some by long fasts, others by extended prayer, and countless others by self denial.

Yemenite Jews in Jerusalem, dark skinned men, sitting cross legged on the floor, wrapped in the prayer-shawls their ancestors wore in the desert they are there today, morning and evening, swaying backwards and forwards like camel riders as they recite their Torah.

Somewhere A Muslim who has completed his month long fast he too is praying today, five times, as he prostrates himself towards Mecca, along with millions of his brethren.

A Swami in his tiny house by the Ganges at foot of the Himalayas will not speak today he will continue the devotional silence which, with exception of three days each year, he has kept for several years. --- His God has never spoken to him. Devoted?

The Prime Minister of Rangoon is facing the delegations, crises and cabinet meetings today. But from four to six this morning, before the sun arose, he too was alone in the privacy of the Buddhist Shrine.

Zen Monks in Kyoto were ahead of him an hour, they were up at three this morning, and until eleven tonight will spend most of the day sitting cross legged and immovable as they seek with intense consecration the Buddha Nature. Sincere?

We could call them God Seekers—seeking to hear from God seeking to understand God.

Billions upon billions of sincere men, and women from all nations and intellect who believe that the soul can be purified by the self-inflicted punishment.

These, along with many forms of Christianity, attempt to bring the sinful nature into subjection by denying themselves of rest and food, and by wearing clothing that irritates their bodies, and by doing many other things to inflict punishment upon themselves.

They are to be admired for their earnestness, but alas! When they get through with all these forms of torture, They are just as sinful as they were at the first.

Jesus did not teach Sanctification by denying ourselves of our natural desires, but he taught that it could be obtained by getting a new heart and mind that would delight to do the things that please God.

It is true that we are taught self denial but not the kind that deprives us of some lawful thing, or that brings suffering to our bodies, in order to bring about a holiness in us. Victory over sin does not come that way.

2. Victory Does Not Come By Suppression:

There are some religions, including some Christians, who seek deliverance from self-nature by suppression.  Their Church sets up for them some standard of righteousness and they propose by their will power and self effort to live up to it.

You can suppress the sinful nature at one point and it will show up at another. If you succeed in getting a man reformed by his own efforts, he is likely to become filled with pride and self confidence. These are more dangerous than his former sins for he is harder to reach with the Gospel of Salvation.

Many a person has renounced some outstanding sin only to become a proud, boasting moralist.

It is impossible to get victory over pride, envy, jealousy, an unforgiving spirit, unholy desires and a bad temper by the method of suppression.

3. Victory Does Not Come By Eradication:

There are not a few Christian people who believe that Sanctification can only be obtained by the eradication of the carnal, sinful nature.

By that method they are supposed to be delivered as completely from the old man as when a stump is pulled from the ground or a weed from the garden.

If such a thing were possible, a person would be past temptation, for we are only tempted when we are drawn away by our own lusts and enticed.  (James 1:14)

How could a person be drawn away by his own lusts and enticed if they were all eradicated and taken out root and branch?

Romans 6:12. Paul says, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”

If it were not possible for sin to reign over us, why did Paul give this warning?

The fact is that eradication of the self-nature is not only unbiblical but it is also unscientific.

If you separate the Adam or moral nature from a man, you will have a funeral to attend.

4. Victory Comes By Changing Masters:

Romans 6:16. 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?

17. But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

18. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.


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