Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.
Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
Living a sanctified life is living a life that brings glory to God. It is the outward expression of the inward salvation that we have received by faith in the substitutionary work of Christ as the sacrificial Lamb of God on Calvary’s Cross. A sanctified life is indispensable for the believer if he wants a life of closeness to the presence of God and growing in the anointing. There are marvelous and tremendous blessings attached to a sanctified life. Living in today’s permissive society and talking about sanctification or holiness makes one look like a prude. Nowadays not even the church is talking about sanctification. In these days of hyper grace where everything goes, we see that sanctification is sadly missing from the lives of believers. When we address the subject then we face the chorus, ‘You are judging me!’ or we hear, ‘That’s legalism and I am not under law but under grace.’ I want to submit to you that grace is not a license for the believer to make an excuse for sin. The purpose of grace was to justify you from sin and not for you to justify sin.
Consequently because believers are not walking the sanctified life, sadly there are things missing in their lives such as the presence of God, the power of God and a close communion with God. There is not much difference between some believers and sinners except that they tell you that they have received Christ. This is why we are told to pursue and run after holiness and sanctification. The author of Hebrews went even further by saying, ‘without which no man shall see the Lord.’ That is blunt, strong and straight to the point! I am to pursue sanctification because without it I will not see the Lord. Now if you have a problem with this then you better take it up with God and his Word because I did not say it, he said it. It says it in the Greek and whatever language you want to read it in and it means just what it says.
What is sanctification?
First of all you need to know that according to Paul, sanctification is a call that we all have from God,
For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
1 Thessalonians 4:7
For God has not called us to uncleanliness but to sanctification.
Please understand that holiness and sanctification mean the same thing. They are synonymous terms. All believers have the call to a life of sanctification. This is a call upon your life and upon my life. Therefore I need to know what sanctification is in order for me to pursue after it. I do not need a denominational definition of sanctification but a Bible definition. Many times denominational sanctification has nothing to do with bible sanctification because they are a set of rules and regulations imposed on men by men. One of these is ‘women wearing no make up’ or ‘women are not allowed to wear pants’. Some denominations are adamant on these as forms of sanctification. To be frank with you, a donkey braying at midnight in a barn makes more sense than this. Sanctification is not women going without make up or wearing skirts rather than pants. Neither is a man wearing a suit and tie an expression of holiness. I have known some men who wore suits and ties and were meaner than dogs. Before we delve deeper let’s get a conventional understanding of sanctification:
- Sanctification is when someone or something is set apart by God and for God.
- Sanctification is to be set apart for holy use.
- Sanctification is to be separated from and to be separated unto
Let’s go a little deeper in our understanding. First you need to understanding that there are two types, levels or dimensions of sanctification affecting you presently.
Positional sanctification - This is instant and a gift from God through salvation. It is the same as justification meaning the sinner has been declared righteous by God not based upon the sinner’s merit but by God imputing it to them for receiving Christ. Positional sanctification is the declaration of our holiness through and by Jesus Christ which establishes our position. It is to be declared a saint, not as the Catholic Church which waits upon death and then makes the declaration years later. No! The moment you are saved you are declared a saint or a holy one (set apart) simply because of imputation of the nature of God in your spirit through the new birth. Let me reiterate, positional sanctification is an instant gift imputed to you at the moment of new birth. You did not earn it or work for it but was given to you by the Holy Spirit at the time of new birth, thus establishing your position in Christ.
Progressive or Practical sanctification - Practical sanctification does not refer to our heavenly position but to our earthly state (You must study the differences between the believer’s standing and state, also known as the believer’s position and condition). Positional sanctification is a determination by God setting a sinner apart declaring him righteous and hol.y,. Practical sanctification speaks of progressive holiness emanating from his instantly imputed positional sanctification when the believer obeys and acts upon the Word of God growing in Christlikeness. Practical sanctification is the progressive demonstration of the character of Christ through the empowerment of his positional sanctification. Our practical sanctification is the daily living out of our faith resulting in purity and integrity.
The purpose of grace was to justify you from sin and not for you to justify sin
To simplify it for you - Positional sanctification also know as justification is the instant work of the Holy Spirit in the spirit of the believer at the moment of salvation. It is a gift from God to the believer based on the work of Christ.
-Practical sanctification is the constant, daily, progressive work of the Holy Spirit in the carnal or fleshly nature of the believe,r taking him through the process of purity as he yields to the Word. It enables him to act like Jesus, be like Jesus, to speak like Jesus and to think like Jesus.
A few years ago, there was a popular acronym WWJD that people put on t-shirts and plastic bracelets to help them act like Christ. The WWJD was to remind them WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?. As great as that was I can assure you a bracelet or t-shirt will not help you with fits of carnality and we all have been subjected to fits of carnality. Even the great apostle Paul was subject to fits of carnality and he wrote about it in his Roman epistle. The same Holy Spirit who instantly imputed positional sanctification in you, is in you to help you in progressive sanctification. You cannot live a sanctified life without the help of the Holy Spirit, just like you could not be justified without his input. Progressive sanctification is therefore the Spirit of God working in you(your flesh and attitude) through the Word to reflect the positional sanctification you received in salvation. Living a sanctified life will result in these things
1 Walking in the nine fruit of the Spirit
2 Living a life of ‘Not my will but thy will be done’
3 The Word becoming the first and final authority in your life
4 Living at peace with all men and peace with yourself
5 Experiencing close communion with God
6 Having victory over the demanding carnal desires of the flesh
All of the mentioned above portray a believer maturing in Christ. It is a daily process of conforming to the image of Christ. Today if we were to ask the question, ‘What does it mean to be a mature Christian?’ Many will answer,
‘Well, that’s the person who knows who he is in Christ and knows his inheritance.’
’Someone who believes in the supernatural and that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are effective today’
’Someone who speaks in other tongues’
‘Someone who believes that prosperity and healing belong to them.’
As great as all these answers are yet they are not proofs of maturity in Christ. The Corinthian Church believed in all these and yet were super carnal believers. They were involved in divisions, strife and sexual immorality. While they were efficient in the gifts of the Spirit yet they were deficient in the fruit of the Spirit. They were highly developed in the gifts but under developed in the fruit. The same scenario is being played out today. We see believers who believe all these wonderful New Creation realities but their lives are not a reflective of the new creation. They sound spiritual but their lives secrete carnality. This is why we need the process of progressive sanctification.
There are two dimensions of sanctification - positional which is instant and practical which is progressive
You and I know very well that there are areas in our lives that do not reflect the character of Christ. It may be an anger issue, gossip, strife, impatience, jealousy, foul mouth, fornication, adultery or other forms of uncleanness which the Bible calls ‘sins that easily beset us’. Does that mean that we should justify them? No! To justify your sins would make you God. Look in the mirror and you will know that you are not God. Only God can justify and sanctify. Whatever you justify cannot be sanctified. This is why you need God! The same God who justified you declaring you instantly righteous in your spirit, is faithful to sanctify you making you progressively righteous in your flesh. Maturing in Christ is therefore walking and reflecting the nature of God deposited in your spirit.
The process is not fun but it is fruitful. It is called crucifying the flesh.
There are many blessings attached to a sanctified life.
Look out for them in the second article soon!