Sanctification is viewed by many Christians as a personal struggle, where by making a great effort, they prove to God how virtuous they are. This is a legalistic approach to the issue. Others systematically avoid the topic of sanctification because, although they attend church, they are not born again or are carnal believers.
In the following post, we will look at several Biblical categories which, if understood and applied in our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit, will make sanctification and practical holiness a reality in our lives.
The source of sanctification
Sanctification originates in the Triune God. The angels of heaven derive their holiness from Him, and we as saints on earth are also sanctified by Him. (Isaiah 6:3) (Hebrews 2:11)
The Holiness of God is not an abstract concept. The Bible contains endless references to God’s personal involvement in sanctifying His children and punishing those who promote sin. God wants us to be holy and sanctified more than we desire it, even in our best spiritual moments. It is very encouraging to know this, since it assures us that God Himself will sanctify us.
At times, God the Father sanctifies us through discipline, to make us partakers of His holiness. (Hebrews 12:10). Christians who do not experience God’s discipline are not truly born again.
The Lord also sanctifies us through His Word. (John 17:17). Without daily spiritual food, the believer will surely fall into sin.
Christ sanctifies us through His sacrificial death on the Cross, as well as through His Word. (Ephesians 5:25-27). Our sanctification is made possible because His death on the Cross has washed away our sins. (Hebrews 13:12). No matter how severely the evil one attacks and accuses us, or how strong our own self-condemnation is, faith in the blood of Jesus who cleansed us from sin is so powerful that the believer cannot remain wallowing in a miserable spiritual condition.
The Holy Spirit implements the work of God the Father and the Son in our lives. He cleanses, renews, and gives us a new birth, applying the power of Christ’s sacrificial death on the Cross to our past, as well as our conscience in the present. (Titus 3:5)
The Holy Spirit actively guides us step by step when we spend time in the Word and live in the fear of the Lord. Believers who are constantly driven by their fleshly desires and refuse to listen to the urging of the Holy Spirit, need to seriously ask themselves if they are born again. (Romans 8:4,13) What a wonderful reality! Through the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the flesh.