Rooted – Sanctification (29th March 2020)

The story so far...

Big Words Series
Progress 50%

Today we are continuing in our series of looking at difficult Church words that get used a lot, and never explained. Today – Sanctification.

The root word of sanctification gives us the idea of ‘set-apart’ or ‘consecrate’. This is actually close to the idea of justification (from last week), but in Church usage sanctification has come to mean “the process of being made holy” that follows on from justification.

Today we follow on from our jaunt into Justification last week. So let’s have a quick re-cap:

Read: Ephesians 2:12 and Colossians 1:21.

What two things are outlined here about what people are like? Does one lead to the other?

Justification turns our state around completely. We are transformed by our faith in Jesus. We identify ourselves with him by our belief and commitment to him. This is where sanctification comes in.

What's the Point?

What, though, is the point of sanctification? If we’re saved – isn’t that enough?
But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.
2 Thessalonians
2:13 that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

What is the reason for Sanctification? What does it require from us? What words are use to describe believers in relation to God? What do they tell us about God, ourselves and others?

This is sanctification, as the result of justification, by Christ’s reconciliation. To use the metaphor from John 15: Jesus the vine, or the plant, by justifying us makes us the branches and it is by it that may bear the fruit of sanctification.

Getting tricky...

Our sanctification is regarded as perfect in Jesus. At the heart of it is the fact we are united with him at regeneration or conversion. However there is also a sense in which sanctification is something that the believer works at, that is progressive and gradual, with the help of the Holy Spirit. These two aspects shape the life of the believer
These two ideas are sometimes described as ‘positional sanctification’, and ‘conditional sanctification’. One day in heaven they will both be complete!
For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

What are we? How should that affect us and those around us? What perspective does this give us on Church?

We are saved to be holy, and not because we are holy.

With all that in mind. Why then is the Christian life difficult? Why do we experience difficulty in ‘being Christian’? Why do Christians get things wrong?
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

What are they key words in these verses? What do they tell us about sanctification and the Christian experience? Is it possible to be without sin?

In Christ, presented by Him to God, our sanctification is seen as perfected. Our position before God is provided perfectly in Him. Conditionally we come in a variety of states, each with different baggage and thoughts and feelings and a different experience of the Holy Spirit day to day. But in Christ we can approach the throne of God boldly – knowing that we come perfect in Him, because of all he has done.