The Doctrine of Sanctification

It is good for the child of God to understand the doctrines of the Bible. If ever there was a doctrine that we needed to learn, it would be the doctrine of sanctification. Sanctification not only deals with our salvation, but it has alot to do with our service in the ministry as well. Sanctification by definition is “The act of consecrating or setting apart for a sacred purpose.” When we got saved, we were set aside for a specific purpose. We were sanctified by God and set apart to accomplish His will for our lives. Every christian has a specific purpose and has been consecrated to that purpose. Every christian has a specific place in the ministry.
Many today have a warped sense of what the real ministry is. It is more than the bright lights on the platform and the expensive sign in the parking lot. It is more than a twenty minute sermon and a sunday morning service. There is a public ministry, which most everybody is familiar with, and there is also a private ministry. The private ministry is the ministry which God calls us to every single day. Our lives are open books. Every move we make during the process of our day is part of our personal ministry. This is that ministry unseen by most people. It’s the ministry which gets no credit. It might be helping someone in need or just simply stopping for a moment and praying with someone with a heavy heart. It might be assisting someone with a financial need, or just simply providing a listening ear and firm shoulder to cry on.
I’m reminded of a man by the name of Ed Kimball. His name was never in neon lights, nor did he ever stand before crowds of thousands of people. He never traveled the world winning millions of souls publicly, but his influence still reaches souls many years later. He was a sunday school teacher. He was not a famous teacher, but he was a faithful teacher. He was used by God to reach a young man by the name of Dwight. This young man was led to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ by Ed Kimball and went on to reach millions of souls for Christ. The influence of D.L Moody is still leading people to Christ even today. All because one man was willing to be faithful to a personal ministry and follow the leading of God for his life. We may not be famous or ever have our names in neon lights, but God can use us to make a huge difference. All it took was one person, and Ed Kimball now has rewards in Heaven to cast at the feet of Jesus all because he was faithful even when nobody noticed. This is the real ministry.
God has sanctified each of us to a purpose. Though there are principiles given to us the scriptures that all christians are to hold fast to, God’s will for you may not be the same for me. It is not my job to tell you what you should be doing for God, nor do I have that authority. God has a specific will for each of us, and it is our duty to accomplish His will in our lives.
When studying the doctrine of sanctification, it is important to note that there are 2 types of sanctification. These are definitive sanctification, and progressive sanctification. Definitive sanctification means that we have been delivered from the bondage of sin. It implies the completion and perfection of Christ’s work of atonement. There is nothing to add to Christ’s work. In Him we are all sanctified, regenerated, justified, and adopted. This is why the believer can rest in the finished work of Christ on Calvary. In Ephesians 5 the Apostle Paul is teaching us about the church and the order of the home. As born again believers, we make up the church of God. The church is the body of believers. In verses 25 – 26 of Ephesians 5 we read, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might SANCTIFY and cleanse it with the washing of the water by the  word.”
Definitive sanctification also implies that God the Father has accepted the completed work of Christ on Calvary. It is one thing to know that Christ’s work of atonement is perfect and finished, it is another thing to know that it has been accepted by God on our behalf. God the Father demanded justification because of man’s sin in the garden. This truth is revealed to us in Romans 5:12 where Paul tells us, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” In verses 18 – 19 we read, “Therefore as by the offence of one judgement came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification by life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” It doesn’t really get much plainer than that. We are sinners because of Adam, but we are righteous because of Christ. Not only did God the Father demand justification, but he also demanded perfection. In 1Peter 1:18-19, Peter tells us, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation recieved by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” Christ was the perfect sacrifice. The scriptures tell us that He didn’t even know sin. He never sinned, yet He took upon himself all the sin of mankind.
Definitive sanctification also implies a distinction between believers and unbelievers. As believers, we have been sanctified by God to accomplish His will in our lives. God has not sanctified the unbeliever to anything. If the unbeliever desires to be used of God, he must first accept Christ and become a believer. Those who have never accepted Christ are still dead in their sins spiritually according to Ephesians 2:1 which means that they do not have the Holy Spirit in their lives.
The other type of sanctification is progressive sanctification. This is the process of daily dealing with our sins and growth in holiness. The Apostle Paul tells us in 1Corinthians 15:31, “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” This is not a physical death that Paul is referring to here, but a spiritual one to the flesh. He is explaining that he must die to the flesh daily in order to grow in Christ. If we feed our flesh more than feed our spirit, then we are not growing in Christ. In Romans 8:1 we find the assurance of this truth which tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Down in verses 12-14 of the same chapter we read, “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 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. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
  Progressive sanctification is the process of Christ continually working on us to make and mold us into what He would have us to be. He enables us to overcome sin and conforms us more to the likeness of His Son Jesus Crist. We will not be totally like Christ until we have our glorified body in Heaven, but we should strive to live as close to God as we possibly can in our daily lives.
One last thought on the doctrine of sanctification is the means of sanctification. How does God sanctify us to His use? He does so through the power of His Word. He tells us in Psalms 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” In John 17:17 we are told, ” Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth.” If we want to be used of God, we must get into the Word of God. The will of God can never be seperated from the Word of God. God speaks to His people through His Word. If you want to be used greatly of the Lord, get in His word, find His will for your life, and work harder than you ever have before and God will use beyond your wildest dreams! 


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