The Spirit’s Work In Sanctification
Pentecostals, mindful that the work of the Holy Spirit is often neglected by other theological schools, are quick to point out the role the Spirit plays in sanctification.
Horton believes that of all the works of the Spirit, the New Testament highlights sanctification foremost. “The Holy Spirit here is the agent, and His work is the most important means of our progressive sanctification.” To underscore his point, he cites numerous verses that teach the central role that the Holy Spirit plays in our growth .
One of the most important ways that the Holy Spirit helps sanctify Christians is by helping them to understand and benefit from the Word of God. The Word itself is the Spirit’s primary tool in accomplishing our growth and maturity. The Spirit teaches us the Word, guides us to the truth and uses the Word to “give us a clear vision of Jesus and inspire us with a deep desire to be like him.” Of course, Christians must cooperate with the Spirit’s work in their lives by depending on his Word for guidance and being willing to obey it.
How Do You Live A Holiness Life
In an effort to live a holy live, it means that we should be deliberate in being distinct from those who do not know Christ. Our God is different from all so-called other Gods, therefore we must live according to His will and give Him glory. It was Gods original plan for his creation to be like Him.
Reformed Theology And Perfectionism
Hoekema advances several reasons why the Wesleyan hope of living a life without sin is flawed:
The above observations make it evident that sinful tendencies still exist in the life of even the most mature Christian. As a result, no one is able to live a life truly free from sin.
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Sanctification Takes Place In Two Parts
Sanctification is the cooperative work of God and Christians by which ongoing transformation into greater Christlikeness occurs. Such maturing transpires particularly through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God . Sanctification is not about perfection, but persistence. Fighting sin is a lifelong endeavor. The believer cooperates with the Holy Spirit working in them, their works being an expression of gratitude for their salvation. Sanctification, therefore, begins at the moment of conversion.
The Bible gives us two ways of understanding this doctrine. First, sanctification is definitive. This is Gods work of setting believers apart from non-believers. Even the newest believer who trusts in Jesus Christ and his finished work on the cross is considered a saint . In this sense, Christians are sanctified in the present , dead to sin , crucified with Christ , and similar definitive statements. When we trust in Christ by faith we are set apart in Christ and considered to be saints based on the work of Christ for us.
Sanctification is also progressive. This active growth proceeds from the life we live by faith in Jesus Christ. Continuing to trust in the finished work of Christ, we grow in Christlikeness by cooperating with the Holy Spirit in seeking to live more faithfully in accordance with Gods word.
The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sanctification is viewed as a process and gift from God which makes every willing member holy, according to their repentance and righteous efforts, through the Savior Jesus Christ’s matchless grace. To become Sanctified, or Holy, one must do all that he can to live as Christ lived, according to the teachings of Christ. One must strive to live a holy life to truly be considered Holy. In the Church’s scriptural canon, one reference to sanctification appears in Helaman 3:35, in the Book of Mormon:
Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.
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Original Sin And Prevenient Grace
Wesley believed that fallen man is utterly depraved and that any movement toward God should be attributed to prevenient, or antecedent, grace – the work of God in drawing all men to himself. The law written on the Gentiles’ hearts, their inner moral compass, is a product of the prevenient grace of God extending itself to man and drawing him to Himself. Prevenient grace is the initial and necessary agent in the process of salvation. It is “the beginning of the process by which God begins to lighten the darkness of the Fall for all men and women it will bring those who faithfully receive it to saving grace, sanctifying grace, and grace for the life of love.”
Filling Of The Spirit
When someone becomes a Christian, Christ gives them the indwelling presence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As a result, a process of change is initiated with a view to the renewal of the person in the image of God. Now, for the first time, they have the ability to choose against sin. With God’s power they are able to follow Him. This new power, mediated through the Spirit, is available to Christians through a process called “filling.” McQuilkin explores the meaning of the phrase “filling of the Spirit” and advances a definition centered around the concept of control:
“Filled with the Spirit is a figurative, poetic expression that refers primarily to the relationship between two persons in which one is in charge.”
” means that the Holy Spirit dominates, has full control, possesses… though the dominion gracious, by invitation only, and does not… override one’s personal choice.”
McQuilkin is not clear in his essay as to the duration of this experience. He says that the expression “filled with the Spirit” refers to a “state or condition” and that “we are commanded to be filled continually.”
McQuilkin concludes that being filled with the Spirit is the key to living an effective and victorious Christian life. Additionally, there may be times of special empowering that go above and beyond normal filling. These special empowerings enable Christians to serve effectively in more challenging situations.
In Order To Be Sanctified We Must Allow God To Work In Us
for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
After speaking about the believers role in working out his salvation, Paul speaks about Gods role. As he focused on the necessity of our labor in sanctification, you can imagine how some felt discouraged over their sins, failures, and lack of discipline. Here Paul comforts them with, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good pleasure. This is similar to Pauls encouragement for Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:6-7. He said,
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
He says fan into flame the gift of Godmake it strong and maximize itand then he says for God has given us power, love, and self-discipline through the Holy Spirit. He has given us everything needed through his indwelling Spirit to be holy and maximize our gifts. He is working in us therefore, we must work as well.
Observation Question: How does God work in us?
1. God works in us to willmeaning he gives us his desires.
Interpretation Question: In what ways does God work in us to give us his will or desires?
- God works in us to will by convicting us of sin.
- God works in us to will by convicting us of righteousness.
Paul desired to press to be more like Christ dailyhe had holy aspirations.
The Meaning Of Sanctification
The term for ‘sanctification’ as used in the New Covenant is HAGIOSMOS and means basically ‘set apart’, in the sense of being set apart from all else and dedicated for Yahweh God’s use.
The concept of ‘holiness’ is derived from this meaning in that what is set apart unto Yahweh, is not contaminated by the corruption of the world and its influence. It is wholly set apart unto Him, in purity.
For the believer, sanctification defines an internal state of separation from everything in the world brought about by a divine work of grace in the believer’s life. This work of grace at salvation sets the believer apart as separate from and holy unto Yahweh God.
This state of sanctification is not inherent in the nature of man, nor can it be achieved through human effort, as a cleansing is necessary in the heart of man to achieve this purity from the inherent influence of the world.
In being set apart from the world, the believer is separated from the dominion of the ruler of this world, Satan. He is virtually taken out of the kingdom of Satan by being joined to Messiah, whereby he becomes part of the kingdom of God.”Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” Colossians 1:13
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Sanctified For Eternal Life
The final aim of sanctification is the glorification of believers. On the day of resurrection, followers of Jesus will receive a glorified body like his and our sanctification from the world will be complete.
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
1 Thessalonians 5:23
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
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. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Sanctification Is Part Recognizing That Our Redemption Has Been Accomplished By Christ And Part Realizing That Our Redemption Is Being Applied By The Spirit
What could an unsanctified man do in Heaven, if by any chance he got there? Let that question be fairly looked in the face and fairly answered. No man can possibly be happy in a place where he is not in his element and where all around him is not congenial to his tastes, habits and character. J. C. Ryle
Though oft-neglected, understanding sanctification is vital for a thriving Christian life. Those of us who have been walking with Christ for any length of time recognize that the work of sanctification is slow. There is no insta-sanctification or seven steps to become successfully sanctified. It is slow, with many twists and turns. Its also deeply personal as we each have different areas of life in which the Spirit is working. Sanctification is also a highly corporate project as well. The us of sanctification is just as important as the I within the Christian life.
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The Keswick Definition Of Sanctification
Like most of the theologians in Five Views of Sanctification, McQuilkin defines sanctification as a setting apart for service to God. And, like the others, he says a moral dimension is involved: those who are sanctified are set apart from sin and consecrated to God.
McQuilkin then breaks sanctification down into three main types: positional, experiential, and permanent sanctification. Positional sanctification occurs at conversion and results in our forgiveness, justification in God’s eyes and regeneration. The new life of the Spirit indwells new believers and makes it possible for righteousness to prevail over sin in their lives. This is the sanctification spoken of in Heb. 10:10, Eph. 4:24, and 1 Cor. 1:2 6:11.
Experiential sanctification is very similar to the reformed idea of progressive sanctification. McQuilkin defines it as “the outworking of one’s official position in daily life.” When we are given our new bodies and transformed to be like Christ, permanent sanctification occurs. It results in the complete removal of sin.
Like the other four views of sanctification, McQuilkin believes sanctification brings about changes in the way we act and the way we think . The overall effect is that our lives more and more approximate the likeness of Christ.
In What Way Can I Be Holy
Being holy is respecting the rules God gives you, and handling those rules carefully and correctly. Holy means set apart. God says, Keep the Sabbath holy meaning, Keep the Sabbath set apart, in other words, special. You need to set the Sabbath apart because it is special from the other weekdays.
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Bible Verses About Sanctification
to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.
I have commanded My consecrated ones,I have even called My mighty warriors,My proudly exulting ones,
Gather the people, sanctify the congregation,Assemble the elders,Gather the children and the nursing infants.Let the bridegroom come out of his roomAnd the bride out of her bridal chamber.
I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy.And He shall be your fear,And He shall be your dread.
Regeneration And The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit
Walvoord says that two things occur at conversion: regeneration and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Regeneration occurs at the point of conversion, involves the granting of eternal life and the new nature, and moves a Christian from spiritual death to life. It does not, as some suggest, “bring perfection of character or freedom from a sin nature.” The baptism of the Holy Spirit, spoken of in 1 Corinthians 12:13, is the placement, at the moment of conversion, of the convert into the body of Christ. When we are identified with Christ in this way, we share in his death, burial, and resurrection . As a result, we can utilize God’s power and guidance for our lives. This experience was inaugurated on the day of Pentecost and occurs to anyone the moment they repent and turn to Christ.
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Seeing God’s Calling As Weighty
Moving back to 2 Thessalonians, we see that Paul explains in his prayer two or three ways the worthiness of God’s calling is seen.
He prays, “and may fulfill every resolve for good” . Now this is interesting, because here is the anatomy of how God keeps us joyous. This idea of “fulfill” here means to complete or finish something that has already been started. God has passions and desires. Most of us want God to be aligned with our desires, but true joy does not come from that. That will only lead to depression. We must pray for God to align our desires with his.
Jesus said, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” . When God allows you to go through these struggles for your joy, he’s fulfilling every good resolve that’s based on his understanding of affliction. Suffering must come in order that the passions of God might be worked in us.
Paul ends his prayer with a purpose clause: “so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you” . Paul is telling the Thessalonians that the purpose of this trial is that the Lord Jesus may be glorified in them. God rigs our souls as mirrors and he uses trials to rub the dirt off the mirrors so that we might shine his glory toward other people.
Paul then prays “that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him” “The stress is not on the glorification of the saved, but on the glorification of the Savior in the saved,” John Stott said.
In Order To Be Sanctified We Must Know The Love Of God
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyednot only in my presence, but now much more in my absencecontinue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
The next step in the process of sanctification is to know the love of God. Paul says, dear friends. This can also be translated beloved. The implication of Paul calling them beloved, as he commands them to work out their salvation, is that they needed to hear and understand that God loved them.
Love is a tremendous motivation for spiritual growth. Paul said this: For Christs love compels us . What motivated the great apostle to suffer, serve, and preach the gospel? Lovethe love of Christ compelled him. In fact, he thought it was so important for the church to understand this love that he prayed for them to grasp it. Ephesians 3:17b-19 says this:
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledgethat you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
He prayed for them to know Christs love so that they may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. To be filled means to be controlled and empowered by God . Similarly, if the Philippians could know how much God loved them, it would propel them in their spiritual growthinto working out their salvation.
2. We grow to know Gods love through prayer.
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