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According to the Bible, sanctifying is to be made holy, which is to be separated, set apart, for God and His purpose.
When God created us, we were for Him and His purpose. However, through Adam’s fall, we lost our exalted position and became corrupted in our nature and thus were no longer for God and His purpose. Therefore, when God saves us, He sanctifies us both outwardly in our position and inwardly in our disposition, in our nature. He separates us outwardly from the world, from the fallen human race. He also saturates us inwardly with His holy nature, making us His holy people, as sacred as He is.
The verses and notes below will help us see both aspects of God’s sanctifying work more clearly.
The Two Aspects of Sanctification
- Positional sanctification: being separated to God from a standard, worldly position; this changes our place but not our inward nature:
- Dispositional sanctification: being saturated with God’s holy nature to be made
inwardly divine, as God is holy:
The Process of Sanctification
- God sanctifies us through the working of His Holy Spirit in us in three steps: 2 Thessalonians 2:13 and note 133; Romans 15:16 and note 163.
- Before we believe in Christ, the Holy Spirit of God sanctifies us by convicting us
concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment, thereby causing us to repent to God, to obey Christ, and to receive Christ’s redemption:
- When we believe in the Lord and are baptized, we are separated from the world to God by Christ’s redeeming blood, and God transfers us out of Adam into Christ, thereby sanctifying us positionally:
- After we are regenerated through our faith in Christ, the indwelling Holy Spirit
continues to sanctify us dispositionally through our entire Christian life, daily imparting into us God’s holy life and holy nature, until our whole being—spirit and soul and body—is sanctified:
The Results of Sanctification
- We become a particular people, a holy nation, a treasure for God’s possession: 1 Peter 2:9-10 and notes 91 and 93; Titus 2:14 and note 143.
- God’s holy nature becomes our nature, and we spontaneously live a holy life, a life
that expresses God in His holiness:
- We become God’s sons as brothers of Christ, thus fulfilling the purpose for which God chose us and predestinated us:
- We become the glorious bride of Christ, holy and without blemish:
- Ultimately, we will become the New Jerusalem, the holy city and the wife of the Lamb, Christ: