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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

  1. Positional sanctification: being separated to God from a standard, worldly position; this changes our place but not our inward nature:

Romans 1:2 and note 23; Matthew 23:17 and 19 and notes 171 and 191; 1 Corinthians 7:14 and note 141; 1 Timothy 4:3-5 and note 51.

  • Dispositional sanctification: being saturated with God’s holy nature to be made

inwardly divine, as God is holy:

Ephesians 1:4 and note 43; Romans 6:19 and notes 191 and 192.

The Process of Sanctification

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

1 Peter 1:2 and notes 24 through 29; John 16:8-11 and notes 81 and 82.

  • 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:

Hebrews 13:12 and note 121; 1 Corinthians 1:30 and notes 301 and 302; Romans 6:3 and note 32.

  • 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:

1 Thessalonians 5:23 and notes 232 through 236; Ephesians 5:26-27 and notes 261, 263, and 271.

The Results of Sanctification

  1. 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.
  2. God’s holy nature becomes our nature, and we spontaneously live a holy life, a life

that expresses God in His holiness:

1 Peter 1:15-16 and notes 151 and 152; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 and all notes.

  • We become God’s sons as brothers of Christ, thus fulfilling the purpose for which God chose us and predestinated us:

Ephesians 1:4-5 and note 52; Hebrews 2:10-11 and note 111; Romans 8:29 and notes 292 through 295.

  • We become the glorious bride of Christ, holy and without blemish:

Ephesians 5:26-27 and notes 273 through 275.

  • Ultimately, we will become the New Jerusalem, the holy city and the wife of the Lamb, Christ:

Revelation 21:2 and 9-10, and notes 21 (paragraphs 2 and 3) and 23.