Title: “Ye Are Sanctified”
Text: 1 Corinthians 6:11
Subject: Sanctification - A Work of Grace
Date: Tuesday Evening - October 26, 1993
In our text, the Apostle Paul shows us three great privileges that all of God’s elect enjoy by his grace. These three things are true of every saved sinner. By nature we are all unrighteous and therefore unfit to inherit and inhabit the kingdom of God.
“But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11)
These three things are essential elements of God’s saving grace. Without them no one is or can be saved.
1. We must be WASHED, redeemed by the blood of Christ. This redemption, the atonement for our sins, was accomplished for all God’s elect when Christ died at Calvary...”Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Gal. 3:13).
2. We must be SANCTIFIED by God the Holy Spirit. There is no salvation apart from sanctification. We must be made holy, or we cannot see God. This sanctification is accomplished for us and in us experimentally in regeneration, the new birth, when we are made new creatures in Christ and made to be partakers of the divine nature...”According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Pet. 1:3-4).
3. We must be JUSTIFIED before God by his grace. Our justification was accomplished by the Lord God freely and graciously imputing the righteousness of Christ to us, declaring us to be righteous before him. As our sins were imputed to Christ though he could never sin, so his righteousness has been imputed to every believer though we could never do righteousness...”Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24)...”For he hath made him to be sinfor us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21).
All three of these privileges are works of grace. We do not washourselves, sanctify ourselves, or justify ourselves. God almighty, by distinct acts of grace, has washed us, sanctified us, and justified us. The person who lacks any of these works of God’s saving grace has not yet entered into the kingdom of God. He is lost, undone, and perishing in his sins. If you or I die without being washed, sanctified, and justified by the grace of God we will not be numbered with God’s saints in the last day.
Tonight, I want us to study just one of these great works of grace. I take Paul’s words for my text and my subject - “YE ARE SANCTIFIED.” Remember Paul is writing to the church at Corinth, the only congregation which he calls carnal. These people were far from being what they ought to have been. In conduct and spirit, they were not exactly what you would call ideal Christians. Yet, Paul writes to them upon the basis of their professed faith in Christ and says, if you are in Christ, “Ye are sanctified!”
What do you think of when you hear or read those words? The words “saints”, “sanctify”, “sanctified”, and “sanctification” are used repeatedly throughout the Scriptures. But most people, I fear, do not know what they mean, as they are used by the inspired writers. We are fairly comfortable in discussing redemption and justification, but not sanctification. With regard to this subject there is a great deal of confusion, and it needs to be cleared up. Errors regarding the doctrine of sanctification generally fall into one of three categories.
1. PENTECOSTALISM teaches that sanctification is a second work of grace, whereby the believer is made totally free from sin and the old nature of sin is eradicated from his being. We know that such teaching is wrong for two reasons:
a. It is directly contrary to the Word of God...”If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
b. It is contrary to every believer’s experience. As honest men and women, we must confess our sinfulness. Though we are no longer under the dominion of sin, we have a continual struggle with sin. Sin is in us. It is mixed with everything we do. It mars everything we do. If a person says he is without sin, he is a liar. The truth is not in him.
2. THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS LEGALIST makes sanctification nothing more than an outward, legal morality. To him sanctification is accomplished by his separation from the world, his obedience to religious customs and traditions, and his abstinence from the use of things he considers evil. “Touch not, taste not, handle not” is his creed.
3. Most of those who are regarded as ORTHODOX, EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS teach that sanctification is the progressive increase of the believer in “personal holiness”. We are told that the child of God attains higher degrees of holiness by his own works in sanctification, until at last he is ripe for heaven, and that sanctification ultimately buds forth into glorification. Among these are both fundamentalists and those who regard themselves as reformed in doctrine. One writer defined sanctification in these words - “Sanctification is progressive righteousness, which, of course, means that it is incomplete righteousness” (E.W.J.) Usually this progressive, increasing righteousness is made the basis of the believer’s assurance here and hid heavenly reward hereafter.
Illustration: The Preachers in Grand Rapids
Ted C. at Louisville
NOTE: Progressive righteousness implies the possibility of perfect righteousnes. To progress in righteousness until we are ripe for heaven sounds very much like sinless perfection to me!
Tonight, I want us to simply open our Bibles and search the Scriptures. Let’s try to find out what God says about sanctification in the Book he has written. I am sure you will see that sanctification as it is taught in the Bible is considerably different from the way it is commonly taught in theology books and from most pulpits. I appreciate the writings of men who have been used of God, from whom I learn much. But when they vary from the Word of God, I must vary from them. I have no creed to defend, no confession to uphold, no denomination to answer to, and no catechism to teach, but this - “Thus saith the Lord.”
I want to show you one thing in this message and clearly demonstrate it from the Word of God - Because sanctification is an esssential element of salvation it is and must be, in its entirety, the work of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ...If salvation is by grace (And it is!), then all that is essential to salvation is by grace alone.
1. What do the words “Sanctify” and “Sanctification” mean?
2. How are the People of God sanctified?
3. Does the Word of God teach the Doctrine of Progressive Sanctification?
4. Are there any tokens or evidences of sanctification in us?
I. WHAT DO THE WORDS “SANCTIFY” AND “SANCTIFICATION” MEAN?
We are talking about Bible terms. So let’s turn to the Bible to find out what they mean. The word “sanctify” is used in three distinct ways in the Scriptures.
A. The first meaning of the word “sanctify” is “to set apart”, particularly, “to set apart for God or for divine service.”
Sanctification is taking something that is common and ordinary and setting it apart, separating it unto God’s service alone. This is the first and primary meaning of the word as it is used in the Bible.
1. The Seventh Day was set apart for God. This is the first time the word “sanctify” is used in the Bible...”And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” (Gen. 2:3). The day was not altered at all. It was simply set apart, separated from the other days of the week for God’s service alone. NOTE: The law of first mention applies here. The essential meaning of the word “sanctify”, throughout the Bible is “to set apart.”
2. The Firstborn of all the families of Israel were set apart for God...”Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of men and of beast: it is mine” (Ex. 13:2).
3. The Tabernacle, the altar, and the priesthood were sanctified unto the Lord, set apart for his use alone...”And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest’s office” (Ex. 29:44).
NOTE: It is in this sense that our Lord Jesus Christ says he was sanctified (John 10:36). He was set apart from all other men to do the will of God by God the Father. And in this sense our Savior sanctified himself to do the work he was sent to do, to accomplish his Father’s will in the redemption and salvation of his people (John 17:19).
NOTE: When anything or anyone is sanctified, set apart to God and for God’s service, that thing or that person is under God’s special protection.
B. Secondly, as the word “sanctify” is used in the Word of God, it means “to regard as holy”, “to treat as holy”, and “to declare that a person or thing is holy.”
For example: God himself is frequently said to be sanctified by his people. We do not make God more holy! And we do not separate God unto himself. But we do regard him as holy, treat him as one who is holy, and declare that he is holy. That is what it is to sanctify the Lord God in your heart.
1. God commands us to regard him as holy...”Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread” (Isa. 8:13).
a. Nadab and Abihu were consumed by the Lord when they offered strange fire, because they did not reverence God’s holiness...”I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me!” (Lev. 10:3).
b. Moses’ sin in smiting the Rock the second time, for which he was not allowed to enter the land of promise, was just this...”Ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel” (Num. 20:12).
c. We have an even more familiar illustration of this is what is called “The Lord’s Prayer”. Our Savior taught us to pray, “Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” (Matt. 6:9). The word “hallowed” is simply another word for “sanctified”. The meaning is, let thy name be reverenced and adored through the whole earth. Let men regard thy name as a holy and sacred thing.
The first meaning of the word “sanctify” is to set apart for God. The second meaning is to regard, treat, and declare a person or thing as being holy.
2. So, when a person is sanctified by God he is regarded by God as one who is holy, declared by God to be holy, and treated by God as one who is holy.
All who are sanctified are under God’s special care and protection. They are the apple of his eye. They are his anointed. And God says to all creation, “Touch not mine anointed!”
C. The third meaning of the word “sanctify” is “to actually purify something and make it holy.”
This is more than a declaration. This is an actual change in the nature of things. The thing sanctified is not only set apart and declared to be holy, it is actually made holy.
1. When the Lord God was about to come down and give the law at Mt. Siani the children of Israel were required to make themselves holy...”The LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes, And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon Mount Sinai” (Ex. 19:10-11). NOTE: This was a ceremonial picture of sanctification.
2. When Israel was about to cross the Jordan River God required them to first be purified...”And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you” (Josh. 3:5).
Do you see the basic meanings of the words “sanctify” and “sanctification” as they are used in the Scriptures?
1. To set apart or separate for God.
2. To regard, treat, and declare something or someone as holy.
3. To purify and make holy.
II. HOW ARE THE PEOPLE OF GOD SANCTIFIED?
Our sanctification, like our redemption and justification, is the work of God almighty in the trinity of his sacred Persons. We are sanctified by God the Father in election, by God the Son in redemption, and by God the Holy Spirit in regeneration.
NOTE: Sanctification is not something we do for ourselves. It is something God does for us and in us. The words “sanctify”, “sanctified”, “sanctifieth”, and “sanctification” are used more than thirty times in the New Testament. We are said to be sanctified by the purpose of God, by the blood of Christ, by the Spirit of God, by faith in Christ, and by the Word of God. But never, not even once, are we said to sanctify ourselves. Sanctification is the work of God alone!
A. All believers were sanctified by God the Fathe in eternal election, being set apart by God’s decree for him and separated unto him.
“Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called” (Jude 1:1).
This is the character of God’s distinguishing grace - It sets some people apart from othes and sanctifies them unto the Lord.
1. We were set apart for God in his secret, eternal decree of election before the world began.
2. We were legally set apart from Adam’s fallen race by the purchase of Christ at Calvary, when he ransomed us from the curse of the law.
3. And we were manifestly and visibly set apart and separated unto God by the effectual call of God the Holy Spirit in regeneration.
The doctrine should be clear to all. Every believer has been, in this sense, eternally sanctified, completely set apart by God and for God. The practical importance of this glorious doctrine is this - That which has been set apart for God ought never be used for common purposes again...”Ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
a. Beloved, we belong to the Lord our God. Let us therefore consecrate ourselves to him and serve him in all things...”I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2).
b. We belong to God. Be assured, God almighty will protect all who belong to him in all their appointed ways, even as he protected the ark of the covenant in the Old Testament.
“Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be affraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Ony with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shal give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet” (Psa. 91:3-13).
B. All of God’s elect were perfectly sanctified by the blood of Christ when he died as our Substitute.
Christ is our sanctification (1 Cor. 1:30). We have been and are forever “sanctified in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:2).
“By the which will we were sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Heb. 10:10-14).
This is what I want you to see and rejoice in - In the Lord Jesus Christ we who believe are regarded by God as perfectly holy, treated as if we were perfectly holy, and declared to be perfectly holy, because in Christ we are perfectly holy!
NOTE: We do no believe in imputed sanctification any more than we believe in imputed justification. We believe in imputed righteousness, by which we are both justified and sanctified. The righteousness of Christ has been imputed to us; and we are by his righteousness both justified from all things and declared to be holy. Sanctified, in the sight of God.
“With His spotless garments on
I am as holy as God’s Son!”
C. All believers are actually made holy by God the Holy Spirit in regeneration.
Through the instrumentally of gospel preaching, the Spirit of God effectually applies the blood of Christ to the hearts of God’s elect, purifying our hearts and implanting a new, holy nature within us. This is regeneration, the new birth. This is our sanctification by the Spirit.
“But we are bound to give thanks always to God for yo, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 2:13-14).
“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having excaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Pet. 1:4).
“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1 John 3:9).
“We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not” (1 John 5:18).
Someone once wrote, “We are a people with two natures, one that is holy and seeks after righteousness, and one that is corrupt and seeks after sin. These two natures are not equal in power. The divine nature rules and reigns, but the evil nature will not bow nor serve.” While we live in this world we must continue to live with this old, sinful nature. But we do have a new nature created in us, in the image of Christ, a nature that cannot sin. It is the old man that sins, not the new...It is written, “Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me” (Rom. 7:20).
In glorification the old man shall be totally eradicated from us, but not until then. That eradication of the old man is not a gradual, progressive thing. It is the radical, climatic change experienced by God’s saints in death.
III. DOES THE WORD OF GOD TEACH THE DOCTRINE OF PROGRESSIVE SANCTIFICATION?
As it is commonly taught by men, the answer is, No! The Bible certainly does ot teach progressive sanctification. Be sure you understand what I mean by that statement.
1. The Bible does not teach that in sanctification our old nature becomes less sinful and more holy. “Flesh is flesh.” It cannot be sanctified! The old man is not sent to the hospital for a cure. He is sent to the cross to be crucified!
2. The Bible does not teach that by sanctification we who believe attain progressively increasing degrees of personal holiness and thereby improve our acceptance with God.
Yet, the Scriptures do clearly represent the work of sanctification in the believer as a present, continual work of grace.
“Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love,and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: so that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia” (1 Thess. 1:3-7).
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (1 Thess. 5:23-24).
Illustration: The child Christ Jesus was perfectly holy. Yet, he grew in that state of holiness. Even so, we are perfectly holy in Christ. We have a perfectly holy nature implanted in us. Yet, the believer grows in grace. Our holiness does not improve. But we grow in that state of holiness (Lk. 2:52; 2 Pet. 3:18).
NOTE: Sanctification cannot be properly spoken of as a progressive work. A person is either holy or he is unholy. There is nothing in between. You cannot be more or less holy! But sanctification is a continual work. Being sanctified by God, born again by the Holy Spirit, every believer grows in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Every living thing grows! - We see more - Feel more - Do more - Know more - Repent more- Believe more - And love more, as we grow in grace! In sanctification there is an ever-increasing faith, hope, and love in the hearts of God’s elect.
Of this I am certain, wherever sanctification is found...
· Consecration of the heart increases.
· Conformity to Christ in heart and life increases.
· Commitment to Christ and his cause increases.
· Love, devotion, confidence in, and submission to Christ increases.
This growth in grace is the continual operation of God the Holy Spirit in sanctification...”For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
This growth in grace is a work of grace accomplished by the Spirit of God through the use of those means of grace God has given.
“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanses his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word” (Psa. 119:9-16).
IV. ARE THERE ANY TOKENS AND EVIDENCES OF SANCTIFICATION IN US?
Am I one of those whom God has sanctified by his grace? Are you? If so, there are some things that will give clear evidence of our sanctification.
A. A sanctified person is one who loves Christ and seeks his glory (1 John 2:2; 1 Cor. 16:22).
B. A sanctified person is one in whose heart and soul there is a warfare between flesh and spirit, between sin and righteousness (Gal. 5:17; Rom. 7:14-22).
C. A sanctified person is one who seeks after perfection (Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:15-16).
D. A sanctified person is one who is humbled before God, repenting, believing, and persevering (Phil. 3:13-14).
1. Do you know anything about sanctification by experience? If you are not sanctified, you are not saved.
2. Weep over your sins. Confess them to God. But do not despair. Our acceptance with God is Christ alone! (1 john 1:9; 2:1-2).
3. Would you grow in grace? “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it or the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23).
4. My friends, in all things, seek to imitate Christ. Follow his example.
In suffering with patience!
In service to one another!
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly;and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (1 Thess. 5:23-24).
Here is every text in the New Testament where the words “sanctify”, “sanctifieth”, “sanctified”, and “sanctification” are used. Study each reference in its context. Believers are said to be sanctified by the Word of God, by God the Father, by the blood of Christ, by the Holy Spirit, and by faith. Never once are we said to sanctify ourselves by something we do. The only exception is 2 Timothy 2:21, where a pastor is said to be sanctified by purging himself from that which is dishonorable. But the context makes that work of sanctification to be a matter ofseparation, not a matter of being righteous or holy. And not one reference speaks of the believer’s sanctification as a progressive work. Sanctification, as taught in the Bible, is altogether a work of grace.