“Made unto us Sanctification”
1 Corinthians 1:30
The Lord God demands that we walk before him and be perfect (Genesis 17:1; Leviticus 22:21). He cannot and will not accept less than perfection. And what he demands he performs. What he requires he gives. Christ is made of God unto us perfection in three ways. First, perfection requires perfect obedience; and Christ obeyed the law of God for us. Second, perfection requires atonement, or satisfaction; and our Lord Jesus Christ fully satisfied all the demands of God’s law by his sin-atoning death as our Substitute, redeeming us from the curse of the law. Third, perfection requires a perfect nature; and Christ formed in us in regeneration (sanctification) is that perfect nature. Thus, by righteousness, satisfaction and sanctification, God makes his elect “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Colossians 1:12).
When the Spirit of God declares that Christ is made of God unto us “sanctification,” he is telling us that our sanctification is, like our righteousness and redemption, altogether the work of God. It does not, in any way or to any degree, depend upon us. It is not a progressive work that begins with God planting a “principle” of holiness in us in the new birth, which grows by our disciplined determination to be holy, until we are ripe for heaven. No! Christ is our Sanctification. Sanctification is accomplished by God the Holy Spirit forming Christ in us, causing us to be made partakers of the divine nature (Colossians 1:27; 2 Peter 1:4).
Sanctification is ours in Christ from eternity, by virtue of our union with him (Jude 1); and it is ours in the sweet and blessed experience of grace, when, being born again by the mighty operation of God the Holy Spirit, we are given that “holiness” of nature “without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). In fact, the word translated “sanctification” is exactly the same word that is translated “holiness.” Christ is made of God unto us “Holiness.”
The believer’s new nature is perfect. It is Christ in you, that new man created in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24). This new nature formed in us in the new birth, John tells us, does not sin and cannot sin, because it is born of God (1 John 3:9).
The believer is a person with two natures, flesh and spirit, the old man and the new man. The old man will never surrender to the new. The flesh will never surrender to the spirit. Yet, we live not after the flesh but after the spirit (Romans 7:14-25; Galatians 5:22-23; Romans 8:1-9). There is within every believer, so long as he lives in this world, both an old Adamic nature, that can do nothing but sin, and a new righteous nature, that which is born of God that cannot sin, that can only do righteousness. This new man is Christ in you, “who of God is made unto us Sanctification.”
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