"Ye Are Sanctified"         

I Corinthians 6:11


     The hodgepodge theology of those who teach progressive sanctification (progressive, increasing holiness and decreasing sin in the believer's nature) is so inconsistent with the gospel of God's free grace salvation in Christ and with my personal experience that I long ago gave up trying to understand them. IF, AS ALL AFFIRM, SANCTIFICATION IS ESSENTIAL TO SALVATION, THEN WORKS HAVE NO PART IN IT. IT IS ALL OF GRACE! If one means, by the term progressive sanctification, that believers grow in grace we have no quarrel at all. But if their meaning is that believers gradually attain higher degrees of holiness by something they do, or are enabled of God to do, we do have a quarrel. Nowhere in the Word of God are men admonished to sanctify themselves, except in a ceremonial sense, under the symbolism of legal worship. SANCTIFICATION IS GOD'S WORK OF GRACE IN MAKING COMMON, SINFUL MEN AND WOMEN HOLY. When holiness can be looked upon as a progressive thing, then may sanctification be looked upon as progressive, but not until then. Every believer enjoys a threefold sanctification.

     1. BY THE DECREE OF GOD (Jude 1) - When God the Father chose us, predestinated us to be made holy, and ordained us to eternal life before the world began, we were sanctified, set apart for God "that we should be holy and without blame before him."

     2. BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST (Heb. 10:10) - When Christ paid our sin debt, justified us by the sacrifice of himself, and made us righteous in the sight of God, we were sanctified. If this is thought to be a confusion of sanctification and justification, the confusion must be charged to the apostle Paul and the Spirit of God, who wrote the text!

     3. BY THE HOLY SPIRIT IN REGENERATION (II Pet. 1:4) - In the new birth the Holy Spirit gives every believer the holy nature of Christ (I John 3:9). This holy nature grows in grace, but not in holiness, in knowledge, but not in holiness, in commitment, but not in holiness!

     Many will cling to sanctification by their own works and decry sanctification by grace alone as an antinomian doctrine that promotes licentiousness. Commonly, when men cannot refute truth they suborn false witnesses to discredit it (Acts 6:10-11). We look

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to Christ alone for righteousness, imputed righteousness and imparted righteousness, and affirm to all that we are what we are by the grace of God (I Cor. 15:10). No believer claims, or desires to claim, any aspect of salvation as his own work. If you are sanctified you know who did the sanctifying, and you will praise him alone for it (I Cor. 1:30-31).



Don Fortner