Progressive Sanctification

1st Session: Sanctification
For the women at Open Door Bible Baptist Church (NYC)who attended the seminar 9/8/12 

There is much confusion about the word Sanctification. Some religions believe that you can completely eradicate your life from sin and become sinless. This is a lie from Satan. We will one day be sanctified body, soul,  and spirit when we get to heaven. The positional sanctification was established at our salvation (justification). Just as if I had never sinned.  The ultimate or final sanctification will be at our glorification (death).

There are three aspects of Sanctification: Positional, Progressive, and Ultimate, perfect, or final.

Positional Sanctification is our standing or position before God the moment we accept Christ. We are set apart from Satan unto God;  set apart from darkness unto light; set apart from death unto life; set apart from hell unto heaven; set apart from the dominion of sin to the dominion of God’s glory.

Sanctify means set apart or make holy.  At salvation, our spirits are placed “In Christ”.  God covers us with Christ’s robe of righteousness, and He sees us righteous in Christ.  (Isaiah 61:10)

At the point of salvation our spirits desire to obey God, to love Him, and to hate sin, but we still struggle in our souls and spirits. Paul prays in I Thessalonians 5:23  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray that you whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 Progressive or Daily Sanctification is our personal willingness to set our physical body and soul apart to the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It is that daily transforming process in our lives that makes us more like Christ.  After salvation, we soon realize that there is a new inner battle being waged within us. It is a battle between our old sin-lead nature and new Spirit-lead nature.

Paul describes this inner struggle in Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Ultimate Sanctification occurs at death when God perfects us (body, soul, and spirit) and we are glorified. At death, we are absolutely and permanently free from the very presence of sin.

1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Daily sanctification is that inward spiritual process God is bringing about holiness and changes to our lives. The Bible declares, 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

After we accept Christ as our Savior, we all face different issues. Although we struggle with sin and past hurts, the Holy Spirit enters our life and begins this transformation process. The Holy Spirit convicts us in areas that need to be changed, and He helps us to grow in holiness.

After salvation, we begin to view the world, people, and personal difficulties from a more biblical perspective. Our choices begin to be motivated by love and truth and not selfishness. Before we got saved, we placed confidence and security in Satan’s false values of  gaining material possessions and out performing all others. Since Satan’s lies continue to creep back into our minds, we must continually use God’s Word to purge our minds of his lies.  

Timothy 2:21-26 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

Paul advises Timothy to purge himself from the lusts of the flesh and to take every possible measure to keep holy.

Although Timothy was probably about 40 years old at this writing, Paul tells him, “Timothy, since you will be prone to the same lusts that you had as a teenager, you must purge yourself from these lusts…but Timothy, if you want to be sanctified, follow after righteousness, faith, charity and peace.”

Paul advises Timothy not only to purge himself from the lusts of the flesh, but lusts of the mind. Lusts of the mind are ambition, pride, and vain-glory.

Lusts of the mind can be as dangerous to our holiness and daily sanctification as lusts of the flesh. Paul advises Timothy to purge himself from asking foolish and unlearned questions.  Paul says, “Timothy, you are going to think that you are wiser and more spiritual than those around you. You must not ask questions that will generate controversies and arguments”.

Ladies, we can have lusts of the mind. We begin to question leadership “Why do we have to dress that way? What is wrong with this or that? That is just someone’s opinion.”  If we begin to ask foolish questions, and we don’t get answers we want, we might get bitter and angry.

Paul says, “Instead of asking foolish questions, follow after righteousness and faith, peace and charity with all persons, but especially with all our brethren (sisters) who love the Lord with a pure heart.”

We must use God’s Word to purge ourselves. God gave us the Bible guides to guide us day by day. Its words have the power to sanctify us. When Satan tempted Jesus in Matthew 4, He used the Word of God to overcome temptation.

Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart

When we study, hear, or teach God’s Word, His Word sanctifies us to recognize Gods’ truth and power. John 17:17 Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth. We purge out minds by taking our thoughts captive. II Corinthians 10:5 We purge out bad thoughts and replace them with holy and pure thoughts.

I Peter 5:8 tells us that Satan is our great enemy. This verse tells us that he is like a hungry lion walking around looking for victims that he can tear apart. He knows all of our weak points, and he makes himself aware of all our circumstances. He looks for ways to pervert our judgment and to doubt God’s plan and purpose for our lives. Just like a roaring lion, that wants to destroy his prey, Satan wants to destroy our lives and our testimonies. He continuously tries to infiltrate our thoughts with his thoughts. His unending goal is to replace God’s truth with his lies. He knows that if he can control our thoughts, he can control our behavior. Satan wants to fill our minds with negative thoughts about our circumstances and other people. . He infiltrates our minds with doubt and pride. He is a military strategist. He has many schemes to wage spiritual warfare on us. His ultimate plan is to overthrow God, Jesus Christ, and every believer in our churches. He will attack us because he is trying to get at God.

Like Paul, our heart’s desire is to please and obey God, but our flesh is weak, and we find it difficult to resist sin. Ephesians 4:23 and be renewed in the Spirit of your mind.  We must continually  memorize Scripture, listen to Godly preaching, read biographies of great missionaries and great Christians, and listen to godly uplifting music.

When evil or negative thoughts enter our minds, we must replace those thoughts with good and wholesome thoughts.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; … think on these things.

Watch your thoughts because your thoughts become your words.

Watch your words because your words become your actions.

Watch your actions because your actions become your habits.

Watch your habits because your habits become your character.

Watch your character because it becomes your destiny

Our day by day sanctification is the most challenging aspects of our Christian walk. We all have a natural tendency to sin, yet God, in His divine wisdom, gave us the responsibility of working out our own sanctification.

We must use prayer to purge ourselves. Prayer is an important part of our sanctification. Although prayer is hard work, it’s vital.

Dr. Sidlow Baxter said, “I can just imagine Satan gathering all the demons in hell and discussing what they can do to destroy Christians. Satan says,’ Keep them from praying. Because no matter what else they do, it they don’t pray, we can beat them every time. But if they learn how to pray, they’ll beat us every time.’”

No human effort can sanctify, but what a wonderful principle Paul gives us in Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.

It’s Christ’s power in us. Sanctification is God working in and through us. We must obey Christ in everything His Holy Spirit reveals for us to do. When we don’t obey, we quench His spirit.  1 Thessalonians 5:19 Quench not the Spirit