What Does Sanctification Mean?
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Sanctification is the result of having the Holy Spirit indwelling in the believer. It can only happen after a sinner has repented of their sin and accepted the love and offer of forgiveness from Jesus Christ.
The definition of sanctify is, “to make holy; set apart as sacred; consecrate; to purify or free from sin; to impart religious sanction to; render legitimate or binding; to entitle to reverence or respect; to make productive of or conducive to spiritual blessing.” In the Christian faith, this process of being made holy is the internal transformation of becoming more like Jesus.
As God incarnate, made human, Jesus Christ lived a perfect life, completely aligned with the will of the Father. All other people, by contrast, were born into sin, and do not know how to live perfectly in the will of God. Even believers, who have been saved from living under the condemnation and judgment brought on by sinful thoughts and actions, still face temptations, make mistakes, and struggle with the sinful part of their natures. To shape each individual to be less earthly and more heavenly, the Holy Spirit engages in a process of conviction and guidance. Over time, if the believer is willing to be molded, that process will change the person from the inside out.
The New Testament has a great deal to say about sanctification. These verses include, but are not limited to:
2 Timothy 2:21 - “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”
1 Corinthians 6:11 - “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
Romans 6:6 - “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”
Philippians 1:6 - “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Hebrews 12:10 - “For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.”
John 15:1-4 - “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
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