“And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11 NKJV).

 

The ultimate end of God’s redemption plan for mankind is total deliverance from the power of sin, from the penalty of sin, and from the presence of sin.

The Lord Jesus Christ did not offer Himself as the atoning sacrifice for our sins on the cross merely for our sins to be forgiven, or for us to escape the penalty of sin here, but also for us to be eternally set apart from the presence of sin.

The Scripture clearly reveals that sanctification is God’s will for all His children. God wants you to be set apart from sin unto Him.

1 Thessalonians 4:

 1 Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God;

 2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality. (NKJV).

1 Thessalonians 4:

 7 For God called us not for uncleanness, but in sanctification. (ASV).

Sanctification is both a spiritual state and process. It is an act of grace by which a person justified by faith in the person and redemptive work of Jesus Christ is separated from sin and the world unto God.

Simply put, sanctification is a state of holiness, or separation unto God. By faith in Christ, the born-again believers have not only been forgiven or justified, but we have also been sanctified or made holy unto God in Christ Jesus.

In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul refers to the believers as those who are sanctified in Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:

 1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

 2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: (NKJV).

1 Corinthians 6:

 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (NKJV).

However, sanctification is not just a spiritual state of holiness or separation unto God; it is also the process of conforming increasingly to the image or likeness of Christ. It is growing steadily in all things into Christ (Rom. 8:29, Eph. 4:13).

The Scripture clearly reveals that it is God’s ultimate desire, expectation and purpose for every believer to grow up “to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 4:13 NKJV). That is, to “grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.” (Eph. 4:15 NKJV).

Paul further states this truth.

Romans 8:

 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (NKJV).

It is the Holy Spirit who purifies, sanctifies, changes or transforms the believers who yield and submit to His dealings progressively or increasingly to the likeness of Christ using primarily the truths of God’s Word (Rom. 15:16).

Jesus reveals this truth to His disciples.

John 15:

 1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

 2 “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

 3 “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. (NKJV).

He further revealed this truth in His prayer for His disciples.

John 17:

 17 “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

 18 “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.

 19 “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. (NKJV).

You are purified, washed, cleansed or sanctified by the Holy Spirit as you continually imbibe, meditate upon, and obey the teaching of Jesus Christ.

Sanctification has three major aspects or facets: positional or instantaneous sanctification, progressive or practical sanctification, and ultimate sanctification or glorification.

In this piece we shall focus primarily on positional or instantaneous sanctification of the believers and the other two facets will be discussed later.

What is positional or instantaneous sanctification?

Simply put, positional or instantaneous sanctification is the state of separation from sin and its defilement and from the world and its corruption unto God.

The new creation in Christ is sanctified, made holy, or set apart from sin and the world unto God instantly at the point of spiritual regeneration or new birth.

When a sinner puts his faith in the person of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice, confessing Christ Jesus as his personal Lord and Saviour; he is immediately forgiven, washed, justified, sanctified, made holy or set apart from sin unto God.

The Scripture clearly establishes this truth.

1 Corinthians 6:

 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (NKJV).

Hebrews 10:

 5 Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me.

 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure.

 7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come–In the volume of the book it is written of Me–To do Your will, O God.'”

 8 Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law),

 9 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second.

 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (NKJV).

Jude 1:

 1 Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:

 2 Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. (NKJV).

Sadly, many born-again believers today are still totally ignorant of the truth of their positional sanctification at the instance of the new birth. This is the primary cause of the constant failure and frustration being experienced by many believers today, who are striving hard but in vain to be holy by their personal efforts, performances, or good works.

It is not only difficult but absolutely impossible to walk in holiness if you don’t first know, admit, recognize, believe, receive, internalize, and walk in the gospel truth that by faith in Christ you have been forgiven, justified and sanctified or made holy unto God.

You are born again as a new and holy creation in Christ, set apart from sin unto God. This is apart from your personal effort, performance or good works. It is purely an act of grace, it is God’s gift; no human work or effort is required. You are to simply receive it by faith.

The Scripture testifies to this truth.

1 Peter 2:

 9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (NKJV).

1 Corinthians 1:

 1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

 2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: (NKJV).

It is only those who have been sanctified, made holy, or set apart unto God by faith in Christ who can actually live a holy life or walk in holiness.

Therefore, it is only the believers who acknowledge, admit, understand or believe that they have been sanctified or made holy unto God who can actually live a holy life or walk in holiness.

This is a pivotal truth!

Living a holy life becomes easy when you quit striving to be holy in your own wisdom, strength, or effort, but simply acknowledge, admit, believe and receive the truth of your sanctification or holiness by faith alone in the person and the finished work of Jesus Christ.

As a new creation, your spiritual state of being, status or condition has been totally and eternally changed. You are no longer a wretched sinner, but you are now a gracious saint.

You are no longer your old self, but you are now a new self in Christ. You are no longer an unrighteous person, but you are now the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).

If you are truly born again by faith alone in the person and finished work of Jesus, God no longer see, regard or deal with you as a poor, wretched or depraved sinner, but as one who is holy, blameless and above reproach in His sight.

Paul aptly states this truth in his epistle to the Colossians.

Colossians 1:

 21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled

 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight– (NKJV).

This is how you also should begin to see, regard and deal with yourself. This is the basic secret of walking in holiness!

The Scripture refers to the believers as “those who have been made holy in Christ Jesus, saints by the selection of God, with all those who in every place give honour to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.” (1 Cor. 1:2 BBE).

It is the devil who still wants you to continue to see yourself in your former sinful and depraved condition. This is the only way he can keep you in bondage of sin. If you continue to see yourself as a sinner, as an unrighteous or unholy person, you will continue to think, speak, live or act as one.

Beloved, at the new birth, the Holy Spirit has plucked you out of Adam, the sinful and depraved stock, and washed you in the blood of Jesus and then engrafted you into Christ, the holy and righteous stock.

Therefore, it is stark unbelief, despise or rejection of the work of Holy Spirit for you to continue to see and call yourself a sinner, an unrighteous or unholy person, or to continue to think, speak, live, walk or act as one.

You are no longer sinful and depraved; so, stop thinking, speaking, walking, living or behaving as though you are.

The Scripture said concerning you, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor. 6:11 NKJV). Hallelujah!

As a result of your spiritual engrafting into Christ or your spiritual union with Christ by the operation of the Holy Spirit, you now possess the divine and holy nature, life and Spirit of Christ. (2 Pet. 1:4, 1 John 3:9, 5:12, Rom. 8:9).

Therefore, as a branch in Christ you have been justified, washed, sanctified, made holy and set apart from sin unto God; “because as He is, so are we in this world.” and “if the root is holy, so are the branches.”  (1 John 4:17, Rom. 11:16 NKJV).

This is positional or instantaneous sanctification!

It is yours by your union with Christ and it happens instantly at the new birth by the operation of the Holy Spirit.

However, the process of growing up in all things into Christ or becoming fully conformed to the likeness of Christ in your thinking, character, attitude or conduct is far from being completed.

This is why the Scripture states that the saints are still being sanctified.

Hebrews 2:

 10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,

 12 saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” (NKJV).

Hebrews 10:

 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. (NKJV).

What then is progressive or practical sanctification?

Find out in the next piece!

 

Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for helping me to know and understand today the truth that I have been justified, washed and sanctified in Christ by Your Spirit instantly at the new birth. My Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me to continue to walk in the truth of my new spiritual state, condition and identity as a saint in Christ, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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