Calendar

WHAT IS SANCTIFICATION?

MAR 21

1 Thessalonians 5:23
Memorise Romans 12:1-2
“…be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Do words like “holy” and “sanctification” sound foreign to you? They do not have to be! They come from the same root words (“sanctus” is a Latin word meaning “holy”). Many people have the impression that to be sanctified (meaning to be holy) means that you must go around looking solemn the whole day long, and saying no to the things that young people like to do like having a good basketball game or outing, or simply good humour. Is that true holiness? We should rather think of sanctification as being “set apart”. This means that, as children of God, we should not be “conformed to this world”, but “transformed by the renewing of your mind”.

There are two aspects of sanctification taught in the Scriptures. One is positional sanctification. The other is practical or progressive sanctification. In positional sanctification, God sets us apart by Himself, to Himself, and for Himself. When that happens, our position before God is deemed to be one of perfect righteousness, for He does not judge us for our sins, but sees the righteousness of Christ. All this takes place instantly when a person is saved by the grace of God. Practical sanctification is simply the process of us living out in practice what God has given to us positionally in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a lifelong struggle against sin, as we strive to obey the Lord in all things, and to conform to the image of Christ. Yet we know that it is not by our own efforts, but it is God himself who will “sanctify you wholly” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). He is the one who will help us perfect or complete our sanctification, such that we can stand sanctified and holy at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is done through the work of the Holy Spirit in every believer’s life, for he will restrain, correct and guide us so that we would slowly and gradually become more like Christ.

To remind ourselves of our status as saints that are set apart, we would do well to memorise Romans 12:1-2. In the earlier chapters of Romans, Paul explained the wonderful plan of God – justification, sanctification, assurance of salvation, and glorification. Then he said, “by the mercies of God” – these mercies are His loving acts of salvation and daily blessing for us. Do you feel God’s mercy for you? If you do, then do you love Him in return? If you do, then “sanctification” comes naturally! If you love Him, you would want to identify with Him, think and act like His child, and separate yourself from the sins of those who do not know Him.

Thought: Christians are “strangers and pilgrims” on this earth!
Prayer: Lord, may I, by my everyday conduct, be a worthy witness to Your love.