Sanctification

img_2327“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate” (Heb. 13:12). Just what is the meaning of “sanctification”?

What does it mean that Jesus “suffered without the gate” that He might sanctify the people with His own blood?

The Greek word for sanctification— hagiadzoo—means to “take the world out.” The world, often referred to in religious terms, is characterized in the individual as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Springing from these worldly attributes come all sorts of sins—too many to even attempt to catalogue. They spring forth from the root of sin—that old nature that is the enemy of God and all goodness and holiness. It is that which put fallen man in his deplorable state—living in depravity, defeated by inbred, indwelling and original sin. It is from this condition that a person’s heart must be cleansed.

Dwelling on the theme of man’s unsanctified state tends to put one in a depressed and miserable state of mind. And, that is where Satan would like to keep you, because if he can keep you in a defeated state of mind, you will never be very strong spiritually, and will in all probability lapse back into sin.

There is a brighter and more glorious picture to view. There is victory through the blood of Christ. Sanctification puts one in a state of holiness before God. Sanctification and holiness are synonymous in meaning. When a person is sanctified, he is a holy person. He is free from inbred sin and as long as he allows the divine nature to control him and remain in the cleansing stream of the blood of Christ, he does not commit sins. There is no sin principle there to generate it. There will be those who will say, then, that when a person is sanctified, there is no more chance that he will ever be lost; he is perfect and cannot sin. But, beware my friend, this is a faulty assumption, and one which has thrown many believers who embraced the assumption to their own spiritual undoing. I have just said that a sanctified person does not sin, because there is no sin principle in him; and, as long as he remains in this condition, he is sinless—no inbred sin— no committed sins.

Let us not forget that God created man with a determinate will so that he might choose to do what his mind may conceive. There is always the possibility of apostasy—the willful turning away from, and rejecting God. Even though there is no evil principle within, there is always the possibility that the pressures, persuasions and temptations from without would assert themselves in such a way that the person would turn to them in a time of weakness, become apostate, and fall from his state of sinlessness before God. The person who finds himself in this condition must be restored by returning to the source of grace from whom he received pardon and cleansing. Jesus is our advocate before the Father and stands ready to forgive and restore the sinner to a place of justification before God. And, thank God, there is no probationary period!

He is ready and willing to restore the one who turns to him in repentance and acceptance of His grace. Sanctification is sometimes confused with the progressive work of growing in grace. This is lamentable because the person who embraces the belief of progressive sanctification never knows the joy of complete victory over the root of sin in his life. I have never seen a person who believes in progressive sanctification who ever claimed the experience of victory over inbred sin. The assumption here is that the process of cleansing in sanctification grows and grows until it crowds out the sin principle or inbred sin. That is like believing the corn will grow the weeds out of your field, or that time alone will take care of air and water pollution. No, my friend, the only answer to the sin problem is complete eradication and crucifixion of the Adamic nature. In Romans 6:6, Paul states, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” When anything is crucified it is dead, and if dead, there is no life in it. In effect, it does not exist.

That situation could never be experienced in a progressive kind of sanctification.

Paul would never have used the terms “crucified” and “destroyed” if he had not meant the complete eradication of the “old man”—the Adamic nature.

Growth in grace is the natural result of daily living as a Christian. Growth is a natural process in nature as well as in the spiritual, but sanctification is a supernatural process by which the Holy Ghost cleanses the heart of the root of sin definitely and instantaneously. When this work is complete, then, and only then, is the believer really prepared to effectively grow in grace. The hindrances and the inhibitions have been removed and the field has been prepared for unlimited growth, at the rate at which the believer will allow the Spirit to work in his life. Paul says in Romans 6:11, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

From his own experience, Paul again states in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Here Paul defines the complete crucifixion. Not only is the Adamic nature crucified, but his own natural will is completely yielded to God.

Too many of us stop short of this complete yieldness. The old nature may be dead within us, but we are not able to say with the apostle Paul, “nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” It is the life that is completely yielded to Christ and completely abandoned to His will that is most effective. This work implies a quick and complete operation of grace.

John Wesley wrote, “lf you are seeking gradual sanctification, you may know you are wrong because you are seeking it by works—that is Romanism. If you have to wait, it is not for God but for yourself to work. So, you see you are wrong. You get all the blessings from God—not by works, but by faith alone. Hence you don’t have to wait, for God wants to give it to you now.” And, he quotes 1 Thessalonians 4:3, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.”

When the “old man” is taken out of your heart, he doesn’t come out in pieces. It is either all or nothing; he is either all out or he is still in there. By an act of the will he may be suppressed, but he is still in there. He may be subdued, but he will eventually revive and take over again. To be “dead unto sin” and to be “free from sin” is to have him out altogether.

By: Robert J. Pruitt
image credit: http://sanctifiedwoman.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/img_2327.jpg
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