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Sanctification: Have We Been or Will We Be?

Chapter 14
Sanctification: Have We Been or Will We Be?
By Daniel LeEarl Hall


Webster's dictionary says that sanctification means "to set aside for a special purpose, especially a sacred one; to make holy, pure, righteous, free from sin." There are slightly differing viewpoints in the Christian church in regard to sanctification.

Most Christians agree that we have already been made holy and righteous, that the righteousness of Christ has been imputed to us.


1. 1 Corinthians 1 :2: "To the church of God... to those who al1t sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints."

2. 1 Corinthians 6:11: "And such were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified. but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. "

3. Hebrews 10:10: "By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all."

But, what has been sanctified? If we have received Christ, our spirit has been made alive, has been "reborn by an incorruptible seed. " (1 Peter 1 :23) The "new creation" in Christ is holy, righteous, incorruptible, sanctified (set aside for a holy purpose), and can not sin! (2 Cor. 5;17; 1John 3:9) .


Is our mind, heart, and soul holy, righteous, incorruptible sanctified, completely cleansed for God's holy purpose? Not exactly. Mind, heart, and soul are terms we use to identify our mental comprehension, our moral conscience, personality, and center of motivation. Our mind, heart, and soul are being sanctified through their renewal and transformation.

Paul asked: "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Heb. 9:14) "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Rom.12:2)

Our conscience is our moral comprehension or awareness, our ethical analysis of matters. God is cleansing it from dead flesh works to serving Him. God is changing our mind, which was in accord with our flesh, to be in accord with our now alive and incorruptible spirit. Paul said, We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. " (2Cor. 3: 17,18)

How about our flesh, the outer man? The old flesh-man is not sanctified, for he is dead. What about our temporary dwelling place, our mortal bodies? God has imputed righteousness to our body so He can dwell in it and make it a temple to His glory. (1 Cor.3: 16, 17) He has imputed righteousness, holiness, and sanctification to our bodies to serve as His temple, just as He imputed righteousness to Abraham. (Rom. 4:22-24) But, our corruptible bodies will be transformed, be sanctified in actual reality, and made incorruptible at our resurrection. (1 Cor. 15:53)

Paul affirmed, "The Lord Jesus Christ who will transform our lowly body that may be conformed to His glorious body." (Phil. 3:21)


Some feel that since there is a process of sanctification still going on in us, we must make a diligent effort to be holy and righteous. The danger here is that when a Christian feels he must do something to effect his sanctification, he finds himself on a tread-mill of flesh-works and performance in an attempt to accomplish his sanctification. If we did anything towards our own sanctification, that would be self-sanctification, self-righteousness.

When we say, "We gotta, we need to, we have to, or we must," the problem is that. . . we can't. Attempting to follow external rules, either self-imposed or from God, does not and cannot, sanctify us.

So, who or what is involved in sanctification?

1. God - "To those who are sanctified by God the Father." (Jude 1)

2. Jesus -"To those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus." (1 Cor.1 :2)

3. The Holy Spirit - "Elect... in sanctification of the Spirit." (1 Peter 1 :2)

4. Truth -"Sanctify them by truth; Your Word is truth." (John 17:17

5. Faith -"Those...who are sanctified by faith in Me." (Acts 26:18)

God is the only One who accomplishes sanctification. Some will respond that we must make a conscious effort to desist from sin and resist bad habits, and in that way we contribute to our sanctification. WRONG! Resisting sin and desisting from it are a major part of the life of a Christian, but resisting sin does not, in itself, change our mind or heart one iota! We may spare the flesh from the results of sin we resist, but that does not sanctify our mind or heart. All we do is temporarily put off sin, while still maintaining wrong desires.

"He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil. 1 :6) Only God can change our heart, our mind, our soul! Only God can change us! Only God can sanctify us!

Most of what we do hinders God's wonderful work which He is doing within us. There is absolutely nothing we can do to contribute towards our sanctification, except to surrender to our God and Lord. Yes, reading the Word and filling our minds with God's truth is a part of that surrender.

Paul said to meditate on the things which are true, noble, pure, and virtuous. (Phil. 4:8) Simply reading the Word doesn't necessarily change us, but it places us in the proper mode for God to do His sanctifying work and it feeds our minds on things of the Spirit instead of things of the flesh.

At 1 Corinthians 3:3, Paul stated that some of the Corinthian Christians were "carnal." Carnal means fleshly, worldly. It is obvious that Paul was not talking to their reborn spirit, which wasn't carnal in any sense. Was he talking to their flesh nature, telling their flesh that it was flesh? Of course not. He was speaking to their minds, their hearts. Their thinking was still in accord with the flesh, the world, and they were looking to and being guided by their flesh, instead of their newly alive spirit.

All of Paul's extensive counsel in regard to our lives in this flesh is not directed at our flesh, but at our minds, to renew and transform our minds and hearts to follow the leading of our spirit. If Paul was outlining a moral code of ethics or behavior standards which our flesh had to live up to, he would be in complete contradiction of himself, since he clearly explained that it is not by works, but by grace.

Paul next told the Corinthians that they were "behaving like mere men." We, who are in Christ, are not mere men or women! We who are reborn by the Holy Spirit should not be behaving like "mere men. "

God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit must transform our minds, teaching us who we are in Christ, convincing us of the absurdity of living like the rest of the world, now that we are who we are, in Christ! Resisting sin or desisting from sin does not make us who we are. We resist and desist because of who we are.

We need to consider the viewpoint of God. Our minds and hearts are being sanctified by God, but, He sees us complete in His Son and reigning with Him in heaven. (Eph. 2:6) When God sealed us with the Holy Spirit, that was a guarantee that He would finish the work He started. (Eph. 1:13; Phil. 1:6)

Some consider that our righteousness and sanctification are complete because God "calls things that are not, as though they are. " (Rom.4:17) God considered the payment for sin made by Jesus as already completed before the founding of the world because it was absolute; it was guaranteed by Him. (1 Peter 1 :19, 20)
In a sense, God has imputed everything to us, even the things which are not yet accomplished in the physical realm.

Paul's prayer in First Thessalonians 5:23 is assured to us who believe. He said, "May the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. "

Any way you wish to view sanctification, we can leave it with God, for it does not involve a conscious effort on our part. In spite of us, GOD will finish the miraculous work that He began. .


When others share problems with us, our natural reaction is to fix it or to tell them how to fix it. Most do not want to hear how to fix their problems and they don't want us to fix them. All they really want is a hearing ear and some symp'athy and empathy.

In counseling ministry the majority of discussions involve problems of our loved ones; mates, children, grandchildren, etc. We are rightly concemed with their circumstances and difficulties. But, the fact is that we can't fix them. I hear myself saying that rather frequently.

While we can provide advice and counsel them in love, we don't want to judge or condemn them. The best thing we can do is pray for them, love them, and share Christ if the opportunity affords itself. Even Christ didn't come into the world to judge or condemn it, but to save it! (John 3:17)

If there are changes to be made in the lives of our loved ones, only God can accomplish such changes; only God can sanctify them just as only God can sanctify us. He is faithful and He will do it. What a load it takes off our shoulders once we learn this vital truth.

A few years ago, while traveling through the Canadian wilderness, I was praying and meditating, asking for some answers. Suddenly, from deep within I had the overwhelming urge to repeat the words of the Nursery Rhyme,

"Humpty Dumpty."
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the King's horses and all the King's men Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again.

I kept repeating it over and over again. It made no sense at first. Then I began to realize the deep meaning. I indeed had a great fall; my life was shattered, and I was trying to put all of the pieces back together; but it wasn't working. God was telling me that it was not to be; at least not by my strength and wisdom. If all the King's horses, which represents great strength, couldn't do it; and all the King's men, which represents great wisdom, couldn't do it, then I certainly wasn't able to fix it.

Notably absent is the King's ability to make everything right. Not only is He the only one who can, He does what we cannot do. The poem should read like this:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the King's horses and all the King's men Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again But the King can, so I'm told
And He will make the new, better than the old

Not only is it a fact of life that we cannot fix our loved ones, we can't even fix ourselves! So, fix-it-men and fix-it women everywhere, repent! Listen to them, love them, share the love of Christ with them, pray for them, and let God, the Great Renovator, fix them. And, when God fixes us, we are fixed!

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