Sanctification: Union with Jesus by D Wadsworth

Sanctification is said to be past, present, and future.
Discuss, including the idea of “union with Christ.”

Sanctification—the act and process whereby the believer’s life is made holy. “. . .that hallowing of the Christian believer by which he is freed from sin and enabled to realize the will of God in his life” (H. F. Rall, “Sanctification,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. IV, p. 2682).

Sanctification has a commencement date and a completion date; therefore, it must have a past, present, and future tense. ―Sanctification has a definite beginning at regeneration.. Sanctification increases throughout life. Sanctification is completed at death (for our souls) and when the Lord returns (for our bodies). It can, then be said we were sanctified when quickened and indwelt by the Holy Spirit; after which we received a new nature which changed our desires and illuminated our minds.( 1Cor 6:11; Eph 2:1-6; 2Pe 1:4) The Greek expression for ―sanctified‖ in Acts 20:32 is ―a perfect passive participle that expresses both a completed past activity (they were sanctified) and a continuing result (they continue to experience the sanctifying influence of that past action).(Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, chapter 38, pg 747). Our sanctification is a progressive process, unlike justification, whereby each passing day slips further into the past while the day of our perfection, at death, slips ever closer to the present. Justification is a legal transaction/sanctification is a personal condition; Justification happens once/sanctification is continual; Justification is done for us/sanctification is done with us; Justification is complete/sanctification is gradual; Justification is identical for all/sanctification varies with all. ―The orthodox doctrine is that the Holy Spirit, by his constant influences upon the whole soul in all its capabilities, through the instrumentality of the truth, nourishes, exercises, and develops those holy principles, and dispositions which he implanted in the new birth, until by a constant progress all sinful dispositions being mortified and all holy temperaments being fully matured, the subject of this grace is brought immediately upon death to the measure of the stature of perfect manhood in Christ(A. A. Hodge, Outlines of Theology, chapter XXXV, pg 521). What blessed joy in knowing what God has begun He will finish; knowing we will grow increasingly in Christ likeness thereby tasting ever more of the fruit of the Spirit and the glory to come. Phil 1:6; Gal 5:22-23

However, it must be remembered Jesus said ―I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing(John 15:5). Our justification ―proceeds on the ground of our federal union with Christ by faith, which is the basis of that vital and spiritual union of the soul with him from whom our sanctification flows. The fruits of sanctification are good works but for an action to be good it ―must have its origin in a holy principle in the heart, and must be conformed to the law of God.. Truly good works can be produced only by a heart in living union with Christ: As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can except if you abide in me.‘ John 15:4. We can never say we are completely free of sin while in the body but neither can we say sin any longer has power over us while the sap of the vine runs thru our veins; we are neither ruled nor dominated by sin any longer (Romans 6:11-22). While sanctification is a grace, as free moral agents it is still a duty. ―The whole process of sanctification consists in the development and confirmation of the new principle of spiritual life implanted in the soul in regeneration, conducted by the Holy Spirit in perfect conformity to, and through the operation of the laws of habits of action natural to the soul as an intelligent, moral and free agent. Paul says ―work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure Peter says ―give diligence to make your calling and election sure. The Westminster Divines say ―They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them, the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified; and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.―( Phil 2:12-13; 2Pe 1:10; Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 13). In sanctification we find: we have been saved from the penalty of sin, we will be saved from the presence of sin, and we are being saved from the power of sin.


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