What does it mean to be sanctified?

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The One Degree Podcast



Digital library of theological trainings with guided notes

Exegetical Bible reading plans and studies with daily videos going deeper

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What’s up One Degree fam?! In this episode, we are going to be talking about sanctification. What does it mean and how do we practice it?

We often times can use “Christianese” words without exactly knowing what they mean. So, today we’re gonna break down sanctification.

Simple Descriptions

First, here are a lot of fun little one-liners to describe sanctification:

  • “Becoming in practice what God has already declared you to be in truth.”
  • “Looking more and more like Jesus” 
  • “God whittles away our flesh to reveal the new creation He has made us into.”
  • “The action of making or declaring something holy” (Dictionary) 

But what do these sentences even mean? This is what we’re going to briefly break down in this episode.

Quick Break Down

Now, let’s break this down quickly (for more see our lesson on Soteriology in the Theologian Haus).

  • We as humans are sinners and deserving of Hell. 
  • God sent His Son, Jesus, to live the perfect life we could not live, die the death we deserved, and rise from the dead. 
  • Whoever believes in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus will be saved. 
  • Now, at the moment one places their trust in Jesus, they are justified by God
    • AKA: they are declared righteous, they are declared holy, they are declared innocent. They are no longer going to Hell. 
    • I (Nathaniel) love the courtroom scene. We are standing before God, knowing we are guilty. And, God states that we are guilty and deserve punishment. But, then he instead takes the punishment upon himself and declares us officially innocent. This is what it means to be justified by God.

Are we actually righteous, even though we are declared righteous? No. 

Sanctification is the process of becoming in practice what God has declared us to be in truth.

Therefore, slowly, throughout our lives, we will begin to look more and more like Jesus, we look like a new creation. 

Key Verses on Sanctification

Now, let’s look at some of the key verses regarding sanctification.

Hebrews 10:12-14 says “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”

This is talking about the difference between the old levitical sacrifices and Christ’s offering for sins. With His singular life, death, and resurrection Jesus has perfected for all time (AKA: declared righteous) those who are being sanctified. 

Romans 6:22 says “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.”

We are now obedient to God as people who have been set free by Christ. The fruit of this is sanctification. 

1 Thessalonians 5:23 says “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

God is the one who works to cleanse us of sin and sanctify us. 

Questions about Sanctification

Now that we have a foundation for our understanding of sanctification, let’s talk about three big questions that often come up.

1) Do we sanctify ourselves or does God sanctify us?

It is ultimately God who works in us to renew us and sanctify us. However, we partner with the Holy Spirit in this process. We are able to resist the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18 tells us to be filled with the Spirit. I would say that means allowing the Spirit to work within us.) 

It’s kind of like the relationship between human responsibility and God’s sovereignty. There is a relationship there that will remain somewhat mysterious. However, we must remember God works in us to sanctify us. But, we can play our part to be filled with the Spirit. 

One of my favorite analogies comes from a former pastor of ours. Think about a fire. Every time we engage in the spiritual disciplines, it is like stacking logs in a fireplace. Ultimately God lights the fire, and He is the one who changes us. 

2) Will we be fully sanctified in this life?

Some people believe we can reach a state of perfection in this life (Wesleyan Arminians). They would say that we can get to the point where we no longer sin.  

But, passages like 1 John 1, make us think that on this side of heaven, we are unable to reach full sanctification. We can’t reach that full perfection.

3) What are some practical steps to engage in sanctification?

We need to remember that God is ultimately the one who transforms us. 

With that being said, there are things we can do to “stack logs in the fireplace”. 

James 4:7-10: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”

There are action words in that passage, which tells us that we have a part to play!

Think of that Romans 6 passage we discussed earlier about obedience leading to sanctification. None of these things earn your salvation, but they are an active way to live out your faith.

Engage in the spiritual disciplines: prayer, Bible intake, fasting, etc… 

Seek accountability: Have people hold you accountable. Confess your sins to others. Things that are hindering your relationship with the Lord will be revealed. Check out our episode on accountability for more discussion on this!

One Degree Shift

Draw near to God, and He will draw you even closer. What does it look like for you to actively desire and pursue sanctification? 

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