A Study of Theology III – Part 14
A Study of Theology III – Part 14 (Dr. Thomas Figart)
What is sanctification? When does it take place in the believer’s life?
A Study of Theology III – Part 14
Dr. Thomas Figart
A. Introductory: The O.T. word kadash and the N.T. word hagiadzo have the meanings “to set apart,” or “to be holy.” The usage of these words in context determine their meanings. Things can be sanctified, or set apart, such as furniture, Lev. 8:10-11, and persons, Ex. 13:2; even God Himself, Ezek. 38:23; Jn. 17:19. But the idea of separation from sin is based on the fact that God is holy, 1 Pet. 1:16.
B. The threefold work of sanctification
1. Past, or Positional Sanctification
a. Definition: A work of God whereby He sets apart unto holiness and sainthood, the one who believes in Christ, through the offering of the body and blood of Christ, Heb. 10:10-14; Eph. 4:22-24.
b. Characteristics of Positional Sanctification
1). It is wholly a work of God for us, Heb. 10:10.
2). It does not depend upon personal holiness of life, yet it is a perfect holiness, giving us a perfectly holy position before a holy God.
3). It is just as complete for the weakest saint as it is for the strongest, 1 Cor. 1:2; 6:11.
4). It provides a basis for, and an incentive to, a holy life, 1 Pet. 1:2, 15-16.
- Present, or Progressive Sanctification
a. Definition: A work of God the Holy Spirit, through the Word, in the life of the believer, causing an experiential holiness and growth by which the believer is changed gradually into the image of Christ, II Cor. 3:18.
b. Progressive Sanctification depends upon:
1). Knowing: the Word of God, Rom. 6:3, 6, 16.
a). The Word reveals our sin, Jas. 1:23-24; Heb. 4:12-13.
b). The Word cleanses from sin, Eph. 5:26; Jn 15:3. This presupposes confession of sin, 1 Jn. 1:9.
c). The Word transforms us into His image.
(1). Whatever or whoever we look upon with approval will change us.
(2). If we look upon this long enough we tend to become like it.
(3). The change takes place without our realizing it; others may often see this before we do. True humility is self-forgetfulness.
2). Reckoning: our position in Christ, Rom. 6:11.
a). Though the Christian never reaches sinless perfection in this life, he can know victory over sin. This has been made possible through our union with Christ, Col. 2:9-12; Rom. 6:1-10.
b). The Christian life is a series of daily battles; remember, you never win a war in one day, Eph. 6:10-18.
3). Yielding: to the will of God, Rom. 6:13-16, 19.
a). At the time of our salvation we committed our eternal welfare into His hands; why is it so hard to commit lesser problems to His care, Rom. 12:1-2 ?
b). Dedication may occur at any time, in a moment, but Christian growth takes a lot of time, 2 Pet. 3:18.
c). The Christian must expect a relative imperfection within perfection, and vice-versa. We are becoming what we are, Col. 3:9-12. Physically, a child may be perfectly healthy but make many mistakes, while an adult may not make childish mistakes, but be very unhealthy. So it is spiritually; there is spiritual health and spiritual maturity, but these are not the same!
- Future, or Final Sanctification
a. Definition: The work of God when He sets apart the believer unto complete holiness and perfection in heaven, 1 Jn. 3:1-3.
b. The time: At the resurrection and rapture of the Church, 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 5:23.
c. The results.
1). A complete separation from sin, 1 Cor. 13:10.
2). A conforming to His image, Rom. 8:29.
3). A glorious body like His, Phil. 3:20-21.
4). A complete satisfaction, Ps. 17:15.