I tend to stay away from controversy, at least when writing my blog. It’s not that I’m afraid to deal with the tough issues, I do in my personal life, I just don’t want to deal with the inevitable argument the ensues. Long ago Daddy told me to avoid useless arguments because they are a total waste of time and effort. Now I do welcome an honest and respectful dialogue where both parties are honestly seeking the truth, that however is not how it normally occurs. Usually I get the person that believes they know the truth and so they are going to prove it to me and everyone else. They are going to prove to all that they are right and I am wrong. I don’t have any problem with people showing me I’m wrong, I want to know if I’m wrong, but not in an argumentative way. There is a way to show someone they are in error and it is done through relationship and in humility. Rarely, and I mean rarely is it o.k. to correct someone you don’t know personally, especially in a public forum. With that being said, let’s dive into controversy.
Sanctification is a really big topic within the circles I travel and I’ve seen the beautiful transformation that occurs when you understand the truth about it and in contrast I’ve seen the destruction and heartache that can occur when it’s taught incorrectly. I’ve seen so much frustration lately from people that it has prompted me to write and address what I believe to be the truth, God’s heart on the matter.
When exploring a polarizing issue like this it is important to look for the point of view that exalt’s or lifts up Jesus. In John 12:32 Jesus says that if He is lifted up He will draw all to himself. Now I realize that in this passage the word ‘peoples’ is not in the original and was put in by the translators; Jesus was referring to judgement and not people, but the principle is still the same. If you look for the explanation of scripture the exalts or lifts up Jesus and not man, then you’ve most likely found the right explanation. So that is how we will handle the topic of sanctification.
Sanctification (hagiasmós)-Means to become holy, set apart, sanctification, holiness, consecration.
Now because people see that this is a process, most look at the work and focus on it. We tend to look at the wrong, the outward actions, and focus on it, this is a result of the fall, and not the way we are intended to handle things, sanctification is no different. Jesus stated in John 8 that the reason the Pharisees could not see the truth was because they were looking according to the flesh and not by faith. They looked at Abrahams obedience and believed that was what pleased God when the reality was that it was the faith that pleased God. Yes, faith brought obedience but the focus is on the belief not the actions. In 2 Corinthians it says that we should not see any man or make any judgements about someone based on their actions, or another way to say it is we are to judge no man according to the flesh. If we do we end up being in the same condition as the Pharisees. We are to see every man by faith in what Jesus accomplished on the cross.
Many will point to Hebrews 10:14 as proof that sanctification is a process because many translations say that by one sacrifice He has perfected those who are being sanctified. First of all the word being was added by the translators and the verse should read that by one sacrifice He has perfected for all time those sanctified. It never has been a process of doing but is a reality of being. Jesus has perfected you through the finished work of the cross, it’s a one time deal that is good forever!
1 Corinthians 1:30
But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—
Jesus is our sanctification, it’s not about what we do but about what He has already done. I can hear many say yeah, but look at the way they are acting or look at the bondage that believer is in, they aren’t sanctified or holy. Yes they are, you are doing what Jesus told us not to do, you are looking at the flesh and not exhalting what Jesus has done. You have to see them as the Father sees them, that is as holy, sanctified sons of God! Just because they aren’t acting sanctified doesn’t mean they aren’t. We are to be like Jesus and judge no man, but exalt them to be who He has already created them to be. We are to see the truth in them and call it forth. When they can see themselves for who Christ has made them, then they will begin to emulate the image they see. It’s not in the acting right that makes you sanctified or holy, it’s knowing that you are already sanctified and holy that creates proper thoughts and action. To spend time focusing on the spots and blemishes is to deny that Jesus has cleansed you, but to see yourself without spot or blemish is to exalt Jesus and empower you to live the life as the person God has always known you to be.
In Proverbs it says that as a man thinks in his heart so is he. Until you can see yourself without spot or blemish, until you can see yourself holy and sanctified you will not live an overcomer life. Jesus said in John 8 that if you do not believe that He is the Christ you will die in your sins. What He is saying is that if you do not acknowledge or see everything that He did on the cross you will be in bondage to the part you can’t see. If you don’t believe that He died for your healing then you will not see healing manifest in your flesh; likewise, if you can’t see that He is your sanctification then you will remain in bondage to the sin that can’t seem to get free from.