Christ is our Sanctification
“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” 1Cor 1:30-31.
An individual wrote me a while back with e-mail, interested in what I thought about sanctification. I told him what the apostle here has just declare “Christ is our sanctification” not the law.
Just as the law of God never once justified anyone under it, saved or unsaved, spiritual or not, neither does the law sanctify anyone under it, saved nor unsaved, spiritual or not.
To be holy, to be set apart, to act holy and be holy, is a work of God Himself. He personally makes His people holy.
“Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.” Ex 31:13.
Yet this man thought to correct what was to him some mystical charismatic jargon I was proposing, by saying that Christ Himself is the believers sanctification.
There is a mystery to this grace of sanctification I admit. How an infinite God who’s being and power encompasses this universe could so condescend to dwell in the heart of an elect sinner to sanctify and consecrate it to himself, I DON'T KNOW! But this I do know, that it is clearly revealed in Holy Scripture as a concrete truth for the joy and rejoicing of those truly in Christ. Furthermore it is a saving truth revealed in me, by His Spirit through His word.
There are three glorious aspects to the believer’s sanctification to be kept in mind.
(1) Positional (2) Personal (3) Perfect
Positional sanctification is underscored by the term IN CHRIST. That is God the father chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. That's sanctification. Election IS an act of sanctification. See Eph 1:4-6, Heb 10:10, Heb 10:14, and Jude 1:1.
It is this act of sanctification on the Fathers part that all believers MUST take comfort in, for it promises an infallible accomplishment of perfect redemption for all interested parties. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” Phil 1:6. God can not lie!
Personal sanctification: There is that time when the elect sinner will come to know this love of God, having been chosen in Christ, when Christ becomes revealed in them. You see IN CHRIST is positional. Christ IN US is personal.
When you read of the Spirit of Christ indwelling the believer, there you have it, CHRIST IS their sanctification, personally by His Spirit dwelling in them making them holy objects of His grace. “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Gal 2:19-20. (Christ liveth in me?) The second person of the blessed Trinity? How could this be? And why? To be your sanctification! See 2Thes 2:13, John 14:16, and 17:23.
Sanctification is not something YOU perform. It is not the efforts of the flesh, the will or mental persuasion. YOU HAVE NO PERSONAL HOLINESS. All we do is full of sin. All Christ does is Holy. It is therefore necessary for Him to abide in us to accomplish in us what may indeed be accepted of His Father. After all “it must be perfect”.
This, the apostle John understood clearly. “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” 1John 3:9. This is a reference to Christ the holy seed in the believer, to do what is only good. Yet!
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1John1:9. We who believe and understand the grace wherein we stand, confess that in ourselves WE ARE SINNERS. In Christ alone, we are righteous and holy. We have no personal Holiness!
“Christ will make His people holy, and put His Spirit within them to change them and to work upon their spirits. But this is not a condition required to partake of Christ. Christ Himself gives himself: And then He bestows these things when He is given” (MR.Crisp).
The apostles understood this. The early gospel preachers understood this. Why in our generation does the professing Calvinist not understand this?
When you speak of sanctification or holiness, child of God, poor sinner, object of free Sovereign Grace, take no comfort in your doings. Take no refuge in your apparent progress in growth. Nothing but blind pride can come of it, nothing but the odor of a Pharisee and the aroma of a legalist. Apart from the distinct gift of God’s Grace in Christ you are NOTHING!
OUR ONLY HOPE for GLORY, is CHRIST IN US. “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” Col 1:27. He is our sanctification!
Perfect Santification: Because the Father chose us in Christ before the world began, and because in time the Spirit has joined us to Christ and Christ to us, we are destined to perfection by the yet unimaginable and mysterious, one might say mystical consummation of our transformation now begun, when God shall change these vile bodies, to be made like unto His glorious spiritual body, and we shall at last be swallowed up in the perfection and beauty of Holiness; when we shall see him as He is! See 1Jon 3:1-3, Romans 8:11, 28, and 1Cor 15:51-57.
“That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” 1Cor 1:31.
Pastor Jesse Gistand
Grace Bible Church
San Leandro, CA 94572
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