The Purpose of Sanctification

Sanctification gives us strength to proclaim Christ in word and in deed.

The most prevalent trait in human society is self-centeredness. Even in religious circles, where we least expect to find it, it is evident. In most cases, selfishness and the pursuit of personal gratification, as well as satisfaction, prompts human action. Most people buy, sell, build, calculate, teach, write; in short, they work to further their own personal happiness and well-being. This characteristic is so ingrained in a human being that even when we become a Christian or experience sanctification, our main goal and greatest desire is to increase our own happiness and joy. If we do not resist this egoism, it will be much more difficult to remain victorious in temptations and trials. The overanxious person who desperately strives to feel the joy that the experience of sanctification offers may not even muster up the necessary faith for this experience.  

Is it possible, though, that God gave us sanctification for a higher and nobler purpose than just to increase our joy and satisfaction? It would then seem that the great sacrifice on Golgotha, which was required for our sanctification, was not justifiable. However, once we identify the reason why God sanctifies us, we no longer delight only in our blessed state, but we realize that God has given the Holy Spirit to serve us.

No one should be robbed of the joy that comes with the blessing of full salvation. We just want to direct your attention to the higher calling and purpose of this wonderful experience and the true value and special blessing it provides. Even though receiving the Holy Spirit causes unspeakable joy, it is not the main purpose He was given for. With sanctification, God blesses us and prepares us for His service. He cleanses us so that we can serve Him better. He forms us so that we can live a holy and blameless life that glorifies Him. That is why He commands us to surrender our bodies as living sacrifices on the altar of service to Him. 

Sanctification, on our part, is nothing less than a complete consecration and devotion to His service. Once we have grappled with and made the decision to surrender our lives completely to His service, He sanctifies us, fills us with His Holy Spirit, and empowers us to achieve. Then that person will “be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21). “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2). Both of these scripture passages conclude that the Lord sanctifies us, cleanses and purifies us, thus preparing us for  deeper and more meaningful service.  

Sanctification protects us

“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” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Once again, we notice that we are directed away from ourselves and are shown that sanctification should not simply increase our personal happiness. Sanctification is meant to help us walk blamelessly with Jesus Christ so that we can live a holy life and be a light. Some people believe that sanctification is solely intended to give us joy to skip and sing through life. However, the outward appearance is not the deciding factor but rather the visible evidence of life at home, at work, or wherever we have the opportunity to show the fruit of our full consecration to His service. 

Sanctification empowers us 

“And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). The apostles were already converted. They had even preached, but they were not yet devoid of “self.” And in order to surrender, they had need of a particular work of grace. Jesus said to them in Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” The power they were to wait for, which was connected to the Holy Spirit, would not knock them to the ground and helplessly disable them, ironically rendering them powerless. On the contrary, they were to witness for Christ, making the Gospel effective, accompanied by deeds. Yes, they were empowered to endure persecutions and abuse, even to the point of martyrdom.  

Sanctification empowers us not only to declare the gospel of Christ in words but also in deeds. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor”(1 Thessalonians 4:3-4). Our bodies represent a living sacrifice, consecrated to God, filled with the Holy Spirit and power from above. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can discipline our bodies in order to submit to God’s will and be obedient to Him. Through sanctification, we are perfected in love and become more proficient in good deeds.

Sanctification unites the children of God

The power of the Holy Spirit is revealed when God’s children unite in His service for a common cause.In His High Priestly Prayer, Jesus underlines the true purpose of sanctification: “Sanctify them  in the truth…that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me” (John 17:17, 21). And in verse 23, He says: “that they may become perfectly one.”

The Holy Spirit promotes unity. The spirits of division will find no home in those whose hearts the Holy Spirit lives in. When the spirits of disunity are cast out and the spirit of unity presides, it is easy to “be united in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). This is also a key part of the significant purpose of sanctification.

W. Seaton

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