Q. What is sanctification?
A. Sanctification is the process whereby God sets us apart, or makes us holy.
Last week we saw that justification is the process by which God forgives our sins (He makes me “just if I” had never sinned); this week we will see that sanctification is the process by which God makes us holy.
Sanctification happens in two ways: it is both positional and progressive. It is positional in that our position changes immediately when we put our faith in Christ; we change from sinner to saint.
A lot of people say, “I’m just a sinner saved by grace,” but they should say, “I was a sinner, but have been saved by grace.” Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
We are no longer named by the sins we once committed if we have been sanctified. Even though I still sin, I am a saint who sins, and not a sinner. There is a big difference between the two.
Besides a positional change, sanctification also brings a progressive change; this means that we make progress every day until the day God calls us home. In Luke 9:23 Jesus told His disciples they needed to take up their cross daily and follow Him. Just because we have been changed postionally does not mean that our work is done; we must continue to make progress each day.
Sanctification is not just positional and progressive, it is also permanent. Hebrews 10:10 says, “We have been made holy (sanctified) by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.”
Here is an easy way to remember what sanctification means: When God sanctifies me, He makes a saint out of me.