But anyway, the subject today is sanctification. Dr. Morecraft begins by enumerating a number of false views on sanctification; which views I will not go through, but rather follow along with the things in common:
All of these views are antinomian, i.e., they all discount the full demands of the Law of God on the Christian. Most of them accommodate God’s demands on us to our abilities, or lack thereof. (91)
All these views have a defective view of sin, seeing it generally as a voluntary and deliberate transgression of known and accommodated law. ...
All these views have a self-complacency.
"If we make our own consciences the measure of sin, it becomes easy to refuse to recognize as sin what we do not want to consider as sin."139 ....
All these views separate justification and sanctification, which are received by two different acts of faith. ....
Most, if not all, of these views see sanctification as an act in which the believer attains to the state of freedom from sinning, which is a direct contradiction to the Bible, in such places as 1 John 1:8–2:3. ....
These views hold that sanctification is an instantaneous experience, while the Bible presents it as a life-long process beginning with conversion and ending in death for the believer. ...
Most of these views are preoccupied with known sin, and not with the sinful dispositions of the heart and inner life. They teach that, although the sinful nature is not eradicated, nevertheless, a believer may be free from all known and deliberate sin.
139. Smith, Systematic Theology, 2:481. (92-93)
The Christian life has been called “the pursuit of holiness,” i.e., obedience to Biblical Law from the heart for Jesus’ sake. Everything about our salvation is aimed at saving us from sinning and at conforming us into the image of Christ. (94)
The saving work of each person of the Trinity is aimed at making us holy. God the Father chose us “to be holy and blameless in His sight” (Eph. 1:4)....Jesus, God’s Son, “gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good works” (Tit. 2:14). The Holy Spirit’s work in us is to enable us NOT “to carry out the desire of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16), BUT to enable us to produce “the fruit of the Spirit” (5:22), so that “if we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (5:25). (95)
Our Christian duty is to live well, to perform good works from the heart, to live a godly life, to lead a virtuous way of life, and to seek, above all, the glory and honor of our God. Our behavior will reveal whether the repentance of our heart is counterfeit or genuine, whether our faith and love for Christ are sincere and true. (95)
Whereas sanctification is inseparable from the other aspects of salvation, it is a distinct work of God within us, distinguishable from the other acts of God’s grace....Sanctification is the progressive advancing of that implanted seed of new life in Christ by the Spirit. We are sanctified because we are justified— in “putting on” the righteousness of Christ we are affected by it: “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Gal. 3:27). (96)
1 Peter 1:1–2 defines Christians as those “chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.” In this text sanctification is seen as the means by which God’s decree of election is effected. This means that only the elect, and all the elect of God, chosen from all eternity to be His, experience sanctification. (96)
The point is inescapable, “Those who are sanctified are all the elect and they alone.”143. Wilhelmus a Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, 4 vols. (Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1992), 3:5 (97)
Having been “born from above” by God’s Spirit (John 3:3), justified through faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:22), and adopted into God’s family (John 1:12), we are conformed more and more into the holy image of Christ (Rom. 8:29), and that process is called sanctification. It is the process within us that begins with regeneration wherein God delivers the justified believer from the defilement and tyranny of sin and renews him in the image of Christ by His Spirit and Word, enabling him to live an increasingly holy life. (97)
All those whom God justifies He sanctifies. Sanctification is the proof of justification. The two are inseparable in God’s plan of salvation. (99)
The reason sanctification is absolutely necessary for salvation, so that without it “no one will see the Lord,” is this: God is holy. (100)
If God’s holiness causes Him to have a holy hatred and holy anger against all that is unholy and less than morally flawless, then He will judge and condemn sinners, because of their lack of holiness....Therefore, this holy and gracious God has taken the initiative and has laid such a basis in His holy Son, Jesus Christ: “He who did not
spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32)....We are clothed with Christ’s righteousness, imputed to us, credited to our account and paying all debts in full we owed God for our sins, and are, therefore, accepted with God on that basis: “I will rejoice greatly
in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness” (Isa. 61:10). (101)
It is not only a NECESSITY that we be holy, it is a CERTAINTY that believers in Jesus will be holy, although never perfectly so in this life....Furthermore, having decreed it, He now has recreated us in Christ in order that we will be holy: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). (102)
Just as “it is God who justifies” (Rom. 8:33), so it is God who sanctifies, thus rendering our sanctification certain and irreversible—nothing can halt the purposes or activity of God for and in His people. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6)....(1) Sanctification, as the work of God, is surrounded in a mystery, as in all His works that leaves us in awe and adoration. (2) For our development as Christians in holiness, we are utterly dependent upon the Holy Spirit of God (Rom. 8:9–14). (102)
We are saved from bondage to sin and Satan, when Christ sends His Holy Spirit into our hearts to raise us from spiritual death, renew our hearts, unite us to Himself and give us new life (Rom. 6–8). The Spirit, then, takes up residence in our lives to help us live for God, so that “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him” (Rom. 8:9). (103)
By this progressive work in the believer, the Holy Spirit transforms him to be more and more conformed to the image of Christ... (104)
Sanctification does not take place in us apart from the Bible, which is not only true, but which is divine truth itself: “Thy Word is truth.” (105)
In addition, the Bible says that Christ is our sanctification...He is the PATTERN of our sanctification, i.e., we are conformed into His holy image (Rom. 8:29). He is the SECURER of our sanctification by His perfect redemptive work on the cross (Tit. 3:5–7; Rom. 8:32). He is the BAPTIZER with the sanctifying Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4, 5). (106)
(1) Our sanctification is accomplished for us by the life, sufferings and death
of Jesus Christ. (2) We receive this sanctification because of His sharing of our humanity157 and of our vital union with Him: “He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father.” (3) The eternal Son of God incarnate had to live a life of perfect obedience in order to offset the disobedience of those for whom He died: “as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19)....(4) The effect of Christ’s sanctification in life and death for us is our sanctification and eternal salvation, which consists, not only in being saved from the punishment of sin, but also in being saved from the power of sin, which is sanctification, i.e., He became the source
of salvation for all those who are obeying Him as “the sanctified.” (107-108)