A thought about sanctification…
Posted on June 12, 2012
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 states: May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” This verse is often used for teaching about the process of sanctification. There is a mindset that states we have a spirit that is holy and a soul/body that is not; therefore, we are in the process of progressively becoming more holy. This is bad news and not true!
Now, we are progressively realizing how holy He already made us in His death and resurrection and this is great news! Consider this verse again. It says, may God HIMSELF sanctify you. The word sanctify means to purify you by expiation and to set you apart. What in the world is expiation? It is an aspect of atonement (See Romans 3:25) and it means to remove sin from you. Sanctification is a revelation that Jesus has eradicated the sin nature from you! (See Romans 6, Colossians 2, Galatians 5)
When you believe you are free from the bondage of sin, you begin to demonstrate the righteousness of faith that the new covenant trumpets. And again it says God does this, not you. Also, consider the phrase “set-apart.” Being set-apart is also used to describe “sanctifying” your food (see 1 Timothy 4:5). No one thinks it takes a life-time to “set-apart” your food. It simply means, view it through the lens of Christ, the word of God Himself.
So, see yourself through your new identity in Christ. When you don’t “act” like Him, repent! Change your mind about how you see yourself. Remind your self that the nature of Christ is now the only nature to identify with and consider that bad behavior as something that is dead and no longer who you are. (See Romans 6:11; Galatians 5:24)
Next it says, may your whole spirit, soul, & body BE KEPT BLAMELESS. What does that mean? It must mean you are ALREADY blameless because of what God in Christ did on the cross! Then it states AT the COMING of our Lord Jesus Christ. The word ‘at’ can also mean in, by, or with. And the word ‘coming’ can also be translated presence.
Finally, verse 24 states, the one who calls you IS faithful, and HE WILL DO IT! The blamelessness that you have been given He promises to sustain. So, let’s read this again from a new perspective: It is God, not you, who removes the sin nature from your heart of hearts. Your whole spirit, soul, and body are kept blameless by the indwelling nature of Christ in you. Remember, He did and He will sustain it. Nothing but good news