Two Levels of Sanctification
As we read the epistles of the New Testament, we often find that the authors refer to the believers as saints. Let’s see some examples:
“To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called saints” (Romans 1:7).
“To the assembly of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus”
(1 Corinthians 1:2).
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus”
“Paul and Timotheus, servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi”
“To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse”
“I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren”
(1 Thessalonians 5:27).
“Greet all those who are leading you, and all the saints” (Hebrews 13:24).
“You are a choice race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people acquired”
(1 Peter 2:9).
“Judas, of Jesus Christ a servant, and brother of James, to those sanctified in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ kept”
It is good to see that this is how God speaks about us. If we are saved, then we belong to God’s people, His church, and we are beloved of God, we are called, we are saints, believers and brethren. Hallelujah!
The sainthood of believers means that God has called us out of the world, and when we accepted His call, then He separated us from the world, so that we would not serve the world, sin, the devil and ourselves, but that we should be His servants. We are His people, His saints.
But the sanctifying work of God is not finished here. In the book of Revelations we read this:
“he who is sanctified – let him be sanctified still”
(Revelations 22:11). So the believers, the saints, need to be even more sanctified.
“For this is the will of God – your sanctification”
(1 Thessalonians 4:3).
After God first saves us, He doesn’t want us to stop and say: “Oh, I am already a saint, I need nothing more on this area.” He still wants to go on sanctifying us. And He expects us to participate in it:
“beloved, may we cleanse ourselves from every pollution of flesh and spirit, perfecting sanctification in the fear of God”
(2 Corinthians 7:1).
Sanctification is a process in which our attitude is essential. We must be committed.
“present your members servants to the righteousness unto sanctification”
We must not belittle this call. What we need is not just small, unimportant steps of sanctification. What we need is a Scriptural goal. God wants to take us to a critical moment in our lives, a turning point in our sanctification, which brings about a great change compared to our former condition. This is described in 1 Thessalonians 5:23:
“The God of the peace Himself sanctify you wholly”
(1 Thessalonians 5:23).
God wants to sanctify us
entirely, completely, through and through,
as other translations also express it. He wants to take us to a point, from which He can preserve us without blame: our spirit, soul and body; our relationship with Him, our actions, behavior, and even our thinking, desires and inclinations.
God wants to saturate us with His holiness. When we understand this, when we come to see, what a great blessing it is, when God sanctifies us wholly, this incites a new zeal in us. May the Lord work in us the desire and striving for His holiness!
“To the end he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints”
(1 Thessalonians 3:13).