Have you ever been outside hunting, fishing, or working on an outdoor project and gotten completely filthy? Covered in dirt, grime, and sweat, you walk into your living room only to hear, "Don't sit down on the clean furniture!! You're filthy! Change your clothes! Take a shower! Put those shoes outside!!"
You're not allowed to come into the house and relax until you get all the dirt off you.
Yeah, been there, heard, and experienced that. Can I get an "Amen!"?
Yeah, as a guy, there have been times where I've been annoyed with what seems like an overreaction. What's the big deal about a little dirt?
The big deal is that the house is clean, and they don't want you to make it dirty or potentially ruin the furniture with your filth.
So they ask you to take off your old clothes and put on clean ones before you relax and enjoy the clean space.
If they were going to use a theological term, your wife might say, "Go sanctify yourself."
Excuse me, "What is sanctification"?
Sanctification is "the process by which God is cleansing our world and its people. His ultimate goal is that everything—animate and inanimate—will be cleansed from any taint of sin or uncleanness."
Sanctification means "to make holy and to separate from the ungodly patterns and practices of the world."2
Basically, sanctification is cleansing and removing sin from our lives.
There are two parts to sanctification. The first comes at salvation when Christ forgives our sins and declares us righteous before God. This type of righteousness is called "Imputed righteousness." It means that when we accept Christ's offer of salvation, He gives us His righteousness and declares us righteous before God.
This is God's part.
It is step one. (Now, granted, it is a HUGE step. No human being can achieve total righteousness and sanctification. We need Christ's righteousness to have a relationship with a holy God.)
However, it is only the beginning of the sanctification process.
The next part of sanctification is our responsibility. This involves the choice of the Christian to "put off" sins and "put on" God's ways.
It's like changing your clothing. You choose to "take off" the sins in your life—the way you lived before salvation—and decide to walk in God's holy ways.
This is called "progressive sanctification" because it is an ongoing process in the life of a believer. It never ends.
After salvation, we choose that we are going to stop sinning and live according to God's ways as we understand them at the time. It happens progressively because as we grow in Christ and learn more about God's ways through reading God's Word and hearing Biblical preaching and teaching, the Holy Spirit will convict us of sin in our lives.
Our response to this conviction should always be to repent and immediately change our ways. We need to stop sinning and do all we can to live a holy lifestyle, becoming more like Jesus and less like the world.
This is sanctification: putting off sin and putting on God's holiness so that we can become more like Jesus.
Memory Verse: Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24, ESV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.