Listen to Nancy’s answer recorded live on Moody radio, here:
Before believing and relying upon the truth that Jesus Christ died and rose again for our sins, we lived for pleasure and glory. As followers of Jesus, our behavior should bear witness to our standing before God. We are no longer of this world but now are children of God who are called to be separated from the world to become more like Jesus. This process is called sanctification, through which, little by little, day by day, we learn by choice to allow Jesus to take over every area in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives in all who believe.
Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane centered on how his disciples had become sanctified through the word of truth. He knew his disciples were prepared to go into the world with the gospel. Jesus was now prepared to do what He came to do: to die for the sins of the world, past, present, and future.
“I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17: 14-21).
Sanctification is often a painful process as the believer’s turn from self to connecting with God. All believers become God’s children when they believe, but no human can reach pure sanctification in this life until Christ returns. Until then, our call is to separate ourselves from anything that does not glorify God. The Word of God becomes our source of truth.
“You are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30).
“And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of fthe body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10).
Just because we have been forgiven of our sins, it does not make us perfect. We have become ‘positionally righteous,’ and we still sin.
“If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:10).
The process of sanctification can be and often is messy. It is a process of becoming dependent on God and saying “no” to our flesh and “yes” to the Holy Spirit. It is a journey of growth that equips us to better live, love, and lead others to a relationship with Christ.
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen!” (2 Peter 3:18).
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
“As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth” (John 17:18).
Our sanctification process doesn’t roll effortlessly down a superhighway; it often takes us to places we have never been that are rough and scary. God is with us moment by moment as we steadfastly progress toward our goal of being like Him until that day we “see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
“When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4).
“We know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
At Christ’s return, He will give us permanent, pure, and ultimate holiness. We will be forever with our Savior with no possibility of being able to sin!
“May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).