Christ’s Sanctification of His People
By definition, sanctification is the setting of someone or something apart from others for an exclusive and holy use. In the old temple worship, almost all things were sanctified by the sprinkling of blood. The Eternal Godhead is involved in the sanctification of sensible sinners. The Father sanctified: “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.” (by preserved is meant kept in seed substance IN Christ until called by grace in the new birth – Jude 1).
This sanctification, we believe, refers to the Father electing and giving those elected to His Son Jesus Christ that He should redeem, save, and call them to salvation. They were set aside for a holy use, as “vessels of mercy afore prepared unto glory” and receptacles of God’s born-again offspring (Romans 9:23). Their bodies are “earthen vessels” designed to hold the heavenly treasure deposited in them at their second birth from above (II Corinthians 4:7).
They are also sanctified by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Paul addressed his epistle to the Corinthians, “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours” (I Corinthians 1:2).
We understand that such as are taught that they are sinners in a feeling way experimentally, are sanctified by divine election which put them in Christ Jesus, and being in Him, all that He did is accounted to them also, as if they had done them. All His works are good, and being sanctified IN Him, all their good works therefore are those that He did. He also particularly sanctified them through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.
The Holy Spirit also sanctifies them when He calls them to life in Christ – when they are born from above by the Spirit.
“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”
(I Peter 1:2)
A sensible sinner will search often for these evidences within himself. And, true, sometimes he can’t seem to find sufficient in which to rejoice. A very sweet and precious truth is hidden here:
“But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”
(I Corinthians 1:30)
We said “hidden here.” For it is Christ Himself Who is our sanctification. We are set aside IN Him to be an exclusive and holy people unto God. We are no longer the servant of unrighteousness, but the servant of Christ, who is our Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption. Sanctification is not something new when one believes in Christ. He has ever had it in Christ before he heard the Gospel of it, and rejoiced in that truth. Paul puts the stroke of finality to this subject, when he wrote:
“Then said He, Lo, I come to do Thy WILL, O God. He taketh away the first (covenant of the law), that He may establish the second (covenant of grace); by the which WILL we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Simply put, that sanctification took place when Christ died, two thousand years ago. Now, while so often we find ourselves polluted by sin and out of the way of holiness, our blessed Lord knew this would ever be so. Therefore, He Himself sanctified us “forever” by the offering of His own precious body as a sacrifice for sin. Under the law, these sacrifices prefigured the putting away of sin; purification from the defilement of sin; and to sanctify the comer to the offering as one of God’s own people. “They are Mine, saith the Lord.”
By Stanley C. Phillips