1 Thessalonians 5:23
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly…
By regeneration the heart is renewed, by justification sins are pardoned, in sanctification the life is made holy. Romanists confound justification and sanctification; but while connected they must be distinguished. The former is what is done for us, changes our state, is perfect at once, and is through the merits of Christ; the latter is what is done in us, changes our nature, is gradual, and is by the Spirit. The one gives the title, the other the fitness for glory.
I. THE NATURE OF SANCTIFICATION. Separation from that which is common to that which is holy. So the furniture of the tabernacle (Exodus 30:29), and priests and people were sanctified (Exodus 28:46). It consists —
1. In mortifying the evils of our nature. (Romans 8:12, 13). If sin is not mortified, it will prevent —
(1) Our communion with God (Ezekiel 14:7).
(2) Growth in grace.
(3) Peace here and happiness hereafter.That which makes clean the outside merely will never satisfy a holy God, make a holy character and fit for a holy place.
2. The consecration of the Christian to that which is holy.
(1) To the glory of God of all that he is, has, and does.
(2) To the cause of Christ which is the good of man.
II. THE WAY OF SANCTIFICATION.
1. It is attributed to the redeeming, cleansing blood of Christ.
2. To the Holy Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:13: Romans 15:16). His design is not simply to better our nature, but to cure it entirely.
3. To the Word of God as the Spirit's instrument (John 17:17), explaining the nature, applying the promises, and imparting the hope of holiness.
4. To faith and prayer (2 Thessalonians 2:13; Acts 15:9; Matthew 7:11). Truth sanctifies only as it is received by faith, and by prayer obtains the influence of the Spirit.
III. THE CHARACTERISTICS of sanctification.
1. Progressiveness. We should aim at sinless perfection, and unless we increase in holiness we are increasing in sin.
2. Visibility, not of course in its essence but in its effects. We see that the tree grows, that its branches extend, that it bears fruit, although we do not see it grow.
3. Entireness. It must influence the whole man.
IV. THE IMPORTANCE of sanctification.
1. Without it the design of God's love to us is in vain, "This is the will of God even your sanctification."
2. Without it we are strangers to the Saviour's grace "who died for us that He might purify unto Himself," etc.
3. Without it we are a forsaken and desecrated temple of the Holy Ghost.
4. Without it we are unfit for heaven. None but "the pure in heart shall see God."Application:
1. Use the means of sanctification, prayer, Bible study.
2. Keep before you the perfect model of sanctification in the example of Christ.
3. Never be satisfied with your attainment in sanctification.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.