Sanctification: How We Grow in Godliness



By Dan Seidelman

“Sanctification is the continuing work of God in the life of the believer, making him or her actually holy… Sanctification is a process by which one’s moral condition is brought into conformity with one’s legal status before God.” – Millard Erickson (980).

Two Aspects:

    1. We are Already Sanctified in Christ. – Set Apart for God
      1. 1 Cor 1:2 – To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.
        1. Church in Corinth is not perfect, they have tons of problems that Paul talks to them about.
        2. Yet They are called Sanctified because God has set them apart.
      2. 1 Cor 6:(9-)11 – And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
        1. God redefines what we are.  Before they were defined by their sins, now they are defined by Christ.
        2. You can still struggle with sin, but you’re not defined about it.  So if you struggle with a sin, you’re not that.  You’re not a liar, you’re a Christian who struggles with lying.  You’re not a cheater, you’re a Christian who struggles with cheating.
        3. This should bring encouragement, God redefines who you are.
      3. Hebrews 10:14 – For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
        1. It’s only by Christ’s sacrifice that we’re sanctified.  You can’t separate Sanctification from the Gospel.
        2. Don’t think that the Cross is just for Justification, it’s also for Sanctification.


  • The Old Rugged Cross: In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine, A wondrous beauty I see, For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died, To pardon and sanctify me.
  • Sanctification is a Process


      1. It is primarily God’s work– we can’t do it by ourselves
        1. Hebrews 10:14 – For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
          1. We are being sanctified.  It’s a passive work, God sanctifies us.
        2. John 17:17 – Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
          1. One means of sanctification is the Bible.  God uses His word to sanctify us.
        3. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 – Now 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. We can have encouragement that God will sanctify us completely.
          2. It’s through the Holy Spirit that we are Sanctified, it’s all an act of God.


  • We must put forth effort – not a “let go and let God.”  We play a role in this too.
  • Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. Keep my statutes and do them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you.  (Leviticus 20:7-8 ESV)
  • The Bible is not afraid of the tension between God’s sovereignty and Man’s responsibility.
        • Col 3:5-17 – The Bible tells us to do things in order to act like Christians


How do we become Sanctified?

  • Believe what God says about us and our sanctification.
        1. Trust that you have been sanctified
        2. Don’t try to sanctify yourself to earn favor
        3. Don’t do it apart fro the Cross and the Spirit’s indwelling power.
  • Spend time in the Bible
        1. Know the truth

“If somebody else made me, for his own purposes, then I shall have a lot of duties which I should not have if I simply belonged to myself” – CS Lewis

        1. Know what God commands
        2. Know what God is like
          1. Holiness is not depriving you of anything (except pain, suffering, disappointment, and death)
        3. Know how a Christian is supposed to act.
  • Repent of your sins
        1. Power to change comes through repentance.
        2. Need to recognize what is wrong before it’s right.
  • Work hard and fight
        1. The power of Grace comes in the doing, not up front.
        2. If the Bible says obey your parents, obey your parents, no matter how hard it is.
        3. Take up your cross daily and follow Jesus.



Questions for Discussion:

  • What did you learn new or stood out about today about sanctification?
  • Do you believe that your identity is in Christ and not where you sin? How does this affect how you live?
  • How can you focus more on the cross every day?
  • Are you spending time in the Bible? Why or why not?  What kind of results does it have?
  • Is working hard to be holy and persevere a regular practice in your life? How do you deny yourself to sin?