Volume 21, Number 2 (Fall 2010)
An Issue Devoted an Examination of Biblical Sanctification
by Richard L. Mayhue
This introduction to the much neglected and frequently misunderstood theme of biblical sanctification serves as the foundation upon which the subsequent four essays rest and out of which they arise. First a “primer on sanctification” defines the comprehensive biblical basis for and the implications of sanctification for the Christian’s life temporally and eternally. Second, a Scriptural perspective on sanctification highlights the various patterns of sanctification in one’s Christian journey. Third, biblically emphasized particulars of sanctification help to distinguish between the past, present, and future elements of a Christian’s experience. Ultimately, this essay concludes that sanctification in its full biblical breadth encompasses a Christian’s beginning in salvation and a Christian’s continuation in growing to be like Christ which reaches perfection with a true believer’s glorification after death.
by Andrew Snider
The task at hand is to relate justification (being declared righteous) to a biblical understanding of sanctification (being made righteous). When God declares a sinner as righteous, the action begins with His own character and is accomplished by His own action. All His ways are perfect, just, and upright, qualities that stem from His holiness. His redemptive acts, including His justification of sinners, are marked by His love as exemplified in Rom 8:31-39. Justification is a declaration by God of the sinner’s status before Himself, imputing to him the righteousness of Christ through faith. Holiness is the key concept of sanctification as seen in the consistent biblical emphasis on God’s people being a holy people. Positional sanctification is a determination by God that a sinner is set apart as a member of God’s holy people. Progressive sanctification speaks of a growth in practical holiness when believers obey God’s command to grow in Christlikeness. Understanding the correct relationship between justification and progressive sanctification is important: sanctification does not cause justification and justification does not cause sanctification. Yet there is great importance in seeing that the two arise from the same soteriological reality of Christ’s substitutionary atonement and the resultant union of the believer with Christ.
by William D. Barrick
Sanctification is inseparable from regeneration; where there is one, the other must also exist. Sanctification is the process of making holy, whether in the OT or the NT. God’s holiness is complete, comparable to no one else, and is incompatible with sin. Man’s holiness is progressive as it seeks to match the holiness of God in dedicating everything to Him. Both Testaments multiply references to God’s holiness as the foundation for human holiness. The believer progresses in his own sanctification through the ministry of the Holy Spirit and through attention to the Scripture, but humans also have a role in sanctification. They must live out what they possess by the grace of God.
by Keith H. Essex
As in past centuries, Christians still speak frequently about the need for sanctification, yet no mutually agreed upon description of sanctification has emerged. The present discussion has chosen to describe the term in relation to what the Bible says about “fruit.” “Fruit” is used widely in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, referring to edible products from the ground as well as human offspring. In both the OT and the NT the word is used metaphorically to depict human actions. Other terms related to fruit also take on metaphorical meanings to speak of human behavior. Romans 6:22 and 7:4 link such terminology with the sanctification of believers. The contexts of these verses confirm a close tie between fruit and both past sanctification and the present lives of Christians in their progress toward Christlikeness. Galatians 5:22-23 relate the Holy Spirit’s role in producing the present sanctification of believers.
by Rick L. Holland
Though “pastor” is the usual title for a lowly shepherd of sheep, Jesus through His sherpherdly role exemplified the great importance in guiding God’s people in pursuing sanctification. Every part of a pastor’s ministry relates tio sanctification. The six dimensions of a pastor’s sanctifying role are his desire for his people’s sanctification, his examples of his own personal sanctification, his preaching to encourage sanctification in the lives of his hearers, his making of disciples in obedience of the Great Commission, his prayer life on behalf of his people’s sanctification, and his leadership in public worship geared to cultivating sanctification. Ultimately, his goal for his people in their sanctification is to be imitators of Christ.
by Dennis M. Swanson