Sanctification

Preaching and Worship Resources about Sanctification

Sanctification is the theological term for being shaped by the Holy Spirit into the holiness that defines the moral character of God. "I am the Lord your God; sanctify yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy" (Lev. 11: 44; cf. 1 Pet. 1:16). Too often sanctification looks far too sanctimonious. A holiness without a deep love for life, expressed in joy and laughter, has little to do with the character of the God who created the universe and lives in boundless joy. The purpose of our salvation is being restored to the image of God conferred to us in creation but obscured in the fall. While God's holiness is an attribute of his divine nature — the one who is "wholly other" than any created being — human holiness is centered on Christ, who is both fully divine and fully human. He is the model of a holy human person. The way of human holiness is also defined by God's law, the prescription for how to live a truly human life supremely characterized by love. Jesus taught that the law is summarized in the command, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. . . . [And] you shall love your neighbor as yourself"' (Matt. 22:37 - 39). Sanctification is not a separate or sequential aspect of the Christian life, but is contained in the gift of justification by faith in Christ. While working faith in the human heart, the Holy Spirit also instills a desire for holiness as well as the strength to reshape our lives by it. Yet sanctification is also a process by which the transformation of our lives is marked by an increasing desire for and practice of holiness as one becomes more deeply united with Christ and informed by the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit's gift of sanctification does not operate merely by individual effort, but is fashioned in community. How can love, the essence of holiness, be learned by oneself? We learn holiness through example and admonition within community.


Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.