“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Jesus Christ returns.” (Philippians 1:6, NLT)
Many of us have already heard the word “sanctification”. Several years ago, there was even a song entitled “Sanctified” by a famous Filipino rock band named Wolfgang, but I have never really understood how the song pertains to sanctification. I mean, did the writer of the song truly understand what being sanctified really meant?
Sanctification, according to Dr. J.R. Wiiliams in his book Renewal Theology, refers, accordingly, both to an action and to a condition or state. To sanctify means to make holy or be made holy; and to be holy means to be set apart for some special purpose. As Christians who are members of the body of Christ, the Church, we have been chosen before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless before God (Ephesians 1:4). Sanctification therefore, is the goal of the Christian life and the intention in the sanctification of the whole person is renewal in the likeness of God. In the book of Genesis, it says that mankind was created in the image and likeness of God (1:26-27). However, because of the fall of Adam and Eve, the image of God in man has been marred ever since. That’s why God needed to send His one and only Son, Jesus, so that in Christ, as the agent of sanctification, we may once again be sanctified (1 Corinthians 1:2) through the inner working of the Holy Spirit, the energizer of sanctification.
Nevertheless, unlike regeneration and justification, which are purely works of God, sanctification is also the task of man. It is in the process of sanctification that man’s cooperation is required. As believers in and disciples of Christ, we are commanded in several places in Scripture to be holy (2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14). It is here and only here that we participate in the salvific plan of God. We are instructed as children of God in Christ “to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12, NASB).
Last week, during our CLDP (Christian Life Development Program) class at Church of God, Barangay Almanza, Las Piñas City, we discussed the different stages of salvation and one of which, is sanctification. Although I have already learned about it in seminary, it was a good reminder nonetheless. By our own human will and effort, sanctification is impossible; but with God’s grace through the working of the Holy Spirit in us in Christ, we can rest assured that we are indeed on our way. To God be all the glory, honor and praise forever and ever!