Updated 9/11/12

Links to PowerPoint Presentations:

Sanctification A

Sanctification B


A. Definition and Description

B. Etymology

C. Categorical Development of Sanctification

D. The Means of our Sanctification

E. Recipients of Sanctification

F. Three Agents of Sanctification

F. The Sanctification of Food

A. Definition and Description

Sanctification is a technical theological term for the blessings that God bestows upon us at the very moment we believe in Jesus Christ, after we are saved and into eternity.  I am going to borrow Bob Thieme’s terms, phases 1, 2 and 3 for those categories of our Christian life.  Phase 1 refers to those blessings you receive at salvation.  Phase 2 refers to the time you are on earth, growing up spiritually.  Phase 3 refers to your promotion into the eternal state.  The blessings of sanctification begin at salvation, continue throughout your temporal life then reach fulfillment in the eternal state.

This doctrine of sanctification, as it relates to believers in Jesus Christ is unique to this Church Age.  Thisdoctrine is for your benefit.  You need to understand what age you live in to benefit from it.  This Church age is so unique and has so many unique factors that you need to understand them to use them.

By virtue of sanctification God makes every Church Age believer spiritual royalty!  This category of royalty never existed on the face of this earth before the Church Age, nor will it exist afterwards.  We are not family of God as are believers in other dispensations, but we are spiritual royalty, Royal Family of God.  Our royalty is not restricted to our temporal lives, but will exist throughout eternity.  Our spiritual royalty consists of several factors, which when we complete our study of them, should leave us in total awe of what God has done for each one of us.  Each member of the Trinity plays a direct role in our sanctification. Sanctification, again, is our royalty.

To completely understand sanctification, we need to develop its three separate categories, which relate to the three different phases of our Christian life.  The first category of sanctification, which I call Irrevocable Salvation Sanctification, refers to four things God does for each us at the moment of salvation.  These are irrevocable, resulting in our being eternal royalty.  The second category, Experiential Sanctification, relates to the second phase of your Christian life, the time between your salvation and the moment God takes you home.  Then the last phase relates to sanctification factors of the eternal state.  With this category, God fulfills your sanctification, eternally, ultimately and to the maximum.  These are totally unique factors which relate to the tremendous blessings God gives to every Church Age believer which He has not given to those in past dispensations, nor will he give them to believers in future dispensations.  Now lest you get fat headed about these factors….they are really heady factors, remember that to whom much is given, much is expected!  God has blessed you, Church Age believer, to the maximum.  You need to respond to those blessings by glorifying Him to the maximum by your spiritual growth and resultant production.

Let us begin with the first category of sanctification factor, Irrevocable Salvation Sanctification, that which God accomplishes within us at the moment of salvation.  Four categorical blessings fall with into this category.  Again, I have termed this irrevocable because these four blessings are grace gifts, given to us without condition, as a part of our salvation.  The first grace gift is our position in Christ.  God the Holy Spirit baptizes each Church Age believer into union with the person of Christ when he or she believes in Christ.  This diagram illustrates this doctrine.

At Salvation, the moment of belief, God the Holy Spirit baptizes the new believer into union with Christ.  The line from the cross to the circle illustrates the Spirit’s baptism.  It is as if the Spirit takes the new believer by the nape of his neck, carrying him, like a mother cat taking her kittens to safety, from spiritual death into eternal in Christ.  From this point in your life, you have a position in Christ, which believers in no other dispensation have.  The circle represents your position in or union with Christ.  Once you are in union with Christ, you can never get out of union with Christ.  This is a part of your eternal security.   We will discuss this factor in greater length later in our study.

Many passages teach this truth, here are two.  In this first verse, Paul taught the Corinthian believers that the blessings God gave to them were related to their position, “in Christ.”

I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ    Jesus…  1 Corinthians 1:4

John, in another passage where he quotes our Lord, teaches us that union with Christ is more than identification with Him.  Baptism, by the way, refers to being identified with someone or something.  Literally, the Baptism of the Spirit refers to His identifying us with Christ.  In these verses, our Lord defined our union with Him as being a two-factor issue, a two way street!

Before long the world will see Me no longer, but you will see Me; because I live, you also will live.  In that day [Church Age], you shall come to know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.  John 14:19-20

The first factor:  We are, as we have just noted, in Christ.  Jesus said: “you in Me”.  God the Holy Spirit baptizes us or identifies us with Him.  The second factor:  Our Lord said, “and I in you.”   He is in us just as much as we are in Him.  He lives in us as the Shekinah Glory just as He indwelt the Holy of Holies during part of the Age of Israel.  We are, each one of us, now the “holy buildings” in this Church Age, just as much as theTempleinJerusalemor Tabernacle was holy during the Age of Israel.  How can our Lord indwell our bodies?  Remember, each one of us has old sin nature corruption in every cell of our bodies. Since the old sin nature resides in every cell of our body, Jesus Christ cannot reside in us unless the Holy Spirit indwells us to provide a temple for His indwelling. God the Holy Spirit indwells our bodies to make a temple so that Jesus Christ and God the Father can reside in us.  Now, the very fact that the Holy Spirit indwells your body turns it into a sacred building providing some positional restraint on the old sin nature’s function.  Listen to Paul’s message to the Corinthian church:

Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?  1 Corinthians 3:16

So, three of the four factors of Irrevocable Salvation Sanctification include our position in Christ, His indwelling our bodies and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  God the Father also lives in our bodies, bringing to four Irrevocable Salvation Sanctification factors.

 …one God and Father of all who is over all and thought all and in all.  Ephesians 4:6

Each of these factors comprises an important doctrine in itself. This study of Sanctification will only serve as an introduction to them.  However, you should leave this study with a basic understanding of the significance of each of these factors.

God also imputes the second category of sanctification to all Church Age believers at salvation.  However, in contrast to the first, this is revocable.  Though bestowed upon us at salvation, we most likely lose this very quickly afterwards!  Now, do not panic!  You can and should regain it!  God designed this experiential category of sanctification to provide you the power to grow in grace and to live the spiritual life for which God designed you.  By this second category of sanctification, experiential sanctification, God provides the filling of the Holy Spirit to empower your life.  By this power, you live on God’s power; you live in His power system. This category of sanctification is also called, progressive sanctification, and temporal sanctification.  We’ll discuss these later in our study.

The third category, Ultimate Sanctification or what I call Post Mortem Sanctification, finds the believer in resurrection body in the eternal state.  The apostle John wrote:

…and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.  Revelation 21:4

We will be face to face with our Lord Jesus Christ when we are ultimately sanctified.  Now, the time and manner of our transfer to heaven is totally in God’s hands.  It is a matter of His decision.  Ultimate Sanctification becomes a reality to us on the other side of our passing into His presence.

B. Etymology

A number of Greek words, all derived from the same root, express, define and further explain sanctification.  I have categorized them by use.

1.The first of these is ἁγιάζω HAGIAZO.  It is a verb, which means to “set apart.”  HAGIAZO, translated “to make holy, to consecrate, to sanctify,” means that God, by means of His justice appoints you spiritual as aristocracy forever.  It therefore refers to God’s plan for spiritual aristocracy.  He sets Church Age believers apart from every other category of believer as spiritual royalty.  HAGIAZO tells us that God sets Church Age believers apart in a special way in human history and into eternity.  All believers in this dispensation have unique privileges and unique opportunities starting at salvation.  By means of those four factors we just mentioned, God sets believers apart to be spiritual royalty forever, eternally.  None of these four factors ever occurs outside of the Church Age.  So HAGIAZO designates the royal status, the sainthood, the sanctification, of Church Age believers.  Church Age believers are set apart forever as Royal Family of God.

In looking at this verb, we find that our Lord used it, speaking of Himself in two verses:

…do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?  John 10:36

The context of this verse is important to its interpretation.  Jesus was in Solomon’s Colonnade of theTemple, teaching during the Feast of Dedication, now known as Hanukkah.  This feast celebrated Judas Maccabeus’ rededication of theTempleafter Antiochus Epiphanes defiled by in 164 bc.  TheTemplewas sanctified or set apart because of its unique role in worshipping the Only Living God.  Those listening to Him should have been able to understand that the Father had set Him aside for a unique purpose as well.  The Father sanctified Him, setting Him aside to accomplish salvation for the entire human race.  He was indeed sanctified as being God’s only and unique Son.

For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. John 17:19

Our Lord declared that without His sanctification, again, for the Father’s salvation plan, His disciples and we could not be sanctified.

The subject of sanctification, as described in these next two verses, is Church Age the believer in Jesus Christ.  In each case HAGIOS refers to Irrevocable Salvation Sanctification.

Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.  1 Corinthians 6:11

The Corinthians were famous for their carnality.  The sins they involved themselves in would shock any legalist!  How could they have been believers and sin the sins Paul mentioned in the preceding verses?  The point he was driving home is this: though you were involved in these, you have been cleansed from them!  Do not return to them!

By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  Hebrews 10:10

The verse speaks of the Father’s plan in which the Son’s work fulfilled the Law, resulting in the sanctification of all believers.  The previous animal sacrifice ritual, which did not fulfill the Father’s plan, was completed by Christ on the Cross.  Because Paul used the perfect tense of HAGIAZO we can understand that the Son completed, once for all time, the Fathers salvation plan.

2.  The next use of this word, ἅγιος HAGIOS, is as an adjective, describing the Royal Family as being set apart.  Translators often use the word “saint,” an obscure English word, erroneously connoting some sort of self-righteous, strained, painful, sacrificial life.  Actually, HAGIOS describes you as a Church Age believer in Christ.  Every Church Age believer carries the title, “saint,” regardless of race, status in life or gender.  You can put HAGIOS in front of your name reminding you, since the moment of your salvation, throughout your time on earth, and for all eternity future, you have been set apart for the greatest privileges and greatest opportunities that God ever provided for believers.  You have assets that none of the great Old Testament believers had.  Why, even Moses longed to see this day!  You have the indwelling of the person of Christ, the indwelling of God the Father and the Holy Spirit, election and predestination, and the divine dynasphere, just to name a few.  Never in the history of the human race has God given so much to believers as He has given to Church Age believers.

Why has God given so much to us?  It is all related to the fact that Jesus Christ is sanctified, that He is described as HAGIOS.  Listen to John 6:69:

And we have believed; in fact, we have come to know that You are the Holy One from God [HO HAGIOS TOU THEOU].  John 6:69

This anticipated Christ’s battlefield royalty, which He gained for His victory over Satan in the Angelic Conflict.  After John wrote this passage, our Lord would succeed in going to the cross, bearing the sins of the world, then be resurrected, ascend to heaven, and be seated at the right hand of the Father.  Sanctification was, therefore, applied to our Lord before it was ever applied to us.  Our sanctification in all its implications goes back to our Lord Jesus Christ, the Supreme Aristocracy of the entire human race!  It applies to Him and because we are in Him, it applies to us as well.  Therefore, we, as Church Age believers are sanctified because our Lord, in Whom we have been baptized was also sanctified.  For this reason, we are spiritual aristocracy.

Although human aristocracies eventually disappear, this spiritual aristocracy will last forever.  Furthermore, once God appoints you sanctified, as He does at the moment you believe in Jesus Christ, He can never withhold that sanctification.  You are and always well be a saint by divine appointment.  Your Magna Charta is the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.  Aristocracy also means only one class of being: Saints!  Therefore, no believer has the right to prejudice or exclusion of anyone based upon race, gender, or human status.  Despite some of the Corinthian’s lifestyle, Paul refers to them using their royal title, “Saint.”

To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:  1 Corinthians 1:2

3.  The noun ἁγιασμός HAGIOSMOS, translated sanctification,” “sanctifying, “holiness” or “consecration” refers to the investiture of our aristocracy.  We are eternal aristocracy, sanctified, because we have a relationship with God’s integrity.  This noun describes one aspect of your experiential sanctification: that is, your practical application of doctrine.  You learn doctrine under the Spirit’s enabling power and you apply it exploiting that same power:

But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.  Romans6:22 NASB

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption..  1 Corinthians 1:30

The application in the following verses is maintaining sexual morality and avoiding other areas of sin:

This is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,                           1 Thessalonians 4:3-4

I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. Romans 6:19

For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.  1 Thessalonians 4:7

4. The noun ἁγιότης HAGIOTES, translated “holiness,” refers to our Lord’s integrity.  Possibly used only once in the New Testament, it refers to the necessity of our Lord’s discipline if we stray into carnality from spirituality.  We become liable for discipline from our Lord if we refuse experiential sanctification, choosing carnality instead of spirituality.  This passage teaches that we share in His holiness or sanctification only when we are spiritual, or filled with the Holy Spirit.  God only disciplines us if we stray from spiritual fellowship with Him.  Though we are positionally sanctified, being in Him, from the moment of salvation, there is an aspect of His sanctification, which we do not share if we are carnal and liable for discipline:

For they [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. Hebrews 12:10

5. Another noun, ἁγιωσύνη HAGIOSUNE, is used only by the apostle Paul in 3 different verses:  HAGIOSUNE means holiness,” “set apart,” or “sanctification.”  In Romans 1:4, it is used of deity of the Holy Spirit:

…who [referring to Jesus Christ] was declared the Son of God by means of  power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the spirit of holiness [sanctifications], Jesus Christ our Lord.  Romans 1:4

This word also refers to our spiritual growth process, going through the various stages of growth leading finally to maturity.  The term used in the following verse for spiritual growth is “perfecting holiness:”

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.  2 Corinthians 7:1

We cleanse ourselves by naming our sins to the Father, then continue our spiritual growth, or “perfecting holiness.”  The third and final use of this refers to progressive sanctification, the process of spiritual growth:

…so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.  1 Thessalonians 3:13

This holiness is something formed in your thinking by means of doctrine.

This concept of sanctification has no equivalent in the Hebrew as it relates God’s sanctification of people in this Church Age, so no Hebrew vocabulary pertains to this subject.

6. Our last word, εὐσέβεια EUSEBEIA, generally translated, “godliness,” views sanctification as a way of thought and action.  Godliness, as an outward lifestyle or structure of thought, must come from doctrinal inculcation.  The following verses each relate lifestyle to godliness:

…discipline yourselves for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline [the ascetic lifestyle] is of only a little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 1 Timothy 2:1-2

If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.  1 Timothy 6:3-6

Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.   2 Peter 1:3

C. Categorical Development of Sanctification

(Three Categories: Irrevocable Salvation Sanctification, Experiential/Progressive Sanctification and Ultimate or Post Mortem Sanctification)

Category 1: Irrevocable Salvation Sanctification

(Four Factors: Position in or Union with Christ, Indwelling of Christ, Indwelling of the Spirit, Indwelling of the Father)

-Factor 1: Union with Christ: Before we look at the numerous doctrines relating to our being in union with Christ, we need to establish our descriptive nomenclature.  Whenever you see the terms, “union with Christ,” “positional truth,” our “position in Christ, or the “baptism of or by the Holy Spirit,” they are interchangeable.  Each puts a different emphasis upon that truth.  The latter, for instance, emphasizes the mechanics.  We were placed into union with Christ by means of the Spirit’s baptism.

Now, let us look in depth at each factor of Irrevocable Salvation Sanctification, starting with the first: God the Holy Spirit baptizes every believer into union with Jesus Christ.  As of the moment of salvation, you are positionally in Christ because at the very instant you believe in Him the Spirit puts each one of us into union with the person of Christ.  I have heard this illustrated as a mother cat taking its kitten by the nape of its neck and taking it to a new location.  Although I suspect the Spirit acts more like a mother cradling her new born child with great care and tenderness, with the anticipation of that child growing up and fulfilling its potential, then placing it into a cradle for security and comfort!

Because God the Holy Spirit has placed us into union with Christ, every believer, each one of us, regardless of race or gender has equal privilege and equal opportunity to fulfill the unique plan God as designed for each Church Age believer.  Bob Thieme calls the plan, the “protocol plan” of God, because every aspect of this plan needs to be accomplished in the right way, that is, according to protocol.  A good example of a situation in life where one must follow protocol, correct procedure, is the approach to the throne of the Queen of England.  You must follow precisely correct procedure when making you approach to that throne.  Another example involves firearms training in the military.  I remember during small arms training while in Air Force Basic Training, each airman had to follow strict precise procedures for safety and to maximize our training.  In the same way, there is a right way to do everything in God’s plan.

This unique plan for believers in this Church Age is also an astounding change in the course of human history.  Both race and gender were a factor during the age ofIsrael.  Look at theTemplewith its various courts, separating out people by gender and race.  If you are a woman today, you have the same privilege to glorify God as men do, which you as a woman did not have in past dispensations.  Because of our position in Christ, neither race nor gender is an issue in the Church Age.

Let’s look again at that illustration of the Spirit’s baptism.  At Salvation, the moment you believed God the Holy Spirit baptized you into union with Christ.  Baptism means identification.  There are both real and figurative identifications:

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.  1 Corinthians 12:13

This is a real, not a figurative identification.  The Holy Spirit actually placed you into union with the person of Jesus Christ, as He is presently seated at the right hand of the Father.  The circle represents that union with Him, positional sanctification. You can never lose your salvation because once you are in union with Him you can never get out of union with Christ.  This is a part of your eternal security.

Because we are in Christ, we share everything He is and everything He possesses.  Again, each of these blessings which we gain because of positional truth becomes addressable as complete doctrines.  This study will serve as an introduction to them but not exhaustive developments.

Eternal Security– The first of these, eternal security, means that you can never lose your position in Christ.  It is eternal and irrevocable.  Your position in Christ is one of three doctrines that guarantee your eternal salvation!  Such is being spiritual royalty. God has guaranteed our eternal security in three different ways!   We are eternally secure in our salvation because we are inUnion with Christ.  This one aspect of Positional Sanctification is one the means of eternal security.  You see, as I just mentioned, you can never be taken out of union with Christ.  Now eternal security is absolutely wonderful.  Unfortunately, there are those who don’t accept this as part of God’s gift to us!  Now this isn’t the only factor which relates to our eternal security.  There are many more.  It is as if God has woven a wonderful basket of security for us…woven of the many doctrines which pertain to our eternal security.

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come nor height nor depth nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”      Romans 8:38-39

No Judgment– Because we are in Christ, we will never be judged:

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  Romans 8:1

Eternal Life – We possess eternal life. If are going to live with God forever, we must also have His life, eternal life.  We do; one category of eternal life we have results from positional sanctification or our union with Christ.  Because our Lord possesses eternal life, we share that eternal life because we are in Him.  Now, we do have another category of eternal life, unrelated to Positional Truth, and that comes to us from the Father through imputation, but that is another doctrine.  The Apostle John taught this truth:

And this is the deposition:  that God has given to each one of us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son [positional sanctification] has eternal life; He who does not have the Son of God does not have the [eternal] life.” 1 John 5:11-12

Formation of the Royal Family – God forms His royal family by means of positional sanctification.

…with reference to the dispensation of the fullness of times [Church Age] to gather under one Head [Jesus Christ] the entire royal family in Christ, those that are in heaven and those that are on earth in Him.  Ephesians 1:10

Predestination – Because you are in Christ, you are predestined.  During college, one of the subjects debated was whether or not people in general, members of the human race, are predestined.  There are those who say that each member of the human race is, from birth, either predestined to Heaven or predestined to theLake ofFire.  Those debating this considered one predestined from the moment of birth, mind you!  This is close, but actually, we are all predestined from the moment of our rebirth…from the moment we believed in Jesus Christ.  We become predestined in Him, in that we now share His destiny! This also constitutes the principle of equal privilege.  We all have the same opportunity to grow up spiritually. Now, this is a complex doctrine, one which we will deal with in more detail at another time.  Paul taught this in his letter to the Romans:

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; Romans8:29

Status of Being New Spiritual Species or New Creature:

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.  2 Corinthians 5:17

In order to understand our position in Christ more fully, we must discuss several points.  Our union with Christ cannot be detected experientially.  You do not feel this reality emotionally or ecstatically.  So, how do we find out about our union with Him?  You can only understand this through learning the pertinent doctrines.  You can only gain understanding of your union with Him by understanding the doctrines that teach this. Unionwith Him is not progressive.  You don’t begin your spiritual life partially in union with Him and increase over time.  God the Holy Spirit has placed you totally in union with Him!  Our union with Him cannot be improved in time or in eternity.  The Spirit’s ministry of placing us into union with Him is absolutely perfect from the moment God saves us.  Lest you become arrogant about our union in Him, remember that you can never earn or deserve position in Him. It is not related to human merit in any way.  We are not in Christ because of what we do, but because we believed in Him, then God the Holy Spirit did the work of entering us into union with Him.  And finally, our union with Him is eternal in nature; it cannot be changed by God, angels, or the devil or any member of the human race.  So rest assured!  Once you are in union with Him, you will be so forever.

Characteristics of Positional Sanctification.

a.  It is not an experience; it is neither emotional nor ecstatics.

b.  It is not progressive.  It cannot be improved in time or in eternity.

c.  It is not related to human merit.  We are not in Christ because of what we do, but because we believed in Him and God the Holy Spirit did the work of entering us into union with Him.

d  It is obtained en toto at the moment of salvation through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

e  It is understood only through cognition of the pertinent doctrine.

f  It is eternal in nature; it cannot be changed by God, angels, or mankind.

Implications of Positional Sanctification

Being in union with Him also carries with it many implications.  I have listed these along with key Scriptures:

  We share Christ’s perfect righteousness:

He [the Father] made Him [the Son] who knew no sin to be made sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  2 Corinthians 5:21

We share His eternal life.

The “life” refers to eternal life:

And the testimony is this: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”  1 John 5:11-12

We share Christ’s election:

…since He Himself has elected us in Him before the foundation of the world.  Ephesians 1:4

We share His son-ship:

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  Galatians 3:26

We share His heir-ship:

The Spirit bears witness with our [human] spirit that we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. Romans 8:16-17

We share His priesthood:

He made us a kingdom of priests to God, even His Father; to Him be glory and ruling power forever and ever… Revelation 1:6

We are transferred into the kingdom of the Son of His love:

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.  Colossians 1:13

We share Christ’s position in the Father:

In that day, you shall come to know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”   John 14:19-20 RBT

Retroactive and Current Positional Truth

I have one last point in our discussion of our Position in Christ.  This point deals with the emphasis of the term, Positional Truth.  For it reveals two further implications of our position in Him.  Theologians divide Positional Truth into two parts theologically.  These two categories include retroactive positional truth and current positional truth.  Paul teaches this entire concept in Romans using the analogy of marriage and divorce.  The Church age believer, by virtue of position in Him, divorced his old sin nature then married the Lord Jesus Christ.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, Romans 6:1-5

In retroactive positional truth, God removes the old from us, positionally. Retroactively, we are identified with Christ in three different ways: His spiritual death, physical death and burial. The emersion part of water baptism illustrates this.

First, categorically, we are identified with His spiritual death, when He bore the punishment for our sins. This means that we are to reject human good and evil.  On the cross when our Lord died spiritually, He died for our sins only, paying the price for them.  However, He rejected good and evil, rejecting every facet of Satan’s plan, which includes both human good and evil.  There is a lot of what most humans would consider “good” in Satan’s operational plan.  What, you may say, reject good as well as evil?  Yes, we must reject human good, that is, any category of good apart from divine good! In a later lesson we will differentiate divine good from human good. A simplistic differentiation involves the power of the Spirit.  If empowered by Him, you are accomplishing divine good.  Otherwise, you are operating under satanic power and principle, producing human good and evil.  Our rejection of good and evil is tantamount to rejection from our first husband, our old sin nature which tempts us to become involved in these things.  This whole analogy follows divorce procedure.

In the second category of retroactive positional truth, we are identified with Christ in His physical death.  On the cross, when He had completed His work of our salvation, He said TETELESTAI, translated with all the implications the Greek communicates, “It is finished or completed once, with results that last forever.” He then, by his own doing, died physically, giving up His spirit to the Father. Because we identify with Christ in His physical death, we separate from satanic good and evil.  By this we have separated from our first husband, our old sin nature.  This issue of separation is thoroughly illustrated for us by our Lord’s commands for Israel be separated, set apart from all other nations.  There is much practicality and applicability to this.  We are commanded to be separated from worldly influence, to be “in the world, not of it.”

Identification with Christ in His burial is tantamount to the actual divorce from our first husband, where positional death occurs between the believer and his old sin nature.  You are dead to your old sin nature: everything it stands for and its influence upon your life and volition.  The challenge is to live like you are dead to you old sin nature!  Note that in our entire discussion of retroactive positional truth, we gain nothing.  The old is positionally removed but He has given us nothing.  Now we turn to what the Lord has given to us because He was resurrected, ascended and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

In current positional truth, the Spirit identifies every believer with Christ in His resurrection, ascension, and session at the right hand of God the Father.

 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Ephesians 2:6

We become positionally married to the Son, our second marriage, which demands “walking in newness of life.”  We are “new creatures; the old things have passed away.”  Old things refer to our past marriage to the old sin nature.  Both categories of positional sanctification belongs to all categories of believers, whether winners or losers experientially. Each of the factors we studied above are related to our current position in Christ.  These blessing belong to every believer, no matter what the spiritual status. In 1 Corinthians 1:2 and 30 says that even the worst of believers (those in the Corinthian church) are sanctified in Christ Jesus.

-Factor 2: The Indwelling of Christ – We are going to begin our study of the second factor related to Irrevocable Salvation Sanctification by going directly to the Scripture.  The two we will look at specifically teach this truth.  The Lord Himself prophesied His indwelling the body of every Church Age:

Before long the world will see Me no longer, but you will see Me; because I live, you also will live.  In that day, you shall come to know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”  John 14:19-20 RBT

By “I am in My Father” our Lord declared His deity.  Those believers alive at the time of writing would come to know that Jesus Christ was true deity while in He was in Hypostatic Union.  The humanity of Christ was in union with the Father, a unique positional sanctification.  This is the basis for our positional sanctification, since we are in union with Christ and must share everything He has.  By this next phrase, “and you in Me,” Jesus prophesied the Church age believer’s unique position in Him. Because of our position in Christ we have equal privilege under predestination and positional truth, as we just noted.  “And I in you,” declares that Jesus Christ indwells every one of us.  Our Lord Jesus Christ lives in the body of every church age believer.  “You,” here, is the plural personal pronoun better translated: “and I in you all.”  The people who heard this prophecy could see Christ’s humanity, but they could not see His deity.  The same was true of the Shekinah Glory.  They could not see the Shekinah Glory, but they could see the manifestation of its presence in the cloud and pillar of fire.  In the same way, Jesus Christ is manifested today, but by His word in every mature believer, not a physical manifestation.

Our Lord uniquely lives in every Church Age believer.  No other dispensation can boast of this grace blessing.  This unique Church Age has never occurred before, nor will in again after the Church is resurrected.

The second Scripture is fairly lengthy.  We will look at it in its entirety because it teaches the purpose of His indwelling.

Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  Colossians 1:25-27

Paul begins this passage telling the Colossian believers that what he was teaching them was for their benefit.  As much as it was for them, it is for us as well.  We live in a spiritually unique age which God designed for our benefit and His glory.  We will never fulfill the purpose He has prepared for us without totally understanding every facet of this unique age.   Bob Thieme named the plan for this age, the protocol plan of God because every facet of the plan requires “precisely correct procedure.”  Paul called this the age of mystery, hidden from past dispensations and from Old Testament writers because of its uniqueness.  It could not possibly have been revealed without upsetting everyone.  Moses longed to see this day!  Though a detailed description of the Church age will be carried out in another study, note some unique factors of it: the indwelling of every Church Age believer by the Trinity, the universal priesthood, your very own portfolio of invisible assets, and the unique protocol plan of God, one or more spiritual gifts, and invisible impact on history!  This is a wonderful age to have been born into because of the glories God has made available to us!

The riches which God has given to you have a source.  The source is God’s glory.  You have both the riches and the Source of the riches indwelling you.  Jesus Christ as the Shekinah Glory indwelt the Tabernacle andTempleduring the Age of Israel, not only as a guarantee ofIsrael’s security, but also as a guarantee of their prosperity and blessing.  Jesus Christ now indwells you as a guarantee of your security, riches, and fantastic blessings.  If Jesus Christ indwelt a building in the age ofIsrael, how much greater is the indwelling of Christ in the body of every believer in the Church Age?  “The hope of glory” is the mature believer’s confidence that at the point of maturity he will receive his escrow blessing which will glorify God both in time and eternity. “Hope” is used technically as the confidence or future expectation of the adult believer who recognizes that the indwelling of Jesus Christ as the Shekinah Glory is the guarantee of greater blessings for both time and eternity.

There is a caveat.  Not every Church Age believer qualifies for these unique blessings!  The believer must grow to spiritual maturity.  The mature believer becomes occupied with Christ.  Christ indwells us for the purpose of motivating our spiritual growth.  Knowing He indwells us gives us a very strong and powerful motivation to keep advancing through each stage of spiritual adulthood with its accompanying category of undeserved suffering. “Glory” here refers to your escrow blessings.  Therefore, “Christ in you” is the confidence of receiving those escrow blessings which glorify God the Father.  Once we attain spiritual maturity, His indwelling becomes a personal reality.  The indwelling of Jesus Christ motivates our continued momentum.  For the believer who refuses spiritual growth, the “backslider,” the indwelling of Christ has no effect.  It is as if Christ were on the outside, knocking to be let back into his life:

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.  Revelation 3:20.

“The hope with reference to glory” refers not only to the Lord Jesus Christ, but also to the escrow blessings deposited within Him, the Depositary by the Grantor, God the Father, in eternity past.  Jesus Christ as the escrow officer is the One who actually conveys those escrow blessings to us in time when we reach spiritual maturity.  He conveys those blessings to His own righteousness in us, which we share by positional sanctification.  “Christ in you, the hope of glory” further speaks of capacity.  As believers, we must have capacity before blessings, even logistical blessings; otherwise we can’t handle the blessings.  If you understand the doctrine of the indwelling of Christ, you will have the capacity to enjoy your logistical grace blessings without being destroyed from lack of capacity. This doctrine of the indwelling of Christ is vital to you for security, a guarantee, motivation, and capacity.

Our Lord indwells us for many reasons.  It is a part of your royalty.  While the baptism of the Spirit forms the royal family of God, the indwelling of Christ is both the sign of the royal family and another expression of the uniqueness of the Church Age. Therefore, your background is of no consequence in the Church Age, because you are indwelt by Jesus Christ.  You have equal privilege and opportunity with all other believers.  Because He indwells us, He guarantees us of our portfolio of invisible assets prepared for us by the Father in eternity past.  This indwelling is also another guarantee of our eternal security.  The indwelling of Jesus Christ is a guarantee of your escrow blessings.  When God the Father created our blessings he deposited these incredible blessings in Christ.  Jesus is both the depositary of our escrow blessings and the escrow officer who distributes them to us when we fulfill the conditions of the escrow.  The condition that you must fulfill to receive this category of blessings is simply this: grow up spiritually and become a mature believer.  But, the indwelling of Christ is not a guarantee that you will receive your escrow blessings, only that they exist.  You will not receive your escrow blessings unless or until you advance to spiritual maturity.

The indwelling of Jesus Christ serves as motivation for momentum in spiritual adulthood.  As you grow up spiritually, you will soon learn to love God, all three persons.   Knowing Jesus Christ indwells you becomes the motivation you need to advance to the next stage of spiritual growth.  Each stage of growth has its own level of undeserved suffering, so without understanding our Lord’s indwelling you will not have the motivation and endurance to apply the doctrine to undergo this suffering.  You must be motivated in addition to the doctrine you possess, to go through undeserved suffering.  The specific motivation is the application of the indwelling of Christ.  This becomes the motivational virtue for the advance through each stage of spiritual adulthood.  There must be a strong personal love for God that continues to get stronger.  It is occupation with the person of Christ that becomes the important motivating factor beginning at spiritual self-esteem.

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart…Hebrews 12:3

The indwelling of Jesus Christ emphasizes our relationship with God rather than people.  The unique factor of every member of the Godhead indwelling your body provides a different emphasis and a new priority for the new spiritual species, the body of Christ.   As long as you emphasize experience with people over experience with God, your experience in life will be characterized by self-induced misery from the law of volitional responsibility, plus a tremendous amount of punitive suffering from the three categories of divine discipline.  These stages of discipline include warning, intensive, and dying discipline.

Factor 3: The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit – God the Holy Spirit also indwells every Church Age believer:

Do you not know that you are atempleofGodand that the Spirit of God dwells in you?  1 Corinthians 3:16

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.  1 Corinthians 6:19

Note the strong emphasis on “your body.” This means that by means of your spiritual life, through the power of the Holy Spirit, you need to render powerless the lusts of your body.  God’s plan for you does not include your lust drives or the expression of the lust pattern of your old sin nature.  These lusts are multifarious.  Lust for wealth or just money without the wealth aspect, for approbation or recognition…this is a powerful one.  Power lust…do you want to control everyone in your environment…and beyond?  These also include stimulation lust, sex lust, and so on.  Many times these are latent or hidden but still greatly influence our day to day lives.  Don’t compartmentalize your spiritual life.  Your whole being must change as your thinking changes.  If you are truly thinking doctrine your whole being and motivation will change.  Your application of doctrine should bleed over the every area of your life.

The purpose of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is to provide a temple in the body of every Church Age believer for the indwelling of Jesus Christ as the Shekinah Glory and the indwelling of God the Father.  God the Holy Spirit makes a sacred building out of your body for the indwelling of God the Son and God the Father.  The indwelling of Holy Spirit emphasizes your body. There are no sacred buildings in the Church Age.  The only sacred building was the temple inJerusalemwhich belonged toIsraeland was destroyed in 70 A.D. Therefore, the sphere of indwelling is always stated as the body of the believer.  Your body is the sacred building of the Church Age.  This indwelling makes it impossible for demon possession to occur.

Our Lord prophesied about the coming indwelling of the Spirit prior to the beginning of the Church Age.  One of the three spiritual uses of water, one of which is mentioned in the following passage refers to the Spirit’s indwelling.

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From His innermost being will flow rivers of Living Water.’ ” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39

Factor 4: The Indwelling of God the Father – At the moment of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, God the Father indwells every Church Age believer:

…one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.  Ephesians 4:6

The Father’s indwelling provides a unique unification for the Church Age Royal Family.  His indwelling glues the Royal Family together.  The ministry of the Son, Holy Spirit and Doctrine also provide the foundation for Royal Family unity.  The Father’s authority over the entire Royal Family unites us.  He is our ultimate authority.  As church age believers, He is “through us” in that He has given to us the unique availability of His power.  His power works “through us” every time we think doctrine, and becoming a conduit of His blessing to others. The manifestation of the Father’s indwelling comes with spiritual maturity:

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.”  John 14:23

…for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.  Philippians 2:13

The Father indwells believers as the author of our portfolio of invisible assets, grantor of the escrow blessings, master -mind of the protocol plan.  The Father’s  indwelling relates to the glorification of His plan for the Church Age, as per the Ephesians 1.  It also provides us assurance regarding His work in eternity past on our behalf.  He is the author of our portfolio of invisible assets, the grantor of our escrow blessings, the mastermind of the protocol plan of God, and the designer of our thought sphere, very own palace of divine power by which we execute that protocol plan of God.

Category 2: Experiential Sanctification (Two Factors: Status of Spirituality and Progress in the Spiritual Life)

When we believed in Jesus Christ, God gave us a great responsibility and great power to fulfill that responsibility.  He gave us the responsibility to grow up spiritually in order to fulfill our role in the pre-historic angelic conflict.  He gave us two categories of power to fulfill this.  The first category of power is that of the Word.  The Word in your thinking is divine power.  Secondly, He has given us the power of His Holy Spirit.  Experiential Sanctification, in its purist sense, refers to the status of being filled with God the Holy Spirit who empowers you to live the spiritual life.  Our Lord bequeathed the Spirit’s power to us at His resurrection.  Experiential sanctification can be defined as living, functioning, and gaining spiritual momentum inside the power system by which God has empowered you to live your Christian Life. If you function within this system you will fulfill His plan for you.  You will become a spiritual winner.  If you do not, you lose the wonderful blessings He has prepared for you.  You will not lose your salvation, however.  Remember, you have eternal security!

Outside of this system of divine power, Satan has two pseudo power systems for you to reside in:  cosmic one and cosmic two.  If you live in either or both of these power systems you will lose spiritually, arriving in heaven with nothing more to show for your time on earth than a resurrection body.  You will have lost the rewards and blessings God had designed for you.  You decide in which system you will live.  You decide whether you will reside in God’s system where you have equal opportunity to glorify God by fulfilling His plan or live miserably in Satan’s power system.  God the Father, in eternity past, provided for you your very own place for experiential sanctification, your very own prefabricated power system.  So if you are filled with God the Holy Spirit, you are in a state of experiential sanctification.  Let us look at this system and the options diagrammatically before we develop mechanics and other principles:

Position in Christ and Experiential


As we noted in the last diagram, at the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit baptizes us into union with Christ.  Theologians call this, “Position in Christ,” “Positional Sanctification” or “Positional Truth.”  The Holy Spirit baptizes us without our volition being involved or our knowledge of it.  We are also experientially sanctified at the moment of salvation though it may only last a minute!  We are only initially experientially sanctified until we commit our first post-salvation sin!  When you sin, you move outside of God’s power sphere, entering Satan’s.  At this point your volition becomes involved.  If you use the spiritual mechanic delineated in 1 John 1:9, of naming your sin or sins to the Father, then, once again, you will be experientially sanctified, filled with God the Holy Spirit and empowered by Him.

Experiential Sanctification Versus Carnality

As this diagram illustrates, you have an option when it comes to experiential sanctification.  You can use your volition to opt to live in one or both of Satan’s power systems, of arrogance and hatred.  We will not study those here but you need to know that functioning under the filling of the Holy Spirit in God’s power system is not automatic.  You choose to do so!  It is a fact that you are living in God’s power system, that is, God the Holy Spirit fills and empowers you or you are carnal. The carnal believer grieves or quenches the Holy Spirit, is out of fellowship, residing and functioning under one or both of Satan’s systems, the arrogance or hatred complexes.  The systems of divine power and satanic power are mutually exclusive.

Let us now take some time to briefly describe some concepts that relate to Experiential Sanctification or Spirituality.  Do take note that this is a brief study of spirituality.  It is by no means complete.  We will take up a more complete study down the road.

1. God mandates our spirituality.  God has told us to be spiritual or to be filled with God the Holy Spirit:

According to Paul:

Walk by means of the Spirit.  Galatians 5:16

Be filled with the Spirit.  Ephesians 5:18

According to John:

Walking in the light.  1 John 1:7

According to Peter, we are to become:

Partakers of the Divine nature…  1 Peter2:14

2. The Holy Spirit’s power cannot be separated from progressive sanctification or spiritual growth.  He gives you the ability, the power to learn Bible doctrine, the thoughts of Christ, by which to live your life.  The Holy Spirit provides the power while the Word provides you with content.  These two cannot be separated from each other.  You cannot maintain you spirituality apart from our Lord’s thoughts circulating through out your thinking.  Keep this in mind as you study the following passages and resultant principles!

3 The filling of the Spirit provides you with inner strength:

That He may give you on the basis of the riches of His glory to become strong by means of power through His Spirit in your inner being.  Ephesians3:16RBT

The riches of Christ’s glory, to you, Church Age believer, include things that have never been given to any other believers in history.  These include the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the protocol plan of God, a portfolio of invisible assets, a royal priesthood and royal ambassadorship, the mystery doctrine of the Church Age, the indwelling of the Trinity, the unique availability of divine power, a dispensation of historical trends and the potential of becoming an invisible hero.  You “become strong” by coupling the filling of the Holy Spirit with your volition to become wise by means of our Lord’s thinking.  In this status, you are functioning inside your very own divine power system or dynasphere.  To acquire strength means that you must learn doctrine every day, thereby gaining momentum through the power of God the Holy Spirit using His power system, controlling your soul.  We gain strength through the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit inside your very own divine dynasphere.

4. Experiential Sanctification is the means of divine instruction.  When you are experientially sanctified, God the Holy Spirit becomes your teacher.  He is the means to your comprehension of doctrine:

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.  John 14:26

I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.  John 16:12-13

This entire concept is the subject of study in the faith rest drill study.  God the Holy Spirit empowers you to understand and apply divine phenomena which is unavailable to unbelievers.

5. Experiential Sanctification provides you the power to avoid sin.

Therefore, I command you:  keep walking by means of the Spirit, and you will not carry out the lust pattern of the flesh [sin nature].  For the flesh [sin nature] desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit is against the flesh [sin nature]; for these are constantly opposed to one another, so that you may not do the things you wish to do.     Galatians 5:15-18 RBT

This verse mandates us to continue being filled with God the Holy Spirit.  Functioning under His power should be your highest priority because you cannot live the spiritual life without His ministry. Conflict always exists between your old sin nature and God’s integrity.  Your volition determines who wins the conflict, often on a moment by moment basis.  Once, a new believer asked a missionary who usually won this conflict.  Said the missionary: Imagine that your sin nature, your fleshly desires, is a black dog and the Spirit, a white one.  The dog to whom you say “sic ‘em” is the one who keeps on winning!

6. Experiential Sanctification provides spiritual freedom:

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh [sin nature], but through virtue-love serve one another.  For the entire Law has been summed up in one doctrine, namely this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’   Galatians 5:13-14

This passage refers to spiritual freedom, providing the freedom to grow in grace.  Whenever you are in fellowship with the Spirit, you have spiritual freedom.  You can experience this freedom in times and places of political repression.  Can you see where if you have a pivot of spiritual believers in a given repressed nation where God must provide establishment freedom to match their capacity?

Many criticize the means by which we resume our spiritual freedom after sin…we simply name our sins to God the Father.  Some allege that this gives a person license to sin.  Not according to Paul, who warns against this frame of mind.  He mandates every believer not to misuse this freedom but to use it to develop virtue love  This requires a high degree of spiritual maturity!

7. Spirituality is antithetical to carnality.  You cannot be in the status of experiential sanctification, living by God’s power and be carnal simultaneously:

If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;  1 John 1:6-7

…but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.  1 John 1:7

Experiential sanctification, when coupled with spiritual growth results in great life-changing dynamics.  Experiential sanctification is so named because this is the status under which your life will change.  It is truly experiential! These are some identifiable results of spirituality and spiritual growth:

1. Your thinking will conform to that of our Lord’s and to that of other growing and mature believers. Paul discussed this spiritual dynamic in his letter to the believers atPhilippi:

Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.             Philippians 2:2

With the filling of God the Holy Spirit, we all have a great and meaningful purpose to our lives: that is to grow in grace.  By growing in grace our thoughts move into conformity with our Lord’s.  Spiritual growth and the push to spiritual maturity becomes the foundation for unity and purpose within the Royal Family

2. You will be imitating the humanity of Christ by means of experiential sanctification. Just as the Holy Spirit filled and empowered Him during His first incarnation, during His life on this earth, so the Holy Spirit fills and empowers us the same end: to fulfill God’s plan for our lives.  He was the first to be filled with the Spirit, tested its function and pushed it to the farthest limits. He never sinned, He never failed and he fulfilled God’s plan for His earthly life with perfect happiness.  God has provided this same potential for each of us by means of this spirituality:

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children … Ephesians 5:1

3 We receive guidance and assurance regarding God’s plan for each of us in this dispensation by means of experiential sanctification:

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.  For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.     Romans 8:14-16

4. While we are spiritual we always produce divine good instead of human or satanic, so called “good.”  God rewards believers who produce divine good:.

According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 1 Corinthians 3:10-13

Two categories of spiritual production are taught.  The first is effective witnessing:

…but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.   Acts 1:8

The second is effective prayer:

With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.  Ephesians 6:18

Category 4: Ultimate or Post Mortem Sanctification (Two factors: Pre-Rapture and Post-Rapture)

Finally, let us discuss the last category of Sanctification.  I call this Post Mortem sanctification because this is what God does for us at the moment we leave our earthly bodies behind.  Now before we talk about death and God’s provision of sanctification after it, let’s talk a bit about eternal life.  God blessed us with eternal life at the moment we believed in His Son, Jesus Christ.

As Church Age believers, members of the Royal Family of God, God has ensured our eternal life by two factors.  First, we have eternal life because, being in Christ, we share in His eternal life. Secondly, God the Father imputes eternal life to us at the moment we are saved.  So we have two “portions” of eternal life: from both the Father and the Son. Granted, one factor is all we need to have eternal life, but as Church Age believers, we are doubly sealed into eternal life!

You have had eternal life from the moment you believed in Christ.  Right now, at this very moment you are living eternally!  You are living in the temporal stage of eternal life, but it is eternal nonetheless!  This is the first of three categories of eternal life God gives to us.  While we are on this earth we have both earthly or temporal life and eternal life.  Also, called the mortality category of eternal life, we live in earthly, mortal bodies of corruption with old sin natures and possess eternal life at the same time. This category continues until either we die or until the rapture or exit resurrection of the Church occurs.  We know we have eternal life at the moment of salvation because Jesus said so!  Listen!

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.  John6:47NASB

The Greek word translated as, “has”, EKEI, is in the present active indicative.  It does not infer that eternal life is a future possession but a present one!  Furthermore, you cannot lose it!

Whether or not you experience the second category of eternal life depends upon whether you die physically or become caught with Him in the air, directly from your physical life.  If you die physically, from old age, from disease, accidentally or from military action, God will bless you with an interim life, which precedes the third category of eternal life.  You will receive the third category of eternal life upon entering the eternal state.  For the moment, let us assume that you will die physically.  You will experience the separation of your soul and human spirit from your body.  At that moment, your soul and human spirit will separate from your body then leave this earth and will be escorted to heaven where you will be face to face with our Lord Jesus forever more.  This is even true of believers who don not fulfill God’s plan for their lives.  When a loser believer dies, he or she will also arrive in heaven to spend eternity face to face with our Lord.

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to dieonce and after this comes judgment…  Hebrews 9:27 NASB

Whenever any believer experiences physical death, God is victorious!  Another human being passes into His presence away from Satan’s realm of death, leaving his old sin nature in his earthly body of corruption.  God chooses both the time and manner of every believer’s passing.  Our passing is totally in the Lord’s hands.  You will not leave this earth until He calls you home.

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

The word “victory” refers to the death of every believer who will never experience the “sting of death” in theLake of Fire.

There is one exception to the physical death rule; that every one dies physically.  It applies to those who live in the rapture generation.  They will simply go to meet the Lord in the air at the moment the Father resurrects the Church.  However, for the vast majority of us, the moment we die we will be transferred into Heaven, a place of no more sorrows, no more tears; the old things having passed away.  The old things refer to our body of corruption.  After we die and transferred to heaven, we move into the second category of eternal life where we await the resurrection of the church and our resurrection bodies. Now, you may ask, what happens if you do die before the resurrection of the Church?   What happens between the time you die and the resurrection?  Do you lie in your grave in some kind of unconscious state, or do you wander the earth as a disembodied soul? No! You will live in heaven, face to face with our Lord Jesus Christ in an interim body, in a state of perfect happiness.  Until the Resurrection of the Church occurs, all Church Age believers who die go to heaven in an interim body where there is equally great happiness and blessing to all believers.  Both winner and loser believers will be blessed with an interim body.  At that point we have both an interim body and eternal life.  While you live in your interim body you will experience no more pain, tears, sorrow, old sin nature temptations, or sickness.  You will be recognizable to those who precede you into heaven.  You will occupy this body while awaiting your resurrection body.  God does not distinguish between loser and winner believers during this period of eternal life.  Losers and winners have it just as good in heaven in an interim body.  This fact provides sublime happiness for every believer, giving the greatest of comfort to loved ones at a funeral.

Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.  2 Corinthians 5:8

…and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.  Revelation 21:4

Our eternal state, the third category of eternal life, begins at the moment the Father resurrects the church.  At that moment, every believer’s body will be changed into a resurrection body, which is just like our Lord’s body. At the Resurrection of the Church, all believers receive resurrection bodies, those who have fulfilled God’s plan for their lives and those who have not, both those already in heaven and those alive on the earth will receive resurrection bodies. So, if you still live on earth when the Father resurrects the Church, you will not experience either physical death or the interim state.  You will be resurrected without experiencing physical death.  Following the Rapture of the Church, at the Judgment Seat of Christ, winner believers, those who have fulfilled God’s plan for their lives, receive the conveyance of their escrow blessings for the eternal state. Those believers who chose not to follow God’s plan for their lives will not receive rewards and blessings but their package of blessings will always be on display as a memorial to lost opportunity.  Remember that every Church Age believer has equal opportunity to fulfill God’s plan for his or her life. Live your spiritual life, gain these rewards!  Don’t leave them on display!  Your choice to refuse to use God’s power to fulfill that plan will have eternal repercussions. Even so, every believer will be in a state of blamelessness, of perfection in resurrection body. Finally, ultimate sanctification, this last category of eternal life, converts the body of Christ into the Bride of Christ.  Because the Church is resurrected aristocracy, therefore, different from all other resurrections the royal family of God shares in the coronation and triumph of Jesus Christ at the Second Advent.  But these further details are beyond the scope of this study.  The point is that every believer possesses eternal life now, may experience interim eternal life and will definitely be ultimately sanctified.

…who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.          1 Corinthians 1:8 NASB

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  Ephesians 1:4 NASB

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.  Philippians 3:20-21 NASB

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”  1 John 3:2 NASB

D. The Means of Our Sanctification

By His saving work on the cross, our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished sanctification for Church Age believers, though, only those who believe in Him exploit His sanctification work for themselves. Although our Lord has provided sanctification for all, only those who believe in Him possess sanctification. There is no sanctification in the Church Age apart from those who personally believe in Christ.  Were it not for the unique Person of Christ in His Hypostatic Union and His efficacious saving work on the cross, there would be no sanctification in the human race, no being set apart to God.  No one can be sanctified apart from faith in Christ.  No unbeliever can ever be sanctified.  Salvation must precede all four categories of sanctification.  That our Lord accomplished sanctification is taught in Heb 10:9-10, 14.  This was what our Lord said when He came into the world.

 At that time [point of virgin birth, incarnation], He [Jesus Christ] said, ‘Behold, I have arrived to accomplish Your will [purpose],’ by means of which will we [Church Age believers] have been sanctified to God forever through the offering of the body of Christ once and for all on the cross.  For by means of one offering, He has made perfect forever those being sanctified.” Hebrews 10:9-10, 14 [Expanded translation by RB Thieme, Jr.]

E. Recipients of Sanctification

In the first category of sanctification, we talked about four factors of sanctification which God gives Church Age believers at the moment of salvation.  These four factors are irrevocable.  The first of these factors is our position in Christ.  In positional sanctification at salvation, the Holy Spirit, by baptism enters every believer into union with Christ.  We share the eternal life, righteousness, son-ship, heir-ship, royalty, election, and destiny of Christ, as well as many more things. Church Age believers are also uniquely beneficiaries of the indwelling of Christ, the Father and of the Holy Spirit.

In experiential sanctification in time, the believer is sanctified through residing in the power system which the Holy Spirit provides.  By this we as believers are able to learn doctrine, develop momentum in our spiritual growth.  This category of sanctification is only a reality to those believers who are filled with God the Holy Spirit.  In ultimate sanctification, the eternal state, the every believer is sanctified through the possession of a resurrection body.

F. Three Agents of Sanctification

God the Holy Spirit sanctifies every believer when he believes in Jesus Christ.  Our faith in Christ is not sufficient for our salvation.  Because we are mere weak human beings, our faith does nothing more than to signal to the Holy Spirit that another human being has appropriated our Lord’s saving work.  At that moment, the Spirit takes the new believer and places him into union with Christ.  What a fantastic grace work!  Don’t ever assume that you have ever done anything for your salvation!  Every member of the Godhead saves you because you expressed faith in the person of Jesus Christ.  So, the actual agent of sanctification at the point of initial salvation sanctification is God the Holy Spirit.  Theologians call this act of sanctification the baptism of the Spirit using the Apostle Paul’s nomenclature.

 By means of one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we are Jews or Greeks [Gentiles], whether slave or free, we were all caused to drink one Spirit.  1 Corinthians 12:13

Baptism identifies one object with another. The ancient Spartans, upon completion of their basic training identified their spears with their enemies’ blood by ritually dipping or baptizing their weapon in animal blood.  The Spirit identifies us with Jesus by this baptism by which we share everything He has.  This identification gives us equal opportunity and equal privilege to fulfill the plan the Father has designed for each of us.  Equality means opportunity.  Though we Americans allege that living in this country provides us freedom, only one true freedom exists for all in human history.  God has given us a unique freedom to grow up spiritually, fulfilling the perfect plan He has devised.  Every believer possesses this freedom though a precious few exploit it!  People in no other dispensation of human history enjoy this freedom!  The only true equality in history is the equality produced by the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  We are all equal before Christ because we are all in union with Christ.  Another facet of this freedom lies in our predestination.  Only believers are predestined and only by virtue of the Spirit’s baptism into Christ.  We are predestined because our position in Christ guarantees that we share His destiny!

The phrase “to drink one Spirit” in this verse refers to the Spirit’s role in experiential sanctification. He sanctifies every believer by His filling and empowerment initially, at salvation and subsequently, when we name our sins to the Father as per 1 John 1:9.  Positional sanctification must precede experiential sanctification.  Understand that the Spirit neither baptized nor indwelled the everyday believer until this glorious Age of Grace!  Now, occasionally the Spirit endued or came beside certain Old Testament saints to empower them for certain tasks!  But God reserved the indwelling and filling of the Spirit for the Church Age believer.  Drinking portrays the non-meritorious aspect of faith in Christ. Just as when you drink water, water is in you; so also when you believe in Christ, you are caused to drink the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit, though, is not the only agent of experiential sanctification. Experiential sanctification involves, not just one, but two important facets.  The Spirit empowers us through His filling to provide the absolute aspect of experiential sanctification.  Absolute means that at any given moment you are filled and empowered with the Spirit or you are not.  Either you are spiritual or carnal.  His empowerment does not come in levels or degrees.  It is absolute!  The second facet, the relative facet, involves your volition as you learn and apply Bible doctrine.  The Word of God, then, provides the relative concept of experiential sanctification.  The relative concept of experiential sanctification relates to the degree you have matured spiritually growth by learning, believing and applying the truths of the Word of God.  Both the Spirit and the Word experientially sanctify you for your spiritual growth.

 Sanctify them by means of truth.  Your Word is truth.  John 17:17

That having purified her [Church], He might sanctify her by means of the washing from the water [doctrine] of the Word.”  Ephesians 5:26

Brethren, we should always give thanks to God for you, loved by the Lord; for from the beginning God has elected you with reference to salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13

God the Father provides our ultimate sanctification for the eternal state by giving us resurrection bodies.  In our resurrection bodies, we will be blameless:

 He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  1 Corinthians 1:8

For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love.    Ephesians 1:4

“Blameless” is the special work of God the Father in eternity future.

G. Sanctification of Food

Finally, our last point in this doctrine: the sanctification of food.  This topic is really an addendum to the above material because it doesn’t deal with your spiritual status or position as a believer in Jesus Christ.  The sanctification of your food is one of the Biblical uses of the term, ἁγιάζω HAGIAZO [[Strongs:g37]]

As a believer in Jesus Christ, you should always follow Biblically prescribed patterns in every area of your life.  Paul does  not mandate the sanctification of food, per se, but presents it as a means to refuting an encroaching heresy in his first letter to Timothy.  The Gnostic heresy Paul refuted alleged that certain matter was to be rejected because of supposed inherent evils.  If you ate certain foods, they implied, you could not be spiritual.  These legalists were not interested in Scriptural truth; that every aspect of God’s creation is good (Genesis1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25) They simply wanted to exert power over new converts!  Apart from the law of love, we are not to avoid eating certain foods for spiritual reasons.

Paul assumed that believers from a Jewish background approached meal time with prayer because it was a part of the Jewish ritual.  Jewish believers traditionally praised God in the form of thanksgiving for their food prior to eating.  For instance, Samuel had to bless the sacrifice before eating:

As soon as you enter the city you will find him before he goes up to the high place to eat, for the people will not eat until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now therefore, go up for you will find him at once.   1 Samuel 9:13

Furthermore, Jesus blessed food prior to His miracle feasts:

Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds…  Matthew 14:19

…and He took the seven loaves and the fish; and giving thanks, He broke them and started giving them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.                 Matthew 15:36

Paul not only refuted this Gnostic heresy but brought this ritual into the Church Age, converting it from a ritual to a spiritual mechanic with a purpose:

Because everything created by God is good for food, and nothing is to be rejected as unclean, if the food is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified [for nourishment] through the Word of God and prayer.” 1 Timothy 4:4-5

In the first line of this verse, Paul refutes the Gnostic heresy then introduces a caveat which brings the act of sanctifying food a part of the Church Age spiritual life.  The word, “good,” KALOS carries with it these nuances: “blameless,” “excellent,” and “beautiful.” Does this remind you of eating in your favorite gourmet recipe?  We should thank the Father for the food we are about to eat Paul says.  When we do, God sanctifies that food, sets apart for our consumption.  The food is not declared sanctified, but becomes so when accepted with thanksgiving.  The Greek makes this very clear. The food is not sanctified until you receive it with thanksgiving.  This may seem like a trifle, like splitting hairs!  Not so!  This is the age of protocol and every aspect of Church Age protocol has a purpose!

The purpose of sanctifying your food prior to eating fulfills two principles.  First, sitting down three times a day to express thanksgiving to God sets aside that time apart from your busy daily schedule to cycle through your thinking, if just for a moment, your gratitude toward the Father for His perfect provision!  God has given you at least three times a day to recover your spirituality if stress characterizes your day!  Thank God for that recovery.  As we will discover in the upcoming doctrine of gratitude, your thanksgiving indicates your spiritual capacity!  Secondly, in sanctifying your food, God overrules any impurities that may have infiltrated the food from improper storage and sloppy handling, from exposure to elements or creatures, or from virus or bacteria. Now, certainly, do avoid foods if you know you are allergic to them or if you’ve dropped your sandwich on the floor in your local slaughter house!  Common sense must prevail!

The mechanics of sanctification concludes the passage: sanctify your food “through the Word of God and prayer.”  This is a hendiadys, that is, one thought communicated by two words.  You cannot separate praying from your knowledge of Scripture or from your knowledge of God’s matchless grace!  So, express your thanksgiving to God every time you sit down to eat, no matter where you are, no matter what the circumstance!



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