Sanctification is the setting apart for the service of God. Graham: "The word sanctification comes from Greek meaning to be separate or to be set apart for a purpose." We Christians are to be progressively sanctified, or made righteous in holiness as we daily abide in Christ - and obey His word. Three parts (1) the moment you receive Christ, there is an immediate sanctification. (2) as we progress the Christian life there is a "progressive sanctification" (3) when we go to heaven there will be total and "complete" sanctification, which is called glorification.

The idea of sanctification being apart from justification was the major thrust of Wesley, Whitefield and Finney and was the spiritual truth that sparked the Great Awakening. John Wesley - When we are born again, then our sanctification, our inward and outward holiness, begins; and thenceforward we are gradually to "grow up in Him who is our head." The new birth is not the same as with sanctification but it is by slow degrees that he afterward grows up to the measure of the full stature of Christ.

In the sermons of John Wesley, he takes up the subject which as follows in the form of questions and answers:

On Monday, June 25, 1744, our First Conference began; six Clergymen and all our Preachers being present. The next morning we seriously considered the doctrine of sanctification, or perfection. The questions asked concerning it, and the substance of the answers given, were as follows: --

QUESTION. What is it to be sanctified?

ANSWER. To be renewed in the image of God, `in righteousness and true holiness.'

Q. What is implied in being a perfect Christian?

A. The loving God with all our heart, and mind, and soul. (Deut. 6:5.)

Q. Does this imply, that all inward sin is taken away?

A. Undoubtedly; or how can we be Said to be `saved from all `our uncleannesses?' (Ezek. 36:29.)" "Q. When does inward sanctification begin?

A. In the moment a man is justified. (Yet sin remains in him, yea, the seed of all sin, till he is sanctified throughout.) From that time a believer gradually dies to sin, and grows in grace...

Q. Is this ordinarily given till a little before death?

A. It is not, to those who expect it no sooner.

Q. But may we expect it sooner?

A. Why not? For, although we grant, (1.) That the generality of believers, whom we have hitherto known, were not so sanctified till near death; (2.) That few of those to Whom St. Paul wrote his Epistles were so at that time; nor, ~(3.) He himself at the time of writing his former Epistles; yet all this does not prove, that we may not be so to-day.

Q. In what manner should we preach sanctification?

A. Scarce at all to those who are not pressing forward: To those who are, always by way of promise; always drawing, rather than driving...

"How much is allowed by our brethren who differ from `is with regard to entire sanctification?

A. They grant, (1.) That every one must be entirely sanctified in the article of death. (2.) That till then a believer daily grows in grace, comes nearer and nearer to perfection. (3.) That we ought to be continually pressing after it, and to exhort all others so to do.

Q. What do we allow them?

A. We grant, (1.) That many of those who have died in the faith, yea, the greater part of those we have known, were not perfected in love till a little before their death. (2.) That the term sanctified is continually applied by St. Paul to all that were justified. (3.) That by this term alone, he rarely, if ever, means `saved from all sin.' (4.) That, consequently, it is not proper to use it in that sense, without adding the word wholly, entirely, or the like. (5.) That the inspired writers almost continually speak of or to those who were justified, but very rarely of or to those who were wholly sanctified. [That is, unto those alone, exclusive of others; but they speak to them, jointly with others, almost continually.] (6.) That, consequently, it beloves us to speak almost continually of the state of justification; but more rarely, [More rarely, I allow; but yet in some places very frequently, strongly, and explicitly.] `at least in full and explicit terms, concerning entire sanctification.'...

Q. How shall we avoid setting perfection too high or too low?

A. By keeping to the Bible, and setting it just as high as the Scripture does. It is nothing higher and nothing lower than this,--the pure love of God and man; the loving God with all our heart and soul, and our neighbour as ourselves. It is love governing the heart and life, running through all our tempers, words, and actions...

The more care should we take to keep the simple, scriptural account continually in our eye. Pure love reigning alone in the heart and life, -- this is the whole of scriptural perfection.

Q. When may a person judge himself to have attained this?

"A. When, after having been fully convinced of inbred sin, by a far deeper and clearer conviction than that he experienced before justification, and after having experienced a gradual mortification of it, he experiences a total death to sin, and an entire renewal in the love and image of God, so as to rejoice evermore, to pray without ceasing, and in everything to give thanks. Not that `to feel all love and no sin' is a sufficient proof. Several have experienced this for a time, before their souls were fully renewed. None therefore ought to believe that the work is done, till there is added the testimony of the Spirit, witnessing his entire sanctification, as clearly as his justification.

Q. But whence is it, that some imagine they are thus sanctified, when in reality they are not?

A. It is hence; they do not judge by all the preceding marks, but either by part of them, or by others that are ambiguous. But I know no instance of a person attending to them all, and yet deceived in this matter. I believe, there can be none in the world. If a man be deeply and fully convinced, after justification, of inbred sin; if he then experience a gradual mortification of sin, and afterwards an entire renewal in the image of God; if to this change, immensely greater than that wrought when he was justified, be added a clear, direct witness of the renewal; I judge it as impossible this man should be deceived herein, as that God should lie. And if one whom I know to be a man of veracity testify these things to me, I ought not, without some sufficient reason, to reject his testimony...

Q. How are we to wait for this change?

A. Not in careless indifference, or indolent inactivity; but in vigorous, universal obedience, in a zealous keeping of all the commandments, in watchfulness and painfulness, in denying ourselves, and taking up our cross daily; as well as in earnest prayer and fasting and a close attendance on all the ordinances of God. And if any man dream of attaining it any other way, (yea, or of keeping it when it is attained, when he has received it even in the largest measure,) he deceive his own soul. It is true, we receive it by simple faith: But God does not, will not, give that faith, unless we seek it with all diligence, in the way which he hath ordained.

Wesley goes on to say that "hence it appears, beyond all possibility of exception, that to this day both my brother and I maintained, (1.) That Christian perfection is that love of God and our neighbour, which implies deliverance from all sin. (2.) That this is received merely by faith. (3.) That it is given instantaneously, in one moment. (4.) That we are to expect it, not at death, but every moment; that now is the accepted time, now is the day of this salvation."

Watchman Nee writes that: "We know that justification is ours through the Lord Jesus and requires no work on our part, but we think sanctification is dependent on our own efforts. We know that we can receive forgiveness only by entire reliance on the Lord; yet we believe we can obtain deliverance by doing something ourselves. We fear that if we do nothing, nothing will happen. Sanctification is not to be confounded with Justification, which is forgiveness of sin... Sanctification is a gradual process towards holiness, following Justification and changing the heart and life through the power of the Holy Ghost. Justification removes the guilt and Sanctification the power of sin. Justification delivers us from the avenging wrath of God and Sanctification conforms us to his image. Nevertheless, the two are inseparably connected in the promises of God, and in the doctrines and promises of the gospel."
[117, 60, 173, 201, 377]

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