I spent 40 years in the desert. What do I mean by that? Well, I accepted the message of Jesus Christ when I was five-years-old at summer camp. Later, at forty-five-years-old, I dedicated my entire life to God during a Sunday school class. The message of sanctification became a beacon of light into my attempts to live the Christian life on my own. Drawn like a moth to a flame, I’d eagerly repeated a prayer of sanctification with my teacher. But, honestly, I hadn’t known what it all meant.The message of sanctification became a beacon of light into my attempts to live the Christian life on my own. Click To Tweet
You’re like me, so I know you need to research everything until you make the final decision to say “Yes” and “Amen” to anything. That’s what I did, too. After praying the prayer during Sunday school, I spent the next seven days researching sanctification. Afterward, I decided I definitely wanted to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit. I prayed my own prayer, offering my life to God and the control of the Holy Spirit.
During my research, I learned there were at least 4 joyous ways sanctification adds to the gift of free choice. But first, check out the meaning of sanctification…
The process of sanctification takes on three parts. Basically stated initial sanctification is received at the point of salvation (I John 1:7, 9). By this, you obtain an exchange of past sin for an indwelling of the Holy Spirit where sin once lived. Then entire sanctification begins as a growth process when you choose to allow the Holy Spirit to guide your life (baptism with the Holy Spirit – I Corinthians 6:11). Then to devote yourself to following his voice and leading. Finally, sanctification leads to glorification when you pass from this life into eternal life where you receive the fullness of Christ.
~ Part One: Initial Sanctification – Receiving the Gift
Initial sanctification (or, salvation) is the work of God which begins your transformation process into the likeness of Christ. It is provided by the atoning blood of Jesus. It is received instantaneously by grace and through your faith to reconcile you to God. Initial sanctification allows you to receive a heart cleansing of past sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you, as well as eternal life in heaven.
Not sure if you’ve received the gift? Take a moment and check out my blog Do You Need Christ? to make sure.
~ Part Two: Entire Sanctification – Using the Gift
Entire sanctification is the second aspect of God’s grace. You received the gift of the Holy Spirit at initial sanctification, but now you must use him. Through your second conscious decision you entirely devote yourself to God then spiritual maturity takes place over time (Romans 12:2). You grow in the grace of God as an avenue to accomplish His will. By intentionally nurturing spiritual growth, you carefully attend to improve in Christ-likeness of character and personality (2 Peter 3:18). Christ-like development, otherwise known as spiritual formation, creates in you a new, holy person serving God and man through the power of the Holy Spirit.
It may sound hard, but it’s not. The Holy Spirit does all the heavy lifting. Your responsibility rests in using his power by staying in connection with him, following his lead, and enjoying the ride.
~ Part Three: Sanctification to Glorification – Claiming the Gift
Entire sanctification continues the perfecting work of the Holy Spirit in your life culminating in glorification. In Scripture, the idea of glorification deals with the ultimate perfection of believers (Read here for more understanding of glorification). Through glorification, you become fully conformed to the image of the Son. Since no one attains perfection in this life, you claim the gift of complete Christ-likeness once you meet Jesus in heaven (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).
Initial sanctification – receiving the power and presence of the Holy Spirit – begins when you believe in God’s son, Jesus Christ. But receiving doesn’t mean following. You can receive a gift and never use it.
Following him comes when you choose to surrender your will, devoting yourself to pursuing God through entire sanctification (Romans 12:1). Through growth in grace, you become more Christ-like until glorification when you meet Jesus face-to-face.
Are you ready now to find freedom by adding joy to your free will? Below is a short prayer to aid as a guide. Use it to dedicate yourself to following the Gift Jesus left for you. Don’t just receive the Gift, use him too to claim Christ-likeness later.
I received the gift of the Holy Spirit when I accepted Jesus, but I’ve never used his guidance. I want to know You more and to hear Your Spirit more clearly. How I need Holy Spirit’s presence, power, and leading to make right choices. Knowing that only through Your grace can I grow into Christ-likeness, I’m ready. I’m willing to fully submit my life to the direction of the Holy Spirit for the cleansing of sins, to be set apart for your service, and follow him wherever he leads. Thank you for this incredible gift.