Continuing with yesterday’s theme of holiness, I wanted to research more about the word. Using BibleGateway.com Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary resource, here’s what it said about Holiness and Sanctification.
Holiness in the highest sense belongs to God (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 15:4), and to Christians as consecrated to God’s service, and in so far as they are conformed in all things to the will of God (Rom. 6:19, 22; Eph. 1:4; Titus 1:8; 1 Pet. 1:15). Personal holiness is a work of gradual development. It is carried on under many hindrances, hence the frequent admonitions to watchfulness, prayer, and perseverance (1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 7:1; Eph. 4:23, 24). See Sanctification.
So we see from above that holiness is a gradual process. Once we become Christ’s we are ever changing, morphing into His image. Everything in life (marriage, singleness, parenting, work, school, health, etc) is used as an instrument of conforming us to our heavenly Father’s character.
Sanctification involves more than a mere moral reformation of character, brought about by the power of the truth: it is the work of the Holy Spirit bringing the whole nature more and more under the influences of the new gracious principles implanted in the soul in regeneration. In other words, sanctification is the carrying on to perfection the work begun in regeneration, and it extends to the whole man (Rom. 6:13; 2 Cor. 4:6; Col. 3:10; 1 John 4:7; 1 Cor. 6:19). It is the special office of the Holy Spirit in the plan of redemption to carry on this work (1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Thess. 2:13). Faith is instrumental in securing sanctification, inasmuch as it (1) secures union to Christ (Gal. 2:20), and (2) brings the believer into living contact with the truth, whereby he is led to yield obedience “to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life and that which is to come.”
Perfect sanctification is not attainable in this life (1 Kings 8:46; Prov. 20:9; Eccl. 7:20; James 3:2; 1 John 1:8). See Paul’s account of himself in Rom. 7:14-25; Phil. 3:12-14; and 1 Tim. 1:15; also the confessions of David (Ps. 19:12, 13; 51), of Moses (90:8), of Job (42:5, 6), and of Daniel (9:3-20). “The more holy a man is, the more humble, self-renouncing, self-abhorring, and the more sensitive to every sin he becomes, and the more closely he clings to Christ. The moral imperfections which cling to him he feels to be sins, which he laments and strives to overcome. Believers find that their life is a constant warfare, and they need to take the kingdom of heaven by storm, and watch while they pray. They are always subject to the constant chastisement of their Father’s loving hand, which can only be designed to correct their imperfections and to confirm their graces. And it has been notoriously the fact that the best Christians have been those who have been the least prone to claim the attainment of perfection for themselves.” Hodge’s Outlines.
Remember, God’s not done with us yet. We are in the process of becoming more like Him. He is faithful to carry out that process until Christ returns. Every day reveals more improvements, slight changes in mindset and/or behavior. Each new struggle is an opportunity for us to exercise the will of God and respond out of love rather than self-centeredness. Therefore, we continue to focus on the eternal things for only the eternal things will last. We know what we see is temporary and is passing away.
How are you doing on your holiness and sanctification? Any progress towards God is great. Don’t get discouraged. Persevere for even in the persevering God is using it to develop His character in you.
O’Lord, I am thankful you make us holy. Thank you for your sacrifice to make us sanctified, pure and blameless before you. Help us to understand the depth of the treasure you gave us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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