What Is Sanctification?
Sanctification, in Christian theology, is a significant and multifaceted concept. It refers to the process of being made holy, set apart for a sacred purpose. This transformation is understood as both an act of divine grace and a lifelong journey of spiritual growth and moral development for believers.
At its core, sanctification begins with the work of God. When a person puts their faith in Jesus Christ, they are justified, meaning they are declared righteous in God’s sight. This is often seen as the starting point of sanctification. From that moment, a believer is set apart as holy. This initial sanctification is not about personal achievement or moral perfection but is a gift of grace from God.
However, sanctification is also a dynamic and ongoing process. It involves the believer’s active participation in spiritual disciplines such as prayer, reading the Scriptures, and engaging in communal worship. This ongoing aspect of sanctification is about growth in Christian character, becoming more like Christ in thoughts, words, and deeds. It is a journey marked by gradual transformation, where the Holy Spirit works within the believer to cultivate virtues such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
In practical terms, sanctification is evident in a Christian’s life through their actions and attitudes. It’s seen in the way they love and serve others, their pursuit of truth and justice, their integrity and humility, and their resilience and hope in the face of trials and suffering. Sanctification is not about a life free from struggle or moral failure, but it’s about growing in grace and being continually renewed in the image of Christ.
In summary, sanctification is both a divine gift and a lifelong journey. It starts with God’s grace in setting a believer apart as holy and continues as a transformative process, shaping them into the likeness of Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit and their own faithful response.
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