But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30 NKJV).
Jesus Christ did a twofold work in us, technically called justification and sanctification. God justifies us as Christ was crucified and risen outside us; God sanctified as Christ is crucified and risen within us. God glorifies in virtue of both, as Christ is enthroned in the fullness of power.
We have justification as we are seen in Him. We have sanctification as He is seen in us. We have increasing glory and ultimate redemption as both of these divine works of grace combine in the sovereign purpose of God. (Oswald Chambers, Devotions for a Deeper Life. Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI. 1986. January 18. )
New believers enter into a fellowship of more seasoned believers and run right up against the Christianese language. It can be daunting. Sanctification and Justification are two of those words from our Scriptures that get thrown around a lot, although perhaps less so today. They should be discussed today—they are the building blocks of our true walk with Jesus. Maybe the reason they aren’t discussed so much today is that so few truly understand the whole concept. We teach worship, praise, love, but we seem to have forgotten how to teach Sanctification and Justification. It is my belief that Sanctification and Justification are the very foundation for worship, praise, and love.
Sanctification in the Abiding Life
In the abiding life—that life where Christ lives in me, operating out from me (John 15), and where my life is hid with Christ in God (For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God Col. 3:3)—these two ideas converge. The two ideas are shown in Scripture as Jesus Christ informed us more than enough times, that He of Himself could do nothing. He only did what the Father told Him. (“I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does” John 5: 19). He modeled that for us with his very life.
The model was meant to show us that we, of ourselves can do nothing; we can only do what Jesus living in us does through us—instead of us (“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” John 15:5).
How does this happen? It happens as we actually come to believe Colossians 1:15—Christ is “in me, the hope of glory;” and that I “died and my life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Christ is in me now, therefore, I, that is, my “self” life, dies.
Sanctification by Oswald Chambers
I really like how Oswald Chambers defines this in the above quote. “God justifies us as Christ was crucified and risen outside us; God sanctified as Christ is crucified and risen within us….. We have justification as we are seen in Him. We have sanctification as He is seen in us.”
Justified=Christ crucified and risen outside us;
Sanctified=Christ is crucified and risen within us
Justified=As we are seen in Him
Sanctified=As he is seen in us.
So, what is this process of sanctification? We are justified by His death. All of our sins are laid on Him at the cross. We ourselves died there with Him. Sanctification then is the process of choosing to die to self and as we do so, His life is seen in us more than our self-life is seen. This is a life-long process—and God is not in a hurry. We are in a hurry, which is why we look around at everyone else and want to move this process along.
Hebrews 4:12 had such an impact on me as a new believer—it changed my life.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The “Word of God” is Jesus. He is living in me in the form of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit living in me is able to pierce, and divide my “soul and spirit” and He can read my thoughts and even the motives of my heart. This is powerful stuff here. This is the sanctification process. The “soul” is where my mind, will and emotion operate from. The “spirit” is where the Holy Spirit has taken up residence. Sanctification is simply the process of moving from the soul where I have been comfortable for most of my life, into the Spirit, where He dwells, no longer thinking my own thoughts, feeling my own emotions, making decisions from my own understanding. It doesn’t mean that I will no longer feel emotions, think thoughts or make decisions; it means that in the midst of the painful situation in my life, I can sing in the prison cell. That is the true meaning of worship. It means that when I truly abide in Christ, I am the will of God. The frustration of searching for the will of God ends. He is in me, His will is in me. The shocking truth of 1 Corinthians 2:15 is scandalous “But we have the mind of Christ.” We are not Christ; Christ is in us, living his exact life through us, living His exact life in place of us.
Sanctification According to Michael Wells
I will let the words from the pen of Michael Wells explain this process:
Many are in the process of having soul and spirit divided. Life is to be found within the spirit, yet many interpret quality of life in the spirit by what is happening in the soul. The day Christ entered the believer’s life, He brought along a treasure chest full of all that is needed for successful living. The chest holds acceptance, love, assurance, security, commitment, and daily help. This chest, however, lies in the spirit, though the immature believer continues to look outside of the spirit for fulfillment. He turns to the soul for completion through the intellect (if only he can understand how he acts), through a strong will (if he can only change what he hates and acquire righteousness), or through changing emotions (if only he could feel loved, accepted, and valued). He looks to the body for satisfaction in attractiveness. Fulfillment is believed to come through the accolades of others: children, mates, friends, family, parents and co-workers. Titles and vocations promise to fill the emptiness.
If you were God, what would you do to divide the soul and spirit to force the believer to look deeper and discover all the riches of Christ that dwell within the spirit? That would be important, for if the believer could discover that true life is within, then nothing outside him would be able to destroy him. It does not mean that the believer would live the life of the unaffected (as a Hindu), but it does mean that the believer would be able to sing hymns in prison. First, would you not make all knowledge fail and emotions sink and lose their attractiveness? Second, would you not allow the will of man to fail him as it loses control in some area of life? Finally, if you were God, would you not cause both the world and all those in whom the believer trusts o fail to meet his deepest needs?
This is the dark wedge, the sword that God drives between soul and spirit. “The word of God is living and active, and sharper than a two-edged sword, able to divide soul and spirit.” The “Word of God,” naturally refers to Jesus. He personally does the work of dividing, and when the separation is occurring, many believers despair and consider this experience to be the most difficult of all; they become frantic, worried, confused, angry and bitter as they clamor for the return of happiness in the flesh.
However, we should be encouraged that it is through this very experience that we grow to become men and women of faith (Wells, Michael. My Weakness for His Strength, Vol. I. Abiding Life Press, Littleton, CO. 2011, p. 100.)
The process Jesus allows most often to do this “dividing” of the soul from the Spirit, is tribulation, sorrow, hardship, suffering, failure to find satisfaction in the soul life. These are the tools. These tools in our hands are harsh and unforgiving when we try to “sanctify” each other. In the hands of the great Carpenter, they are producing a far greater glory than we could ever think or imagine. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV). We already have everything He wanted to give us—everything we need for life and godliness. But these great promises are to be found only in the Spirit—they can never be manufactured in the soul. What stands in the way of our experiencing these “great and precious promises” It is simply our refusal to let Him do the dividing of the soul and spirit. When the chisel in the hand of the Great Carpenter begins to smooth away the rough patches of all that we think will bring us happiness and satisfaction and fulfillment in this life, we flinch and pull away. We love our soul; we have spent a lifetime nurturing it, filling it with the treasures of the world, or at least trying to fill it. Never mind that it has never brought any measure of satisfaction or fulfillment, we flail around anyway, trying to find the next thing, person, emotion, to fill up that empty, vacuous soul.
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires (2 Peter 1:4).
What can bring more satisfaction, joy, peace, happiness as participating in His divine nature?
Oh, but the treasure of “life and godliness” that He has put in us—nothing is as sweet, as fulfilling, as satisfying, nothing! Go ahead, jump on in, step on over into Him, living His life in us. It is a glorious life—Christ in me, the hope of glory.