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What is sanctification?

by Stephen Davey

Marita asks, "Please explain sanctification."

In really simple terms, sanctification is the process of becoming more like Jesus. It’s a word used to talk about spiritual growth. It is a life-long process of growing more and more like Christ.

The process of sanctification is actually a bit of a paradox. What I mean is this: is it up to God to make you grow in your walk and in your faith or is it up to you? The answer is both.

Your sanctification requires your diligent effort—and it’ll never happen without it.  But your diligent effort is enabled by the power of God, and it can’t happen without that either.

It’s this paradox that the Apostle Paul reveals in Philippians 2:12 and 13 when he says:

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12–13 ESV).

Did you catch the paradox? 

“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling” and “It is God who is at work in you."

So, is your Christian walk and growth and service up to you or up to God?  And the answer is: Yes!

Sanctification requires every ounce of diligence on your part to follow Christ’s example.

Sanctification requires every bit of power on God’s part in order for you to follow Christ’s example.

My advice is to spend regular time in God’s Word and commit to obeying what you find there. And rely on the Holy Spirit to change you and conform you to the image of Jesus Christ. As you do, you are being sanctified. 

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