Sanctification

AboutBeliefs Perspectives › Sanctification

The heart of The Alliance is the Fourfold Gospel, which focuses on Jesus as Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King. As part of our C&MA DNA, sanctification relates to our position in Christ and is the process by which we can live a Spirit-filled life.

Two Realities–Two Experiences

Jesus is “the one who is taking away the sin of the world” and “the one who is baptizing with the Holy Spirit” (John 1:29–33). All Christians understand first the first reality: that Christ’s blood has atoned for their sins and they no longer need to fear eternal separation from God. But most Christians do not understand or experience the second reality—the fullness of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Because many Christians have been badly taught, or because they have chosen to disregard the clear teaching of the New Testament regarding sanctification, they are missing out on much of what God has made available to every believer in Christ.

Two Kinds of Christians

The New Testament clearly teaches that there are two kinds of Christians. In 1 Corinthians 3:1–4, Paul talks about Christians who are “spiritual” and contrasts them with those who are “worldly,” or “carnal.” In Romans 7 and 8, the comparison is between those believers who are self-propelled and those who are Spirit driven. In Ephesians 5:18, he implies that some are “filled” and some are “not filled.”

Steps to A Spirit-Filled Life

The opportunity to experience the two realities of sanctification is available to every believer. The path to the Spirit-filled life requires taking faith-filled risks, which always involves change.

  1. Surrender We can’t make ourselves holy any more than we can make ourselves saved—we become holy only by realizing that we haven’t got what it takes to be holy (Romans 6:11; Romans 12:1–2).

  2. Accept Christ is our Sanctifier in the same way that He is our Savior (Colossians 2:6; Galatians 2:20).

  3. Abide We maintain a continuous relationship with Jesus through obedience to His Word (John 15:1–11).

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why do so few Christians experience the second reality of sanctification?

    • IgnoranceActs 19:3
    • SinEphesians 4:30
    • Fear1 Thessalonians 5:19
    • Lack of desireMatthew 5:6
  2. Is there a difference between the baptism and filling? The major problem here is that the New Testament does not clearly distinguish between several different words used to describe the dealings of the Holy Spirit with God’s people. Some of these include “baptized,” “filled,” “anointed,” and “sealed.” While the language the Bible uses to describe the experience may be ambiguous, the possibility of living a spirit-filled life is a clear reality.

  3. Is this a one-time experience? While the initial filling of the Holy Spirit usually comes as an experience subsequent to conversion, it is important to understand that sanctification is also a “progressive” experience (Philippians 2:12–13; Philippians 3:12–14; Colossians 2:6). It is also important to recognize that we need to be filled again and again because we leak!

Two Great Errors

  1. Avoiding the Holy Spirit out of fear: Many Christians run from God because of sin or preconceived feelings of unworthiness. When we remember to live Jesus’ words from John 15, “Apart from me you can do nothing,” we realize that our daily sanctification depends on our willingness to surrender to Him.
  2. Seeking an experience or an emotion as the evidence that we have been filled: Experiences are temporary, and feelings are fleeting. God’s Word is true and everlasting. We can’t put our faith in an experience or a feeling, but only in His eternal Word.

You Gotta Wanna!

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6).

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