“Sanctify them (the Disciples) with Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.” (John 17:17-19)
Jesus prayed this prayer to the Father at the end of His ministry and right before His betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane. His prayer to the Father was that the Disciples would be “set apart” from the rest of the world and kept from the evil one.
Sanctification means to set apart and to make Holy.
Unlike the work of redemption, where a believer is saved once and for all time, the work of Sanctification in the believer is a continuous process of becoming more like Christ. Since even saved men still sin, the act of Sanctification is a continuous process of being united to Him, being set apart, having God’s mark of ownership on us, and walking continuously in the Holy Spirit until we die and receive our full glorification (perfection) in heaven.
Sanctification always requires God’s presence and is initiated by God Himself. It is this dynamic presence, producing fruit in the believer, for which He alone is the source. Sanctification is clearly the work of God’s grace (unmerited favor).
Christians are progressively sanctified through our faith and our union in Christ. This allows us to have confidence that His perfect plan will be carried out in His perfect timing. All you have to do is trust in Him. If you do, God promises in His Word that He will show you the right way.
God, through sanctification, also set believers’ apart from the rest of the world. When you believe in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you become a new creation and will forever be changed. We are no longer slaves to Satan’s world system.
As a new Christian, God sanctifies you by placing His “mark of ownership” upon you. God’s mark of ownership is the Holy Spirit. The moment you confess Jesus as Lord, and believe that God raised Him from the dead, is the moment that the Holy Spirit comes and resides in you forever. This will prepare you for life of good deeds, which He has prepared for us to do
The Holy Spirit, through sanctification, is God’s guarantee of your eternal salvation. The Holy Spirit gives us the wisdom to know God’s plan for our salvation. The Spirit’s work of sanctification gives assurance to His Church that they belong to the Kingdom. Sanctification continues until it will be consummated upon the return of Jesus.
Additional References: 1 Thessalonians 5:23, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Hebrews 10:10
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