HOLY AND SANCTIFIED
A. Introduction: For a number of months we’ve been working on a series about who Jesus is and why He came
into this world, according to the New Testament, which was written by eyewitnesses of Jesus. They wrote
that Jesus is God become man without ceasing to be God, and that He came into this world to restore sinful
men and women to relationship with Almighty God. Luke 19:10; I Tim 1:15; I Pet 3:18
1. God created human beings to become more than His creatures (His creations). God’s plan was and is
that we become His actual sons and daughters by receiving His uncreated life and Spirit into our being.
a. Our sin made that impossible. A holy God cannot indwell sinful men and women. Jesus took on a
human nature, and died as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity, to open the way to God. I John 4:9-10
1. When a man or woman bows their knee to Jesus as Savior and Lord, on the basis of Jesus’
sacrifice on the Cross, God can declare that person justified or righteous—no longer guilty of
sin and restored to right relationship with Himself. Rom 5:1
2. Once a person is justified, God can then indwell that person by His Spirit and life, and produce
a change in their identity—from sinner to son or daughter of God, born of Him. John 1:12-13
b. This inward new birth is the beginning of a process of transformation that will ultimately restore
every part of our being to all that God originally planned—sons and daughters who are like Jesus.
1. We don’t become Jesus—we become like Him in His humanity, like Him in character, holiness,
love, and power. We don’t lose our individuality, our distinct personality, or our uniqueness.
We are restored to what God intended us to be before sin damaged the family.
2. Rom 8:29—For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son so
that his son would be the firstborn, with many brothers and sisters (NLT).
2. Human nature (in its entirety) has been corrupted by sin. Salvation is the purification and restoration of
human nature by the power of God, on the basis of Jesus’ sacrificial death at the Cross.
a. The Holy Spirit is the one who carries out this process of transformation and restoration. This
process is not automatic or instantaneous. It is progressive, and we have a part to play in it.
1. The process begins at the new birth and will not be fully accomplished until the second coming
of Jesus, when our bodies will be completely delivered from all corruption and death.
2. Phil 3:20-21—And we are eagerly waiting for him (Jesus) to return as our Savior. He will take
these weak mortal bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the
same power that he will use to conquer everything, everywhere (NLT).
b. This new birth doesn’t directly affect our mental and emotional faculties or our behavior. We have
to put forth effort (exercise our will) to change our attitudes, the way we think, and our actions, and
bring them in line with God’s will, which is expressed in His written Word (the Bible).
1. We need develop the attitude of “not my will, but your will”, as well as dependence on and
expectation of the Holy Spirit’s help to do God’s will. Matt 16:24-26
2. We must learn to walk in the Spirit, which means to live and act in accordance with the will of
God in our behavior, thoughts, and attitudes. Gal 5:16
A. This is why reading the New Testament over and over is so important. The Bible not only
reveals God’s will, it functions as a mirror that shows us what we were, what we are, and
what we are becoming.
B. II Cor 3:18—And all of us, as with unveiled faces, [because we] continued to behold [in the
Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into
His very own image in every increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another;
[for this comes from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit (Amp).
3. We have more to say about God’s will and how the Holy Spirit works to purify and restore us, as we
cooperate with Him. In tonight’s lesson, we’re going to talk about holiness and sanctification.
B. Paul the apostle (an eyewitness of Jesus) wrote these words to followers of Jesus: For this is the will of God,
even your sanctification (I Thess 4:3, KJV).
1. Sanctification is translated from a Greek word that means to purify (cleanse) or consecrate (set apart to
God). The root word means to make holy, and is translated holiness in a number of places in the New
Testament. Sanctification and holiness are two sides of the same coin.
a. In our culture, holy or holiness is sometimes seen as a negative word. Holiness is seen as rules and
regulations about what you can and can’t do. But holiness is actually beautiful.
b. Holiness is an attribute of God. Almighty God is completely separated from evil and, in His being,
is absolute purity. Holiness in a human being looks like Jesus. Holiness is Christlikeness,
expressed through our character and our actions.
2. God wants sons and daughters who are holy. Consider several other passages written by Paul.
a. Eph 1:4-5—Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be
holy and without fault in his eyes. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own
family by bringing us to himself through Jesus. And this gave him great pleasure (NLT).
b. Eph 5:25-27—(Jesus) gave himself up for the church, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed
her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in
splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish
1. Holy means separated from evil, pure and clean. Without fault means spotless or without
blemish. Sanctify means to purify or consecrate (set apart to God). Cleanse means to clean in
a moral sense (cleanse of evil).
2. Jesus died for us so that He can present us to Himself without spot or wrinkle (imperfections).
These words are used figuratively to describe the flawlessness of the Church (all believers
throughout history), once salvation and restoration is completed at Jesus’ return.
A. A side note. Based on this verse, some say that Jesus can’t come back until the church is
glorious. That is incorrect. Paul is not referring to a state or condition that we must
reach or attain before Jesus can return.
B. Paul is stating the end result of what Jesus accomplished through the Cross, once the
process of transformation is complete—sons and daughters who are spotless and flawless.
3. Ps 29:2—Give to the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness or in holy
holy array (Amp). The original language reads: the beautiful garments of holiness. Because of what
Jesus has done and is doing for us, we can approach God arrayed in holiness.
a. The same Greek word that is translated holy in the New Testament is also translated saints (Rom
1:7; Eph 1:1; Col 1:2; etc.). Those who have believed on Jesus are called saints or holy. We don’t
attain this position of holiness through our efforts. We receive it by faith through faith in Christ.
1. There is a positional aspect to holiness. Through becoming a partaker of God’s life and Spirit
(new birth, union with Christ), we are now holy sons and daughters of God.
2. You, by your union with Christ Jesus, are God’s offspring; and Christ, by God’s will, became
not only our Wisdom, but also our righteousness, our Holiness, our Deliverance, so that—in the
words of Scripture—Let those who boast, boast about the Lord (I Cor 1:30-31, 20th Cent).
b. There’s also a transformational aspect to holiness and sanctification—and we participate in this part.
We are called to sanctify or purify ourselves.
1. I Pet 1:14-16—Obey God because you are his children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of
doing evil; you didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do,
just as God—who chose you to be his children—is holy. For he himself has said, “You must
be holy because I am holy” (NLT).
2. In the context of God promising that He will be our Father and we will be His sons and
daughters, Paul wrote: Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves
from everything that can defile our body or spirit (inward man or outward man). And let us
work toward complete purity because we fear God (II Cor 7:1, NLT).
4. We referred to Paul’s statement that God’s will for Christians is our sanctification (I Thess 4:3). Let’s
get the context of his words. Remember, holiness and sanctification are two sides of the same coin.
Holiness is separation from evil and absolute purity. To sanctify means to purify or make holy.
a. I Thess 4:1-7—We urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we
have taught you (v1, NLT). For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that you abstain from sexual immorality, that each
one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor…that no one transgress and
wrong his brother in this matter…For God has not called us to impurity, but in holiness (v2-7, ESV).
1. Holiness (our position before God) is given to us through union with Christ and the new birth.
Sanctification (developing holy character) is a process. The Holy Spirit builds holy character
into us little as we exercise our will to obey the Word of God and follow Jesus’ example.
2. Sanctification is progressive deliverance from sin and its effects until we are fully sanctified or
restored in every part of our being to what God intends us to be—sons and daughters who are
like Jesus in holiness, character, love, and power.
b. Remember, holiness in a human being looks like Jesus. Jesus, in His humanity, perfectly expressed
His Father, Holy God. He spoke His Father’s words and did His Father’s works by the power of
His Father in Him. Jesus perfectly obeyed His Father and loved His neighbor as Himself (John
14:9-10; Matt 26:38-42; Matt 22:36-40). Consider these statements about Jesus’ example.
1. Eph 4:32—Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God (whom
Jesus showed us) through Christ has forgiven you (NLT).
2. Eph 5:1-2—Follow God’s example in everything you do, because you are his dear children.
Live a life filled with love for others, following the example of Christ, who loved you and gave
himself as a sacrifice to take away your sins (NLT).
C. The Holy Spirit is the one who progressively sanctifies us as we cooperate with Him. II Thess
2:13—God chose you…to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth (ESV).
1. One of the primary ways that we cooperate with the Holy Spirit is by living with the awareness that He is
in us to help us recognize and say no to unChristlike thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors.
a. Paul wrote to Christians (saints, holy ones): Dearest friends, you were always so careful to follow
my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away you must be even more careful to
put into action God’s saving work in your lives, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For
God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him (Phil
b. Note how Paul prayed for Christians: I pray that out of the glorious richness of his resources he
will enable you to know the strength of the Spirit’s inner reinforcement…So will you be filled
through all your being with God himself! Now to him who by his power within us is able to do
infinitely more than we ever dare to ask or imagine—to him be glory in the church and in Christ
Jesus forever and ever. Amen (Eph 3:16-20, J.B. Phillips).
c. Paul prayed that we would know and understand: The immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing
greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty
strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead (Eph 1:19-20, Amp).
2. In Romans 8 Paul wrote a passage about living by the power of the Holy Spirit in you, to help you
become increasingly Christlike in your behaviors and attitudes. Consider several statements Paul made.
a. Rom 8:11—Once the Spirit of him who raised Christ Jesus from the dead lives within you he will,
by that same Spirit, bring to your whole being, yes even your mortal bodies, new strength and
vitality. For he now lives in you (J. B. Phillips).
1. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit will raise our dead bodies from the grave and make them immortal
and incorruptible, thus completing the process of making us like Jesus.
2. Right now, the Holy Spirit is in us to give strength and life, not only to our inner portion, but
also to our physical body, in the form health and strength for service.
b. Because the Spirit of God is in us: We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of
the body, you will live (Rom 8:12-13, ESV).
1. To live according to the flesh means to continue to walk (or act) in accordance with the as yet
unChristlike parts of your being. However, if you choose to bring those activities and
attitudes to an end, the Holy Spirit will help you follow through.
2. Rom 8:14—For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God (ESV)—This verse is often
used to mean getting specific directions for our life from the Holy Spirit. But, that’s not the
primary meaning. He leads us into holiness through the Bible and through His sanctifying
influence. (We’ll talk about His leading and guidance in an upcoming lesson.)
A. The Holy Spirit (the Spirit of life) is in us to help us overcome sinful actions, thoughts, and
attitudes: For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of
His Son, it is much more [certain], now that we are reconciled, that we should be saved
[daily delivered from sin’s dominion] through His resurrection life (Rom 5:10, Amp).
B. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Life and He is now in us to give Life (the uncreated zoe life
in God) continually to our entire being. Words fall short when we try to describe how the
Infinite, Almighty God interacts with finite, fallen human beings.
C. We simply accept and believe what God says and rejoice in the wonderful relationship that
is now possible with Almighty God, now that we are His sons and daughters.
c. Rom 8:15-16—So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like
God’s very own children, adopted into his family, calling him Father, dear Father (Abba). For his
Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children (NLT).
D. Conclusion: Sanctification (being made holy) is progressive deliverance from sin and its effects until we’re
fully restored to what God intends us to be—sons and daughters, like Jesus in holiness, character, love, and
power. How do we cooperate with the Holy Spirit as this process of sanctification is underway?
1. Know the will of God as it revealed in the Bible (which He inspired). Commit to do the will of God,
even when it is difficult. Recognize that God, the Holy Spirit, is in you to help and empower you.
a. Heb 12:14—Try to live in peace with everyone, and seek to live a clean and holy life, for those who
are not holy will not see God (NLT).
b. Realize that you are a finished work in progress—fully God’s holy, righteous son or daughter, but
not yet fully conformed to the image of Christ (holy) in every part of your being. I John 3:2
2. Understand that God restored you to right relationship with Himself (righteousness) so that you can be
made blameless and faultless. The price has been paid to make you blameless, but you not yet faultless.
a. Jude 24-25—Now to Him Who is able to keep you without stumbling, or slipping, or falling, and to
present [you] unblemished (blameless and faultless) before the presence of His glory—with
unspeakable ecstatic delight—in triumphant joy and exultation (Amp)…all glory to Him (NLT).
b. Phil 1:6—And I am convinced of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will
continue until the day of Jesus Christ—right up to the time of His return—developing [that good
work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you (Amp). Much more next week!!