The sanctification of the believer is in three realms—positional, progressive, and ultimate, reflecting the past, present, and future aspects of salvation. In Romans 8:1-11, Paul notes the reality of positional sanctification as the believer is in union with Christ, having been justified and declared righteous. Then He describes how this sanctification is worked out progressively in the life of the believer who walks according the Spirit. Positional and ultimate sanctification are entirely the work of God. Progressive sanctification requires the cooperation of the believer, who is commanded to be filled with the Spirit.
Positional sanctification – justification. At salvation, believers are justified, declared righteous in conformity to the image of Jesus Christ. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren” (Rom. 8: 29). This is entirely a work of God.
Experiential sanctification – spiritual maturity. The goal is Christlikeness, the result of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in producing godliness in the life of the believer. In essence, progressive sanctification is becoming in experience what we already are positionally in Christ. The Holy Spirit operates in believers to free them experientially from the power of sin and death. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2).
The progress of sanctification, or spiritual maturity, is marked by conflict, spiritual warfare, because our new life in Christ is on a collision course with the world, is opposed by Satan, and fought by the sinful nature within us. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit that produces the tension or conflict in our life. This conflict in the life of a believer, rather than being proof sanctification’s absence, is evidence of its work.
Progressive sanctification is accomplished by the Holy Spirit as the believer is filled with the Holy Spirit as a result of having no unconfessed sin in his or her life. It is an act entirely of God so that the righteous man lives by faith and not by works. However, it involves a choice: “Be ye holy for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:14-16).
Ultimate sanctification – glorification. . The final stage in the salvation process is the ultimate sanctification of the believer—the future glorification of the believer. It is realized at resurrection when the believer will be transformed into the likeness of Christ and presented to the Lord as holy. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer is both the promise of and the agency for this future glorification, which includes 1) the redemption of the body, 2) an inheritance undefiled and eternal, and 3) deliverance from the future wrath of God.
“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:13-14; cf. 1 Cor. 1:22).
Justification delivers from the penalty of sin
Sanctification delivers from the power of sin
Glorification delivers from the presence of sin
bally yates says
i have a question in a test i am doing but i am puzzled, please can you explain santification to me and help with this question.
The Holy Spirit sanctifies the believer this has 3 aspects: past, present and future. Which one means that we have to co-operate with the Holy Spirit in order to be changed to the likeness of Jesus?
Please can i have an answer and explanation as i do not understand.
also i do not understand when is gift of the holy spirit, and baptism of the holy spirit.
god bless you for your kindness and support.
Jim Klubnik says
These questions are answered in our articles on “Sanctification of the Believer” and “The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.” After reading them, please let me know if you still have any questions.
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Does it mean that The ultimate sanctification will be achieved on the judgement day or during rapture??
Peggi Klubnik says
The believer doesn’t face judgment after his death/rapture. The Judgment Seat of Christ for believers is judgement for a believer’s works. It is about rewards for works not punishment for sin, since Christ paid the punishment for our sins (1 Cor. 3:10-15). Since progressive sanctification is essentially spiritual growth in the life of a believer that ends at death. Ultimate sanctification is achieved at death/rapture because the believer will no longer possess a sin nature and therefore is no longer capable of sin. He will be perfect, as Christ is perfect. Holiness will be an attribute, not a goal.
Nkiruka Carolyn Gabriel says
I read your article on sanctification and I found your explanations so amazing.
However I have a question to ask and I will be glad if you can give me a clear explanation.
The question is what is the difference between sanctification and holiness?
Peggi Klubnik says
I’m glad the article on sanctification was helpful. The words sanctify and holy are from the same Greek word. To be sanctified is the same thing as being holy.
What does the justification, sanctification and glorification means
Charles A Webster says
Thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for. This reinforced what I believe and studied on the subject. I was saved in the Assemblies of God. I STUDIED THE SCRIPTURES AND BELIEVE IN THESE STEPS. The church I fellowship now has a different view of sanctification.
second work of grace. As long as I got it straight in my head a heart. PTL
Davidson Akachi says
I love topia this because i need to be sanctify and i am traped in a particular act. Need help..
carol russell says
Salvation means Delivered.
I was thinking that there might be 3 Salvations. Salvation of the body, Salvation of the soul, and Salvation of the spirit.
Salvation of the soul is an ON-GOING process of progression while we are still in the body. This is achieved by reading and studying God’s word. By doing so, we learn how to live a more productive life,…learn more of our purpose for being here,… and getting to KNOW God more personally.
One Pastor said that there is not a Salvation of the soul…. this is Sanctification….
but Sanctification means Holiness.