The Doctrine Of Sanctification

The doctrine of sanctification teaches that God’s purpose is to make each Church Age believer like the humanity of Christ. Each is “conformed to the image of His Son,” the glorified Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29). God accomplishes the Church Age believer’s sanctification in three stages: positional, experiential, and ultimate.

Positional sanctification is the Church Age believer’s union with Christ, accomplished by the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 3:1-5, 14, 26-27;  Eph. 4:4-5;  2 Thess. 2:13-14).

This instantaneous ministry of the Spirit is called the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13), and it occurs only in the Church Age. “If any man is in Christ, he is a new (spiritual) species” (2 Cor. 5:17). In this verse, the Greek word (kainos) means “new in kind” or “new in species.” But, it actually is describing something remarkable that has never existed before — a totally unprecedented relationship with God (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:22-32).

This new spiritual species is the royal family of God. Thus, by placing the Church Age believer “in Christ,” the baptism of the Spirit also links the believer to the protocol (example) experience of Christ during His Incarnation, during which time Christ lived His life in the filling of the Spirit, and thereby set the example for every believer: Walk with God in fellowship and God will deliver the believer just as He delivered Christ — same protocol.

This protocol (example) is God’s designed plan for every believer in the Church Age. The same “grace power-structure” that Christ lived in is the same structure that each believer can live in. The believer has access to the same “power source” as Christ used to live His physical life on earth). That power source if the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Experiential Sanctification is residence, function, and spiritual momentum in the grace power-structure, energized by the Holy Spirit, during the believer’s life on earth. Living the the protocol (example) plan of God is potential — maybe we will live in fellowship, maybe we won’t, as volition is the free choice of every believer (John 17:17; 2 Tim. 2:21; Heb. 9:13-14). Thus, we become “partakers of the divine nature” in experience just as we are in our position (2 Pet. 1:4).

In fellowship we are sustained, nourished, and empowered by the post-salvation ministry of the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39; 14:15-17; 16:13-14). This ministry is the filling of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18), which enables us to “walk by means of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16) in a manner “worthy of our station in life” (Eph. 4:1).

The believer’s walk is progressive, depending on the believer’s amount of time spent in fellowship. Positive Volition (choice) consistently exercised by the believer determines spiritual maturity and growth. When the believer is out of fellowship, due to rampant sin, they are outside the grace power-structure and when outside, the believer “grieves” or “quenches” the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:19) and resides instead in cosmos diabolicus — Satan’s cosmic system.

Simply stated, the believer is either in God’s grace power-structure or Satan’s world system. This absolute but invisible status — in or out — has a cumulative effect, which is the progressive aspect of experiential sanctification. The believer’s failure to live by the mandates of experiential sanctification never cancels positional or ultimate sanctification (see below for meaning), which are guaranteed by the very essence of God (2 Tim. 2:13).

Ultimate Sanctification

After our post-salvation lives on earth have ended, God will achieve our ultimate sanctification at the resurrection, or the Rapture, of the Church. In that yet-future moment, He will provide the resurrection body, making us physically like Christ (1 Cor. 1:8; Eph. 1:4; Phil. 3:21: 1 Thess. 5:23; 1 John 3:2).

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