Sanctification: An Introduction – Pt. 1

An indispensable focus, heightened in the solitary observance of 1 Peter 3:15: “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts”. The weight of each word in that mighty call elucidates vital components of what theologians reckon the doctrine of sanctification. In theology, no items have more strength than the articles concerning salvation and the atonement. Justification, sanctification, and glorification theologically encapsulate the atonement, each with their precise emphasis: justification in its declaration of righteousness, glorification in its presentation of the saint in glory, and sanctification – the focus henceforth – in its consecration of God’s children as holy. Returning to the text, first noted, the mention of Christ (more so His centrality) is essential to sanctification. Jesus is ascribed and described at every angle of the doctrine, from its propulsion to its function. Christ is the gospel; the gospel is Christianity; therefore, His workings in sanctification resolve the doctrine with a necessary call for analysis and clarification. Therein is the beckon to study. Second, it is a command. This is not a superfluous additive to the Christian life ready to be taken or dismissed; it is an active imperative. Third, it is a chief affection of the heart. Jonathan Edwards beautifully stirs man towards Christian greatness:

“He that has doctrinal knowledge and speculation only, without affection, never is engaged in the business of religion… Never was there a saint awakened out of a cold, lifeless frame, or recovered from a declining state in religion, and brought back from lamentable departure from God, without having his heart affected.”[1] 

Indeed, sanctification and the whole of Christian life is a glorious affectation from the heart – not the hands or mouth. It ought to be remembered and valued before continuing a study that one purposely analyzes this doctrine to have it sealed on his heart and mobilized therein. “The result of slavery to God is sanctification.”[2] Therefore, may the man seek God as master, and sanctification will consequently lord over his heart alongside his King. Covet not the life of holiness or the trappings of the ethic, but be captivated by the Giver of Grace. The observation of the exit passage is moot unless one first knows the key. The aim is extended as to uncover the source that an everlasting spring would ceaselessly persist through the hearts of God’s children.


 

[1] Jonathan Edwards, A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections: In Three Parts. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996), 101.

 

[2] Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 1998), 340.

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