But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.
The Meaning of Sanctification
Sanctification- ἁγιάζω, hagiazo- to set apart and remove from common use, to make holy, dedicate.
There are two types of sanctification. There is the sanctification of the spirit and the sanctification of the soul.
He wants us to participate in His plan of redemption for man; one that He established before the foundation of the world and now that you have decided to make Jesus the Lord of your life, you can start to participate in something greater than anything this world can offer; abundant life with Him, full of unexplainable joy to the full, starting now and lasting for all eternity with Him.
If you have been made a new creation in Christ Jesus, it is your responsibility to walk in the Spirit and resist the flesh. This starts by making a conscience decision to always choose Jesus in everything you do. Ask yourself before you make a decision, what choice will glorify the Father the most?
Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven, Matt 5:16.
Choose to walk in the Spirit and this will lead you away from the flesh and away from destruction, Gal 5:16. This is a daily process that separates your soul from the way of the world and all its sin and corruption and connects it with the way of the Lord and His Spirit.
Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
Sanctification is separating sin from your soul. When Jesus becomes the Lord of your life, the Holy Spirit enters into your spirit and makes it new. Your spirit, from this point, has been made new and re-born; a new creation in Christ Jesus, 2Cor 5:17, giving your soul the fuel and power to make every decision for Him.
The soul is made up of our mind, will and emotions. This is most commonly referred to in the Bible as our heart or our flesh.
When the soul is in-line and walking in the Spirit, the fruit of the spirit is portrayed thru the soul. Our soul can be the outward expression of our spirit,
but because our soul has not been redeemed, it still has a sin nature that is selfish and if left unchecked, it will take control. Even though your spirit may be born again and a new creation in Christ, if your soul is not in-line and controlled, it will rule your newly created spirit, James 3:2-18.
The Holy Spirit will not force itself on your soul and demand changes. God has given us free will and a choice how to live our life. This is the part of us that He loves so much because He wants us to choose Him because He knows if we choose Him and walk in His ways, our joy will be made full, Ps 16:11, Jn 15:11, 1Pet 1:8.
Our life in Him can be so full of joy that no other pleasure can even compare to the joy He has in store for us.
God created us with a soul to make decisions and choose for ourselves how we live our life because He knew that if we choose Him and if it is solely our decision, this is the fullness of life and the way to true eternal happiness.
A Guideline to Sanctification
Walk in the Spirit >> walk in love >> regard others as more important than yourself >> bear the fruit of the Spirit >> derive the benefit or profit of the Spirit >> this results in sanctification of the soul.
From the point of the original sin, man’s spirit and soul have always been tainted and corrupted with sin. Even from the womb, the nature of the human spirit, soul and body is degenerated because of sin. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God; this isn’t from our act of sin, although that contributes to it, the roots go far deeper. Through one man, Adam, sin entered into the world and death by sin, and so death spread to all men. For by the transgression of one, many died, therefore all men before there is even a chance of committing a sin, have all been contaminated with sin because of Adam’s original transgression. This is why Jesus had to be born from a virgin without the contaminated seed of man, but instead by the perfect seed of the Holy Spirit. There had never been a baby born without sin in the world until Jesus.
Just as the transgression of one man brought death to all, the grace of God and the gift by the grace of one man Jesus Christ has brought life to many, Rom 5:17.
By accepting Jesus and His sacrifice for you, the blood of Jesus has now cleansed your spirit and washed it clean from sin. We are now made new and even if our soul commits an act of sin, the blood of Jesus has covered that sin and we are forever made righteous.
Our soul, however, has not been regenerated and must be renewed to behave and act as the new re-born spirit. There is enmity between the soul and the spirit and it will not end until the adoption of sons is complete, the redemption of our body. So while we exist on this earth, we must continue to separate our soul from sin and show the worth of Jesus and His sacrifice, the redemption of our spirit.
The word soul, ψυχή, psyche, has a connection with the word ψύχω, psycho, meaning cold, to diminish greatly, to be extinguished
“Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.
“They will spread them out to the sun, the moon and to all the host of heaven, which they have loved and which they have served, and which they have gone after and which they have sought, and which they have worshiped. They will not be gathered or buried; they will be as dung on the face of the ground.
The Holy Spirit chose the word psyche to describe our souls because every human has a tainted soul that has grown cold and apart from God.
Even when we are born again, our souls are still cold and diminished, but thru the power and fire of the Holy Spirit, our soul can be separated from the world and be renewed and align itself with our re-born perfected spirit. This process is called sanctification of the soul.
Our soul is our intellect. It is how our spirit makes decisions. It brings life to our spirit just as when God created Adam and breathed the breath of life into him and he became a living soul or another translation says that he became another speaking spirit like God. The soul is what gives us the ability to speak and interact with others and even God. Our spirit can live without a body, but it can’t live without a soul. The soul is the wisdom of our spirit. It is the understanding, the knowledge that now has grown cold and apart from God because of sin. Our soul, still tainted with sin, understanding only earthly, worldly things. The wisdom, understanding and knowledge of an unregenerate soul only knows the things it can feel, touch and understand of this physical world. It has grown cold because of transgression and must be taught and renewed in the things of God. Our soul controls our mind, will and emotions. It is our decision maker and because it is tainted with sin, it must be renewed daily and kept in line to make right decisions. Our soul has cooled and needs to be renewed with wisdom and knowledge of Him.
The soul, the mind, will, and emotions of a born again man must be renewed to align itself and its actions with its reborn spirit. A cold soul will still choose the ways of this world over the things of God unless it is made alive and made into the Wisdom, Understanding and True Knowledge of Jesus Christ. As a soul is renewed, it is being shaped into the True Knowledge of Jesus. One must be born again and have the Holy Spirit living inside them to be able to renew his soul. The act of sanctifying the soul can only be done thru the Spirit. Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust and desire of the flesh, Gal 5:16. The soul must be renewed to a new way of thinking Rom 10:2.
This is walking in the Spirit:
Connect yourself with the Vine, abide in Jesus and let His word abide in you, walk in love and regard others more important than yourself, let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus- that He humbled Himself to the will of God and became obedient to death and gave His life for us, walk in love and bear the fruit of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit will result in the sanctification of your soul.
This is why Paul was so adamant about gaining the wisdom and full knowledge of God; because as you attain the mind of Christ, you start making decisions the way God would. You are lead of the Spirit and not of the things of the world. This separates you from sin and keeps you from sinning. In fact, the desire and urge to live in sin will diminish and you will be completely satisfied in Him.
The soul is a decision maker and the intellect of our spirit, so wisdom and knowledge and understanding is the essence of a soul.
If this essence can be renewed to God’s essence, it can change the root of the soul.
So if the name of an unregenerate soul is called cold, what is the name for a renewed soul that is functioning in sync with the reborn spirit? Is this the new name God promises that He will give us in the end? Is 62:2, Rev 2:17, 3:12 Instead of being called soul, psyche, cold and spread out or unregenerate, what will our new name be? Will it be Wisdom, True Knowledge, Understanding?
The soul can only be sanctified and renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit working in our hearts, but we must first make a decision to allow Him in and make a conscious effort to abide by His direction. If we do this, the Holy Spirit will ignite a fire in us. He will bring our souls back to life, take us from being cold and greatly diminished to someone who is alive and full of wisdom and the true knowledge of Jesus.
“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
God sent His Son to pay the price for sin and become the final sacrifice in the reconciliation of God and man. Thru the blood of Jesus, we are given a new spirit, one that the Holy Spirit can reside in. The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the sons of God. With the Holy Spirit in us, He speaks to our soul, training us and showing us the True knowledge and Wisdom. This is the fire, the regenerative act that renews our soul and transforms the soul from a cold, spread out, lifeless, hard, stony and unbelieving heart into a heart of love; tender-hearted, pliable, believing, full of wisdom and knowledge, humbled to do the will of God.
19 “And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.
This Old Testament promise explains the new birth and the sanctification of the soul. He says “I will put a new Spirit in them”, this is our re-born spirit given to us thru the grace of God by the blood of Jesus. This is the first step; you must be born again to allow the Holy Spirit into your life to help renew your soul. But pay special attention to the description of the new soul. He says “I will give them one heart”, not I will give them a new heart. Our soul isn’t replaced like our spirit is. Our soul is renewed. And it is not just renewed to each individual, but He says “I will give them one heart”. Our renewed soul is one mind, one Wisdom, one True Knowledge of Him, one with Him, one body, one new man, with access in one Spirit to the Father, Eph 2:13-18. This is the point of sanctification of the soul, to unite ourselves with Him and not the world; separate ourselves from sin and unify ourselves in Him so that we can be fellow workers with God in building up the body of Christ.
He continues by saying “I will take the heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh”. The word “take” means to remove or take off. God is promising to remove this cold, stony, hardness that has contaminated our soul and will bring the fire of the Holy Spirit in to renew and regenerate it.
In 1Thessalonians, Paul is describing a born again Christian and encouraging them that even though some of the fellow Christians had died, they will be reunited with them in the clouds with Jesus. But Paul goes on to explain how a Christian should be acting while he is alive on the earth as we have hope in Jesus’ return. All 22 verses below can be summed up in one statement,
“Do not quench the Spirit”
Don’t quench this fire that God has given us to renew our soul. Live on fire for Him and don’t do anything that would put that fire out. Use this fire to build up one another in Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:2–24
2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. 12 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. 14 We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. 16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit; 20 do not despise prophetic utterances. 21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil. 23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
As your soul is sanctified, you gain the knowledge of Him and His will.
Become involved with the Plan of God
The mystery and the true knowledge is revealed. As we love one another and gain knowledge, we perform our work, the will of God, in building the Church, the body of Christ, unified in love. This is the whole purpose of sanctifying your soul; to live apart from sin and this world and instead live in the truth of Jesus Christ. God wants His family and He wants a family that loves Him and lives for Him. His plan of redemption, to send His Son to be the Savior of all mankind, started before the foundation of the world; but the plan wasn’t just between the Father and Jesus, it included us. Many people look at Jesus dying on the cross as a tragedy; something that God was forced to do because man sinned; an afterthought or some reactionary measure as a result of Adam’s sin. That is wrong thinking and incorrect. The cross, as harsh and as bad as it may seem, was not a tragedy, but a complete success and it was fulfilled exactly the way God had planned it from before He created this world.
Before He created man, He knew man would sin, He knew He would have to send His only Son as a sacrifice and payment for sin. He knew that the cross was the only way to have a family.
This predetermined plan set forth by the foreknowledge of God was established and revealed thru His people on the earth. Everything that God did with man was setting up and fulfilling His plan of redemption for man. And to make this plan come to fruition, God chose men on this earth to carry out His plan, piece by piece. Virtually every word of the Bible has to do with God’s plan to reconcile man. For the first four thousand years, God chose men like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, and the prophets, not to mention countless others, to bring Jesus into the world.
And get this, He knew what each person was going to do and what decisions they would make before He even created them.
His plan includes us; He wants us involved with Him.
His master plan that involved something as precious as the death of His Son, still includes us, and in fact, He would have it no other way. This is the love of God shown on us; that He would send His Son to die for us, but what is absolutely astounding is He wanted us involved every step of the way. I am sure that in God’s infinite knowledge and wisdom, He could have sent His Son to reconcile man and done it all between the three of them, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and left man completely out so it would “get done right”. I know I have done this with my own kids over something that I thought was important and I didn’t want a kid, or anything else, messing it up. That is just a selfish and wrong way of thinking, and that is exactly what God did not do. He, in fact, did the opposite, He purposely devised a plan that not only included us, but He made it that He couldn’t do it without us. That is how much He loves us and wants to be a part of our lives.
Up until recently, I was always under the impression that God needed to reconcile man so that He could have a relationship with us again. And that is true, because of Jesus and the reconciliation that He gave us, we can now call God our Father, but even up till that point, it was God’s pleasure to work with us and all our shortcomings and faults to accomplish His plan. God created this universe with the full intension that He would have to send His Son for our redemption and He wanted to do it with us. The only thing I can compare this to is when I have a project and, yes, if I did it myself it would go faster and even possibly easier, but if I did the same project with my son and taught him along the way and used that opportunity to spend time with him, the project would probably go twice as long, but the enjoyment and pleasure I would have during the process is more rewarding than even the completion of the project if I had done it by myself. This is what I believe God had in mind with us regarding His plan of redemption. He wants us to take part in the journey of this life with Him and all the steps involved to fulfill the plan of redemption and eventually spend eternity with Him. He is not just interested in the future with us, He wants us now. He wants us spending our time with Him and getting involved with His plan. Even though the cross is accomplished and reconciliation is now here, there is still a lot that still needs to take place to fulfill His plan, and we should be excited that we can be a part of it!
So now, with this thought in mind, let us look at a few scriptures in this new light.
Lk 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Do not fear, I will keep you safe. Your life in Me is redeemed from destruction and you will not perish, even the death of your physical body can’t separate you from Me; for it brings the Father good pleasure to give the kingdom, the inheritance of life with Him, to those who love Him and want to spend time with Him.
Jn 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
In the world there will be tribulation, persecution, men will hate you because they hated Me, but rejoice, because great is your reward in heaven. This is My plan for you. I have overcome the world! Enjoy your time with Me, don’t pay attention to the world, there is nothing to fear; let’s work on this plan that I have together, you and Me. We will have fun with it and will enjoy the time together. I’ll teach you the things I know, and I’ll train you in My ways. I love you and I want to spend My time with you.
Php 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Jesus came to this earth with a mission; to die on the cross and conquer sin and death. This was a major part of the plan of God, the central theme to the redemption of man and the climax of all the ages; and Jesus’ focus on the earth was to work with the Father, one on one to fulfill this plan. We need to have the same mindset that Jesus had. We are on this earth, and we should be excited to get involved with the plan of God. We should be asking, what can I do to be a part of Your plan? I give you my life as your servant in Christ to help fulfill Your plan. I want to know You, I want to spend time with you, I trust you with my life, even unto death, because I know You have overcome the world and I can be an overcomer just like You, and I have security in knowing that there is nothing that can separate me from Your love and even in death, I am an overcomer in Christ and will spend eternity with You.
Rev 12:11 "And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.
There is one glaring connection between these four verses that we have just read; connect yourself with God and even when faced with tribulation and persecution, even to the point of death, there is no reason to fear, because we will be spending eternity with Jesus and the struggles of this life is all part of the plan to be able to do that.
When you understand that there is nothing that surprises God; that even in tribulation, we can rejoice for great is our reward in heaven. Nothing can separate us from the love of God and even though we live in a fallen world that seams completely out of control, in fact it is in complete control and this is all part of God’s plan. So no matter what happens in this life, we can rejoice in the confidence we have in God and actually get excited to join with God in His plan, not for just the future, but for this life right now with Him. This is why Paul says:
Php 4:11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
No matter what happens in this life, God has equipped us to enjoy Him. He has given us all things to joyously give thanks to Him, Col 1:9-12, Heb 10:32-36, Eph 1:17-23. It is this journey of life that the Father wants to experience with us. It pleases Him when we have faith in Him, putting our full trust and confidence in Him, knowing that we will be with Him forever, Heb 11:6, Jn 14:3, 21, 23.
This is why there are rewards for living this life victoriously. As Christians, we all have eternal security with Him, and that is going to be so outstanding we can’t even comprehend it, but I want everything God has to offer, not from a selfish motive, but because it gives Him pleasure to reward those who are faithful. It gives me pleasure to serve Him and know Him and give Him all that I have, because God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. I want to be one with Him and I want everything He will give me, because the more I have from Him, the more I know Him, the more I can learn from Him, the more I can experience His goodness and be completely satisfied in Him. When you have this desire for God, your outlook on life changes; you no longer are driven by selfish motivation, but you are motivated by fulfilling the plan of God. You are now living life for Him and not for yourself. The pleasures of this life become meaningless while the pleasures of the Father are now the most important thing in your life.