Sanctified is one of those Bible words that gets thrown around quite a bit but is used in many ways beyond the scriptural idea. At the beginning of 1 Corinthians, Paul writes to the church at Corinth referring to them as “those sanctified in Christ Jesus.” To be sanctified basically means to be set apart for a purpose.
In his book, Possessed By God: A New Testament Theology of Sanctification and Holiness, David Peterson asserts that sanctification is not a one time event but is something that is ongoing. He writes that, “Sanctification is a state in which believers find themselves because of the work of Christ and the operation of His Spirit in their lives. They are called to remain in that state by living in correspondence to their given holiness.” For the Christian, Peterson lists four characteristics of a sanctified life.
  • “Our essential identity as Christians is formed by Christ and the gospel, not by our own personalities, backgrounds or achievements.” Our identity is first and foremost Christian. All other identifiers are lesser priorities.
  • “Although God calls upon us to express the fact that we have been sanctified by the way we live, our standing with Him does not depend on the degree to which we live up to His expectations.” We cannot do enough to earn His love. His love is freely given. Obviously His desire for us is sin-free lives, but He stands ready to forgive when we repent for falling short of that goal.
  • “We must continue to see ourselves as God sees us in Christ.” That great command to love our neighbors as ourselves demands that we love ourselves to begin with. God sees us as His children created in His image. We need to see the same.
  • “What will it meant to view one another as those already sanctified in Christ? When we overwhelm people with conditions they must fulfill to prove that they are making progress as Christians, we distort the gospel.” It is easy for us to decide the way others should live and where they are falling short. Jesus reminds us to check our own eyes before focusing on theirs. God works in each of our lives in different ways and in different timing.
Continue to live a life that is sanctified in Christ and to let the light of that sanctified life shine brightly. People will be drawn to Him.

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