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The Bible clearly states that those whom God has called He has also foreordained that they should be conformed to the image and likeness of His Son. This process is known as sanctification. Do we become fully Christ-like on earth? This is a stage which no believer can attain on earth until we appear in the presence of Christ. However our sanctification process continues. Here are biblical principles that underpin this process. First sanctification begins when each believer yields to God. Romans 6:19 says “For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.” Sanctification begins with our genuine desire for righteousness and a deliberate effort to allow God to work on our lives. There is certainly a moral dimension to this process. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 states “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,” When we resist some mortal sins we are actually cooperating with God in the process. Secondly, sanctification increases throughout life. Paul urges believers in Colossians 3:10 to “put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.” Hebrews 12:1-2 says “…let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith….”, These scriptures clearly confirm that sanctification is a continuing process. The goal of sanctification is to allow God to take the total reins of our lives and to ultimately bring us into full perfection before God. Romans 6:22 declares “But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life". Thirdly, sanctification is never completed in this life. Those who teach that believers can attain perfection on earth are misleading and do not find support in Scripture. In 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 Paul prays “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.” Two things are evident here. First we notice that God is at work in our spiritual maturity process which is wholesome and multi-dimensional encompassing both spirit and soul. Secondly, we confirm that this process is yet to be fully accomplished. The Greek verb used in 1 Thessalonians 5:24 is in the indicative future active tense showing clearly that it a task that is in progress into the future. Therefore any believer who claims to have attained perfection contradicts the teaching of Scripture. Elsewhere there is a reference to this process when Paul states in Philippians 1:6 6 “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Notice here that the sanctification works commenced at some point and has a completion point too. It is like a race that starts, gets into motion with intensity and comes to an end at the final mark. When we finally appear before Christ, we shall be through with the process and shall be fully conformed to His likeness in holiness but not in divinity as some falsely teach. Christ remains God the Son and we His bride.
By loving the lord your God with all your heart, spirit, soul and strength and your neighbour as yourself. And taking up your cross, denying yourself and following Jesus. He came as an amazing example for us to follow.
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