Sanctification is said to be past, present, and future. Discuss, including the idea of “union with Christ.”

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					Please note: I am posting the answers to the NANC Theological Examination essay questions so that I can both benefit the Kingdom and so that the others can offer wisdom, support and insight. Please feel free to send me critiques and comments. If you wish to quote this document, please give proper attribution and author credit. Sincerely, Lee P. Esbin, Soteriology – Question 2: Sanctification is said to be past, present, and future. Discuss, including the idea of “union with Christ.” Sanctification, or being pure in God‟s sight has many aspects to the Christian. The first thing to understand is that our sanctification is dependent upon Jesus Christ. The term many use to describe this oneness with our Lord is a “union with Christ.” His righteousness clothes us, the very picture of our being His bride in a Holy Marriage as described throughout the Old Testament and New Testament as well.1 Our new lives are in God, and not as His enemies, stem from Christ. Jesus says that the life He gives us springs from God the Father, and that our lives spring from Him, and branch from Him, the “true vine.”2 God promises not only to make us sanctified, or hallowed, before him in Heaven, but before others here on Earth.3 We, as elect believers, are part of the Father and Son, and we live in them, or abide with them.4 Jesus described us as being part of His temple, with the Apostles and Prophets as the foundation, Him being the cornerstone, and us being part of the building.5 In Ephesians, we are referred to as part of Christ‟s own body.6 There are three different aspects to sanctification. There is (1) Positional, or Past Sanctification, (2) Progressive, or Present Sanctification, and (3) Perfected, or Future (Final) Sanctification.7 Most times, sanctification is only referred to in the present aspect, as devoted followers of Christ attempt to “run with endurance the race that is set before us.”8

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Isaiah 61:10, Jeremiah 2:2, John 3:29, Revelation 19:7 John 15:1-7 3 Ezekiel 36:23 4 1 John 2:23-24 5 Ephesians 2:20-22 6 Ephesians 5:30-32 7 “Sanctification Part I: Introduction”, Arthur L. Farstad, Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Autumn 1992 – Volume 5:2, Grace Evangelical Society 8 Hebrews 12:1

Positional sanctification is the justification with God discussed in another question. Upon conversion, the true believer receives forgiveness of all his sins past, present and future, because in God‟s infinite mercy, He elected to save that individual, knowing that at this time, such time having been determined before creation, the believer would realize his completely fallen nature and turn from sin through faith in Christ to pursue holiness to God‟s standard. William Evans put it thus: “By a simple act of faith in Christ the believer is at once put into a state of sanctification. Every Christian is a sanctified man. The same act that ushers him into a state of justification admits him at once into the state of sanctification, in which he is to grow until he reaches the fullness of the measure of the stature of Christ.”9 Progressive sanctification is the pursuit of Holiness that begins on the day of conversion. It is a constant path to follow the God‟s command as stated in 1 Peter: “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, „You shall be holy, for I am holy.‟”10 It is a permanent condition whereby we battle our sinful human nature. We attempt to be more Godly in both thought and deed in order to satisfy our newly found desire to be please Him, to whom we are now able to be grateful for our salvation. Along the way, we will stumble and face correction from our loving God,11 just as Peter did by denying Jesus.12 God still forgives our sins against him, because Christ‟s sacrifice for us covers ALL sins, past, present and future.13 God also has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us along the path of progressive sanctification,14 and He uses the character of our new lives in Him (or fruits of the Spirit) show His glory to the world.15 Last is the perfected, future, or final salvation when God takes us up to heaven, with our purified bodies and finally perfect character.16 Finally, at that time, Christ shall completely remove our sin nature, and present us to Himself as His bride, completely pure and cleansed.17 At that time, we will be able to reverse the clauses of the bumper-sticker theologian who wrote,


Great Doctrines of the Bible, William Evans, Moody Publishers, 1992 1 Peter 1:14-16 11 Proverbs 3:11-12 12 Matthew 26:69-74 13 Hebrews 10:10-12 14 Galatians 5:8 15 John 15:8, Galatians 5:22-26 16 Romans 8:29-30 17 Ephesians 5:25-27

“Christians Aren‟t Perfect – Just Forgiven!” to “Christians Aren‟t Just Forgiven – They‟re Perfect!”18


“Sanctification – Part 5: Future Sanctification: Perfect, or Ultimate, Sanctification,” Arthur L. Farstad, Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Spring 1995 – Volume 8:14, Grace Evangelical Society

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