When the Lord brings us home to our eternal rest, we will see him as he is. We will behold the holiness of our great God with our own eyes. We will be able to do this because his image will have been fully restored in us. This is our hope. Because we live in this hope, we are called to sanctification. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:1-3).
Sanctification is the act of God in us, delivering us from the dominion of sin so that we may live unto him in good works. We are sanctified in principle. We have God’s seal of ownership on us, the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13 brings this home; “In whom [Christ] ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” That we are sanctified in principle does not mean that we are sinless, but rather that our attitude toward sin changes and we strive more and more toward sanctification in this life. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1, 2).
Sanctification implies separation. We are the temples of God. We are called not to defile the temple of God, but to be separate (2 Corinthians 6:16, 17). This is the antithesis. You are not living a life of sanctification when you are not living the life of the antithesis. Paul in Romans 1 describes our life of separation as reasonable service. This is reasonable because of what he has done for us, namely delivering us from our sin by providing a Mediator.
With sanctification comes the calling to testify of our hope. We will look at this next time.