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Sanctification

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Sanctification or in its verb form, sanctify, literally means to set apart for special use or purpose, that is to make holy or sacred (compare Latin sanctus 'holy'). Therefore sanctification refers to the state or process of being set apart, i.e. made holy.

The concept of sanctification is widespread among religions, but is perhaps especially common among the various branches of the Christian religion. The term can be used to refer to objects which are set apart for special purposes, but the most common use within Christian theology is in reference to the change brought about by God in a believer, begun at the point of salvation or justification and continuing throughout the life of the believer. Many forms of Christianity believe that this process will only be completed in Heaven, but some believe that complete holiness is possible in this life. Protestants call the completion of sanctification "glorification".

In many branches of Christianity, inanimate objects as well as people can be sanctified. A notable instance is the process of transubstantiation, which in Roman Catholic doctrine means that the bread and wine of Communion are physically transformed into the flesh and blood (respectively) of Jesus. This act constitutes a kind of sanctification of the bread and wine.

The term has gathered special uses by the different Christian denominations. For Protestants, the concept of sanctification is tied closely to grace and the term is usually reserved for reference to people rather than objects.

In the contemporary Holiness movement, the understanding that holiness is relational is growing. In relational holiness, the core notion is love. Other notions of holiness, such as purity, being set apart, perfection, keeping rules, and total commitment, are seen as contributory notions of holiness. These contributory notions find their ultimate legitimacy one when love is at their core (Oord and Lodahl).

Biblical referencesEdit

  • Leviticus 11:44 - "...ye shall be holy; for I am holy..." (KJV)
  • Matthew 5:48 - "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (KJV)
  • John 3:30 - "He must increase; but I must decrease." (KJV)
  • Romans 6:22 - "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." (KJV)
  • 1 Corinthians 6:11 - "...But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." (KJV)
  • 2 Corinthians 3:18 - "But we all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (KJV)
  • 2 Corinthians 7:1 - "...dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (KJV)
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3 - "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification..." (KJV)
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:7 - "For God hath not called us unto uncleaness, but unto holiness." (KJV)
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23 - "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (KJV)
  • Hebrews 6:1 - "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection..." (KJV)
  • Hebrews 12:14 - "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man will see the Lord." (KJV)
  • James 1:4 - "But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." (KJV)
  • 1 Peter 1:15-16 - "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy." (KJV)
  • 1 John 4:18 - "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." (KJV)

Orthodox ChristianityEdit

Orthodox Christianity believes in the doctrine of theosis, whereby humans take on divine properties.

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Roman CatholicismEdit

In the Roman Catholic branch of Christianity, one who is sanctified is believed to be free from sin.

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ProtestantismEdit

A true overview as to what protestants believe concerning sanctification would be lengthy, due to the fact that protestant theologies differ from denomination to denomination.

In the Protestant churches sanctification is widely viewed as the second stage in the Christian's walk with Christ, the first being justification(used here as salvation) and the third being glorification.

Sanctification, as discussed above, begins at the moment the Christian is saved, but the point of completion is sometimes disputed.

MethodismEdit

John Wesley, founder of Methodism, combined Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholic teaching as he taught what is variously known as entire sanctification (in churches of the Holiness movement such as the Church of the Nazarene, the Salvation Army, etc.) or Christian Perfection (in "mainstream" Methodist denominations such as the United Methodist Church, the Methodist Church of Great Britain, etc.). Wesley taught that by the power of God's sanctifying grace and attention upon the means of grace, a Christian may be cleansed of the corrupting influence of original sin in this life, though this was not something that every Christian experienced. For Wesley and for Methodists in general, sanctification is a life-long process of healing humankind's sin-distorted perspective and way of life, but for Holiness Wesleyans, entire sanctification comes in an instantaneous transformative moment (glorification).

See alsoEdit

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