Sanctification Posts

Sanctification: Regeneration Perfected



In our first set of exercises, we began stretching our spiritual muscles as we learned some of the basic principles of Salvation, such as…

We also learned that Salvation is the process by which God redeems lost sinners—those who have been in bondage to the world, the flesh, and the devil since their births; buying their freedom for them through the substitutionary death of Christ on the Cross and making it possible for them to be adopted into the family of God as His children.

A person’s Salvation isn’t limited to his just being adopted by God, though; it also involves his being transformed into a true Christ-resembling Child of the Most High.  That’s because, once a person becomes a child of God through the process known as the New Birth, he or she can no longer continue to think, speak, and act like the sinner he or she once was; instead, he or she must learn to think and behave in a manner befitting the son or daughter of a Holy King.  And this is where Sanctification comes into play.




As we discovered in Salvation: What It Is and Why We Need It, Sanctification is the second of the three Stages in Salvation, with the first being Redemption and the last being Glorification; and, that it means…

To make holy; set apart as sacred; consecrate;
To purify or free from sin;
To make productive of or conducive to spiritual blessing. 

And, according to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, it is something which…

…involves more than a mere moral reformation of character, brought about by the power of the truth:  it is the work of the Holy Spirit bringing the whole nature more and more under the influences of the new gracious principles implanted in the soul in regeneration.  In other words, sanctification is the carrying on to perfection the work begun in regeneration, and it extends to the whole man.[1]

The Work of Regeneration

In order to better understand the work being referred to here, we will need to go back to Salvation:  How Do We Get It, where we learned that…

…Regeneration is the act by which our dead spirits are brought back to life again by the Holy Spirit of God…

…and, where we learned that the need for this regeneration goes all the way back to Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden.  For it was there that their spirits, as well as those of all of their future descendants, died—or were separated or cut off from God.  As for how this spiritual death impacted them, and us, in practical terms, it not only shut down the communication system that God had established between Him and them, but it also overturned the authority structure He had designed for His entire creation.


System Failure and Structural Collapse

When God created man, He fashioned him with a Spirit, Soul, and Body, so that…

  • Through his Spirit, he could relate to and communicate with God;
  • Through his Body, he could relate to and function in the physical world; and,
  • Through his Soul, consisting of his mind, will, and emotions, he could relate to other human beings, with his soul also serving as the connecting point or mediator between his spirit and his body.

When this system was functioning as it should—which was prior to the entrance of sin into the world—it meant that…

  • God’s Spirit could speak to man’s spirit, telling him what God wanted him to do;
  • Man’s spirit could relay that message to man’s soul; and,
  • Man’s soul could then direct his body to carry out the command that it had been given by God.

In this way, the will of God would be carried out on the earth by man.

As for the authority structure that God had devised for His creation, it was ordered along very similar lines—with God at the top of the structure, Man next in authority under Him, then the Woman (although an equal partner with her husband yet coming under his authority, for the sake of order and accountability), to be followed lastly by the creatures in the animal world.  Given that this arrangement was one that had been ordained by God, it should come as no surprise that in his scheme to overturn it, Satan would come disguised as an animal (a creature at the lowest level of authority) and present himself first to the woman at the next level of authority; then when she had been won over, she could then be used to entice the man (at the next level up) to disobey God.

Unfortunately, and certainly unforeseen by our forbearers, this colossal structural collapse marked the beginning of mankind’s perpetual rebellion against authority in every form, manifesting itself not only in his rebellion against God’s authority, but also in the rebellion of wives against husbands, children against parents, workers against employers, and the governed against those governing them.  It was also the spark needed to give rise to the egocentric lust for power that would eventually lead to the commission of every other kind of sin that man could imagine.

In addition, this sin resulted in the failure of the once ideal system of communication between God and Man.  Instead of the top-down system previously described, it became a bottom up one in which man’s flesh, instead of his spirit, began dictating to him what his thoughts, feelings, and actions should be.  With the death or separation of man’s spirit from God’s Spirit as a result of sin, there was no longer any communication taking place between God and man; a situation leaving man’s powerful fleshly appetites to determine what he would or would not do in any given situation–a situation which has remained until this day.

The Apostle James explains the consequences of this system failure in the following way…

…what causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?  Is it not this, that your passions are at war with you?  You desire and do not have, so you murder.  You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel (James 4:1-2)…

…each person is tempted when he lured and enticed by his own desire.  Then desire when it is conceived gives birth to sin and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death (James 1:13-15).


The Effects of the Fall

Extending Regeneration to the Whole Man

Since the unregenerate, or…

…the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14)…

…when a person becomes Born Again, it then becomes the work of the Holy Spirit, through the process of Sanctification, to restore what was lost to that person as a result of The Fall and to reprogram him as to the right way to live.  As we have just learned, this means that…

  • His soul will have to be restored to its proper function; and,
  • His inborn tendency to rebel against authority will have to be dealt with and brought under control.


Rebellion to Submission


Although this work is a challenging one, one taking a lifetime to complete, its success is insured by the presence of the Holy Spirit who, once a person has been regenerated, takes up residence within him.  Then, working from the inside out, He not only begins teaching this new Child of God the right way to live, but He also provides him with the supernatural power he needs to succeed.  Evidence of this success becomes apparent in the life of the believer as…

  • He learns to communicate with God, his Father, through Prayer;
  • His mind is transformed into the mind of Christ through the Study of God’s Word;
  • The character of Christ is formed in him through Testing;
  • The works of Christ are reproduced in his service through the Gifts of the Spirit; and,
  • He learns to successfully wage Spiritual Warfare through his respect for and submission to God’s Authority Structure.

We will learn much more about this process of spiritual transformation in our upcoming workout sessions, as we begin the basic exercises in Sanctification dealing with Prayer, the Bible, Worship, the Fruit of the Spirit and Testing; with these being followed later by the more advanced exercises in Service, the Gifts of the Spirit, and Spiritual Warfare.  But before moving on to these other exercises, we must first become better acquainted with our Trainer and Coach, the Holy Spirit–something we will do in our next session together.  Until then…

…may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (1 Thes. 5:23)





The Sidewalk Prophets remind us that our salvation makes all things new…




[1] Sanctification. Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary. (accessed: April 07, 2016).




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