WHAT IS SANCTIFICATION? It is a theological term translated from the Greek agiasmov (hagiasmos). This noun is derived from the Greek verb that denotes “to set apart.” With respect to the NT believer, there are primarily three aspects of sanctification.
1. Positional Sanctification—the believer’s position or standing before God, based on the death and resurrection of Christ.
According to the foreknowledge of God the Father and set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for the sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ. May grace and peace be multiplied to you (1 Peter 1:2; cf. 1 Corinthians 1:30; Hebrews 10:14-15).
2. Experiential Sanctification—the believer’s daily walk in the Spirit and Christ.
For His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires (2 Peter 1:3-4).
3. Ultimate Sanctification—the believer’s final transformation into the likeness of Christ.
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
There is no agreement on whether the process of sanctification is ever completed in the lifetime of the believer. Not all Arminians are perfectionists and not all Calvinists are non-perfectionists. Without doubt, the believer will be perfectly complete when presented to Christ at His coming.
Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, to make her holy, cleansing her in the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:25-27).