“For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,” (Hebrews 2:11, KJV 1900)
Many years ago, I guess in the midst of my mid-life crisis, I had the desire to have a convertible car. I found a 1977 MGB that was in someone’s yard and had not been driven for years. It was a mess. The convertible top was caved in and it was filled with pine needles. The kids had been using the car for a jungle-gym. Needless to say, it did not run. To my wife’s amazement, I purchased it for $500. I had a plan to restore this car and make it a thing of beauty. I had chosen this car and set it apart for my purposes.
Granted this illustration falls short of truly explaining sanctification but in part there are some similarities. Consider this. We were broken wrecks, broken by sin and fallen short of God’s glorious intention for man. We were purchased by the shed blood of Jesus Christ and He set us apart from sin and moved in our hearts to dedicate us to God. Here, the writer of Hebrews speaks of the Lord’s work of sanctification. Sanctification, hagiazo, means to render holy, to separate from sin and dedicate to God.
When we look at this doctrine of sanctification, we see three aspects of it in the Bible. There are many terms for these aspects. First, there is a present positional aspect. This is what the writer mentions here when he writes “they who are sanctified.” It is the sanctification that we have in Christ. Through His sacrifice on the cross, He has sanctified us, He has made us holy. It is not that we never sin, but that His righteousness has been imputed to us by faith. Thus, we who have believed are sanctified. (1 Cor 6:11; Heb 10:10, 14)
Second, there is a progressive aspect of sanctification. It is a progressive work of the Holy Spirit beginning at salvation that produces continual growth in Christ likeness. It is kind of like the restoration of my MGB. The car did not fix itself. It took my hands and work to bring it back to usefulness. In the same way, we do not fix ourselves from the problem of sin. The Holy Spirit does this. It is a lifelong work by which holiness and righteousness is increasingly manifested in our lives. (2 Pet 3:18; 2 Cor 3:18; Phil 3:10-15)
Last, there is the perfection aspect of sanctification. We will experience this in the future, when we meet the Lord in glory. My MGB never got to the place of perfection. It got pretty good, good enough to sell but not perfect. However, our future sanctification is not like my MGB. When God takes us to glory, He will perfectly complete this work of sanctification in our lives. At that time, we will be completely delivered from sin and made completely holy for we shall be like Jesus. (1 John 3:2; 1 Thess 3:13)
The writer of Hebrews after speaking of our sanctification states that Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers. This is because He has accomplished this work of sanctification in us. Before He saved us and sanctified us, He would not have called us brothers but now He does.
So, let us praise Him for His work on our behalf. Let us remember that there is one thing that we must do in this progressive work of sanctification. While it is the work of the Spirit, we must yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit in this process. This means surrendering ourselves to His purposes in our lives and seeking the Lord with a whole heart. Let us rejoice in Jesus our savior and sanctifier.