Sanctification (1 Peter 1:1-2a)

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:2, AV)

I’ve always hated seeing things thrown into the trash that might be restored to usefulness. Thus, I have restored many things. One that typifies something that was headed for the dump that I brought back to life was a 1977 MGB convertible. When I first saw this car, it was sitting on a section of grass alongside the drive of a man’s house. The owner’s kids were using the car as a jungle-gym, climbing up over the trunk and using the convertible top’s frame for the bars. The car was covered with pine-needles. The paint was faded. There was rust. The trunk was dented and it did not run. It had not run for five years.

I purchased the car for $500, basically the scrap-price, had it towed home and put it in my garage. The first thing I did was clean it up and then began working on getting the engine running. I replaced the fuel pump, fuel lines and filter, the battery, and the ignition. Next, I repaired the brakes and took it for a drive. I drove it for a while in this basic condition, but was not satisfied with everything. It burned oil, the clutch slipped, there was a lot of rust, the convertible top was shot, as were the suspension bushings, and the paint was faded. So, I continued to drive the car but progressively corrected these things until it ran and looked like new.

This restoration is an illustration that pictures the work that the Lord has done and is doing in every believer’s life. Peter wrote to gatherings of believers in various locations in this general epistle. He begins with a greeting, announcing himself and addressing the elect believers in those areas. He then speaks of a very important doctrinal truth, that of sanctification. The word “sanctification,” hagiasmos, refers to consecration or purification. The word, in context, carries with it the idea of being separated from the profane things and dedicated to the purposes of God. (Strong G38)

When I saw that 1977 MGB, I purchased it and immediately repurposed it. It was no longer a piece of junk destined for the scrapyard. It was to be set apart for my use. In the same way, Jesus purchased us with His shed blood and repurposed us. Rather than being destined for destruction, we were immediately repurposed and destined for the throne. The writer of Hebrews stated it like this, “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10, ESV).

Yet, this was just the beginning for us. Remember, I took that broken down car and continuously worked to bring it to pristine condition. This is a picture of our ongoing sanctification, which is a work that God does in us by His Spirit. While we have already been set apart from sin and for the purposes of God, He is now working in us to form us more and more into the image of His Son. We are being progressively sanctified so that we can better fulfill His purposes on this earth. The writer of Hebrews also stated, “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14, ESV). Every believer is in the process of being “sanctified,” perfected.

When you consider this work of sanctification, be thankful. God has rescued you from the scrapyard of eternal punishment and set you apart for Himself. Moreover, He is now working to make you into His beautiful representative on this earth. Make sure that you have a proper perspective as you are a work in progress. Whether you are new in the faith or have been a believer for 50 years, you still have a long way to go to reach perfection and God is making you more beautiful every day.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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