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Doctrine of Sanctification - Progressive

March 27, 2022 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Scripture: Colossians 3

Quote: by Thomas Ridgley

Sanctification includes a continual devotedness to God. As the first act of faith consists in making a surrender of ourselves to Christ, depending on his assistance in beginning the work of obedience in the exercise of all Christian graces; so sanctification is the continuance of this surrender and dependence.

 When we are converted, we receive Christ Jesus the Lord; and in sanctification we walk in him, exercise a daily dependence on him in the execution of all his offices, make his word our rule, and delight in it after the inward man.

 How difficult soever the duties are which he commands, we take pleasure in the performance of them, make religion our great business, and, in order to this, conclude that everything we receive from him is to be improved to his glory.

And as every duty is to be performed by faith; so what was formerly observed concerning the life of faith, is to be considered as an expedient to promote the work of sanctification.

Review/ Scripture (Colossian 3)

Last week we started on a new doctrine – that of sanctification.

We discussed the first part of sanctification which is often overlooked - that of definitive sanctification.

The New Testament often represents the Christian

  • as one who has been sanctified
  • as one who has been definitively constituted as holy

We looked at many verses which teach definitive sanctification:

  • there is a real and decisive break between slavery in and liberation from sin for the Christian.
  • there is a discrete and radical difference between the Christian's existence before faith and after
  • the moment he trusts in Christ
    • Acts-26:18 — “those having been sanctified by faith which is in me”
    • He died to sin, and he has been liberated from sin.

There is a once-for-all definitive and irreversible breach with the realm in which sin reigns in and unto death.

There is absolute differentiation

  • in respect of every criterion by which moral and spiritual life is to be assessed
  • in respect of the power and service of sin
  • in respect of everyone who has come under the control of the provisions of grace.

This does not mean that the Christian is completely free from sin.

Definitive sanctification is only the separation from sin's dominion whereby

  • he becomes a slave to Christ
  • he begins walking in newness of life
  • he begins putting to death the remaining embers of sin in him.

The Christian is to take this breach with sin, by his union with Christ

  • as seriously as God does
  • is to stop “presenting the members of his body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness” and start “presenting himself to God as one alive from the dead, and his members as instruments [or servants] of righteousness to God”
    Romans 6:13,19

Now, taking proper seriousness with…

  • how the Christian is to deal with sin
  • how the Christian is to deal with his behavior and manner towards obedience of all the ordinances of God

leads us to the second part of sanctification.

This is what most of us might think about when using the word sanctification: i.e., progressive sanctification.


Progressive Sanctification may be defined as that gracious and continuous operation of the Holy Spirit by which He

  • purifies the sinner from pollution of sin
  • renews his whole nature in the image of God
  • enables him to perform good works by the power of the Spirit.
  • separates the sinner unto an ethical and lawful walk unto God.

We can see the direct relationship with calling and regeneration

  • Sanctification is a work of God in us
  • Calling and Regeneration is a work of God in us
  • Calling requires a response from us
  • Regeneration requires a response from us
    • in the exercise of faith and repentance
    • in the exercise of love and obedience
  • Sanctification requires a response from us

The Characteristics of Sanctification

Man is not entirely passive in this process, but he cooperates with God.

Definitive Sanctification

  • is the deliverance from the power of sin
    • secured by union with Christ
  • is the deliverance from the defilement of sin
    • secured by regeneration

But it does not eliminate all sin from the heart and life of the believer.

There is still indwelling sin

  • 1 John 1:8; 2:1

Dealing with this indwelling sin is the focus of progressive sanctification.

Two parts can be understood to exist in this:

Mortification – The Negative Side of Sanctification (Col 3:1-7)

The term mortification, to mortify, is translated from the Greek word “nekro”

  • to put off
  • to put an end to the life of something
  • to stop utterly <-> to kill
  • to put to death

Sanctification is thus precisely concerned with this fact and has as its goal, the complete and total elimination of sin as the believer is continually and progressively brought into conformation with the image of God.

Some of those things that are commanded to be mortified are easy for us to quickly dismiss as having no foothold in our life:

  • idolatry
  • uncleanliness
  • fornication
  • covetousness

While we are all in danger of pride and self-promotion which can lead to those listed above, these others are not so easy to ignore with respect to self

  • anger
  • wrath
  • malice
  • blasphemy
  • filthy communication
  • lies

Put off the old man

  • these are all aspects of the old man

Mortify, put to death, kill this sin in your life

Put on the new man – The Positive Side of Sanctification

The new man

  • is a new creation of man through regenerating work of the Spirit of God.
  • is renewed in the knowledge after the image of him that created him.

Sanctification is an act of God by which He brings His covenant people unto Himself.

  • Now they are to walk in accordance with covenant teachings and practices.
  • Now they are to emulate Christ, the One who hath redeemed them.
  • Now they are to fulfill the purpose of God in His election
  • Now they are to take off these things anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication, and lies.

They are to put on these things

  • bowels of mercy
  • kindness
  • humbleness of mind
  • meekness
  • longsuffering

These things are to fill up; they are to well up within you

You are to have great abundances of mercy and kindness and humbleness of mind (humility)

These are not things that we typically see in professing believers today

  • people bearing one another
  • people forgiving one another.
  • a life of meekness
  • a life of kindness
  • a life of humility
  • a life of submission to authority
  • a life that is long suffering, forbearing

The Two Sides Together -> Put into Action

They who are in Christ Jesus, through the sanctifying work of God

  • are to put off all these things which are evil
    • of how we walk and behave
  • are to no longer walk according to the course of this world.
  • are to walk in this spirit of humbleness and kindness and humility
    • not in arrogance or pride or conceit

They who are in Christ Jesus

  • are to emulate the same kind of covenant kindness and characteristics God has shown unto us
    • to others in the household of God
  • are to teach and admonish one another
    • not by taking the teaching office of the church privately unto themselves outside the church
    • but by speaking psalms (psalmos)
    • but by singing hymns
    • but by spiritual songs
    • but by letting the Word of God dwell in you richly so that it overflows in your life

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