One of the great doctrines and tenets of Christianity is “sanctification.” Indeed, sanctification is one of the foundational principles of our beloved faith which, depending on what denomination you hail from,is one of the identifying marks of a “born again” believer in Christ. However,as is the case with the doctrine of “grace,” the concept of sanctification has been subject to denominational adjustments and biased teachings that have led many in these organizations to entirely miss what the Scriptures have to say about the issue. Indeed, this is an issue that can not be swept under the spiritual rug so to speak, as it has eternal ramifications associated with it.
According to Wikipedia, sanctification is defined as follows: the act or process of acquiring sanctity, of being made or becoming holy. Indeed, holiness is a concept that is intricately and inextricably linked to Christianity and the faith. Why. Because, God is holy–
7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God. (Lev 20:7 KJV)
God has made this abundantly clear throughout Scripture that He is holy. Conversely, man in general is not holy, and this of course is tied to the Garden of Eden incident which we won’t go in to here. Additionally, it is clear that God requires holiness in mankind if there is to be any type of relationship between them. In other words, the Creator is in a realm all by Himself. Man is in a different realm entirely. The Creator desires to bridge the gap that exists between these two competing and opposing realms. He desires to have a relationship with His creation-man. Man on the other hand, yearns to connect with his creator, but is unable to because the gulf between our two opposing realms can not be readily bridged. Not that this isn’t a big enough problem, the other problem is that because of man’s inability to connect and have a relationship with the Creator, He is doomed to living a life on this planet that is short-term, often fraught with hardship, and once that life is over, there is nothing more. Eternity will swallow up the individual without so much as a vague memory after a certain point.
So the central question then becomes, is our sanctification something we must work in obtaining, or is it simply inputted to us.
The whole thinking behind sanctification being an act or process that is inputted to every believer seems to be founded upon the teachings and doctrines put forth by John Calvin.
According to Wikipedia, John Calvin (aka: Jehan Cauvin) was a French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. The Protestant Reformation (aka: the Protestant Revolution) was a schism that occurred within Western Christianity that was initiated primarily by both Martin Luther and John Calvin in and around 1517. The lynch-pin that launched the reformation was the publishing of Luther’s “The Ninety-Five Theses.” This document essentially criticized the Catholic Church’s practice of selling indulgences-whereby Catholic believers could purchase the remission of their dearly departed loved ones’ sins, which seems inherently anti-Christian and contrary to what the Bible teaches about the wages for sin and the only solution for sin-the sacrifice made by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Regardless, the work of Calvin and Luther led to the creation of new national Protestant churches which to date, according to some, has blossomed to some 20,000 to 30,000 denominations. Thank you Martin Luther and John Calvin.
Now that not to say that the resultant work of Calvin and Luther was heretical and subject to eternal damnation. I believe the resultant problems that are inherent in today’s Christian faith should be placed at the feet of the organization that caused the problem in the first place: the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Yes indeed. The beast that took upon herself complete authority to create doctrine and beliefs; alter Biblical instruction; structure how the faith would look; and in the case whereby Luther was prompted to move the faith towards a fatal schism, forgive sin and input righteousness at the whim and good pleasure of the Church’s hierarchy.