Those who teach that sanctification is a progressive work which is dependent upon and determined by man, who teach that the believer becomes more and more holy until he is at last ripe for heaven,need to seriously consider one question: Is sanctification essential to one’s everlasting salvation? Without question, it is. That being so, no one who believes the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace can consistently embrace a man centered doctrine of sanctification which would make this vital aspect of salvation something that man does. Sanctification as it is revealed in the Bible is God centered. It is God who sanctifies his elect. We do not sanctify ourselves.
In the Old Testament,it was God who sanctified the seventh day,the firstborn of Israel, and the sacrifices for sin which typified and pointed to the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Gen. 2:3; Num. 8:17-18; Jer. 23:6). In the New Testament, wherever the doctrine of sanctification is taught, we are told that the Sanctifier is God and that the work of sanctification is God’s work (John 10:36; 17:17, 19; Acts 20:32; Rom. 15:16; I Cor. 1:2, 30; 6:11; Eph. 5:26; I Thess. 5:23; II Thess. 2:13; Heb. 2:11; 10:10, 14; 13:12; I Pet. 1:2; Jude 1).These passages of Scripture are heavy, heavy reading for those who teach that sanctification is a work that we do by the enabling of the Spirit.
God’s elect were SANCTIFIED BY GOD THE FATHER in his eternal purpose of grace when he chose and separated them to himself, saying, “I will be their God and they shall by my people” (Jude 1). All the chosen were SANCTIFIED BY GOD THE SON when he put away their sins and made them perfect in God’s sight by the sacrifice of himself (Heb. 10:10, 14). And every chosen, redeemed sinner is in time SANCTIFIED BY GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT in regeneration and effectual calling (II Thess. 2:13; I Pet. 1:2), when he is made a new creature in Christ. In election, we were set apart to be holy. In redemption, we were declared to be holy. In regeneration, we are made holy. This is God centered sanctification.