The Danger of Neglecting Sanctification

Christians love talking about the day when we met Jesus or when we will see Jesus, but what about every other day when we are supposed to become like Jesus?

Let me give you 3 theological terms that you need to learn:

  1. Justification – the declaration of holiness
  2. Sanctification – the process of holiness
  3. Glorification – the completion of holiness

Justification is the day you receive the gospel and God declares you not-guilty.  The charges have been put upon another.  The gavel drops and you are on your way to heaven.

Glorification is the day when you meet Jesus face to face and don’t have to worry about sin anymore.  You go to heaven and are perfect.  With eternity to enjoy, you say good riddance to the unholiness in your life and of this world.

Justification makes your record non-guilty.  Glorification experiences the actualization of this reality.

We remember justification, we anticipate glorification, but we are neglecting sanctification.

Sanctification is the process of holiness that is worked on from the day you receive the gospel until the day you see the author of the gospel.  This is discipleship.  While justification and sanctification are completely the work of the Lord, sanctification is the work of the Lord and us.  Sanctification is hard work.  It will not be complete until we die.

The proof that we are neglecting sanctification is the lack of holiness present in many Christians.

For many who claim to be Christians, there is little to no change.  If you did a review over the last few years, you would notice that there has been no progress.  It’s not mere laziness either.  I watch people put the utmost effort into workout regimens, home renovation, graduate degrees, extracurricular activities, and any pursuit this world provides.  People know how to put in work, but are we working on the most important things?

If there is a true profession of faith, there should be a true progression of faith.

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.  Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;  for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.  The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.  For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe (1 Tim. 4:6-10).

Are you working on your sanctification?  Here are some things to consider:

  1. How devoted are you to studying the task at hand?
  2. Are you sitting under those you would consider experts and learning from them?
  3. How active are you in fighting against the sin areas in your life?
  4. Can you see an improvement in your level of Kingdom-activity?
  5. Are you pouring out what you are learning into another?
  6. Do you have a yearning to know Jesus more than you do right now?
  7. Does your schedule reflect that your sanctification is a priority?

Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.  For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me (Col. 1:28-29).

Travis Agnew is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. He serves as the Senior Pastor of Rocky Creek Baptist Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is What God Has Joined Together.