Entire Sanctification

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Entire sanctification - How does this doctrine differ from other views on sanctification?

Entire sanctification is the belief that Christians can attain complete sinlessness in this lifetime. Christians are sanctified "positionally" meaning that God views Christians as being perfectly holy because of Christ. Christians are sanctified "progressively" meaning that God transforms a Christian's life to produce less and less of the acts of the sinful nature (Galatians 5:19-21) and more and more of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Christians will one day be sanctified "ultimately" meaning that Christians will one day be absolutely free from the power and presence of sin. Entire sanctification teaches that ultimate sanctification is attainable in this lifetime.

The Bible describes Christians being ultimately sanctified in 1 John 3:2, "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." It is clear in this Scripture that we will be like Christ once we see Him. This is something that only occurs at death, or will occur at the coming of Christ in the rapture. 1 Corinthians 15:35-58 describes the bodies that Christians will receive once they are glorified/ultimately sanctified. In this passage as well, death and/or eternity are in view - not the earthly life.

The Bible also consistently teaches that no one in this world is free from sin. 1 John 1:8 declares, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." Ecclesiastes 7:20 tells us, "There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins." So, it seems clear that sinless perfection is not possible in this life. Entire sanctification should be our goal and desire. The Bible commands us to be holy: "Be holy, because I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16). However, entire sanctification is not possible in the life. Until we are freed from our fallen bodies and delivered from this sinful world - we will always have to struggle against sin. But praise God for our ultimate victory, "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:56-57).



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