Author: Ron Graham
Sanctified When Saved, Not Later
—More about “sanctification”
The Bible’s teaching on sanctification goes against the idea of sanctification as a “second blessing” given to us some time —possibly even years— after we are first cleansed from sin by the blood of Christ.
1 The doctrine of the Second Blessing
The doctrine of the second blessing is that sanctification is not fully given to all who receive the blessing of salvation. You can be saved, but not yet be entirely sanctified. Full sanctification is a kind of second conversion that brings a person into a state of sinless perfection also called entire sanctification.
The scriptures however allow no time-lapse between purification and sanctification. Nor are there two states of purification —ordinary forgiveness from sin, followed later by a better purification of "sinless perfection".
Questions Raised by the “Second Blessing” Idea
The doctrine of a second (extra) blessing, given some time after one's conversion, raises very important questions. For example...
- Is the first state of purification and forgiveness less than perfect, and if so how can it measure up to God’s standard of perfection?
- What else do we need, beside the precious blood of Christ, shed in his death upon the cross, in order to be the more perfectly and lastingly pure?
- How does the high priesthood and intercession of Jesus Christ relate to this notion of purification that isn't perfect at the first blessing?
- Of salvation, justification, reconciliation, redemption, and sanctification, which belong to the first blessing and which to the second? And why split these blessings into two parcels given at different times?
2 Paul Doesn't Teach It
In Ephesians, Paul addresses all members of God’s household, and promises them all that they have received "every spiritual blessing" (Ephesians 1:3).
Even in the first two chapters, Paul tells the Ephesians that they were predestined, have redemption, were sealed with the Spirit, were saved by grace, reconciled and brought near to God, are fellow citizens with the saints or sanctified people, and are heirs in God’s household.
Later, in the last chapter, he tells them that "the full armor of God" is for their taking, that they "might stand firm against the schemes of the devil."
3 Christ’s Full Blessing
The letter to the Hebrews also makes clear the blessings of all those who embrace the "new and living way" (Hebrews 10:19-31). Note that this is not addressed to people for whom sin is impossible.
- They can enter boldly into the holy place through the veil (v19)
- They have full assurance of faith (v22)
- Their hearts are sprinkled clean from an evil conscience (v22)
- They have the knowledge of the truth (fully enlightened) (v26)
- They are sanctified by the blood of the covenant (v29)
Those who are sanctified are those who are fully forgiven, fully purified from sin, and fully empowered to overcome sin. How more can we be blessed than to know that "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin" (1John 1:7-9, 2:1-2)?
There is one salient and simple fact you can believe and understand regarding what it means to be sanctified: "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1John 1:9).
That sanctification is an immediate, full, and ever-present blessing.