Real Talk – What Is Sanctification?

I’ve wanted to write this post for a while now. In the Real Talk post titled The Way, the Truth, and the Life, we learned that God’s Word is sanctifying truth (John 17:17). John 17:19 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13 are other verses that relate sanctification with the truth.

Sanctified, sanctify(ing) is to cleanse or set apart for sacred use; to declare or make holy. Sanctification is becoming more and more like Jesus Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit. And its meaning is described in Romans 6:1—8:39; submitting our flesh and thoughts to God’s Word and walking out our kingdom purpose through renewal and regeneration. I encourage you to read it!

What I would like to do for this post is make some connections between verses that use a form of the word sanctify:


For example, in Romans 15:16 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, sanctification has to do with the gospel.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 and 1 Peter 1:2 include the word peace; Acts 20:32, Hebrews 10:29, and 1 Peter 1:2 have the word grace.

According to 1 Corinthians 7:14, God regards marriage as sanctified through one believing husband or wife.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 states that it is God’s will, our sanctification: that we should avoid sexual immorality.

1 Corinthians 1:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, and 1 Peter 1:2 refer to being “called” or “chosen”—God’s foreknowledge of one’s salvation and purpose (Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:4).

Offerings are a theme of Romans 15:16, Hebrews 9:13, Hebrews 10:29, and 1 Peter 1:2; the blood of Christ as the perfect sacrifice, specifically, in Hebrews 10:29 and 1 Peter 1:2.

Jesus is speaking in Acts 26:18, when He appeared to Paul, telling us that we find sanctification by faith in Him; 1 Corinthians 1:2 and 1 Corinthians 6:11 tell us in Christ Jesus and His name.

Romans 15:16, 1 Corinthians 6:11, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, Hebrews 10:29, and 1 Peter 1:2 all point to the Holy Spirit as the source of sanctification.

What Is Sanctification?

Acts 20:32 focuses on how the message of God’s grace can build us up; 20:32 and 26:18 speak on the inheritance given us among those who are sanctified. Similarly, discipleship is the tutelage and teaching of biblical doctrine that leads to sanctification.


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Made Alive in Christ

Ephesians 2:1-10 KJV

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Real Talk – Where Sin Abounded, Grace Did Much More Abound

When we speak about Jewish law, we refer to the old covenant – the law of God or the law of Moses. These are the Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments
Exodus 20:1-21 KJV

And God spake all these words, saying,

2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

13 Thou shalt not kill.

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

15 Thou shalt not steal.

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.

19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.

21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.

God gave us the Ten Commandments to reveal the law and justice of His nature and will. And as a guide for us to live lovingly and responsibly. There were three categories of law in the Old Testament. Some were ceremonial, some civil, and some moral.

By Jesus’ time, the Pharisees had added hundreds of religious traditions to the law. They often tried to accuse Him of breaking what had become more like a set of rules. Matthew 12:1-8 is one example that illustrates this.

Law-keeping became more important than God’s law of love. When Jesus spoke about a new way of understanding God’s law, He was trying to point people back to its original purpose – the moral and ceremonial laws given to help people love God with all their hearts and minds. Which Jesus later said were the greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37 NIV) And “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31 NIV)

In Matthew 5:17, we see that Jesus did not come to destroy the law but fulfill it. And John 1:17 shows us that Christ revealed the grace and truth of God’s nature and will!

Galatians 2:15-19 tells us that obeying the law will not make us acceptable to God or save us. But it is holy, and just, and good (Romans 7:12) and still has an important role as a guide for us in the Christian life.

The Cross
Romans 5:20-21 KJV

20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we begin operating under the new covenant – grace by faith. Romans 3:25 shows us that the shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross paid the penalty of death for our sin – propitiation. Jesus stands in our place! And through faith in Him, we stand acquitted, or not guilty, before God (Romans 3:21-24).

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6)! Having been tempted in every way, He can sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:14-15). Through Him, we can come boldly unto God’s throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). By that same grace, we are raised in heavenly places with God in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-6). And He will always catch us when we fall!


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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Righteousness Through Faith

Romans 3:21-31 KJV

21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:

30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

Real Talk – Faith and Deeds

James 2:14-18 KJV

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

Faith and Deeds

When I first read James, I thought to myself, oh snap, did I give misinformation!? I take that very seriously. I’m not a teacher. Nor am I ordained in any office of the five-fold ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). But I do believe that just by posting this, I will be judged more strictly (James 3:1).

At first, it seems James’s teaching in the verses above and Paul’s in the following verse contradict each other:


Romans 3:28 KJV

28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.


But if we look more closely, we see that they complement each other.

Intellectual assent is an agreement with a set of Christian teachings. If we only agree with these truths, our faith is incomplete, and our lives will remain unchanged. Because if we truly believe, it will transform our conduct and our thoughts. That’s major!

It’s one thing to read God’s Word, to understand, and to agree. But it’s something else to believe faithfully and not waver (James 1:6).

Our good deeds will never earn our salvation. Instead, a changed life and good deeds are the results of true faith. Paul teaches to those who try to be saved by deeds instead of true faith. James warns not to confuse intellectual assent with true faith. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (James 2:19 KJV)

In summary, we cannot earn our salvation through acts of loving service or our obedience. However, these actions do demonstrate our real commitment to God. Good deeds do not replace but rather prove our faith in Christ.


Interesting Fact: Jesus’ brother James, a leader in the Jerusalem church, wrote this letter. Not the apostle James.


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Praise to God for a Living Hope

1 Peter 1:3-12 KJV

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:

11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

Real Talk – Trustworthy in Handling Worldly Wealth

Luke 16:10-11 KJV

10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

Trustworthy in Handling Worldly Wealth

Last week’s Real Talk post was The Secret of Being Content, and this week I would like to write about managing money. I used to be reckless and irresponsible with my finances. It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that I thought to myself, it’s a good time to start over! And because I never want to be in that position again, whenever my spending begins to accelerate, I hit the brakes and ask myself a few questions:

Is this a wise decision?
Is this a responsible decision?
Is this purchase a necessity?
Is there a better time to purchase this?

The following are biblical truths: it should never be about spiritual pride or religious effort (“confidence in the flesh”) (Philippians 3:2-3 NIV). “And without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV). False teachers (“those who reject the truth”) will try to persuade believers to base decisions more on human judgment (“myths or to the merely human commands”) than on discernment through prayer and God’s Word (Titus 1:10-14 NIV).

But personally, the financial responsibility comes from the desire for excellence before the Lord. It’s just something that I like to do for Him. I truly believe that He delivered me from my homelessness. I also believe that being trustworthy with the little I have is reassurance for the eternal. I can’t even fathom what the true riches of God’s kingdom will be!


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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Real Talk – Live Through Love

The Gospel of John shows Jesus as fully human and fully God and the Father’s unique Son—this is the foundational truth of Christianity. I realize it’s a lot to understand at first—that Jesus lived on the earth as a man, yet He is God.

To help put it into perspective, I previously wrote Giving the Glory to God. Genesis 1:1—2:3 shows us that God created the heaven and the earth. And I cross-referenced these verses in Scripture:


“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:15-17 NIV)


Colossians 1:15-17 shows us that Jesus is also our Creator. If we do not believe this essential truth that Jesus is the Creator and Sustainer of all things who gives us eternal life, how will we have the faith necessary to trust in this promise?

God is love (1 John 4:16). Love is the reason why God creates, and He has created us to love. God cares for us even as the sinners we are because He loves us. Each person has a choice because God wants us to respond to Him out of love. Christ’s love for us caused Him to die on the cross because sin was a problem that needed conquering! And eternal life is an expression of God’s love that will last forever.

Jesus shed His blood so we could have new life. By accepting this wonderful gift, we live through Him and therefore live through love.

Live Through Love
1 John 4:9, 11 KJV

9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.


11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

Real Talk – Giving the Glory to God

I wanted to pick a tagline that would be the theme of this blog. I began thinking about one of the most fundamental ways to ensure that a person of faith is moving in the right direction. And then it came to me: make sure that you are “Giving the Glory to God!”

In daily life, it is easy to attribute things to ourselves. Whether it’s creating a website, or maybe it’s a job promotion, or even riding a bicycle 🚲 without training wheels. But the following are only two of the many examples found in Scripture of why we should be giving the glory to God:

God created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1—2:3). Take a moment to think about that. God is our Creator. He created the universe and everything in it, and He made us in His image as reflections of His glory.

God is worthy to receive the glory for creating all things (Revelation 4:11). In my opinion, the entire Chapter 4 of Revelation emphasizes the sovereignty of who God is in our lives.

Giving the Glory to God

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