And for their sakes I (Christ Jesus) sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
~ John 17:19, Act 26:18
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
~ John 8:56
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
~ Jeremiah 1:5
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
~ Romans 1:1, Romans 15:16
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
~ 1 Corinthians 6:11, Hebrews 10:10, Hebrews 10:14
Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:
~ Jude 1:1
Sanctification is a Progressive Work, by John Owen. The following excerpt from Book Four, Chapter Two, “The Nature of Sanctification and Gospel Holiness Explained” — which is section under his work, “Pneumatologia”, Or “A Discourse Concerning The Holy Spirit”.
3. Believers themselves are oft-times much unacquainted with it, either as to their apprehension of its true nature, causes, and effects, or, at least, as to their own interest and concernment therein. As we know not of ourselves, the things that are wrought in us of the Spirit of God, so we seldom attend as we ought unto his instructing of us in them. It may seem strange indeed, that, whereas, all believers are sanctified and made holy, that they should not understand, nor apprehend what is wrought in them, and for them, and what abideth with them: but, alas, how little do we know of ourselves, of what we are, and whence are our powers and faculties even in things natural ? Do we know how the members of the body are fashioned in the womb? We are apt to be seeking after, and giving reasons for all things, and to describe the progress of the production of our natures from first to last, so as if not to satisfy ourselves, yet to please and amuse others; for, vain man would be wise, although he be like the wild ass’s colt. The best issues of our consideration hereof, is that of the psalmist: ‘Thou, O God, hast possessed my reins, thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them; Psal. cxxxix. 13-16. By diligent consideration of these things, we may obtain a firm foundation to stand on, in a holy admiration of the infinite wisdom and goodness of that sovereign architect, who hath raised this fabric unto his own glory; and what we farther attempt, is vanity and curiosity. How little do we know of these souls of ours, and all that we do so, is by their powers and operations, which are consequential unto their beings. Now these things are our own naturally, they dwell and abide with us; they are we, and we are they, and nothing else; yet is it no easy thing for us to have a reflex and intimate acquaintance with them. And is it strange, if we should be much in the dark unto this new nature, this new creature, which comes from above, from God in heaven, wherewith our natural reason hath no acquaintance? It is new, it is wonderful, it is a work supernatural, and is known only by supernatural revelation.
Besides there are other things, which pretend to be this gospel holiness and are not, whereby unspeakable multitudes are deluded and deceived. With some, any reformation of life, and abstinence from flagitious sins, with the performance of the common duties of religion, is all which they suppose is required unto this head of their duty. Others contend with violence to substitute moral virtues, by which they know not themselves what they intend, in the room thereof. And there is a work of the law, which in the fruits of it, internal and external, in the works of righteousness and duties, which is hardly, and not but by spiritual light and measures, to be distinguished from it. This also adds to the difficulty of understanding it aright, and should to our diligent inquiry into it.
4. We must also consider, that holiness is not confined to this life, but passeth over into eternity and glory. Death hath no power over it to destroy it, or divest us of it. For, (1.) its acts indeed are transient, but its fruits abide for ever in their reward. They who die in the Lord, rest from their labours, and their works follow them;’ Rev. xiv. 13. God is not unrighteous to forget their labour of love;’
Heb. vi. 10. There is not any effect or fruit of holiness, not the least, not the giving of a cup of cold water to a disciple of Christ, in the name of a disciple, but it shall be had in everlasting remembrance, and abide for ever in its eternal reward. Nothing shall be lost, but all the fragments of it shall be gathered up and kept safe for ever. Every thing else, how specious soever it be in this world, shall be burnt up and consumed as hay and stubble; when the least, the meanest, the most secret fruit of holiness, shall be gathered as gold and silver, durable substance, into God’s treasury, and become a part of the riches of the inheritance of the saints in glory. Let no soul fear the loss of any labour, in any of the duties of holiness, in the most secret contest against sin, for inward purity, for outward fruitfulness, in the mortification of sin, resistance of temptations, improvement of grace, in patience, moderation, self-denial, contentment, all that you do know, and what you do not know, shall all be revived, called over, and abide eternally in your reward. Our Father who now seeth in secret,’ will one day reward openly. And the more we abound in these things, the more will God be glorified in the recompense of reward. But this is not all, nor that which I intend. It abides, (2.) for ever, and passeth over into glory in its principle or nature. The love wherewith we now adhere to God, and by which we act the obedience of faith towards the saints, faileth not, it ends not when glory comes on, but is a part of it; 1 Cor. xiii. 8. It is true, some gifts shall be done away as useless in a state of perfection and glory, as the apostle there discourseth; and some graces shall cease, as to some especial acts and peculiar exercise, as faith and hope, so far as they respect things unseen and future. But all those graces, whereby holiness is constituted, and wherein it doth consist, for the substance of them, as they contain the image of God, as by them we are united, and do adhere unto God in Christ, shall in their present nature improved into perfection, abide for ever. In our knowledge of them, therefore, have we our principal insight into our eternal condition in glory: and this is as a firm foundation of consolation, so a part of our chiefest joy in this world. Is it not a matter of unspeakable joy and refreshment, that these poor bodies we carry about us, after they have been made a prey unto death, dust, worms, and corruption, shall be raised and restored to life and immortality, freed from pains, sickness, weakness, weariness, and vested with those qualities in conformity to Christ’s glorious body, which yet we understand not? It is so also, that these souls which now animate and rule in us, shall be delivered from all their darkness, ignorance, vanity, instability, and alienation from things spiritual and heavenly. But this is not all. These poor low graces, which now live, and are acting in us, shall be continued, preserved, purified, and perfected, but in their nature be the same as now they are, as our souls and bodies shall be. That love, whereby we now adhere to God as our chiefest good, that faith, whereby we are united to Christ our everlasting head, that delight in any of the ways or ordinances of God, wherein he is enjoyed according as he hath promised his presence in them; that love and good-will, which we have for all those in whom is the Spirit, and on whom is the image of Christ, with the entire principle of spiritual life and holiness, which is now begun in any of us, shall be all purified, enhanced, perfected, and pass into glory. That very holiness which we here attain, those inclinations and dispositions, those frames of mind, those powers and abilities in obedience, and adherence unto God, which here contend with the weight of their own weakness and imperfections, with the opposition that is continually made against them by the body of death, that is utterly to be abolished, shall be gloriously perfected into immutable habits, unchangeably acting our souls in the enjoyment of God. And this also manifesteth, of how much concernment it is unto us, to be acquainted with the doctrine of it, and of how much more to be really interested in it. Yea, —
5. There is spiritual and heavenly glory in it in this world. From hence is the church, the king’s daughter,’ said to be all glorious within ;’ Psal. xlv. 13. Her inward adorning with the graces of the Spirit making her beautiful in holiness, is called glory, and is so ; so also the progress and increase of believers herein, is called by our apostle their being changed from glory to glory ;’ 2 Cor. iii. 18. from one degree of glorious grace unto another. As this, next unto the comeliness of the righteousness of Christ put upon us by the free grace of God, is our only beauty in his sight, so it is such as hath a real spiritual glory in it. It is the firstfruits of heaven; and as the apostle argueth concerning the Jews, that if the first-fruits were holy, then is the whole lump holy, so may we on the other side, if the whole weight, as he calls it, and fulness of our future enjoyments be glory, then are the first-fruits in their measure so also. There is in this holiness, as we shall see farther afterward, a ray of eternal light, a principle of eternal life, and the entire nature of that love whereby we shall eternally adhere unto God. The divine nature, the new immortal creature, the life of God, the life of Christ, are all comprised in it. It represents unto God the glory of his own image renewed in us; and unto the Lord Christ the fruits of his Spirit and effect of his mediation, wherein he sees of the travail of his soul, and is satisfied. There is, therefore, nothing more to be abhorred, than those carnal, low, and unworthy thoughts which some men vent of this glorious work of the Holy Spirit, who would have it wholly to consist in a legal righteousness or moral virtue.
6. This is that which God indispensably requireth of us. The full prosecution of this consideration we must put off unto our arguments for the necessity of it, which will ensue in their proper place. At present I shall shew, that not only God requireth holiness indispensably in all believers, but also that this is all which he requireth of them or expecteth from them: for it compriseth the whole duty of man. And this surely rendereth it needful for us both to know what it is, and diligently to apply ourselves unto the obtaining an assured participation of it. For what servant who hath any sense of his relation and duty, if he be satisfied that his master requireth but one thing of him, will not endeavour an acquaintance with it, and the performance of it. Some indeed say that their holiness (such as it is) is the chief or only design of the gospel. If they intend that it is the first principal design of God in and by the gospel, and that not only as to the preceptive part of it, but also as unto its doctrinal and promissory parts, whence it is principally and emphatically denominated, it is a fond imagination. God’s great and first design, in and by the gospel, is eternally to glorify himself, his wisdom, goodness, love, grace, righteousness, and holiness, by Jesus Christ ; Eph. i. 5, 6. And in order to this his great and supreme end, he hath designed the gospel, and designs by the gospel, which gives the gospel its design: (1.) To reveal that love and grace of his unto lost sinners, with the way of its communication through the mediation of his Son incarnate, as the only means whereby he will be glorified, and whereby they may be saved ; Acts xxvi. 18. (2.) To prevail with men in and by the dispensation of its truth, and encouragement of it promises, to renounce their sins and all other expectations of relief or satisfaction, and to betake themselves by faith unto that way of life and salvation which is therein declared unto them; 2 Cor. v. 18—21. Col. i. 25—28. (3.) To be the means and instrument of conveying over unto them, and giving them a title unto, and a right in, that grace and mercy, that life and righteousness, which is revealed and tendered unto them thereby; Mark xvi. 16. (4.) To be the way and means of communicating the Spirit of Christ with grace and strength unto the elect, enabling of them to believe and receive the atonement; Gal. iii. 2. (5.) Hereby to give them union with Christ as their spiritual and ‘mystical head, as also to fix their hearts and souls in their choicest actings in their faith, trust, confidence, and love, immediately on the Son of God as incarnate and their mediator; John xiv. 1.