TEXT: John 17:9-23; Hebrews 13:12
The students will be able to define the experience of sanctification as an actual work of God—a definite work of grace whereby the heart is purged and cleansed of the sin nature, making the believer holy and one with God. It includes one ís setting himself apart for God.
While the noun sanctification does not occur in the Old Testament, it is evident that many received a definite experience of sanctification. David realized that he was born with a sinful nature and prayed that God would blot out his transgressions (willful sins) and cleanse him from the sin with which he was born. (See Psalm 51:1-2,5,9-10.) Isaiah experienced a need for holiness when in a vision he stood before God. A holy being touched his lips with a coal from off the altar and said that his iniquity was taken away and his sin purged (Isaiah 6:1-7).
Usually, in the Bible the word sin refers to the inherent sin passed down through the ages from Adam and Eve, while the word sins means actual transgressions. Under the Law there were sacrifices that pointed to two works of grace. The trespass offering had to do with the individual transgressions of the one who brought the offering (Leviticus 6:1-7). When the offering for sin was presented, no mention was made of actual trespasses (Leviticus 9:3,15). This offering typified heart cleansing. The verb sanctify appears frequently in the Bible. Its meaning is primarily to "separate from the world and consecrate to God." To sanctify anything is to declare that it belongs to God. It may refer to persons, places, days and seasons, and objects used for worship. The word saint comes from the same root and means "a sanctified one"—one who belongs to Christ.
The Bible teaches that sanctification is twofold: man's consecrating himself to God, and God's purging man's heart through the Blood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:14).
When a person turns to God, repenting of and forsaking his sins, God is faithful and just to forgive those sins. However, there still remains in the heart the sin-principle which was born in him. He is not responsible for it; it was handed down from his forebears. Yet, God has made a way for this to be removed. The same Sacrifice that brought salvation to man also provides the means by which he might be sanctified—a second, definite work of grace in the heart, in which the principle of sin, or Adamic nature, is eradicated. Therefore it is necessary to seek sanctification.
- Who was Jesus praying for in John 17:9? What would you say was the spiritual condition of these people? Why do you think so?
Response: Jesus was praying for His disciples. They had answered Jesus' call to follow Him and had been faithful throughout Jesus' ministry on earth; therefore the disciples were saved people. For further proof, Jesus said of them, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." Ask your students what "not of the world" might mean today.
- What verse from today's lesson proves that the world hates the followers of Jesus? Why is this true?
Response: Verse 14 tells us that "the world hath hated them." The discussion of the second question should bring out that a disciple of Jesus is different from the world through the change salvation has wrought. Sinners become angry and uncomfortable because a Christian's life causes conviction to unbelievers.
- In verse 11, Jesus prayed to His Father, "that they may be one, as we are." Ephesians 4:3-6 gives a further description of this oneness. Why is this unity among believers so vital?
Response: The verses in Ephesians bring out that Jesus' plan is that His people have perfect fellowship with one another, with Himself, and with God. Begin your discussion by talking about why unity is important in business, family relationships, branches of the government, etc. Then zero in on why unity among believers is even more vital, bringing out that this unity affects their spiritual lives and, eventually, their eternal destiny.
- Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." What is sanctification? How does this experience help a follower of Jesus?
Response: Allow your students time to bring out their definitions of sanctification, and the results it brings in a life. Establish that sanctification is the second, definite work of grace whereby the sin principle, or Adamic nature, is eradicated. The experience of sanctification removes the sin principle and helps the believer to be kept from the evil of the world. Jesus' prayer for His own was for their safekeeping in this present world and to keep them unspotted from the world. Sanctification insures fellowship with God and adds to their usefulness in this life.
- The dictionary gives two definitions for the word sanctify: "to set aside for a sacred purpose or to consecrate," and "to free from sin, or purify." When Jesus said, "I sanctify myself," to which of the definitions did He refer? How do the two definitions apply to us when we seek to be sanctified?
Response: Jesus was referring to the first definition. Jesus Christ was without sin and therefore did not need to be purified. However, it was always His determination to do His Father's will. His words, "I sanctify myself," indicated His setting Himself apart for a sacred purpose, or consecration. As the class discusses the two parts of sanctification, help them see that their part is to consecrate their lives, their ambitions, their all to God as they seek sanctification. When their consecration is complete, and they believe, God does His part: frees them from the sin nature, cleansing and purifying their hearts.
- How do we know that sanctification is within God's will for us? See John 17:15-20; 1 Thessalonians 4:3.
Response: The students should understand that sanctification is not only possible, but it is God's will that each believer should seek and obtain this experience. Jesus prayed that all who believe on Him would be sanctified. Discuss with your students why it is that some people don’t receive this experience.
- Why is sanctification necessary in the life of a Christian? See Matthew 5:8; Hebrews 12:14.
Response: Holiness and heart purity are other words for sanctification, and these verses give holiness and purity as a requisite for seeing God. Everyone is obligated to walk in the light that God has given him. To those who have been saved, but have not had time or light to seek for sanctification, we can be thankful that God is not only a just God, but also merciful, and will hold them accountable only for the knowledge they have had. See 1 John 1:7.
- Describe, in your own words, what you think the key verse means. See also Leviticus 16:11 19,27.
Response: Under the Old Testament Law, the blood of the sin offering on the Day of Atonement was brought within the veil, before the mercy seat, but the remains of the animal were taken to a clean place outside the camp and burned (Leviticus 16:11-19,27). Explain how this was a type of the offering of our Lord Jesus of Himself upon the cross of Calvary, outside the city for our sanctification.
- How do we know that Jesus' prayer was answered in the lives of His disciples? See Acts 2:1.
Response: Acts 2:1 states that on the Day of Pentecost, the disciples were all with one accord in one place. This is the oneness for which Christ prayed. Discuss what results sanctification produces today.
Share with the students the experience of your sanctification— the difference between your life before sanctification and your life afterward.
The unity that occurs among Christians is the result of sanctification, as the Father and the Son are one. Bend one straw to illustrate how weak it is alone. This illustrates that the new Christian is vulnerable. Now hold out a bundle of straws bound together to represent Christians who have been sanctified and made into one body. Ask a student to bend it. This represents the strength God gives when we are sanctified and made one in the bond of love. (This can also be done with one page out of a telephone book and a whole telephone book.)
Show your class a jar smeared and half-filled with dirt. Ask the students how that jar can be clean again. First, (like salvation) you must throw away the dirt, then (like sanctification) you must wash the jar. Demonstrate this in class to show how we are like that jar. (A coffee cup filled with coffee would do.)
Use the dandelion plant (from the last lesson) to illustrate what sanctification means. Show the students how the root of sin must come out. Compare it to removing the root of the dandelion to be sure it won't sprout and grow again. (If the question of backsliding arises, be sure your students understand that the seed of sin can be replanted and grow in our hearts unless we are diligent to make sure this does not occur.)
Tract No. 125 — Sanctification