Chapter 13, Paragraph 1.
“They who are united to Christ, effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, are also farther sanctified, really and personally, through the same virtue, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them…”
1 Thessalonians 5:21-23
A regenerated sinner does not stay a mere sinner. Not only is she declared righteous on account of Christ’s perfect obedience to the law, she is set apart as well. She is declared holy, or sanctified, because of what Christ has done on her behalf.
Freed from the guilt of sin, God enables the believer to will that which is good. The elect desire to be righteous since they have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. However, they still drag their corrupted nature with them throughout this life. How can they do what is right with such an enemy as their own flesh hanging around?
Herein lies the beauty of sanctification: not only are we declared righteous due to Christ, but God works in us so that we are personally sanctified. Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the Word, the alien righteousness of Christ becomes ours as we are gradually conformed to His image. Our corrupt nature is slowly but surely defeated. Victory over sin is guaranteed at death.
It is important to note that sanctification requires the dwelling of the Spirit and the Word. Scripture is not only necessary for conversion, but for the rest of the Christian’s walk. Thus Paul instructs believers to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:6). To neglect the Word is to neglect our sanctification. The same is true of the Spirit. We are not regenerated so that we may turn around and tell God “I’ve got it from here, thanks!”, but constantly depend upon the Spirit for strength to produce the fruit of sanctification. Through His guidance combined with His Word, we will grow in godliness.
Questions to Consider
- Do you find you separate the Spirit and the Word, rather than see how they work together for your sanctification?