“To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ – their Lord and ours:” (1 Corinthians 1:2 NIV84)
In the realm of sanctification, there is a progression of thought that is vital to adhere to. First and foremost, we have been sanctified in and through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect holy life that was impossible for us because of our inherited sinful nature. Jesus bore our sins (became sin) so that we might be sanctified (holy) in the eyes of God. Right now, God sees you as holy in His sight because you are washed clean by the blood of Jesus. Jesus took your sin and gave you His righteousness. In most theological circles this is considered justification. We have been justified (made right) with God through the death and resurrection of Jesus. So as Paul said above, we have been “sanctified in Jesus.”
As we progress from the doctrine of justification to sanctification, we address Paul’s second phrase that we are “called to be holy.” We Christians are called to live as Jesus has made us. Since Jesus has made us holy in God’s eyes, it is now our responsibility to live holy lives. How do we do that? Paul tells us in other places that we are to be continuously connected to the transformative power of God’s Word (the Holy Spirit) so that our heart, mind and life gradually become transformed from the inside out. Because we will always (while we live on this earth) struggle with our two natures, we are called to strive daily to die to the old person and rise to the new.
Why all this work to be holy if Jesus has already made us holy in God’s eyes? So that we might bring glory to the One who has redeemed and saved us and so that we might reveal to the world the transformative power of God. It is through the words and deeds of our sanctified life that the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ shines through us to the world around us.
Today and every day may we die to the old person and rise to the new one in us so that we might glorify our God and King and reveal Him to the world around us.