Christ gave himself “even unto death” for the cleansing of His church (Ephesians 5:25-27; Hebrews 13:12). His disciples are called to be holy (I Peter 1:15-16; II Corinthians 7:1). Christ provided for believers to be entirely sanctified, in the atonement (Hebrews 9:13-14; 10:8-10). Accordingly, Paul prayed “May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, and he will do it” (I Thessalonians 5:23-24). Sanctification begins with regeneration. It continues throughout the believer’s life, as the believer co-operates with the Spirit. A deeper relationship with Christ is possible when the believer is fully cleansed in heart (Psalm 51:5-13; I John 1:5-2:1),
God the Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier (II Thessalonians 2:13; I Peter 1:2). Coming into the life at conversion, He fills with His unrivalled presence when the Christian’s consecration is complete, cleansing the heart and empowering for witness and service (John 3:5; Acts 1:8; I Corinthians 6:11). He sheds God’s love throughout the heart and life of the Christian (Romans 5:5; I John 4:12-13).
Accepting the promise of God by faith, believers will enter into a deepened relationship with God through Christ (II Corinthians 6:16-7:1; Galatians 2:20; Romans 8:14-17). They will be enabled to love God with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind, and their neighbour as themselves (Matthew 22:37-40; Galatians 5:25-6:2). They will know an inner surrender to all the will of God, and their lives will be transformed from inner conflict with sin to glad obedience (Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 5:16-25).
Inward sanctification cleanses Christians from sin and delivers from the idolatry of self (I Corinthians 6:19-20; Philippians 2:1-4). When they are cleansed, they are not made perfect in performance, but in love (Hebrews 12:14; Matthew 5:43-48; I John 4:12-17).