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Definition

While the language of sanctification in theological terminology has focused on the progressive aspect of growing holiness in the Christian life, the Bible uses the term sanctification to point towards the status as consecrated and holy that we have in Christ through our union with him.

Summary

In theological language, the term sanctification has largely referred to something that we do, normally our growth in holiness. However, the Bible uses the term sanctification in a more definitive way, indicating the holy status that we have already through our union with Christ. This consecrated status forms the foundation from which we grow in holiness and godliness in our lives and relationships; we strive to be what we are. However, because in theological discussion these categories have merged, theologians often call the status of holiness that we have in Christ “definitive” or “positional” sanctification, while our pursuits of Christian virtue and personal godliness are called “progressive” sanctification. The danger is that Christians often forget the definitive nature of sanctification and only focus on the progressive aspect of daily life.

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