Hebrews 10:10. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Hebrews 10:14. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
There’s a huge difference between the gospel of grace found in Jesus Christ and a religion of works. The very word religion means to “re-bind.” To be chained up over and over again. This is what the Old Covenant was – a religious system. A system for dealing with sin and guilt that repeated the same steps over and over without bringing true pardon. Bring another lamb. Make another sacrifice. Say another prayer. Set free another scapegoat. Wash yourself clean. Now do it again. Again. Again.
But the gospel of Jesus Christ is about a single offering that achieved our pardon once-for-all. A single offering of Christ’s own body (life) that has sanctified (set apart, made holy) all that are found in him. His sacrifice has perfected us for all time. Now it is through Christ alone that we are being sanctified (10:14) from having been sanctified (10:10).
But how many of us, having trusted in Christ alone for our justification, have turned to trusting in ourselves for our sanctification? Trusting repeated steps “necessary” for dealing with our guilt? Or the repeated “disciplines” or “best practices” for producing spiritual growth? Or the repeated over and over consecrating of the self to God in an attempt to be more holy.
Why is this sort of return to religion so common? Probably because we have failed to understand what Hebrews 10 (and the rest of the Bible) says about sanctification. We’ve made sanctification solely ongoing, when first it must be finished. We’ve made it partial, when first it must be complete. We’ve made it our condition, when first it must be our position.
Read it one more time:
We have been sanctified.
He has perfected for all time.
Hebrews is reminding us that our sanctification is a finished work in Christ. Just as his work is finished and his sacrifice is complete, so too our holiness is complete in him. The New Covenant blessing is that, by union with Christ’s resurrected life, we have been given a new heart that loves God and loves his love. Now we are bound to God at the heart level. We are perfected for all time.
But this perfection is not about being made less and less sinful. Remember, even Jesus was perfected (Heb. 2:10). But was he being made less and less sinful over time? Is that what this word means? Let’s hope not.
And sanctified does not mean that we are making moral progress or that we are being made more and more holy. Rather, it means that we are more and more experiencing the blessing of our fullness in Christ resulting in increased self-sacrificial worship. Day by day we are being set apart for self-sacrifice. For worship, love, and praise.
Sadly, many sincere Christians fail to see that they are fully sanctified and set apart to God for this worship. Many well-meaning Christians are trying to be consecrated to God through self-effort. More dedication. More self-discipline. More and more obedience. How many Christians are trying to maintain peace and fellowship with God by what they do each day (or don’t do), rather than consecrating themselves for worship BY FAITH in an already accomplished fellowship with God that comes simply through union with Christ?
“To live is Christ” is to live from our full and free sanctification in Jesus, by Jesus, and for Jesus. Because we have been sanctified, we are being sanctified. Our consecration is now our response to our sanctification in Christ. Never the other way around.
How are you trying to be sanctified? Consecrated?
You in Christ
Do you consider yourself already fully sanctified?
Christ in you
Where might Christ in you allow you to be sanctified as a living sacrifice today?
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