We believe that the sanctifying work of God in relation to the believer is a setting apart of the believer unto God and from sin. Sanctification encompasses the following: first, judicial sanctification; second, experiential sanctification; and third, complete sanctification.
Judicial sanctification is the work of God the Father wherein the believer has been positionally declared holy and without blame. This declaration was based on the merits of the redemptive work of Christ through the shedding of His blood. As an eternal act of God, judicial sanctification was fully accomplished by Christ through His death, burial, and resurrection, and nothing in the experiential life of the believer can change this standing. Every believer is thus a saint and there will never be any past, present, or future condemnation brought against him.
Experiential sanctification is the work of God the Holy Spirit wherein the believer is being practically made to conform to the image of Christ. This is an ongoing process in which the believer is personally responsible to obey the Word of God in his daily walk. While experiential sanctification is progressive in nature, its progress may be hindered by disobedience, since the believer retains his sin nature, which cannot be eradicated in this life. His sin nature is still operative in the believer’s present state, even though he has been judicially declared to be dead indeed unto sin. Though he is admonished to strive to be holy as God is holy, it is with the Lord. Holiness in life of the believer is effected through the Word of God by faith, obedience, prayer, chastisement, Godly fellowship, and the Blessed Hope.
Complete sanctification is the work of the Son of God wherein the believer is perfectly transformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Though complete sanctification does not occur until the believer is home with the Lord, either in death, or in the rapture for those who remain until His coming, it will be an instantaneous transformation to be like Christ when he sees Him as He is. The eradication of the believer’s sin nature does not await the resurrection of his body, though the believer’s body will be like Christ’s glorious body as well. A proper understanding of complete sanctification precludes any notion of purgatory, since Christ already accomplished the purging of the believer’s sin by His work of sanctification. (John 17:1-3, 16:20; Romans 6:2,5-11, 14:7-9; 1 Corinthians 1:30, 6:9-11; Ephesians 1:4, 14, 18, 2:11-14, 5:26-27; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; Hebrews 2:9-13, 10:9-14; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 John 1:9; Jude 1)