Paul Emphasizes Sanctification
Ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification. 1 Thessalonians 4:2, 3.
In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul sets before them the “mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19), the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (chap. 3:8), and then assures them of his earnest prayers for their spiritual prosperity:
“I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, ... that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (verses 14-19).
He writes to his Corinthian brethren also, “to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus... : Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:2-7).
These words are addressed not only to the church at Corinth but to all the people of God to the close of time. Every Christian may enjoy the blessing of sanctification.
The apostle continues in these words: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (verse 10). Paul would not have appealed to them to do that which was impossible. Unity is the sure result of Christian perfection....
The apostle himself was endeavoring to reach the same standard of holiness which he set before his brethren.... Paul did not hesitate to enforce, upon every suitable occasion, the importance of Bible sanctification. He says: “Ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:2, 3).
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.... Do all things without murmurings and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:12-15).—The Sanctified Life, 84-87.
From Reflecting Christ - Page 99