Sanctification is the process that begins at faith in Jesus Christ.  It is the process of being made Christ like.  It is the process of putting off sin and realizing the fullness of life a believer has in Christ.

We are fully justified (make right before God) at the time we believe in Jesus Christ.  However, there remains a problem; we are still sinful.  Sanctification is the process of combating and ultimately overcoming our tendencies towards sin.

What is Sin? 

Sin is disobeying God’s commandments.

From the time of Moses to the time of Christ’s ministry, sin was disobeying the Law of Moses.  The Law of Moses is provided in the first five books of the Bible.

Now, sin is disobeying Christ’s commandments, the Law of Liberty.  The Law of Liberty is provided and taught throughout the New Testament.

The Spiritual Life

The spiritual life should be the normal place of a spiritually born believer.  We should experience spiritual fruit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  The spiritual life should result in us growing in love. 

When we are spiritual, we cannot sin.  When we are spiritual, we cannot disobey Christ’s commandments.

Christ’s commandments are not the legal means by which we are spiritual.  Disobeying Christ’s commandments is the means by which we know we are not spiritual.

Confession of Sin

Central to maintaining the spiritual life is evaluating what we think, say and do.  Are we at spiritual peace or is there a conflict?  If the conflict is the result of our sin, we should combat the sin by faith.  Faith in the promises of God is a primary weapon against sin.

A valuable promise is provided here.

If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 NASB

When we disobey a commandment, we have this promise.  God promises us that “if we confess our sins” God will “cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. 

God is faithful to His promises.  God is righteous to forgive us because Christ died for all of our sins on the cross.

Repentance from Sin

Repentance is not the means by which we receive forgiveness.  We are forgiven the moment we confess our sins.

Repentance is the means of not repeating the sin we just confessed. 


We may be talking with someone and get angry.  We call the other person a fool.

The Holy Spirit will convict our spirit of this sin.  We may even be lead to remember: 

But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. Matthew 5:22 NASB

We have the options (1) to continue in sin or (2) to confess our sins.  If we pray to God the Father, “Father, I have sinned with anger, even calling a person created in your image a fool; I confess this sin for forgiveness in accordance with your promise.” we are forgiven.  We are not only forgiven of this sin, we are forgiven of all associated unknown sins.

If we continue to become angry, we have not repented.  We are just returning to the position of sin.

Spiritual Growth

We are apt to continue the pattern of sin / confession / maybe repentance / sinning again.  The primary means of breaking this cycle is to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, to grow in knowing God’s Word.

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:17 & 18 NASB


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