Sanctification
RA Torrey, What the Bible Teaches


… according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.
1 Peter 1:2

In this chapter Torrey 1 discusses the mysteries of sanctification. Let’s summaries his lengthy synopsis.

There are three meanings of sanctification in the Old Testament. One is to be “set apart.” Psalm 4:3 Ex. 13:2 God chose Israel and set them apart from every other nation to be His chosen people.

A second meaning is that of “holiness,” or “cleanness,” “to remove all defilement.” Lev. 11:44

A third use of sanctification is such as God sanctifying Himself among the nations, that His name will be holy, as revealed to all peoples. Ezek. 36:23

Now in the New Testament there are a number of ways the saints are sanctified, in fact the word saint has its origin in the idea of being set apart, consecrated to God. And not surprisingly, in the New Testament, God does all the work. See Jesus prayer to His Father, John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”

Sanctification comes:

— by Jesus’ blood as Torrey writes “The blood cleanses us from all the guilt of sin and thus separates us from the mass of men under the curse of the law and sets us apart for God.” (see 1 John 1:7,9)

— by the which Word sanctifies the believer – John 15:3 “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”

— by Jesus Christ Himself who has become our sanctification – Rom. 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”

Sanctification is something to be pursued. You have to see the need for it and want it. “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.” Heb. 12:14. It’s not accidental blessing.

Sanctification takes place at the time of salvation and continues throughout life until death. (Rom 6:22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.)

If you get the feeling as a Christian that you just don’t fit in with the world around you, don’t be too surprised. You should rather be concerned if you felt that you fit in quite comfortably with the world. Rom_12:2 It would indicate you had some heavy soul searching to do.

[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]


1 This the 37th chapter of 52 in RA Torrey’s 1898 publication What The Bible Teaches. We are reviewing them hoping you’ll join the conversation. See all of Lex’s posts here. A PDF copy of the book can be downloaded here. You are welcome and encouraged to join the discussion in your comments to these posts.

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2 Responses to Sanctification
RA Torrey, What the Bible Teaches

  1. Pingback: Sanctification | The Esther Project

  2. Lex says:

    I love that Torrey calls it the “mystery” of sanctification, because it really is. When I confess my faith in Christ, and surrender my life, I’m reborn and I’m sanctified, in a sense. But in another sense, that sanctification is a life-long process.

    It’s a duality that I think a lot of people, unfortunately, miss or are not taught. A misunderstanding here can lead to an unfulfilled life and a weak faith. I’ve seen people who reject the idea that sanctification is to be sought after, and accuse people of trying to be saved by works for pursuing sanctification.

    But it’s both/and, not either/or.