What does it mean to receive Instantaneous Sanctification? This is a theological term that tells us a lot of what happens when a life is transformed at the altar? Many times, we get lost in the terminology and forget this is real lives being changed.
We need to start with understanding what sanctification is. It starts with “the action of making or declaring something holy.” When you are born again, you are declared holy before God. You are no longer seen for your sin but through the blood of Jesus.
Stanley Horton, the great theologian from the Assemblies of God says, “When we are converted, born again, we are delivered from the tyranny of sin.” When you repented of your sins and was regenerated, you are not a man or woman of God. You are no longer that sinner you was before. That person is dead.
Part of this salvation experience at the altar was be separated from your sinful past and be dedicated to living for Jesus for the rest of your days. It is, by the power of the Spirit, that we walk out living holy as Jesus calls us to perfection.
This is possibly by praying in the Spirit and resting in the mystery of the gospel, Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col. 1:27)
Being set apart for Jesus
The main theme about sanctification is you are set apart for the purposes of God. When you receive instantaneous sanctification, that means you are set apart the moment you receive regeneration and are part of the family of God. You are set apart from sin, bondage, and the powers of darkness.
In the Old Testament, one had to be a priest in the temple and there was hundreds of laws that governed how to be consecrated. Since the veil of separation has been destroyed, anyone who gives their live to Jesus can enter the temple in the Spirit knowing they have been consecrated at the foot of the altar.
Through your repentance and confession, you have received the divine exchange of regeneration and Instantaneous Sanctification. It is more than just justification by faith but also you have declared consecrated by the blood of Jesus. You have what Moses and Elijah could only dream of: you have access to the throne of God anytime because of the price paid by Jesus on the cross!
There is no way you can get holy without holiness itself being given in the conversion process. We can not get what we do not have. It requires a deposit from the divine to grow in us and through us. That is what instantaneous sanctification really is. That deposit.
It is here that we have turned our back on sin and worldliness. We are a new man, a new creation, and people that are holy. We are people of Jesus that have been called out of darkness and sinful living unto the glorious family of God. Now, we are citizens of another Kingdom because we are set apart!
What about progressive sanctification?
One of the biggest misunderstanding about instantaneous sanctification is that we also are subject to progressive sanctification. This is what some theologians call “actual sanctification.”
The process of walking about what happens when we received at the altar when we got saved is not always pretty. This is especially true to people who did not come to Christ after growing up in a home that valued holiness. The truth is that we are all growing in the truth of what happened the day we were born again for the rest of our lives.
Paul told the Philippians that he was still straining for live worthy of what Jesus did in them daily. (Phil. 3:13-14) He understood that every day was another layer of holy living that was built on the foundation of the instantaneous sanctification he received on the road to Damascus.
The truth of the matter is we are growing into the image of Christ but that is not something “new” but rather a continuation of what was started at conversion. This is what the old Methodist would call be “rooted out or “eradication” of the old nature. We can only overcome sin by resting in the truth of what was started in our salvation process!
People like to eat bananas. They enjoy what has been done on the inside of it but they see the outside and made a decision if they can enjoy it or not. While the inside is instantaneous sanctification; they outside is what we known as progressive sanctification.
The final act of sanctification
There is coming a day that the deposit that we received will be “cashed in.” For some of us, it might be in death but it could be for this generation when the Lord comes back for His church in the glorious rapture of the Church.
At this time, we will become more than justified and sanctified; we will become glorified. We will be forever in the presence of God and living in the joy of salvation, Christ Jesus. When we live in complete bliss where the struggle of living holy is of the past. Romans 8:18 declares that suffering with struggle today is nothing compared to the glory we see that day.
It is here that we will become fully mature in the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13) All pain, death and weeping will be history (Revelation 21:4) and we will take the permanent place around the throne of God (Revelation 4-5) as worshipper of Jesus eternal.
Until that day, either by the blessed rapture of the Church or silenced by death; we must seek to grow in the holiness of God daily that was started for us the moment we repented of our sins and confessed Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives.
Yes, the concept of instantaneous sanctification does remain a mystery to many and to all us to a degree, one thing we do know. Jesus is longing for us to growing in the reality of holiness.