Sanctification of the Soul

I Thessalonians 5:23 “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”.  

Introduction: In our Sunday School class we are going through a series regarding Sanctification. According to this verse, we are to live a life that is sanctified, preserved blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. In order for this to happen our spirit, our soul, and our body need to be wholly (completely/totally) sanctified. Each part of our being must be sanctified. 

What is Sanctification- To cleanse, purify, or make holy – “to be set apart unto God”. It is a work of righteousness done on the inside. This is a process that happens between Justification (just as if I had not committed any sins) and Glorification (For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality) and it is a lifelong process, “unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”. 

Why do we need to sanctify the inside first- Notice (spirit, soul, and body last). Many times, we focus on sanctifying the body, but leave the inside dirty, just like the pharisees, (Matthew 23:27 “Wo unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead man’s bones, and of all uncleanness”. Sanctifying the soul is looking at it how God looks at it and not how we look at it. 

We’ve already done a lesson just on Sanctification, and a lesson on the sanctification of the spirit. Today, we are doing a lesson on the sanctification of the soul. 

What is the soul of man- It is an invisible bodily shape. A body that is not physical, a spiritual person. The soul of man will either go to hell or to heaven when this body dies. 

Luke 16:19- The account of the rich man and Lazarus. The soul of the rich man went to hell. This soul has a tongue, eyes, fingers, and could feel pain, as well as be thirsty. It even shows emotion when thinking about others going where he went. 

We sanctify our soul by: 

I. Conforming to the image of Christ- Romans 8:29 “Forwhom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren”. 

• Notice, we were not predestinated to salvation which is what a Calvinist will teach, but predestinated to be conformed to (made to resemble) the image of his Son. First salvation, then being formed to the image of Christ. 

• Christ is the greatest pattern and example of sanctification we have. To walk and live as Christ lived is a great example to follow. 

• Ephesians 1:14 “holy without blame blame before him”. This is what God wants from us while on this earth, notice before him. This is not a display for other but for a true sanctification for God. In other words, how do I look in God’s eyes? II Chronicles 14:2 “And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his god”. This is what matters in the Christian life. 

• Ephesians 4:24 “and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness”. You have to put off the old man and put on the new man, because it is created in righteousness and true holiness. This will allow us to conform less to the world and instead to conform to Jesus Christ himself. 

• The same is true about us, the more we let go of the world and conform to the image of Jesus Christ, the more our soul will be sanctified and the more others will be able to see it also.  

II. Allowing Christ to be formed in us- Galatians 4:19 “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.”

• Paul had a genuine concern and desire for the Galatians, making a comparison to a woman in travail. Paul’s great desire was that Christ be formed in them. In other words, Christ is being (shaped, or molded) in the life of the believer. A Christian should be growing spiritually, to attain Christ likeness, by being filled with the Spirit of God. It is a continual process that begins at salvation and continues as we let go of ourselves and get a hold of Christ. A Spirit controlled life, to attain a Christ likeness. 

• This forming of Christ in the believer is continual, and is not fully formed until the believer is done trusting in their own righteousness and is relying only in Christ and in His righteousness. 

• Galatians 5:22-25- The way this is manifested is by being filled with the Spirit. We are to be filled with the Spirit, by walking in the Spirit. 

• Philippians 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto this death”. 

• It is a continual process of walking with a total awareness of what the Spirit of God wants you to do and not to do, where he wants you to go and not go, what he wants you to say and not say, what he wants you to participate in and abstain from, etc. 

III. By having a Fulness of Christ- Ephesians 4:11-13 “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” Obviously we will never come to the fulness of Christ until we get to heaven however, while we are on this earth, we are growing in Christ and becoming a mature Christian like Christ. 

• If we are not growing as Christians then we are moving backwards. If we are not becoming more like Christ, then we are becoming more like the world. 

• I Peter 2:21-24 A Christian of a full maturity that can take any situation that he/she is given in this life and deal with it just like the Lord Jesus Christ would deal with it. Christ left us that example. This is a true test, the way we react to these. II Peter 3:18 “growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ”. 

Conclusion: Ultimately by sanctifying the soul, what we hope to accomplish, is to be in the fullness of Christ. To have a spirit filled soul every day and every moment of our lives. To have a constant connection and fellowship between the soul of man and the Spirit of God. The way we do this is by conforming to the image of Jesus Christ, by allowing Christ to be formed in us, and by always being int eh fulness of Christ.