1. GOD’S PEOPLE MUST BE HOLY
a. What characteristic of God pervades heaven that must be in all who would enter His presence? 1 Peter 1:14–16.
“The righteousness of God is absolute. This righteousness characterizes all His works, all His laws. As God is, so must His people be. The life of Christ is to be revealed in the lives of His followers. In all His public and private acts, in every word and deed, practical godliness was seen, and this godliness is to be seen in the lives of His disciples.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 198.
“[God] cannot endure the presence of sin. It is the thing that His soul hates. . . . Holiness is the foundation of God’s throne; sin is the opposite of holiness; sin crucified the Son of God. If men could see how hateful sin is, they would not tolerate it, nor educate themselves in it. They would reform in life and character. Secret faults would be overcome. If you are to be saints in heaven, you must first be saints upon the earth.”—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 145.
b. What has been the purpose of God for humanity from the beginning? What do the Scriptures tell of the will of God for us? Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:3.
2. IMPUTED AND IMPARTED RIGHTEOUSNESS
a. What shows that sanctification is not the work of a moment but a progressive work? What steps are enumerated in order to reach this goal? Hebrews 6:1; Philippians 3:13, 14; 2 Peter 1:5–10.
“The Scriptures plainly show that the work of sanctification is progressive. When in conversion the sinner finds peace with God through the blood of the atonement, the Christian life has but just begun. Now he is to ‘go unto perfection;’ to grow up ‘unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.’ Says the apostle Paul: ‘This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 3:13, 14). And Peter sets before us the steps by which Bible sanctification is to be attained: ‘Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance’ (2 Peter 1:5, 6).”—The Great Controversy, p. 470.
“The way in which we are to work out our own salvation is plainly specified in the first chapter of Second Peter. Constantly we are to add grace to grace, and as we do this, God will work for us upon the plan of multiplication.”—The Review and Herald, March 15, 1906.
b. What is done for us by the death of Christ, and what will be the daily experience of those in whom Christ dwells? Romans 5:10.
“The righteousness by which we are justified is imputed; the righteousness by which we are sanctified is imparted. The first is our title to heaven, the second is our fitness for heaven.”—Ibid., June 4, 1895.
“Justification means the saving of a soul from perdition, that he may obtain sanctification, and through sanctification, the life of heaven. Justification means that the conscience, purged from dead works, is placed where it can receive the blessings of sanctification.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E.G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 908.
“[Many] do not realize that the foundation of all their faith and hope should only be the perfection of Jesus our surety. The only genuine saving faith is that which lays hold upon the imputed righteousness of Christ. He is the only source of virtue, of spiritual power and life. . . . The fruit of this faith will be love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness and goodness, and the object of [church members who have this faith] will be to glorify God day by day.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, p. 9.
3. THE WORK OF SANCTIFICATION
a. While we have Christ’s righteousness imputed to us, how thoroughly is the work of sanctification to be carried out, and for what purpose? 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
“Our sanctification is the work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is the fulfillment of the covenant God has made with those who bind themselves up with Him, to stand with Him, His Son, and His Spirit in holy fellowship. Have you been born again? Have you become a new being in Christ Jesus? Then cooperate with the three great powers of heaven who are working in your behalf.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E.G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 908.
“Through the work of the Holy Spirit, the sanctification of the truth, the believer becomes fitted for the courts of heaven; for Christ works within us, and His righteousness is upon us. Without this no soul will be entitled to heaven. We would not enjoy heaven unless qualified for its holy atmosphere by the influence of the Spirit and the righteousness of Christ.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 395.
b. How is this work accomplished? What part does the sinner have in it? Titus 3:5.
“When the soul surrenders itself to Christ, a new power takes possession of the new heart. A change is wrought which man can never accomplish for himself. It is a supernatural work, bringing a supernatural element into human nature.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 324.
“But though Christ is everything, we are to inspire every man to unwearied diligence. We are to strive, wrestle, agonize, watch, pray, lest we shall be overcome by the wily foe. For the power and grace with which we can do this comes from God, and all the while we are to trust in Him, who is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by Him. Never leave the impression on the mind that there is little or nothing to do on the part of man; but rather teach man to cooperate with God, that he may be successful in overcoming.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 381.
4. BIBLE SANCTIFICATION
a. What is Bible sanctification? What does it imply? 1 Thessalonians 3:13.
“By the word and the Spirit of God are opened to men the great principles of righteousness embodied in His law. And since the law of God is ‘holy, and just, and good’ (Romans 7:12), a transcript of the divine perfection, it follows that a character formed by obedience to that law will be holy. Christ is a perfect example of such a character. He says: ‘I have kept My Father’s commandments.’ ‘I do always those things that please Him’ (John 15:10; 8:29). The followers of Christ are to become like Him—by the grace of God to form characters in harmony with the principles of His holy law. This is Bible sanctification.”—The Great Controversy, p. 469.
“The sanctification set forth in the Scriptures embraces the entire being—spirit, soul, and body.”—Ibid., p. 473.
b. What will be the experience of the truly converted believer? What has such a believer done when he or she responds to the call for repentance? 1 Corinthians 15:57; Romans 6:1–4, 12, 13.
“The Christian will feel the promptings of sin, but he will maintain a constant warfare against it. Here is where Christ’s help is needed. Human weakness becomes united to divine strength, and faith exclaims: ‘Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Corinthians 15:57).”—Ibid., pp. 469, 470.
“No repentance is genuine that does not work reformation. The righteousness of Christ is not a cloak to cover unconfessed and unforsaken sin; it is a principle of life that transforms the character and controls the conduct. Holiness is wholeness for God; it is the entire surrender of heart and life to the indwelling of the principles of heaven.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 555, 556.
“None are living Christians unless they have a daily experience in the things of God and daily practice self-denial, cheerfully bearing the cross and following Christ. Every living Christian will advance daily in the divine life. As he advances toward perfection, he experiences a conversion to God every day; and this conversion is not completed until he attains to perfection of Christian character, a full preparation for the finishing touch of immortality.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 505.
5. THE PROOF OF SANCTIFICATION
a. What is the experience of the heart in which the work of sanctification is accomplished? What will be a special joy to such ones? Psalm 119:14–16.
“All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 668.
b. What is the evidence of this sanctification? Micah 6:8. How does the repentant sinner know the way? 1 John 2:3–6; 2 Peter 2:21, 22.
“To do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before God, this is an unfailing evidence of true sanctification of heart and life.”—Signs of the Times, September 19, 1900.
“Righteousness within is testified to by righteousness without. He who is righteous within is not hard-hearted and unsympathetic, but day by day he grows into the image of Christ, going on from strength to strength. He who is being sanctified by the truth will be self-controlled and will follow in the footsteps of Christ until grace is lost in glory.”—The Review and Herald, June 4, 1895.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What does it mean to be holy?
2. Differentiate between imputed and imparted righteousness.
3. How is the work of sanctification accomplished?
4. What results from true sanctification?
5. What is evident that the soul is sanctified?