Blood on the Table — Sanctification

Four more effects of the blood of Christ remain: sanctification (Heb 13.12); eternal life (John 6.53-56); resurrection (John 6.53-56); and final victory (Rev 12.11). Here we take up the first, sanctification.

Sanctification is a concept that plays a large part in evangelical thought about life before God. Chafer gives this definition of one of three categories of the usage of the word: it designates that “by the power of the Holy Spirit operating inside the child of God that one is energized both to be delivered from sin and to be effective in every right attitude and service” (Systematic Theology, 6:46). Berkhof adds three characteristics of this idea: “It differs from justification in that it takes place in the inner life of man, is not a legal but a recreative act, is usually a lengthy process, and never reaches perfection in this life” (Systematic Theology, Accordance Version). Yet, it seems clear that these ideas do not fit our passage in Hebrews 13. Indeed, I find at least five different senses for this idea in the New Testament. What, then, does sanctification mean in Hebrews 13.12?

Westcott, in a comment on Hebrews 9.13, says, “The idea is that of the ceremonial purity which enabled the Jew to enjoy the full privileges of his covenant worship and fellowship with the external Church of God” (The Epistle to the Hebrews with Notes and Essays, Accordance version).

In the one work of Christ on the cross, He has made it possible for all His people to be fit participants int he New Covenant, for it is the sacrifice of the New Covenant that is in view in the context. We are fit for God, fitted for His service (cp. the discussions of Access to God earlier in these posts), and acceptable in God’s presence. But it is by the work of Christ. The blood on the table at the Lord’s Supper, the cup of Jesus that we drink, declares us, because of His work alone, to be to be acceptable to God!

About jamesallman

Jim Allman is a Bible teacher living in the Dallas, TX area. He taught 18 years in Memphis, TN at Mid-South Bible / Crichton College, and has been at Dallas Seminary since 2000. He is married to Jan and has three married children, Jill, Jim, Jr., and Julie, and six grandchildren, Hannah, Sara, Gabriel, Miles, Asher, and his little brother, Asa.
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