Christ’s Prayer – Romans 6 – Sanctification

Ever struggle to make changes in your life?  Ever want God intervene with a miracle because of feeling powerless to change? Our LORD desires us to learn to deny impulses; to obey Him so that we will overcome temptations that arise. He teaches us to be increasingly led by the Spirit as we walk through life. With each victory and stumble we are reminded that the LORD has declared us blameless in His sight (Colossians 1:21-22) and that we are still in the process of becoming holy! If we are honest, we acknowledge there is so much opportunity for growth regardless of any advances made.  We are climbing the steps of sanctification.

The Holy Spirit within us must be permitted to reproduce His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) in us.  Yes, that’s right. Permitted. He will not force us but He will lovingly and righteously train us with what ever measures are necessary. If the Son of God had to learn obedience (Hebrews 5:8-9), how much more do we need to learn? 

We ought to be so thankful to Abba/Father for His loving patience with us as we develop. I can recall times when I thought I was right about something but in reality I was acting immaturely. We can believe we are right based on the information at hand and when we consider things from God’s perspective we realize there are better choices for everyone. We can often operate out of our limited perception and miss the big picture of what God is doing in the world around us. The good news is through sanctification we grow to be more like Him. 

Our spiritual development is similar to our biological development in that they both progress through stages at each level of maturity.  Romans 6 outlines 4 key disciplines that are exercised during our growth and they are frequently categorized in Scripture with the following verbs:  know, reckon, yield, and obey.  As we read Romans 6 we will observe the focus is on the believer’s understanding and acceptance that these actions are a part of the newness of life; that is a life of grace must be led by the Spirit. Comprehending and implementing these disciplines is vital as confirms our security and propels us to our glorious future. Security is defensive against accusation and these 4 disciplines are offensive against resistance to advancement .

As we consider what Scripture reveals about these disciplines, we will also review Jesus’ prayer for believers since His prayer focused on sanctification of believers to bring God glory.  My prayer is that we will adopt the disciplines of sanctification so that we can fulfill His purpose for us and thereby glorify the LORD.

What Does Sanctification Mean?

Sanctification is a key doctrine throughout Scripture and Jesus also sanctified Himself

  • “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. – John 17:19 NKJV

Sanctification is referenced 125 times in the Hebrew Names Version of Scripture and 244 times in the Latin Vulgate Scripture. It is clear that being holy/sanctified has a significant and consistent emphasis across the entire counsel of Scripture.  When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, the first thing He told them to petition the Father for was for God’s name to be made holy. Implicit in this petition is that God’s name be made holy in the heart of the person praying since everything about God is already holy. 

We can not be sanctified/made holy/ set apart from the world until we see God as holy . He is unlike any other (Isaiah 46:9; Mark 12:30; Deuteronomy 6:4). While He does work in us, He does not work for us. He does everything for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13) and He has decided that we bring Him pleasure. The fact that believers bring Him pleasure is remarkable and gives us value!

Examples of how “sanctify” is used in conjunction with its predicate:

  • After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed beG37  thy name. – Matthew 6:9 KJV
  • If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified,G37   and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. – 2 Timothy 2:21 KJV
  • By the which will we are sanctifiedG37   through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. – Hebrews 10:10 KJV
  • Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctifyG37   the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. – Hebrews 13:12 KJV
  • But sanctifyG37   the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: – 1 Peter 3:15 KJV
  • He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holyG37  still. – Revelation 22:11 KJV

Sanctify” in this same verb tense that the LORD used in John 17 occurs 36 times in 34 verses in the NKJV:  Exodus 28:41; Exodus 29:33, 36-37; Leviticus 21:8, 15, 23; Leviticus 22:9, 16; Numbers 6:11; Deuteronomy 15:19; Joshua 3:5; Joshua 7:13; 1 Samuel 16:5; 1 Chronicles 15:12; 1 Chronicles 23:13; 2 Chronicles 29:5, 17; 2 Chronicles 30:17; Nehemiah 13:22; Job 1:5; Isaiah 66:17; Ezekiel 36:23; Ezekiel 37:28; Ezekiel 38:23; Ezekiel 44:19; Ezekiel 46:20; Joel 2:16; John 17:17, 19; Ephesians 5:26; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:12; 1 Peter 3:15


  • Strong’s Old Testament usage of Sanctify:  H6942, קָדַשׁ   qāḏaš –hallow, dedicate, holy, prepare, consecrate, appointed, bid, purified
  • Strong’s New Testament usage of Sanctify:  G37, ἁγιάζω hagiazō – hallow, be holy

Both the old and new covenants specify Jehovah’s His people with a cutting away, a mark of distinction, a making holy, a setting a part, becoming uncommon

What Does Sanctification Look Like?

Dead to Sin; Alive in Christ:  Read Romans 6:1-14

Romans 6 begins with a confirmation that grace is freedom to live righteously and not permission to sin.  This is a key concept to settle for the follower of Jesus Christ because our time on earth has been given to us to:

  • glorify God (Ephesians 3:20-21; Revelation 4:11; Revelation 14:7; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Corinthians 10:31);
  • cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the sanctification process (2 Timothy 2:21); and,
  • fulfill the general (Matthew 28:19-20) and specific mission assigned (Ephesians 2:10).

Friends, it is so easy to become distracted by the cares and pleasures of life to the point where we reduce the priority of God’s charge to us.  Yes – Our LORD wants our joy to be full in Him (John 15:11) and tells us how we can be joyful while on earth. The LORD’s purpose for us is far more significant and strategic than achieving a specific temporal way of life or earthly legacy.

When God imputed righteousness, the Holy Spirit regenerated our hearts by indwelling us; He changed the old hard heart transforming it to a softer one so that we desire to please God. The LORD also specified life principles that must be applied by the believer in order to be fruitful in the newness of life. Sanctification looks like a brand new life. It looks like freedom from legalism and bondage by overcoming sinful desires. It is a life filled with grace and it is victorious by the power of the Holy Spirit. This newness of life is Christ’s life in us; it’s less of us and more of Him! It is a life that transcends this world and its limitations.

  • “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, (Ezekiel 11:19 NKJV)
  • Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)
  • “For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:19-20 NKJV)

The beautiful miracle of salvation is God’s transformational work in us that changes our “want to”. While aspects of our characters are refined through a process of submission to the Word of God, the actual desire to be aligned to God’s will is newly birthed in us instantaneously at the time of conversion (Romans 10:9-10).  We died to sin. This is one of the evidences of a saved person.  A person who has not changed is not regenerated/saved.  There is definitely a difference between wanting to believe unto salvation and actually believing the gospel with a spiritual knowing.  This spiritual knowing goes deeper than a factual head knowledge.  There are many people who have read the Bible, know the historical accounts, see evidence in a believer, and even go to church regularly (Matthew 7:21) – yet they do not have a spiritual illumination that believes God in their hearts.  Like all believers prior to accepting God’s grace, their hearts’ desire is to sin (Romans 8:7; Mark 7:21-23) or they think they will be good enough for God to accept. This is a denial of what God says in His Word.  Many of us have loved ones that we are praying God will draw, and we should continue to do so!

Because believers now desire to do God’s will, we navigate life differently than those who do not love the LORD. We become set apart from others. In loving the LORD, we don’t want to do anything that offends Him and we have a reverence for His Holiness. This love and fear of God helps us to overcome the attractions of the world. We take steps to know Him better; we stop trying to merely “date” Him and we freely abandon ourselves into His care and will.

  • I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  (Romans 12:1-2 NKJV)
  • For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:10 NKJV)
  • For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. (1 John 5:4 NKJV)
  • Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41 NKJV)

The cross references for Romans 6:1- 4 state that if we have been saved, we can not continue to practice sin specifically since our lives are now hidden in Christ and we died to sin when put our hope in Jesus Christ for our salvation (Colossians 3:3, 5; 1 Peter 2:24).  We are now hidden in Christ in order to walk in the newness of life. (Romans 6:4). We are not just saved from hell and the bondage of sin, we are delivered to a new life.

  • But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. (Romans 7:6 NKJV)
  • Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. – 1 John 3:4 ESV
  • that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24 NKJV)
  • and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, (Colossians 3:10 NKJV)

Sanctification in a person will be an apparent increasing differentiation from what is common/worldly by the Word’s cleansing of thoughts and behaviours making them pure. It looks like the process of exchanging filthy garments for new clean ones. It looks like freedom from chains/bondage to serve God and to be like Christ.

Why Sanctification When We are Already Saved?

The sensory gifts God gave us to enjoy His creation can entice us to make decisions or behave in a way that is harmful to ourselves or others because of the sin nature that remains alive in all human beings on earth. Even the writers of Scripture wrestled within their old nature (Romans 7:18-25).

  • But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. – James 1:14-15 NKJV
  • His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, And he is caught in the cords of his sin. – Proverbs 5:22 NKJV
  • The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them. – Proverbs 11:3 NKJV
  • Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. – Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV
  • and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. – 2 Timothy 2:26 NKJV

The problem with the sin nature is that it is an enemy of God and defies His Word:

  • it doesn’t believe that everything the LORD names as evil is bad because of the satisfaction of a fleshly desire;
  • it convinces a person that they can handle dabbling with it a little bit;
  • it deceives a person into thinking the are no long lasting consequences for sin;
  • it resents God’s authority and wants to self-rule.

When people are trapped in an addiction or suffering a negative consequence from sinful choices, they did not start off with the intentions of paying sin’s price. Sin is a trap that binds a person. Romans 6:5 – 23 explains how to remain free from the bondage of sin.  Once freed from the slavery of sin, an individual becomes a slave of righteousness (more on this later). To avoid discouragement, we should recognize the sanctification process is ongoing and is applicable to every choice that is presented to the gates of our souls/senses.

  • The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. – 1 Corinthians 15:42-45 NKJV

For a believer to be able to enjoy the newness of life that was provided by the finished work of Jesus Christ, the believer must cooperate in the relational process of sanctification starting at conversion/regeneration . Each member of the Trinity does a part and we do a part.   Unless a believer cooperates with LORD, a believer can still struggle with the sin/old nature which enslaves; they can live for a period of time feeling defeated and being ineffective. Regardless of our current level of intimacy and obedience to the LORD, a believer is perpetually climbing up the stairs/levels of transformation until we see the LORD in glory (either by death or rapture – 1 Corinthians 15:51).

How Does Sanctification Work?

The way the sanctification process works is by exercising the sanctification disciplines (know, reckon, yield, and obey ) continually on each of level of transformation.  Ideally, we will exercise all 4 all the time yet we sometimes fail. Recognizing where each apply helps with endurance and enjoyment. Each of these disciplines are elaborated on further below.

Discipline 1:  KNOW – Learn the Truth (Read Romans 6:5-9): 

The believer is charged with knowing (to learn to know, come to know, attain a perception) without a doubt that Jesus Christ died, has been resurrected, and is in heaven at the right hand of the Father making intercession – He is alive!  They must know that they will give an account of their lives at the judgement seat of Christ.  They must know what Christ accomplished at the cross.  They must know what God expects from them.

γινώσκω ginṓskō, ghin-oce’-ko; a prolonged form of a primary verb; to “know” (absolutely) in a great variety of applications and with many implications: —allow, be aware (of), feel, (have) know(-ledge), perceived, be resolved, can speak, be sure, understand

Since every human being received the sin-nature upon birth and are to experience the penalty of death because of one man’s sin, then those in Christ were likewise included in the God-man’s conquering of sin by His own death.  And as Christ defeated the grave by His resurrection (because death had no claim on a sinless man – Acts 2:24; Revelation 1:18), then we also are included in Christ’s resurrection.  While our bodies will die, our spirits will be present with the LORD and will not be subject to the second death (Revelation 2:11; Revelation 20:14) because Christ paid the penalty for us.  The first step of walking in the newness of life, is knowing that CHRIST DID THE WORK THAT FREED US from the bondage of sin; WE HAVE THE ABILITY to say no to sin and yes to righteousness. 

  • I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. – Galatians 2:20 NKJV
  • And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. – Galatians 5:24 NKJV

Because believers have been crucified with Christ, the power of sin was defeated and nailed to the cross despite the sin nature that still exists until we receive our glorified bodies. We have the authority to say no to all temptation and the enemy because the great Jehovah bought/purchased us back from slavery by paying the redemption price (Jesus Christ’s death).  We were positionally sanctified when we were declared justified by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8).  It is a one-time act of the Trinity that separated us from the penalty of sin (1 Corinthians 1:30, 6:11; Hebrews 10:10; Romans 15:16; Jude 1:1)

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, – Colossians 1:13 NKJV.  Our positional sanctification transferred us into the kingdom where Jesus Christ is the authority.  We are not only to operate under the authority of our loving King Jesus, King Jesus gave believers authority to say no to sin and to overcome the power of darkness.   In Revelation, Jesus sent letters to 7 churches (and to us) with precious promises to those who will hear the Word of God and keep its words in order to be overcomers (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; Revelation 3:5, 12, 21). 

“Knowing” what God says and what Jesus accomplished is a vital part of sanctification/ holiness as it:

  • enables victory through the armour of God (Ephesians 6:11-18);
  • informs us of our what we are capable of for the LORD’s work (Luke 10:19); and,
  • informs us of what we are entitled to inherit (Acts 26:18; Ephesians 1:18; Hebrews 9:15; 1 Peter 1:4). 

If one does not know their authority, then the liar can (1) deceive them into being less than God has called them to be, or (2) entice them to yoke themselves to sin/bondage.  A willed inheritance is only good to the beneficiary if the beneficiary makes a claim on the estate/the will.  A cheque’s value is only good when the issuer has the funds and the receiver has deposited/cashed/accessed; the funds are transferred.  Glory to God – we can stand on from God’s Word and the Word has the power!  Evil can try to command us to do something/accept something and because we know evil has no authority over us, we do not need to obey it.  Praise God!

  • And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. – Revelation 12:11 NKJV
  • “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” – Revelation 17:14 NKJV
  • “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. – Revelation 21:7 NKJV

Sometimes our minds, our senses, and outside influences lead us to temporarily sin or even to question our salvation (especially if we have had a moment of failure).  An error is just that – an error. Our LORD knew the entirety of sin for each believer before He chose to save us.  His Word acknowledges our current imperfection.

  • For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity. – Proverbs 24:16 NKJV
  • Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all. – Psalm 34:19 NKJV
  • Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand. – Psalm 37:24 NKJV
  • We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; – 2 Corinthians 4:8 NKJV
  • As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. – Psalm 103:12-14 NKJV

If anyone of us does not have a full confidence in what our Saviour did for us and our authority in Christ Jesus, then it is our responsibility to study and solidify the matter of security/salvation and authority in our hearts.  One does not need to understand how God regenerates the heart, but it is essential to the Christian to believe God does what He says and HE is who He says He is.  Doubting the sufficiency of Christ’ atonement or God’s plan of salvation can cast the believer into a works-based religion which has no saving power since human beings have no ability to keep the law of God perfectly.  

  • But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. – Hebrews 11:6 NKJV
  • But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, – Titus 3:4-6 NKJV
  • And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. … Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations– … These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. – Colossians 2:13-14, 20, 23 NKJV

It is the Father who draws an individual to believe and the Holy Spirit illuminates the Word preached and read.  While God gave teachers/preachers to the church as gifts to help strengthen the church, He did not make our sanctification their responsibility.   Without our own regular time in the Word and in prayer, we may not be able to exercise God given authority for ourselves and we may become subject to accusation/lies.  Part of sanctification is learning to know, and learning to hearSo just as we became believers (we learned the truth by God’s drawing), we will continually need to exercise this discipline of learning what God is drawing us to on a new level.   Friends, I’ve heard someone repeat something over and over, and one day when I thinking about the purpose of their repetition and their choice of words, their message dawned on me.   That person was sowing seeds that were going to bud when the right conditions were met. It was a matter of time – how much time and how many lessons do we need before we get the message.   Let’s learn to cultivate the soil (Matthew 13:19-23) of our hearts so that the Word is fruitful in us.

Discipline 2:  RECON – Resolve to Rely Upon/To Account and Treat Accordingly (Read Romans 6:11 – 12)

The LORD totally took care of our positional sanctification although we need to remind ourselves of what we know and not give up our seats in Him. This next stage of the sanctification process we are responsible for is “reckoning”.  This is a decisive action where after considering what Christ did for us, we resolve/conclude that our lives, desires, and body are dead to sin.  When something is dead, previous inputs or factors are no longer relevant or have an impact.  Prior to being regenerated, our minds and desires were bent on fulfilling selfish desires above God’s will; sin and self ruled our affections and actions.  Now that we have been crucified with Christ, we need to agree/resolve with God in our hearts and minds that we will not willingly act upon non-biblical desires.  We must rely on the Word of God and trust God’s power to save and sustain us.  We must treat every aspect of our lives as dead to sin and set apart to God.  This means we can not flirt with sin or try to determine much is “safe” to get away with.

The word “reckon” used in this portion of Scripture is Logízomai and it  is a strong word as this term was used for God’s imputing righteousness to Abraham because of belief.  In addition, God, countedG3049 Jesus as sin on our behalf.  Scripture says, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV.   Jesus used the term reckon G3049 in Luke 22:37 when He quoted the prophecy in Isaiah 53:12.

This is how the term is used in the King James Version of Scripture:

  • For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckonedG3049 among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. – Luke 22:37 KJV
  • Therefore we conclude G3049 that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. – Romans 3:28 KJV
  • For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted G3049 unto him for righteousness. – Romans 4:3 KJV
  • Brethren, I count G3049 not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, – Philippians 3:13 KJV

Greek – λογίζομαι logízomai, (Strong’s Number G3049) to take an inventory, conclude, to reckon, to account and treat accordingly

Hewbrew – מָנָה mânâh, (Strong’s Number H448); a primitive root; properly, to weigh out; by implication, to allot or constitute officially; also to enumerate or enroll:—appoint, count, number, prepare, set, tell.

We must we recon ourselves dead to sin; it is final.  Praise God that His reckoning does not change!  Did you get a chance to look up the earlier Scriptures (1 Corinthians 1:30, 6:11; Hebrews 10:10; Romans 15:16; Jude 1:1)?  I hope so because there’s such assurance in these.  The same Triune God who played a role in our positional sanctification works together to preserve us throughout the progression of our sanctification.   They work as ONE to join us to Them!  When we join to something, we act as an extension of the thing we are join to.  There will be more on the oneness shortly. 

Discipline 3:  YIELD – To Offer, Present, or Provide Oneself to Something (Read Romans 6: 13-19)

This next stage in becoming sanctified is to yield ourselves continually to the Word of God and the promptings of the Holy Spirit (which will always agree with Scripture; He will never contradict Scripture since the Three are completely unified).

  • But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law (Galatians 5:18 NKJV). 

Newness of life is a Spirit-led life where the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth and helps us make Godly decisions without trying to fulfill the 2713 commandments, judgements, and ordnances in Moses’ application of the law.  Can you imagine trying to understand all of the scenarios and interaction especially if Christ raised the bar/standard on what the law actually meant?  We are not capable of this but praise God, He is so good to us!  He deposited the Holy Spirit in us so that we can walk righteously and He trains us patiently.  Sometimes when I realize that He has watched me succumb to an action/thing/thought that He died for, I am brought to tears because I see His love and forgiveness being extended to me as if to say, “I understand how you were tempted – now KNOW and RECON that you no longer need to do this.  Child, next time YIELD your will to what I am saying to you.”

This stage is often referred to as progressive sanctification which is our life long pursuit holiness.  If someone is not being progressively sanctified (quickly or slowly), they are not positionally sanctified.  In this stage of sanctification, we are being separated increasingly from the power of sin. The LORD defeated the power of sin and gave us the authority to do the same. When we yield to the authority of the Word, the sin nature and temptation are subdued and the power of sin is subdued.

  • For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality – 1 Thessalonians 4:3 NKJV
  • And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  – John 8:32 NKJV
  • Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Thessalonians 5:23 NKJV

Looking at the word “yield” in Romans 6: 13, 16, and 19 we see that we have the responsibility of directing our minds and bodies to the obedience of God.

  • Neither yield yeG3936  your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yieldG3936  yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. … Know ye not, that to whom ye yieldG3936  yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? … I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yieldedG3936  your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yieldG3936 your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. – Romans 6:13, 16, 19 KJV

From a few other verses where the same word has been used, we observe that yielding also means: to place near; to present; to provide; to place a person or thing at one’s disposal; to present a person for another to see and question; to lead to, to bring into one’s fellowship or intimacy. 

  • Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently giveG3936me more than twelve legions of angels? – Matthew 26:53 KJV
  • I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye presentG3936your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. – Romans 12:1 KJV
  • But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall G3936 all stand beforeG3936the judgment seat of Christ. – Romans 14:10 KJV
  • That he might presentG3936it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. – Ephesians 5:27 KJV
  • Notwithstanding the Lord stoodG3936with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. – 2 Timothy 4:17 KJV

παρίστημι/parístēmi in Strong’s Definitions Number G3936, the word means to stand beside, i.e. (transitively) to exhibit, proffer, (specially), recommend, (figuratively) substantiate; or (intransitively) to be at hand (or ready), aid:—assist, bring before, command, commend, give presently, present, prove, provide, shew, stand (before, by, here, up, with), yield.

Now, let’s think about the oneness factor.  What is actually occurring in our sanctification process?  Jesus’ priestly prayer in the book of John was for those who belong to the Father, not those in the world (John 17:6-7, 9, 14, 16).

  • “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. … “And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” – John 17:17-21, 26 NKJV

The purpose of our sanctification is that we (the body/bride of Christ) could become one with God; be brought into intimacy and fellowship; and, for their use.  If we can become one with God the same way Jesus and the Holy Spirit are One, then we can to be united most closely in will and spirit with God.  (Consider how the same Spirit filled and gifted the body of Christ from Acts onward and what that will eventually be in greater magnitude – 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 11-12, 18, 27. Consider that Christ wants us to be joined to each other in Him). 

  • and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. – Revelation 1:6 NKJV
  • And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” – Revelation 5:10 NKJV

God, the Father remains the source of all and Jesus remains the preeminent incarnated Human that is now again glorified – the God-Man with many brothers(Colossians 1:18-19; Romans 8:29; John 14:28; John 16:7; John 14:12; John 10:30, 38; Hebrews 3:4).  Wow!   I do not believe it possible to fully grasp this now and I’m not sure that we ever will.  When Jesus prayed His priestly prayer for all believers (John 17), He prayed out loud for the benefit of His disciples (knowing it would be recorded for you and I) just before He went to the garden of Gethsemane (John 17) where He set Himself apart in obedience to His Father.  Family of God, His Word is spirit and life to all of us who believe and it actively changes us; makes us holy.

We are being trained to be His ambassadors, completely filled by God to glorify Him by accomplishing His work (John 5:17; John 4:34) and enjoying His presence (Luke 6:21; Revelation 21:4) throughout eternity!  For a moment, please consider with me what that means.   Oneness does not necessarily mean a single solitary being.  The Trinity has three substances; three personas united in one essence; they are all God. When our progressive sanctification is complete, we will remain individuals created for His purposes with glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:52-54) that are filled by God and completely enjoying unity/agreement. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. – 1 John 3:2 NKJV

Since to sanctify means to make holy or to purify, we understand that only God can accomplish this in us and because He does not force Himself on us, we choose to cooperate with His work in us by dedicating ourselves to God.

Click “Download” for Scriptures that inform us what the Holy Spirit will enable us to put on/put off when the believer yields.

This highlights that the LORD is our perfecter (Hebrews 12:2) and we yield to the power of His Word through the Holy Spirit.  How then do we yield?  The Apostle Paul frequently describes this yielding with “taking off” and “putting on” actions. There are so many (refer to the available download resource) and yet we can simply summarize these actions into one concept:  capturing the mind’s thoughts and subjugating by Word to surrender them to Christ.

  • if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. – Ephesians 4:21-24 NKJV
  • casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, – 2 Corinthians 10:5 NKJV

This last verse brings us to the 4th Discipline which is obedience (there is some overlap – almost as if a follow-thru on a decision).

Discipline 4:  OBEY – (Read Romans 6: 16-20)
  • If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. – 1 John 1:8 NKJV

Scripture acknowledges that believers still sin. This acknowledgement is wonderful favour/grace because it is God’s will that we obey yet He understands and works with our momentary failures.

  • If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. … If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:6-7, 9NKJV

The LORD has always made provision for forgiveness and He has always expressed to His people that they are to be holy because He is holy (Leviticus 11:45; Leviticus 19:2; Leviticus 20:7, 26; Leviticus 22:32; 1 Peter 1:16; Ephesians 1:4l Ephesians 5:27; 1 Peter 1:15-16; Revelation 22:11).  Anyone in the Bible who was named a friend of God, hallowed God and sanctified themselves but they were not sinless.

Walking with the Spirit means step by step obedience to what God says in His Word.  It means obedience whether we understand or not; whether the we “like” it or not; emotions have no bearing on obedience.  The very Son of God after taking on human flesh had to submit His human nature to the Spirit of God in Him and He did so perfectly without sin.

  • So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” … who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, – Hebrews 5:5, 7-9 NKJV

Non-believers think that faith is a crutch for weak people to lean on.  The self-discipline the LORD develops in us through His grace is not for wimps!   It’s hard work but we have an advantage – we have the source of all life and power indwelling us! We may be leaning on another’s strength but it isn’t man-made myths or systems – it is the Rock of Ages!  Praise God! 

This is the Key to Victory in this Newness of Life

The Holy Spirit’s divine influence on us is proportionate to our obedience to Him.  We are to yield to and obey the Word of God and every conviction that is stirred in our hearts by Him.  He will not show us more until we have mastery over the last thing that He has instructed us to do.

  • I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. – Galatians 5:16-18 NKJV

If we are obedient step by step, we actually become slaves to righteousness (the LORD), because we are denying the sin nature and obeying our new master. God is righteousness – Jehovah Tsidkenu (Jeremiah 23:6); the LORD is the sanctifier – Jehovah Mekoddishkem (Exodus 31:13) or in the Septuagint: kurios ho hagiazôn humas

So why do we still sin?  Frequently we rely on our own strength; devalue or doubt the effectiveness of time in the Word; we prioritize something else as more important; or we don’t want to deny/separate ourselves from something we enjoy.  We may be hoping that God will just change us.  The truth is, that He has already changed us and He has given us everything we need (2 Peter 1:3).  He will not force the relationship.

Every time we decide to say no to sin, the Holy Spirit’s power is released and as such we become stronger with each obedience.  And because He is our perfecter, we know we’ll have more training and more opportunities to grow stronger by saying no to temptation and sin.  We should ask ourselves every time we feel like yielding whether we want to be a slave to this habit, emotion, thing, person?

  • Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. – John 8:34 NKJV
  • While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. – 2 Peter 2:19 NKJV
  • Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. – 2 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV
  • For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. – Romans 8:2 NKJV
  • But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. – Romans 6:22 NKJV
  • as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. – 1 Peter 2:16 NKJV
  • Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. – Galatians 6:7 NKJV
  • For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. – Galatians 6:8 NKJV
  • Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. – James 1:15 NKJV

One day in the future when God has deemed it appropriate (death or rapture), we will experience perfecting sanctification which is glorification.  We will be enjoying obedience without any struggle because we will be purged of all sinfulness that spawns disobedience.  We will experience the oneness Christ prayed for. When we are glorified, we will be separated from the presence of sin.

  • Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Thessalonians 5:23 NKJV
  • Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. … “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. – Revelation 22:1-5, 14 NIV

I thank God He prayed for all believers before He went to the cross and that He ever lives to make intercession for us today!  There is no greater love, no greater victory, no greater grace, and no greater joy!

  • No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV


Published by OneBranch

OneBranch believes the Word of God is effective for fashioning a heart committed to loving God and loving others. As such, internet content is published with the intention of motivating others to read Scripture for themselves. The content is created from personal devotional/study time in the Word of God and can be viewed as an online journal in the life of one of the branches in the LORD's fruitful vineyard. Readers/listeners are encouraged to validate all Scripture and concepts using the Holy Bible and prayer.

4 thoughts on “Christ’s Prayer – Romans 6 – Sanctification

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