• By John Hicks

Once Sanctified, Always Sanctified?


When Jesus prayed to the Father in John chapter 17 He made it clear that He was praying for those who put their trust in Him, those who accepted the freely given gift of salvation through Him. This gift would be provided in due time after this prayer on a wooden cross so that all might be saved.

Jesus' prayer was for those who would carry on His ministry hear on earth once He conquered death and ascended to Heaven.

Jesus said that He sanctified those He was sending into the world to do this work. In the Gospel of Jesus Christ one who is saved is essentially sanctified to carry on God’s ministry on this earth which is a ministry of reconciliation.

When we are saved we are sanctified by God pure and simple.

But what is sanctified?

Webster’s 1828 defines sanctify as:

SANC'TIFY, verb transitive [Low Latin sanctifico; from sanctus, holy, and facio, to make.]

1. In a general sense, to cleanse, purify or make holy.

2. To separate, set apart or appoint to a holy, sacred or religious use.

3. To purify; to prepare for divine service, and for partaking of holy things.

4. To separate, ordain and appoint to the work of redemption and the government of the church.

5. To cleanse from corruption; to purify from sin; to make holy by detaching the affections from the world and its defilements, and exalting them to a supreme love to God.

6. To make the means of holiness; to render productive of holiness or piety.

7. To make free from guilt.

8. To secure from violation.

As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. John 17:18-21

So this begs the question, can a person who was sanctified become unholy or in other words unsanctified?

We are given the answer to this in both the Old and New Testaments.

In Haggai chapter 2 starting in verse 11 God is telling the people through Haggai that where they were once made clean by God they were now unclean by their own choice and by their own actions.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean. Haggai 2:11-14

In Hebrews this truth is highlighted very clearly as well. One who was sanctified by God from being washed in the blood of Jesus Christ unto salvation can choose of his own free will to be made once again unclean when they willfully “trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace”.

For the naysaying embracer of the modern doctrine of “Once Saved Always Saved (OSAS)” this has to be a troubling passage. I know of one individual in particular who submitted himself to the false doctrines of dispensationalism in order to avoid this very passage. By doing so, in his own mind, he was no longer accountable to this passage or anything in Hebrews as he falsely assumed that it was intended for an audience in which he was not part of. This is far from the truths of God as Hebrews was specifically written for all believers and it is a specific warning to not depart from the Living God.

Getting back to whether or not once can turn away from having once been sanctified by God one has to merely look at the context of verse 29 in the tenth chapter of Hebrews where it states clearly in the past tense that the person spoken of in verses 26 through 29 “was sanctified”. This indicates that this individual was indeed saved as he was sanctified at one time by the “blood of the covenant” through the Son of God.

This warning in Hebrews is given to all believers if they so choose to turn and go back to their iniquities (sin).

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? Hebrews 10:26-29

Someone who is not truly submitted to God’s will and has been sanctified by God through the blood of His son will not understand these truths and will struggle with them. To the contrary the born again soul who truly understands and fears God will find much liberty in these truths. It is truly a liberating thought to know that God, who freely gave His Son as a gift for me as a blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of my sins, has also given me the free choice to accept this gift as well as the free choice to reject this gift. That's how the gift giving concept truly works.

To the true believer this is not a heavy burden to bear. Knowing that I am truly free to participate in this process at all times gives me much encouragement to endure to the end as He did for me.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-29

But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Matthew 24:13

Once we come to terms with this it becomes much easier to understand what God was saying in this very same context throughout His word.

Here are but a few examples that support this:

But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.. Matthew 8:12

Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. Matthew 21:43

I know the scriptural gymnastics that are required to flip around these scriptures. I had to believe in the false dispensational interpretations of scriptures as well at one time in order for me to accept OSAS. I have since realized that God never changes and this includes His plan of salvation. When you realize this then it becomes apparent that salvation is indeed of a great price (Mark 13) and something that ought to be worked out with fear and trembling as Paul said to the church at Philippi (2:12).

This biblical line of thinking is in no way proposing that it is a ‘works based’ salvation. Salvation was provided once and for all on the cross by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is available to anyone who would accept it.

More:

One cannot fall from something if he were not first in it...

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. Galatians 5:4

One cannot depart from someone if they were never with them.

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. Hebrews 3:12

And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book Exodus 32:31-33

To add emphasis to this God repeated this concept once again at the end of the Bible. You cannot blot out something from a book if was not in the book in the first place. This is the clear context and not ‘tricky’ grammar...

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. Revelation 3:5

A branch cannot be cast forth (away from the vine) if it was never attached in the first place.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. John 15:5-6

These next verses in Hebrews chapters 6 and 10 tend to drive people either mad or into hyper-dispensationalism. Either way you must consider them with much prayer and fasting as they are difficult for sure. Read the Bible cover to cover in a month’s time and with deep prayer you will see the end to end context much more clearer than anyone can deliver it from a pulpit...Let the Holy Spirit guide you on these and not men. Also, chapter ten verses 26-29 was the focus of this writing but will be provided once again here for emphasis.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. Hebrews 6:4-6

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? Hebrews 10:26-29

A few more:

You cannot be a castaway from something you were not a part of in the first place. Paul was a believer and wrote about the possibility of him being a castaway...

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. 1 Corinthians 924-27

You cannot depart from something you were not in in the first place...

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 1 Timothy 4:1

Same idea here, if you continue in the faith grounded and settled you will not be moved away from the hope of the gospel. Not as strong in language but it does support the idea that people can choose to walk away and leave the faith they were once in.

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; Colossians 1:21-23

Some people try to explain the following passages away via dispensational thinking because they are in the Old Testament but God is the same yesterday, today and forever. His Spirit can be taken and King David was well aware of it when he prayed in Psalm 51 for God not to take it away from him.

And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man. And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day. It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night. 1 Samuel 10:6, 9

But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. 1 Samuel 16:14

Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Psalm 51:11

The righteous as mentioned below in Ezekiel and elsewhere in the Bible, when referred to in this context, refers to a saved soul. Also, the death here is a spiritual death, not a physical death like some try to state. You will also find a repeat of this in chapter 33 which adds to the emphasis that God has intended for us. We ought not to miss this concept.

Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul. Ezekiel 3:20-21

What Peter is saying in the following passage is in line with what the writer of Hebrews was talking about in chapters 6 and 10.

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog [is] turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. 2 Peter 2: 20-22

Today we see many accepted doctrines that the first century true church up to the time of Constantine did not accept. The remnant continued to hold to the biblical doctrines as passed to them from Christ through the Apostles and they still do through today. Once saved always saved as it is preached and embraced by many today is not part of what was handed down to us. The majority mocks and persecutes the true believers for holding fast to the true doctrines of Christ.

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 Peter 2:1

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:12

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:1-11

Again, the context states that "If you do these things, ye shall never fall". This dictates that if you do not do these things you will fail.

And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:7-11

In closing, once someone comes to terms with the true context of God’s word in regards to His full Gospel of reconciliation it becomes more apparent what Jesus was saying when He said “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

So to answer the question ‘is one who is sanctified always going to be sanctified?’, if they choose freely to do so, then the answer is yes.

#Sanctified #osas

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