sanctification in Hebrews compared to the Old Testament

Heb 2:10-11 tells us it is God who sanctifies Israel and believers. Lev. 20:7-8 tells us that God sanctifies the people; His sanctification is the call to follow the Law. The presence of God in the camp sanctifies them and sets them apart for the service and worship of God but does not make them.  God did not go with the people when they wanted to go into the land after God said to die in the desert.  The people must go with the sanctifying presence of God. Once all the land was conquered, the people could go to their parcels of land and the whole nation became the camp.

In the same way, where the brothers of Christ are is where the camp is (Heb. 2:10-11), So an unsaved person can be sanctified, set apart for God. This MAY or may NOT lead to salvation. The Church is the community of believers, the camp. One will get to the blessings if one remains with the community where God’s sanctifying presence is.  One can lose sanctification (if you are not saved) because you abandon those who are sanctified, you rebel.  Heb. 2:11 tells us it is the ongoing process of sanctification that will bring blessings. So we should stay where Jesus is. Heb. 5:7 indicates Jesus needed salvation and got it – as will we, IF we stay where He is.  Heb. 3:13 tells us to encourage one another daily.  Heb. 2:12 tells us that Christ will announce our names to His brothers and sing our praises. Ps. 22:22 is quoted in Heb. 2:12; when you are in trouble and pray to God, pray that when God has delivered you, you will respond in celebration and give a sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise.  In Psalm 22, God brought David into relationship with himself and will be faithful to righteous in keeping him alive with Him.  Jesus’ salvation is bringing many sons to glory.  Heb. 2:13 quotes Isaiah 8, and in it, we see Yahweh saves. The names signify that God will bring salvation. Isaiah 7:9 also says that if you believe and persevere you will be established. Just as Isaiah and his sons were signs to Israel, so were Jesus and His disciples. Immanuel in Is. 7 and 8 is the name of God’s salvation. In Is. 9:6, He is the wonderful counselor, mighty god, Father of Eternity and Prince of Peace.  Isaiah’s son is a prophecy of Jesus and the remnant is one of faith. Heb. 2:11 says that those who are being sanctified are the children of God the Father.

Hebrews 3:6 and 3:14 speak to the concept of progressive and culmnative sanctification. Sanctification is the saving work of God in the progressive phase and is evidence of new birth.  One is either sanctified or not, but at the same time, one can be in different stages of sanctification. If one is part of the community of Messiah, one is sanctified, set apart for God.  If one is not sanctified, one is not part of the community of Messiah. Those who do not believe but are in the community of Messiah are in the initial stages of sanctification. This does not mean one is justified just because one is sanctified. There are plenty of people in the community of Messiah who accept what is taught concerning Christ but who do not fully believe.

Since we can not know whether one is justified or not merely by looking at him, one must do what the Bible teaches to ensure there is no heart of disbelief.  Hebrews 3:12-14 tells us to encourage one another, for as long as it is called Today to help us maintain our belief. If one is justified, no amount of encouragement is needed because objectively one can not ever become unjustified. The justified will enter the kingdom (Heb 12:14). But since we have no way of telling if someone is justified or not, we need to exhort them daily.  When one is unjustified but in the community of Messiah and one undergoes suffering or persecution, encouragement may be sufficient to move one from the unjustified to the justified. If one is unjustified and will not be justified, we still need to encourage them, because we have no idea of knowing whether they will ever be justified or not. But once one is justified, also known as regeneration and justification, one has undergone new birth – an additional part of the initial stage of sanctification. Those who believe are in the progressive stages of sanctification, and have conditional membership in the house of God (Heb. 3:6, 14).  The progressive stage of sanctification is also known as spiritual growth. Those who have held enduring belief in Christ until the end will see the culminative stage of sanctification , glorification (Heb 3:6).

One can see an example of someone who went through the first two stages of sanctification without seeing the third in Judas, whom God used for His purposes. Judas most likely never thought he would betray Jesus. He was well trusted; he was the treasurer, a leader who complained of spending too much money (John 12:4-6). He had fooled the disciples concerning his belief and must have done miracles like the rest of the disciples (Mark 6:7-13). So he was definitely in the community of Messiah and at least went through the initial stage of sanctification.  He also appeared to have been in the progressive stage of sanctification, as he was proclaiming the Messiah and held the beginning of the faith. In this case, he fulfilled part of the requirement for entry into the house of God; he was a temporary member, more like a visitor than a member. But he never made it to the culminative stage of sanctification because he did not hold to the faith until the end. So he left the community and is no longer even a temporary member of the family of God (Mat. 26:14).


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