Scripture is the manual for all "soul work" and is so comprehensive in the diagnosis and treatment of every spiritual matter that, energized by the Holy Spirit in the believer, it leads to making one like Jesus Christ. This is the process of biblical sanctification.
"Sanctification" is a very irrelevant word, but it is not an irrelevant reality.
[In this article we will study] the doctrine of sanctification. This is an exceedingly important doctrine because it reaches us right where we are.
More importantly Scripture says:
"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification." 1 Thessalonians 4:3
"And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." John 17:19
We know we are sanctified by the truth, which is the Words of God (John 17:6-8, 19-21). Sanctification is about being holy. Sometimes the Greek word translated "sanctification" is also translated "holiness." Holiness requires doing right, obeying Scripture. Sanctification is a work of the Spirit in our new nature. The enemy within believers is called "the flesh" (Rom. 7:25), so that we have a battle between the Spirit and the flesh within us (Gal. 5:17). We are sanctified when the Spirit gets His way instead of our flesh.
The truth sanctifies us. But we must cooperate with the truth. How do we do that? Romans 6 tells us in three parts. First we must know (Rom. 6:6, 9), second, reckon (Rom. 6:11), and then yield (Rom. 6:13, 16, 19). In order to know, reckon, and yield, we must deny influences from the world. Consider these commands:
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Titus 2:12
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 1 Peter 2:11
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth. Colossians 3:5
The intendment of the apostle in this prescription of the duty mentioned is, that the mortification of indwelling sin remaining in our mortal bodies, that it may not have life and power to bring forth the works or deeds of the flesh is the constant duty of believers.
I contend that new-evangelicals preach sanctification, but they have made it impossible to be sanctified Scripturally because they have relegated mortification to a secondary doctrine in Scripture. They preach it as the Spirit's work, but then remove the Christian's clear personal responsibility in sanctification. They aggressively attack the denial of worldly and fleshly lusts, which is required for mortification. They do this in many ways. They argue certain activities, which blatantly feed the flesh, as "liberties." They label those who preach against these activities as "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men," only because Scripture does not, for instance, say: "thou shalt not mixed swim" or "hip-hop music is wrong." Like the Pharisees of old, they minimize certain Scriptural teachings. They misuse the text about the "weightier matters of the law" (Mt. 23:23). They leave more than an impression that Christians are free to disobey certain portions of the Bible, and that their faux view of unity is more important than being a stickler over these teachings.
Are these secondary truths in Scripture?
Abtain from fleshly lusts.
Deny worldly lusts.
Mortify your members.
Be not conformed to this world.