Experiential Sanctification

posted Oct 13, 2019, 9:16 AM by Basic Bible Doctrine

    Experiential sanctification is residence, function, and spiritual momentum in the divine dynasphere during the believer’s life on earth. Living in the divine dynasphere, which the Holy Spirit energizes, fulfills the protocol plan of God (John 17:17; 2 Tim. 2:21; Heb. 9:13-14).

    Because we are in union with Christ, we now are able to be sustained, nourished, and empowered by the postsalvation ministry of the Spirit (John 7:37-39; 14:15-17; 16:13-14). Thus we become “partakers of the divine nature” in experience just as we are in position (2 Pet. 1:4). The Holy Spirit’s postsalvation ministry is called the filling of the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), which enables us to “walk by means of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16) in a manner “worthy of [our] station in life” (Eph. 4:1).61

    United with Christ and granted the same power system in which His humanity constantly lived, we are equipped to be “imitators of God . . . and [to] walk . . . just as Christ [walked]” (Eph. 5:1-2; Gal. 5:16; 1 John 2:6). He functioned in the prototype divine dynasphere; we can function in the operational divine dynasphere (John 14:11-12). In the divine dynasphere we live “through the Spirit, by faith [what is believed—Bible doctrine]” (Gal 5:5). The mind of Christ, or Bible doctrine in the soul, is the material the Spirit uses to manufacture the virtues of Christ in our lives (Rom. 13:14). In a different metaphor, doctrine is the nutrient that the Holy Spirit uses to produce the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23).

    Therefore, experiential sanctification has both absolute and progressive aspects. The filling of the Spirit is an absolute status. At any given time, the believer is either 100 percent filled with the Spirit or he is not filled with the Spirit at all. Either he is in fellowship with God, or he is out of fellowship. If he has confessed his sins to God, the believer is entirely inside the divine dynasphere (1 John 1:9), but when he sins, and as long as he does not confess to God, he is entirely outside the divine dynasphere. Outside the divine dynasphere he “grieves” or “quenches” the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:19) and resides instead in Satan’s cosmic system.62

    This absolute but invisible status—in or out—has a cumulative effect, which is the progressive aspect of experiential sanctification. The power of the divine dynasphere is essential for spiritual growth. Only in the divine dynasphere can the believer learn Bible doctrine or accurately apply spiritual truth. What is the dominant trend of his decisions at any given time? Has he been consistently obedient to God’s mandates that comprise the divine dynasphere, or has he neglected these divine commands? Is he more often in or out of fellowship with God? Spiritual growth comes from consistency, and as the believer grows, this consistency in executing God’s protocol plan becomes a stronger and stronger impetus in his life. Every day he learns and applies doctrine; his inner person is renewed day by day (2 Cor. 4:16). His thinking is renovated according to the pattern of divine thinking in Bible doctrine (Rom 12:2; Eph. 4:23). He gradually acquires the virtues of Christ.

    As growth continues, the filling of the Spirit produces more of the fruit of the Spirit whenever the believer is in the divine dynasphere. For example, a novice believer can be just as filled with the Spirit as the mature believer. But the mature believer understands a great deal more Bible doctrine. When the mature Christian is filled with the Spirit, he manifests the “newness of life” more than the beginner who equally is filled with the Spirit but understands less doctrine. A greater understanding and application of doctrine in the believer’s thinking causes greater manifestations of the filling of the Spirit in the believer’s life. Add to this the fact that as a Christian grows, he spends a greater proportion of his time filled with the Spirit. In other words, both quantity and quality improve: More time is spent in the divine dynasphere with a greater depth of doctrinal resources for the Spirit to use. This explains the increasing effect of divine dynamics within a Christian’s life.

    Experiential sanctification is called “godliness” (1 Tim. 3:16; 4:7-8; 2 Pet. 1:3; 3:11). True godliness runs far deeper than the shallow legalisms that so many Christians practice. Genuine godliness is abiding in the sphere of Christ’s love, which He equated with obedience to His commandments (John 15:10; Eph. 5:2). The sphere of Christ’s love is the divine dynasphere. The commandments of the Christian way of life coalesce as one consistent system, a single complex of interrelated and mutually supporting elements, an integrated sphere of divine power. This divine system of love and power is the place of godliness. The Christian way of life is life in the divine dynasphere. Here, in principle, is the answer to the question, “After salvation, what?”

    Experiential sanctification is potential for the believer, commanded but not guaranteed. God provides the resources, opportunities, instructions, encouragement, and even the divine discipline, but the believer himself chooses to execute the protocol plan of God or not. Volition remains a central issue in the Church Age, as in every dispensation throughout the angelic conflict. But God’s faithfulness is also a consistent theme. The believer’s failure to live by the mandates of experiential sanctification never cancels positional or ultimate sanctification, which are guaranteed by the very essence of God (2 Tim. 2:13).

    After our postsalvation lives on earth have ended, God will achieve our ultimate sanctification at the resurrection, or Rapture, of the Church. In that future moment He will provide the resurrection body, making us physically like Christ (1 Cor. 1:8; Eph. 1:4; Phil. 3:21; 1 Thess. 5:23; 1 John 3:2).