1 Corinthians 6:11
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
3 Components of Conversion
- Justification – the act of being justified or made righteous; also translated righteousness.
Justification removes the Guilt of Sin by Faith in Jesus Christ through Repentance.
Righteousness is imputed by God through FAITH ALONE, which FAITH is demonstrated or manifested by the act of REPENTANCE.
- Purification – the act of being purified or washed; to be ceremonially cleansed by ritual washing.
Purification removes the Defilement of Sin by the Blood of Jesus Christ through Water Baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.
- Sanctification – the act of being sanctified or made holy; also translated holiness.
Sanctification removes the Dominion of Sin by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ through the infilling and in-dwelling of the Holy Ghost (Spirit of Holiness).
We are declared to be RIGHTEOUS when we REPENT and are FORGIVEN. At that point the GUILT OF SIN has been removed. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be qualified for or eligible to be baptized.
Jesus went to John to be baptized “to fulfill all righteousness” [Matt. 3:15] – he “knew no sin” but flesh [“the likeness of sinful flesh” Rom. 8:3] had to be ceremonially “cleansed” because righteousness requires it.
Evidently, Abraham was declared by God to be RIGHTEOUS (i.e., JUSTIFIED) at least 14 years before he was bound to God by a COVENANT and received the SEAL of circumcision in his flesh.
1What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
According to Col. 2, when we are buried with Christ in Water Baptism we receive the Seal of the New Covenant by the circumcision of the flesh of Christ.
9 For in him [Christ] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
It is not enough to be JUSTIFIED. RIGHTEOUSNESS demands PURIFICATION – the ritual removal of the DEFILEMENT of SIN, which is the REMISSION or SENDING AWAY of SIN. Not only does the Blood of Jesus pay the debt of our sin, it cleanses us from our sin when we are buried with him in baptism [Acts 22:16; Rev. 1:8; Acts 2:38]. The household of Cornelius received the Holy Ghost after hearing the preaching of Peter. But they were COMMANDED to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ by Peter. Without PURIFICATION, SANCTIFICATION cannot be fully achieved. Without PURIFICATION, there is no COVENENTAL BINDING of “circumcision made without hands.” Without PURIFICATION we do not receive the power to become the Sons of God by the invoking of the NAME of Jesus Christ in Water Baptism [John 1:11-13; 3:3,5,7].
It is not enough to be JUSTIFIED and PURIFIED. To be “meet for the master’s use” [2 Tim. 2:21] we must also be SANCTIFIED. Without HOLINESS (SANCTIFICATION) no man shall see the Lord [Heb. 12:14]. The HOLY SPIRIT is also the SPIRIT of HOLINESS [Rom. 1:4]. According to 2 Cor. 7:1, we are to “perfect” HOLINESS – or, in other words, allow SANCTIFICATION to be fully completed in our lives. SANCTIFICATION is not a milestone; it is a process or a journey. It is a continuing and an ongoing WORK of the SPIRIT in the life of Child of God.
In summary, Peter’s command in Acts 2:38, while simply stated, is actually the theological premise for Paul’s statement in 1 Cor. 6:11.
- REPENTANCE – results in JUSTIFICATION of the one who repents.
- BAPTISM – results in PURIFICATION of the one who is baptized.
- HOLY GHOST – results in SANCTIFICATION of the one who receives.
Concerning PURIFICATION, few things are clearer from the teachings of the OT LAW than the supreme importance placed by YHWH on the rituals of ceremonial cleansing. We even see this in the life of Jesus, when he cleansed a leper — and then commanded him to go show himself to the priest. Even though the leper had already been miraculously “cleansed” of his leprosy (i.e., healed from the disease), he remained ceremonially defiled and thus virtually a social pariah until he presented himself to the priest, who was tediously instructed in Leviticus 14 as to the rituals necessary to ceremonially pronounce him to be clean and ritually remove his defilement.
It is striking to notice that before Jesus Christ was publicly known, John the Baptizer had to first come. The symbolism of this is quite telling.
Furthermore, Jesus did not begin his public ministry until he had first presented himself to the Baptizer and demanded to be baptized — to fulfill or COMPLETE RIGHTEOUSNESS.
It is worth pointing out that John the Baptizer’s own record shows that God specifically sent him to baptize people, but he was supposed to be looking for a particular person who would be clearly identified as the LAMB of God (i.e., the SON of God) only by the process of WATER BAPTISM!
29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
Notice that it was only after the CEREMONIAL PURIFICATION of Jesus that John the Baptizer had visual confirmation of his true identity — he saw the Spirit descending from heaven in the manner of a dove (fluttering down). This is obviously the symbolic prototype of the initiation of SANCTIFICATION.
It puzzles me that many of those who claim to be CHRISTIANS (i.e., DISCIPLES of CHRIST) are not more eager to truly follow Jesus in WATER BAPTISM and receiving the GIFT of the HOLY SPIRIT.
It is abundantly clear from Paul’s words and actions in Acts 19:1-7 that 1) we can reasonably expect ALL BELIEVERS to RECEIVE the HOLY SPIRIT, and 2) we can just as reasonably instruct ALL BELIEVERS to be WATER BAPTIZED in the name of Jesus Christ!
Even if the theology underlying the PRECEPT is not fully understood, the PRACTICE should be implemented through imitation.
Heb. 12:14 states that without SANCTIFICATION (hagiasmos, HOLINESS) no man shall see the Lord. I disagree with the statement that SANCTIFICATION is merely an expression of our faith in Jesus. It is the consecrating work of the HOLY SPIRIT.
Clearly the 12 disciples in Acts 19 had already BELIEVED and thus were already JUSTIFIED. But it is just as clear that Paul instructed them to be PURIFIED by WATER BAPTISM into Jesus Christ, and then he prayed for them that they should be SANCTIFIED by the infilling of the HOLY SPIRIT.
Any other teaching than this is not apostolic and is ANATHEMA.
Question: Can someone owe no penalty for their sin, be at peace with God, and have Christ’s righteousness imputed to them and still be lost?
Short answer: YES.
I believe the context of Acts 19 demands that the 12 Ephesian disciples had already believed on Jesus Christ. I don’t believe a man with the spiritual perception and discernment such as the apostle Paul possessed would not have presumed that these men were already believers without valid grounds. There are at least 9 places in the NT where John’s disciples are referenced, and they are always explicitly so named. It is highly probable that these in Acts 19 were converts of the ministry of Apollos when he was at Ephesus, prior to his encounter with Aquila and Priscilla. According to Acts 18:25, he “was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.”
Saul is another example of someone who believed and was JUSTIFIED but was not cleansed.
Acts 22:16 “… arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”
Jesus said, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved….” [Mark 16:16] This is proof that that JUSTIFICATION is not all that the candidate for SALVATION needs. Here is another way of understanding this statement of Jesus:
He that is JUSTIFIED and PURIFIED will be SANCTIFIED!
Pastor Tim D. Cormier