Sinclair Ferguson shares six foundation stones for our sanctification from 1 Peter. These notes are from the first in a series of lectures called “Studies in Sanctification.” All of the 9 lectures are well worth listening to.
Foundation Stone #1: Our sanctification is the purpose of God, the Trinity. 1 Peter 1:1-2
“God has chosen you because He means to sanctify you . . . God’s people, saved by God’s Son, will be sanctified by God’s Spirit . . . this is what God has set His heart on since before the foundation of the world . . . the whole Triune Godhead devotes Himself to sanctifying Christian people . . . God the Trinity has determined to put all of His energies into making little, poor me like Jesus Christ.”
Foundation Stone #2: Our sanctification, or holiness, is the commandment of God the Father. 1 Peter 1:15-16
People will respond to our holiness similarly to how they react to God’s holiness because we are to be holy as He is holy . . . “Christian people who are becoming holy will always create a two-fold impact on those around them. Part of that impact will be . . . an irresistible attraction because here is life as it was meant to be lived, but also part of that will be at times an almost equally irresistible distaste for what belongs entirely to another world . . . When Peter got hold of this, it transformed the whole of his thinking about what holiness was, and he felt the weight of the commandment of God the Father.”
Foundation Stone #3: Our sanctification is the effect of the work of Christ the Savior. 1 Peter 1:17-19
“Our sense of the importance of holiness, and our incentive to grow in holiness will always be rooted in our understanding of and our appreciation for the work of Jesus Christ. Why should we live our lives as strangers here? Because we were redeemed, he says, by Jesus Christ.”
Foundation Stone #4: Our sanctification is the fruit of the Spirit’s ministry. 1 Peter 1:2, 3-5
We’ve been brought to new life through the Word, brought as adopted children who have an inheritance. “The Spirit is one brings us into God’s family and shares with us God’s nature . . . The reason we grow in holiness is that that is the chief family characteristic of the new family into which we have been born again by God’s Spirit and into which we have been adopted so that we share in this glorious inheritance.”
Foundation Stone #5: Our sanctification provides us with one of the great reasons for the trials of life. 1 Peter 1:6-7
“The great thing about God, Peter is saying, is that He is not slow to test the work that He is doing . . . Suffering is one of the chief instrument
s that God uses in the process of sanctifying His people. He throws them into the fire like gold being thrown into the refiner’s furnace in order on the one hand that the impurities may come to the surface and be dealt with, and also on the other hand in order that all the graces that He builds into our lives may be thoroughly cleansed and purified. And why does He do this? He does this because this is what He did with His Son. He made His Son everything He was through suffering (Hebrews 2). If the Holy One Jesus is made perfect for His life and service only through suffering, how much more is that likely to be true of unholy ones like ourselves? . . . If we are going to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, one of the instruments the Father will use in our lives is the purification of our lives through that suffering.”
Foundation Stone #6: Sanctification (holiness ) is our destiny in the world to come. 1 Peter 1:6-9
“He mentions this in several places, but especially when he emphasizes the grace and the glory that is to be revealed, the hope that is in our hearts of the future resurrection . . . that salvation is simply holiness completed . . . glory is the consummation of the sanctification that God has already begun . . . And there is surely no area of our thinking in which we can deceive ourselves than this: to imagine that we will be happy pursuing holiness in heaven if we are singularly unhappy pursuing holiness on earth. The Apostle Peter rather sees a great continuity between these two things. We rejoice in the prospect of the future because all the future will bring us will be a greater and more intense holiness than God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are bringing to us already. There could be no greater confusion in my mind or delusion in my life than to imagine that I will enjoy holiness there and then if I’m not pursuing holiness here and now.”
Summary: “And it’s in these ways that Peter knocks down into the foundation of his gospel the great foundation stones of the sanctifying of Christian people:
- God Himself, the Holy Trinity is devoted to it.
- God the Father has commanded us to pursue it.
- Christ the Son has died to effect it.
- The Spirit works in our lives to bring forth the fruit of it.
- God sends trials into our experiences in order to produce it.
- And heaven itself is a world that is full of it.
And on these foundation stones our holiness may well be built.”