While justification happens almost instantly, sanctification is a process. Sanctification rises from a conviction of the Spirit to go beyond just believing Christ, but to start following Him as well. The Sanctification process compels a Christian to embark on a journey of living life according to God’s will, just as Jesus did. This happens because Christians no longer live under the slavery of sin. Instead, Christians live under the identity and strength of Christ.
Although Christians may look the same on the outside as they did before becoming believers, the reality is that they are totally different on the inside because the Bible teaches us that Christians become new creations once they have been born again (2 Cor 5:17). Christians strive toward living a life with the mindset of the Apostle Paul who said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me… (Gal 2:20)”.
Sanctification is the process that happens through knowing and living out this truth. The scripture says, “Sanctify them by the truth: [God’s] word is truth” (Jn 17:17). By meditating upon God’s living Word, Christians are cleansed and set apart from earthly conformations. Nonetheless, Christians still recognize that they will never be perfect. They recognize the need for constant prayer and repentance. They recognize that they can only be sanctified with the help of Christ because ultimately, it was not them but Christ who made the ultimate sacrifice and “..has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified (Heb 10:14).”
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” -1 Thessalonians 5:23