Mormonism and biblical Christianity use many of the same words, but with very different meanings. One such word is “sanctification.” As we explore idea of sanctification in the Bible compared to Mormonism, this will give you some encouragement about how God wants to work in your life.
What is Mormon sanctification?
For Latter-day Saints, sanctification is the process of becoming free from sin – pure, clean, and holy – through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Yet this process depends largely on one’s own efforts.
[Related: Progressive Sanctification]
Doctrine and Covenants 88:68 “Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.”
Moroni 10:32 (Book of Mormon) “Yea, come unto Christ ,and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind, and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfected in Christ, ye can nowise deny the power of God.”
[Related: Sin and Sanctification]
What is biblical sanctification?
The Bible speaks of the process of becoming what God wants us to be. It is a molding that God does to bring us into alignment with him. It involves seeing him work in our lives even in the bad times. It is a resting in him and allowing him to do his work to change us.
John 17:17-19 (ESV) Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have send them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
Jesus Christ came to us as fully God and fully man, to take our sins, so that he could sanctify us. While justification is a single event, sanctification is a process of growing in the Lord – the process of becoming like him.
2 Peter 3:18 (ESV) But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
As we grow in his grace and knowledge, it glorifies God. It’s all for his glory, not ours.
[Related: Justification (Mormonism)]
How do we become sanctified?
We are invited to cooperate with God’s work in this sanctification process. Here’s how:
- Prayer. This is an expression of resting in God, praising him, talking and listening to God.
- Bible. As we read and study God’s word, amazing things happen – like when you have a question and the answer pops out at you from the Bible. We learn of God and God speaks to us by reading the Bible.
- Fellowship with other believers. God works in us as we attend church services, and especially through small groups and Bible study groups.
- Worship. God shapes us when we worship through music, Communion, and baptism.
Mormonism teaches that a person must endure to the end in obedience in order to be justified and that we must obey the commandments in order to be sanctified. The emphasis is on the individual doing what is necessary to justify and sanctify him or herself. Biblical Christianity teaches that we are justified when we put our faith in Jesus Christ. Then God works to sanctify us into the person he wants us to be. It’s not about us; it’s all about him.
[Related: The Ordinary Ways God Makes Us Holy]