I have had the privilege of teaching the Word of God to college-age staff members at a summer camp for the last 10 years. This year and last, we have spent some time thinking through who we are, as Christians, in Christ. The term that we have used to describe this is Positional Sanctification. In short, Positional Sanctification is the judicial ruling that has been rendered by God the Father as our righteous judge, that we have not only been declared innocent of sin by virtue of His imputation of our sin on Jesus, we have ALSO be declared holy by the Father’s imputation of Jesus’ perfect righteousness on us. What an unbelieveable deal. While I think the combined testimony of scripture points to this reality, perhaps one of the single best verses to describe this is 2 Corinthians 5: 21.
We have also spent some time considering the journey we are on, thinking about who we are becoming. Or perhaps “what” or “how” we are becoming is a better way to think about it than “who.” The term we have been using is Practical Sanctification. And the goal of Positional Sanctification is that we live our lives on a general trajectory of increasing Christ-likeness. The idea behind this is that while we are declared sinless and righteous in a judicial sense, with no possibility of double jeopardy, in the course of our living, we exhibit behavior that is something other than sinless and holy. I don’t know of anyone whose personal experience, even as a born again Christian betrays this reality. We simply stumble and fall from time to time. The reason? While we are, on one hand, secure in our eternal righteous standing before God, we are still bearers of a corrupted, broken image of God, thanks to both our first parents, Adam and Eve, our natural parents, and a corruption of our own personal making that will not, in a practical sense, be completely restored until we pass from this life to the next.
We have been studying John’s first epistle, verse by verse, and it is incredible how much John points to these very concepts as he offers up tests for the believer to take with respect to examining where we are on our trajectory toward Christ-likeness. Here is a shot of our white board and the graphic depiction of Positional and Practical Sanctification that we have been using and referring back to.