Purification of the Bride
A Sermon on Ephesians 5:25-27
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (ESV)
Sanctification is an essential and inevitable part of the life of all who are truly regenerate and saved. But as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones describes from Ephesians 5:25-27, it is a lifelong process by which the believer is conformed to the image of Christ and grown in love and knowledge of God our Savior. It is the outworking of the justification and forgiveness of sin that all Christians receive at salvation by becoming partakers of the Gospel of Christ Jesus. The Word of God is essential to sanctification. However, this is not the belief that Christians are to let go and let God, but rather, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones states, it is the recognition that the Word of God is the means that the Holy Spirit uses to grow us in knowledge and love of Christ. Another erroneous view of sanctification and salvation is that of baptismal regeneration. This is the view that at baptism, Christians are cleansed of original guilt and the stain of sin. But biblically, baptism is a sign of the transformation and new life that we have in Christ, not the means of acquiring it. Another essential aspect of sanctification is the conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit. Here we see again how the Word of God, and particularly the ten commandments, can be used to further sanctify and bring Christians closer to God.