“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate” (Hebrews 13:12).
Here we come to the heart of the whole matter. Here we find the meritorious cause of the great transaction. In Romans 5:9 we read that we are “now justified by His blood”; but in Hebrews 13:12 we are told of being sanctified by Christ’s blood.
The Cross as the means of Sanctification
The fact that Christ’s death on the Cross is the means of sanctification is rarely spoken of or understood. We know that Jesus died for our sins, but that He died “to put away sin” appears to be hidden from our eyes (Hebrews 9:26.) He came not only to free us from the serpent’s dominion, He also wants to take the venom from our nature. His blood washed away our sin, but it also cleanses the child of God of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9.)
Made whole by His stripes
We are sanctified and made clean by the blood of Christ, not by our tears, sufferings, vows of consecration or self-abasement. Scripture teaches us that the spotless Lamb of God was made “to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21.) We will never fully comprehend the mystery or what it meant for the holy Son of God, who had never experienced a single sinful thought, an angry temper, a jealous feeling or a lustful desire to have the unfathomable ocean of the world’s sin pour over His spotless soul on Calvary. We may never understand, but we can believe that He is able to sanctify us with His blood.
When this truth lays hold of us and we by faith accept the atoning and sanctifying blood of Christ as the only means of sanctification, then we will no longer live by emotions, theories, or even by giving mental assent to the promises of God; we will find a firm rock of confidence in Him beneath our feet. The great historical fact of Christ’s sacrificial atoning death will become a reality in our lives.
Radical adjustment to our nature
Some suggest that the Holy Spirit keeps us from yielding to our sinful desires, but this is an inadequate teaching. There has to be a definite, instantaneous and radical adjustment to our souls. The Holy Spirit enters our lives to purify the secret springs that have been polluted by the evil inherited from Adam. From that moment He will keep us from yielding to temptations, but thank God, they are from without rather from within. Does not the Holy Spirit effect a change in our nature instead of merely our circumstances?
This sin-destroying, soul-sanctifying experience is the result of the Lord’s death on the cross. The atoning power of His blood is ours through faith and humble submission to this truth. It is maintained as we walk daily in the light God has poured into our hearts.