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Sanctification

by C. Eric Ott

Sanctification is the process of becoming a saint, holy and spiritually clean and pure, by purging all sin from the soul. Latter-day Saint scriptures mention several factors that make sanctification possible.

First is the Atonement of Jesus Christ (D&C 76:41-42; 88:18; Moro. 10:33; Alma 13:11). Christ's blood sanctifies God's repentant children by washing them clean in a way that extends beyond the remission of sins at baptism. This cleansing is given through grace to all who "love and serve God" (D&C 20:31). "For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified" (Moses 6:60; cf. 1 John 5:8).

Second is the power of the Holy Ghost, the agent that purifies the heart and gives an abhorrence of sin (Alma 13:12; 3 Ne. 27:20).

Third is progression through personal righteousness (see also Justification). Faithful men and women fast; pray; repent of their sins; grow in humility, faith, joy, and consolation; and yield their hearts to God (Hel. 3:35). They also receive essential ordinances such as baptism (D&C 19:31) and, if necessary, endure chastening (D&C 101:5). Thus, Latter-day Saints are exhorted to "sanctify yourselves" (D&C 43:11) by purging all their iniquity (MD, pp. 675-76).

King Benjamin's people in the Book of Mormon illustrate the sanctification process. They humbled themselves and prayed mightily that God would apply the atoning blood of Christ and purify their hearts. The Spirit came upon them and filled them with joy; a mighty change came into their hearts and they had "no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually" (Mosiah 5:2).

Latter-day Saint scripture often states that no unclean thing can dwell in God's presence (e.g., 3 Ne. 27:19; Moses 6:57). Thus, the sanctification that Latter-day Saints seek is more than a physical or moral state; it is a perpetual spiritual life—an ongoing effort to be worthy and pure to live with God—to overcome the evils of one's life and lose "every desire for sin" (TPJS, p. 51).

(See Basic Beliefs home page; Doctrines of the Gospel home page)

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 3, Sanctification

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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