There has been much confusion on the intertubes recently over the word sanctified. I have been told that I am now completely sanctified and completely perfect. Is this true? Well, in the New Testament the word sanctified means to separate or make holy for God. Thus most references to the word sanctified occur in the past tense because the day we were legally justified before God we were also at that moment set apart for God and made holy, and in this sense we were completely sanctified.
However neither the word nor the concept of sanctification are limited to the past tense. We find examples of believers “being sanctified” in the present tense (Heb. 2:11, 10:14). The difference here is confusion between the legal position of believers and their living condition, while we are legally perfect and receive the imputed righteousness of Christ, believers still live in a fallen, sinful world and must continue on in the sanctification process to gain the imparted righteousness of Christ. Paul prays that believers might be sanctified completely (1 Thess. 5:23, Eph. 5: 26).
Perhaps the confusion arises related to another more technical word “mortification”. Although the “old man” of sin was put to death on the cross, we are still called to “put to death” (Rom. 8:13, Col. 3:5) the deeds of the flesh. Paul tells us our sanctification is found in “abstaining from sexual immorality” (1 Thess. 4:3). The power of sin was put to death and we do stand completely justified before the Father. However we cannot deny that we sin and if we do sin we must repent and put to death those deeds. And if we do this God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. Finally our sanctification will be complete when our bodies are glorified. Then we will completely set apart for God and that point we will be “once saved, always saved”.