The Book of Ephesians ~ Paul’s Conversion, Preparation for Ministry & Opening Salutation~Greeting ~ Chapter 1:1; Doctrine of Sanctification

Vol. 14 No. 22


 3 Stages of Sanctification CoverEph 1:1, “Paul and Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, …”

Background of Paul, PAULOS

Paul’s Conversion.

Having energetically and consistently persecuted the church of Jesus Christ, while on the road to Damascus, Paul had an encounter with the glorified resurrected Christ, which dramatically changed his life. He had denied the Christian claim that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God. Further, he did not believe that He had risen from the dead as Stephen had proclaimed when he was being stoned to death.

Acts 7:56, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”

But when the Lord spoke to Saul on that day, he knew that Stephen had been right and that he had been wrong. Jesus was the Messiah, He was alive and He must be the Son of God. Soon thereafter, in the synagogues of Damascus, he proclaimed Christ as Savior, Acts 9:1f; 22:6f; 26:12-18.

Prepared for Ministry.

Paul did not go out right away to evangelize the early church. It was many years after his conversion that He began his full ministry, Gal 1:16-23. He spent three years in Arabia being personally taught by the Lord, and then returned to Damascus and he began to preach the gospel, Acts 9:27. Then according to Gal 1:18, he went to Jerusalem because of persecution and stayed there for fifteen days, before persecution there chased him away, Acts 9:20-30; 2 Cor 11:33. He then went back to his home territory of Tarsus, Acts 9:30; Gal 1:21, and for a period of three or even up to ten years, (scholars differ on the amount of time he remained alone in Tarsus), little is known of his activities. Then Barnabas, being sent to Antioch to oversee the ministry there, remembered Paul and sought him out in Tarsus to bring him back to Antioch and assist in the ministry. About a year later they were sent out on their first missionary journey, Acts 13:1-3.

Paul had three missionary journeys that are noted in the book of Acts. Each being larger than the previous, Acts 13:1-14:28; 15:36-18:22; 18:23-21:14.

His Death.

After completing his third missionary journey, Paul traveled to Jerusalem where he was arrested and sent to Rome where he was imprisoned, Acts 21:15, through the rest of the book. He was released for a short time and then rearrested and imprisoned in Rome. At that time the emperor Nero sentenced him to death. Around 65-67 A.D., he was lead outside the city of Rome on the Ostian Road, a few blocks out of town and was beheaded. Some say a few days later, Nero was assassinated for this by the Praetorian Guard, thus ending the Claudio Julian line.

Fox’s Book of Martyrs – Paul

“Paul, the apostle, who before was called Saul, after his great travail and unspeakable labors in promoting the Gospel of Christ, suffered also in this first persecution under Nero.  Abdias, declareth that under his execution Nero sent two of his esquires, Ferega and Parthemius, to bring him word of his death.  They, coming to Paul instructing the people, desired him to pray for them, that they might believe; who told them that shortly after they should believe and be baptized at His sepulcher.  This done, the soldiers came and led him out of the city to the place of execution, where he, after his prayers made, gave his neck to the sword.”

All of this is what led Paul to proclaim in 1 Timothy 1:12-17, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. 15It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. 17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Next in our verse we have “to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus.”

As I have previously mentioned, “at Ephesus” is not in the oldest reliable Greek texts. “Three of the oldest manuscripts, the Chester Beatty Papyrus (dated circa 200); the Codex Sinaiticus; and the Codex Vaticanus (usually dated in the Fourth Century), do not contain the words “at Ephesus.” The earliest extant manuscript containing the words “at Ephesus” is at least two centuries later than the last two manuscripts referred to above.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)

In addition, there is no “who” in any of the Greek texts. There is only the definite article plus the Dative Plural Present Active Participle from EIMI, εἰμί that means, “to be or to be alive.” Therefore, it should read, “to those being saints and believing (PISTOS) in Christ Jesus.” This is addressed to believers, those who are born again and continuing to walk in faith rest.

“Saints” is the substantive use of the Adjective HAGIOS, ἅγιος in the Dative Plural of indirect object that stands for believers who are, “holy, consecrated, perfect, pure, righteous, etc.” It speaks to the position the believer has in Christ. It represents our Positional Sanctification.

At the moment of anyone’s belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, they are consecrated and set apart unto God as a clean, pure and righteous individual. They stand as being holy before God, entered into His Royal Family. Saints are those who are cleansed by the blood of Christ. And by the renewing of the Holy Spirit, they are separated from the world and consecrated unto God. So Paul references our Positional Sanctification in the opening salutation.

Next we have “believing” PISTOS, which is also in the Dative Plural that speaks to our ongoing relationship with Christ as faithful and believing people. It also alludes to our entrance into union with the person of Jesus Christ, which is by faith, Eph 2:8-9. So here it is used in a technical sense for those who are responding to Bible doctrine, positive toward doctrine, growing up spiritually, building an ECS, and moving toward the super-grace life. It does not refer to believers who are either spiritual morons or in some stage of reversionism. The Dative case is used to indicate the ones in whose interest the letter is written, and that refers to all believers who study this epistle. It is of no benefit to those who do not study it. Ephesians is an epistle for those who are positive toward Bible doctrine.

Next we have the One we are “being and believing” in, which is “Christ Jesus,” CHRISTOS IESOUS. These saints were “in” and “faithful to” Christ Jesus, not the goddess Artemis of Ephesus or some other false God or religion. They were sanctified, set apart by God and placed in union with Jesus Christ, and were walking in Christ consistently.

Col 2:6, “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.”

Notice that this setting apart is put before man’s faith. Here we are given the twofold aspect of salvation, God’s grace in the first instance sanctifying us, (that is, setting us apart in His eternal purposes as holy unto Himself); and our faith, by God’s gift, which lays hold of salvation, 2 Thes 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2.

2 Thes 2:13, “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.”

This leads us to:

The Doctrine of Sanctification

Definition: Sanctification is a technical theological term for the status quo of the Royal Family of God in three phases of the Plan of God. The term means to be set apart to God for a special purpose. We, the royal family of God, are set apart to God in three ways from salvation to the eternal state, which we will note below.

L.S. Chafer defines “sanctify” with its various forms (i.e., holy and saint) as such.

“This word, which is used 106 times in the Old Testament and 31 times in the New, means, ‘to set apart,’ and then the state of being set apart. It indicates classification in matters of position and relationship. The basis of the classification is usually that the sanctified person (or thing) has been set apart, or separated, from others in his position and relationship before God, that is, from that which proves unholy.” (Systematic Theology, Volume 7.)


As noted above, the word “saints” is HAGIOS, ἅγιος which means two things. Sometimes it means “saints” and sometimes “holy.” The same word is used for both an adjective and a noun. The noun is “saint,” the adjective is “holy.” Therefore, it can mean “Holy; (things), consecrated; (persons), unapproachable, perfect, pure, upright, worthy of God, or saint.” It is used to indicate people or things “separated to God’s purpose or worship.” It refers to our Positional Sanctification and has to do with one of the 40+ things we receive at the point of salvation, our entrance into union with the person of Christ. This is where we are first of all sanctified. It means that believers now have access to fellowship with the living God, Rom 5:2. To worship “in spirit and in truth,” means that we are not limited to holy places and times to worship and that true worship should always continue in the life of the believer. We will see that our position in Christ as His bride is possible because we have been made holy, Eph 5:27.

There are a number of other Greek words taken from the same root:

HAGIOTES, which means, “holiness or sanctity” is a rare term and only used in Heb 12:10, (some manuscripts have it in 2 Cor 1:12 also). It refers to our relationship with God. Our relationship at the point of salvation is holiness because we are in union with the Lord Jesus Christ, and Heb 12:10 tells us that the discipline of the Lord is intended for the experiential application of the holiness we have been given as children of God.

HAGIOSUNE, which means, “sanctification, holiness or majesty” It denotes a manifestation of the quality of holiness in personal conduct. Paul used it in 2 Cor 7:1 that suggests dual connotations.

  1. The basis of human holiness is found in the atonement of Christ.
  2. But holiness also demands completion by an individual’s moral dedication to the worship, service, and glorification of God. 1 Thes 13:1 shows the means by which one can become complete in holiness; by the purity of the heart. Therefore, the aim of the believer is to bring holiness to its full maturity so he may be found “blameless” in holiness at the coming of Christ

HAGIASMOS, which also means “holiness, sanctification or purification.”  It defines the state of the believer brought about by his taking on the righteousness of Christ, Rom 6:19, 22; 1 Cor 1:30. Holiness or sanctification in this sense is brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit, 2 Thes 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2. Holiness is the evidence the believer demonstrates to show he is indeed a partaker of the righteousness of Christ, 1 Tim 2:15; Heb 12:14.

HAGIAZO, is a verb that means, “to set apart, to sanctify, consecrate, etc.” For believers it means to be separated from sin and unto God. Rev 22:11 indicates that the holy person will continue in this state of sanctification throughout eternity.

Basically, all words for sanctification connote some form of separation into, therefore a relationship with. In the believer’s case that relationship is with God. Therefore, Sanctification of the believer means, being set apart from sin and being made holy; this is God’s part. In addition, consecration means, being dedicated to God’s service; this is our part.

The agency (the one who makes it happen) of our sanctification includes.

  • The Son of God, Jesus Christ, Heb 10:10, 14.

Hebrews 10:10, “By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”

  • The Holy Spirit, Rom 15:16; 2 Thes 2:13.

2 Thes 2:13, “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.”

  • The Word of God, John 17:17; Eph 5:26.

Eph 5:26, “So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.”

God’s Plan of Sanctification is divided into three phases:

3 stages of Sanctification

  • Phase One of Sanctification is positional truth. You are placed in union with Jesus Christ. See all verses that use “In Christ” terminology. It refers to salvation at which point the baptism of the Spirit enters every believer into union with the person of Jesus Christ. There are seven results of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, four of which are pertinent here.

1) Sanctification is the means of extending the great power experiment of the Hypostatic Union into the Church Age, so that the correct designation for this dispensation is the great power experiment of the Church Age.

2) Sanctification is the means of the formation of the Royal Family of God.

3) Sanctification is the means of the creation of a new spiritual species for the utilization of the Divine omnipotence; i.e., the omnipotence of God the Father related to our Portfolio of Invisible Assets, the omnipotence of God the Son related to the perpetuation of human history, and the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit related to your very own palace, the operational Divine power system for your life.

4) Equal privilege for every believer to execute the protocol plan of God in union with Christ.

Therefore, Positional sanctification means you have eternal security; there is no way you can ever get out of your relationship with God, John 10:28-30.

  • Phase Two, (Experiential), Sanctification is the function of the spiritual life after salvation. The function of the spiritual life depends on the three spiritual skills: the filling of the Holy Spirit, the metabolization of Bible doctrine in your soul, and the utilization of the Eleven Problem Solving Devices. This produces experiential or spiritual righteousness, which is your residence, function and momentum inside the operational-type Divine Power System.

It results in the super-grace life, which is your consistent daily walk in fellowship with God resulting in your spiritual advancement inside of God’s Plan for your life. It is the combination of a maximum amount of time logged in the filling of the Spirit, as per Eph 5:18, and the daily function of the Grace Apparatus for Perception (GAP), John 17:15-17.

John 17:15-17, “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”

By the daily function of GAP, over a prolonged period of time, the entrance into the super-grace life is accomplished. That is the area of Experiential or Phase Two Sanctification.

Experiential Sanctification has several objectives:

1) It is to carry the believer during the intensified stage of the Angelic Conflict. In this intensification every believer is an ambassador for Christ and every believer is a priest, Eph 6:20; 1 Peter 2:9, therefore in full time Christian service. This fact from the moment of salvation onward plus the intensification of the Angelic Conflict demands Experiential Sanctification and/or the entrance into the super-grace life.

2) To establish Divine viewpoint in the devil’s world and to provide capacity for every believer to be the rapid beneficiary of grace under all circumstances and situations.

3) To provide from the capacity for love in super-grace maximum occupation with the person of Christ. One of the great objectives of the Christian life is to appreciate who and what Jesus Christ is right now on this earth, not waiting until we get to heaven. This can only be accomplished through Bible doctrine.

4) To glorify God through the establishment of the Edification Complex of the Soul (ECS). The ECS is reflected glory. We glorify God through the structure in the soul from which all bonafide function and all Divine good must emanate.

Edification Complex of the Soul

5) To produce triple-compound Divine good. When it is it falls into the category of gold, silver and precious stones, 1 Cor 3:10-15, and it means that we have accomplished something in this life that will glorify God forever. All rewards in the future do not glorify the individual who receives them; they glorify God’s grace that made them possible.

  • Phase Three (Ultimate) Sanctification is the believer in his resurrection body in the eternal state, Rom 8:29; 1 Cor 1:8; Phil 3:21; 1 Thes 5:23; 1 John 3:1-2.

1 Thes 5:23, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify (HAGIAZO) you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In this salutation many things that are connected with our relationship with God at the point of salvation are mentioned or suggested. At the moment of salvation we receive 40+ things which can never be improved. For example, the baptism of the Spirit, regeneration, the sealing of the Spirit, the spiritual gifts, etc. These things received at the point of salvation are non-improvable. Our capacity to appreciate them and our capacity for blessing is going to come out of our spiritual growth, but spiritual growth does not mean improving positional truth or the things we received at salvation.


If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson #’s:

15-058 through 15-060



If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you.  He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins.  He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:

“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,

died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”

If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!

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