The question is not, “Are you saved,” but, “Are you washed in the blood of Jesus”? Just as surely as dirt is removed from washed hands, sin is presently and actually removed from a person washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. Of the specific acts of sin from which the apostle Paul indicates that we are saved, the most relevant for the modern, American church is idolatry. This is putting anyone or anything in the place of Jesus–be it your work, cell phone, refrigerator, children, pets, sense of identity, professional sports, Netflix, television, coffee, video games, the internet, or Disney world. Sanctification begins in this initial act of washing, also called being born again, baptized, or crucified with Christ.
While the new birth is necessary for your personal salvation, it isn’t the end goal. The command of Scripture is to be perfect, even as Jesus is perfect. This is accomplished in a second work of grace, also called entire or crisis sanctification. The crisis comes when a born-again person sees the inner wickedness of the heart and is deeply grieved by it. Even though he or she doesn’t sin–indeed, dreads the very thought of sinning–the murders, lies, and thefts that lurk deep in the heart finally push the person to cry out, “Jesus, I can’t stand this another day! Take this wicked, old, carnal nature from me!”
This second work of grace is absolutely necessary if you’re going to be used by the Holy Spirit to fulfill the Great Commission. The Greek New Testament never uses “sanctify” in the future tense–sanctification is NOW or NEVER. Have you known this first work of grace and been really saved from sinning? If so, will you press on towards entire sanctification?