"Some in the church has suggested that the process of sanctification is the result of a life-long quest to live a Christ-like life. The idea expressed is that we, day by day, become more holy until, imperceptibly, we have achieved this state of purity. Is this what Paul suggested in his address of the Corinthians; identifying those to whom he spoke as sanctified? Perhaps not."
He goes on to show from the word of God that the process of sanctification does not take a long time, in fact it happens immediately when you are born of the fire and of the spirit.
I would like to piggy-back onto his theme to provide another scriptural evidence to show that the Marvelous Work and a Wonder did not begin in 1830. Rather it is to take place during a future dispensation.. one that the scriptures refer to the dispensation of the fulness of times (also referred to as the 3rd Watch.)
I would like to suggest that the scriptures seem to make a distinction between individual sanctification and group sanctification.
In the following verses the Lord indicates that the Church as a group of believers becomes sanctified by living the "law of the Church" which is consecration:
I don't think this scripture is necessarily suggesting that personal sanctification is not achieved until one unites with the church in living the law of consecration. In fact I think the law of consecration cannot be successfully lived by a group of people unless all participants have already become individually sanctified through the baptism of FIRE.
It is interesting to note that it is the obedience of the Saints in living the LAW of ZION that also sanctifies the LAND of ZION:
Now we are informed in modern revelation and in the words of modern prophets that prior to the Second coming in glory, the elect of God will be gathered and consecrated in preparation for the Second Coming in Glory.
Joseph Smith lamented that Zion was not redeemed shortly after the Church was restored but he was assured by the Lord that it would eventually be redeemed:
“I cannot learn from any communication by the Spirit to me, that Zion has forfeited her claim to a celestial crown, notwithstanding the Lord has caused her to be thus afflicted, except it may be some individuals, who have walked in disobedience, and forsaken the new covenant. all such will be made manifest by their works in due time.
I have always expected that Zion would suffer some affliction, from what I could learn from the commandments which have been given. But I would remind you of a certain clause in one which says, that after much tribulation cometh the blessing.
By this, and also others and also one received of late, I know that Zion, it the due time of the Lord will be redeemed; but how many will be the days of her purification, tribulation and affliction, the Lord has kept hid from my eyes; and which I inquire concerning this subject, the voice of the Lord is Be still, and know that I am God..." (TPJS pg 34)
Having reviewed the fact that the Church needs to be gathered and sanctified as individuals and as a Church prior to the Lord's Second Coming in Glory... and realizing that the restored Church was commanded to gather and consecrate but failed to do so during the life of Joseph Smith or any time since, during the last 178 years, I want to pose a question about group sanctification which is similar to the question that Spektator asked pertaining to individual sanctification.
Is it supposed to take a life time, or for that matter four generations for the Saints to slowly, imperceptibly become consecrated and sanctified as a Church, or does group sanctification take place pretty quickly?
I would point to 3rd Nephi for the answer. When Christ appeared to the Nephites and established his church and gospel among them, they were able to consecrate and establish Zion very quickly. Probably within a matter weeks if not days.
Additionally, there is no reason I am aware of to believe that Enoch and his city or Melchizedek and his people took generations or decades to establish Zion once the word of the Lord commanded them to do so. Yet it has been over 170 years since the Lord commanded the restored Church to establish Zion and from all appearances, our hearts and minds, as a church are further away from the goal Zion that ever before.
We find in modern revelation that because of transgression, the Lord told the Saints that they would need to wait a little season before Zion could be redeemed:
It is now apparent from the words of Joseph Smith and numerous revelations including section 29 and 105 that there needs to be a new dispensation and a refreshing to enable the elect of God to gather out and consecrate and redeem Zion prior to the Second Coming of the Lord in Glory.