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Sanctification

To sanctify is to be set apart for Holy use by God. The Christian has been set apart for purpose of sanctification, not impurity. “For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.” (1 Thessalonians 4:7) Being set apart in Holiness the Christian is called to do His Good Works. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Sanctification is not an instant happening but a process that begins at conversion. All followers of Jesus Christ will experience a renewing of their mind as their knowledge of Jesus Christ grows within their spirit. Conversion is not a feel good act we make through emotional excitement, it is a commitment to accept Jesus Christ, His cleansing blood in exchange for our sin debt, repent of the sinful ways of this world, and follow and serve Him as the Master of our life. Sanctification can also be looked at as the removal of our greatest enemy from the throne of our life, self, and placing Jesus, the author of life (Acts 3:15) upon the throne of our lives. Our commitment to Christ is the beginning of our walk with Him just as it was for the disciples at the beginning of His ministry. They had to be trained for the mission that was set before them. We as followers of Christ have to be trained also for the mission the He has set before us, as we are His disciples. We all have our reasonable service to perform in obedience to the Great Commission that we share. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

A follower of Christ is to walk in His truth and not forsake the gathering of fellow believers. (Hebrew 10:25) We are to encourage each other, teach each other, support each other, and love each other. Sharing our testimony by word is a great important practice for every ear that will hear, but all will see our good deeds and by this the light of Him who we follow will be seen by those who walk in the darkness. “but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

Not everyone who hears our words or sees our deeds will be accepting of our behavior. I have in my time been surprised by members of the Church telling me the problem is that there are too many “do gooders” in the Church. Opposition can be as this silly statement to outright confrontation but as long we have done our part then we have done our reasonable service to our King. We strive to be pleasing and acceptable to Him for it is Jesus that we long to be with through eternity. “Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;” (1 John 3:7)

We the Christians, the followers of Jesus, as great as that is we are even more, we are the Children of God. From Genesis to Revelation the story of the Bible is all about Jesus. Jesus, the Son of God, the Lamb of God, the Savior and the King of king and Lord of Lords. Jesus is all about restoring man to His Father God. That day will come for the Christian that they will be fully sanctified and be as He is and able to be presented before God Almighty. “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1 John 3:2) This is the hope that we share to a hopeless world. This is the gospel message that we long to tell everyone who will hear. Our Lord and Savior is the only way to find salvation from the wrath of God to come. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) That day is coming for each of us that believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to watch, we are to pray, and we are to live a righteous life. “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1 John 3:3)

The road to Sanctification is understanding the Word of God. The Word of God is the living word found in the Bible. One fact to keep in your mind as you read the Bible is that it is the Word of God the creator of the heavens and the earth. The Bible is not symbols placed upon a page to describe a language but it is the thoughts of God given to mankind. People can read the Bible and take it literally and that may be interesting to them. But you must read the Bible in its spiritual context, as it was written through the power of the Holy Spirit. “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (2 Peter 1:20-21) If the Christian wants to renew his mind in the likeness of Christ then he must read His Word. His Word is the way to know the mind of Christ, as it was written through the power of His Spirit. “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (2 Peter 1:20-21) Before Jesus left the disciples He promised the gift of the Holy Spirit. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. “All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.” (John 16:13-15) The scriptures were written though the power of the Holy Spirit and the scriptures come to life for the Christian by the interpretation of the Holy Spirit. When we allow the Spirit of Truth to teach us and we walk in the Spirit then we begin to learn the deeper meaning of God.

Sanctification begins with the renewing of our mind. We have repented from the lifestyle of the sinful world. We have turned away from this world and its path to destruction and have turned towards living for the Kingdom of God to come. It is not a journey that happens through emotional or mystical experiences, we will not achieve it through osmosis. It is a discipline, a training, a commitment to the study of God’s Word, and the more we read the Word the more we will hunger for more. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6) Here in this verse we see a promise from God that we will receive a blessing, and that is sanctification.

The next step towards sanctification is conviction. Some may refer it to progressive sanctification. As we study our Bibles we become and understand more of His teaching we are more aware of the sin in our life. As many run from the truth found in God’s Word they find no comfort in the lie of this world. There is no moral foundation to guide their lives by. The rules change according to the contemporary culture of the time. There is nothing solid upon which a man can stand. All moral standing that is not founded upon the truths of God’s Word is as sinking sand. (Matthew 7:24-27) As the Christian grows in his understanding of God’s Word the more sanctified he becomes as he grows into the image of Christ. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18) The more we become like Jesus the greater we understand who God is and our love for Him grows ever the more. (Leviticus 11:44) In our growth towards the image of Jesus the more persistent is our yearning for the attainment of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. As we get closer to Jesus the more aware we become of the sin in our life, the more we realize the gravity of sin, and the more we know our need for the power and strength of Him. We must not allow ourselves to become discouraged, we must keep our eyes on the prize of our hope, and from that we can never turn back. “And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:4) We develop new principles in our life that compels us to abide in God’s Word. This is sanctification the transformation of our heart. We soon see that we do not only believe but we act on faith, our faith in Jesus and His Word. “But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we also believe, therefore we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.” (2 Corinthians 4:13-14)

God’s Word is key to the process of sanctification. You do not read the Bible just for the mere purpose of education or a claim that you have read it from Genesis to Revelation. The Bible is not to be taken as a stimulating experience for intellectual advancement. You don’t read the Bible for the purpose of self-pride in winning a theological argument. Studying the Scriptures is not a casual adventure or to be a careless here and there and tp flippantly disregard its truths.

If you are truly growing spiritually there becomes an eagerness in your soul for the daily bread of spiritual nourishment. From the words of the Apostle Peter we read, “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2)

The more you study God’s Word the more positive change you will see in your life. You will develop an insatiable hunger to be studying God’s Word. You first became a Christian because God opened your heart to the truth and drew you to Jesus. But you don’t want to remain a babe in Christ, when you were born of the flesh you grew, and now that you are born of the spirit you also must grow. You grow by listening to the words of your Heavenly Father.

One cannot say they are a Christian while they remain living in the old self. Being a Christian is active, it is not static, and it requires growth. The growth comes from prayerful studying of God’s Word. It also requires being an active member of His Church. “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrew 10:25) In this we will grow in our sanctification, being set apart from this world in preparation for the world to come. Being set apart for God’s holy use that we may serve Him who has sacrificed so much for each us. Growing into the perfected image of Christ. “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) We must be born again, recreated in the image of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

Durant Bible College, May 28, 2014

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