Saturday, April 14, 2012

Living for the Lord: Heart, Mind and Body (Part 2)

What is Sanctification?
Since every part of us is to be sanctified, it is important for us to understand what sanctification is. Sanctification means to "separate" or "set apart." In the Bible sanctification generally relates to a sovereign act of God where He "sets apart" a person, place or thing in order that His purposes may be accomplished. When a person is sanctified he or she is being set apart by God for a specific divine purpose. The very moment we are saved in Christ we are also immediately sanctified and begin the process of being conformed to the image of Christ. As a child of God we are set apart from that moment to carry out His divine purposes. This is often called "positional sanctification". But let's back up a bit a ask a question, "Why do we need to be sanctifified in the first place?"

Our Need for Sanctification
Let's look at Leviticus 11:44, "For I am the LORD your God, You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves..." Peter picks up on this in 1 Peter 1:14-16 and reminds us that the God who called us into His grace is Holy and we ought to be holy as well.

Our Means of Sanctification
Sanctification, like all of God's promises and gifts flow through and from the work of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross. Our holiness was purchased by His blood. As a result of that finished work, holiness comes through the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit (2 Thessaloniains 2:13). Through Christ, we are made to be what we are declared to be at conversion. When we were declared righteous by God (justified), we were also positionally sanctified. They are not the same thing but they are tied together! Look at Hebrews 10:10, "By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all."

Three Types of Sanctification
The Bible talks about three types of sanctifiction: First, there is what we call positional sanctification (Heb. 10:10). This is something that God has done through the finished work of Christ, no matter what our growth or where we are at in our Christian life. Look at those at Corinth for example, they are called saints in 1 Corinthians 1:2 and set apart for God (1 Corinthians 6:11), yet they had all sorts of sins among them and they were carnal (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). The Bible also teaches practical or progressive sanctifiction, which is us daily dealing with our sins and growing in holiness as 2 Cor. 7:1 challenges us to "let us cleanse our selve from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecing in holiness in the fear of God." Paul mentions this again in 2 Timothy 2:22 when he exhorts us to be a vessel fit for the masters use, "a vessel of honor, sanctified and useful for the Mastr, prepared for every good work." Lastly the Word of God informs us that there is such a thing as perfect or complete sanctifcation. But this will only happen when Christ returns and we see Him as He is and we will be like Him (1 John 3:1-2).

How Do We Sanctify Ourselves Practically?
First off, we must remind oursselves that we can not do it, we have no strength or ability in orselves. But Galations 5:16-17 has the secret, "Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so you are not to do whatever you want." So the first key is that I can not rely on myself. I must allow the Spirit of God to work in my life. How? That brings us to the second key.

The second key is that I must remember what the Lord Jesus prayed in John 17: 17-19, "Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly santified." We not only have a Savior who was and is set apart for God, but we also have the truth, the word of God which is able to set us apart for Him as well!

The third key to living a life set apart for God is to make every effort to set myself apart. Romans 12:2 beseeches me to offer myself as a living sacrifices for God. According to Hebrews 12:14 I should be making every effort in my life to pursue a holiness, a life set apart for God.

As I am in the Word and allow the Spirit of God to speaking to me, He begins to challenge me in certain areas of my life. He reminds me that there are certain things to put to death and certain things to put off out of my life as Colossians 3:5-14 instructs us to "Put to death your members which are on the earth fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry..put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds.." Now there are also things to put on, "tender merices, kindness, humility, meekness longsuffering, bearing with one another, if anyone has a complaint against another, even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But put on love, which is the bond of perfect."

I would like to close our thoughts on sanctification with some verse out of James 4:4-10. We can not live a life that is set apart for the Lord if we are entangled with this world. The Lord is looking for our hearts to be humbled and surrendered over to Him. We can ask ourselves, Is there any area where I need to clean up my life, have i been doubled minded in any area of my life? "Is there any thing the would keep me from living for the Lord: Heart, Mind and body or we can say spirit, soul and body? 

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