Recently, we have been discussing many topics surrounding justification, sanctification, and glorification. Today I would like to focus on sanctification by itself.
Ask congregation what the difference is between justification and sanctification.
Justification is the work God did in us the moment we believed in Christ as our Savior. There was nothing we could do to justify ourselves. The blood of Christ was not only sufficient but also the only thing that could have saved us. Justification is not the cleansing of us from all sins. It is the pardoning from our sins. The cleansing is sanctification and it is a continual process that never ends.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Sanctification is what we strive for in our Christian walk. The very basic idea of it is being separated from sin. It is being separated unto God. Another word that shares this definition is holiness. It is what we are called to as Christians.
1 Peter 1:15-16
But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”.
All of us sin. It is a fact of life. None of us will ever be holy in this life. Jesus was the only one who was ever perfect and sinless. As for the rest of us, Romans 3:23 puts it best:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Just because we all sin does not mean that we are to give up and not strive for holiness.
Q: Ask congregation how we can be assured that we are not to give up.
A: Because 1 Peter 1:15-16 commands us to be holy!
As I already stated, none of us will be perfect in this life. This is why Philippians 1:6 tells us that God will perfect us until the day of Christ. It is a gradual and ongoing process. Does this mean we are to sit back and let God work in us while we drink Coke and eat popcorn in our La-Z-Boy? Of course not!
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;
1 Corinthians 11:1 (Paul speaking)
Be imitators of me, just as I am also of Christ.
Imitate Christ in all we do. Because Christ was perfect, he is also the perfect role model. Scripture tells us to follow his example in all we do; to imitate him to the best of our ability.
For their sakes I sanctify Myself…
Christ was the only one to ever be able to make this claim. He sanctified himself. He separated himself from all sin and set himself apart unto the Father. We may never be able to make this claim of ourselves but we are certainly to give it our best shot. We are to be imitators of Christ in all aspects including this one.
While justification is something only God can do, sanctification is something we are to participate in. We do this by being imitators of Christ.
Ask congregation how we can know ways to imitate Christ.
The answer is found in the rest of John 17:19:
For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.
We know the truth because we have Scripture. Scripture is the Truth! What better way to know the Truth than to be in the Word? In a previous lesson, I taught on the promise of spiritual growth. One of the key ways to grow is to have an understanding of the depths of God. This understanding comes from knowing your Bible.
I spoke on how Paul used the analogy of milk and meat. The milk was the basics while the meat was the deeper theological knowledge.
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”
Scripture gives us what we need to grow. It is the truth that teaches us how to imitate Christ. As a result, it is the truth that sanctifies us. God is always faithful. If you truly need it, He will provide it. He will perfect us until the return of Christ. These are the promises of God. In much the same way, we are to sanctify ourselves. We will never be able to make the same bold statement as Christ but we can do our best in each area of life.
We are often given choices in life. One path leads to righteousness while the other often leads to darkness. Ask yourself what choices you find yourself making day to day.
1 Thessalonians 4:7
For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
God is upholding His promise to sanctify and perfect. Are we obeying His command to do the same?