Heb.2:11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,
Isa.8:18 – Behold—here I stand, and the children whom the Lord Yahweh has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel…
You ever wonder about what the greatest proof that there is a God and His word is true? Have you ever considered what is the greatest of all signs and wonders? It could be argued that the greatest miracle in the ministry of Jesus was raising Lazarus up from the dead. At the end of the day that miracle was only a sign pointing to the greatest miracles of the ministry of Jesus. What could that be? It is the raising of you and me from the dead. We were dead in our sins until Jesus called our name from outside of our tomb. When we came alive the real work began. He began to unwind our grave clothes, in other words change us. That is what today’s verse is all about. He has taken wicked people like you and me and performed His work of beautification, the Bible calls it sanctification. Here is how Andrew Murray says it.
“For both He that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified are all of One. Jesus is the sanctifier, we are the sanctified. The object for which Christ became the Leader of our salvation, the great work He has to do for us, the bond of union between the Son and the sons of God, the proof of their bearing His image and likeness, and the mark of their real oneness, is Holiness….The Triune God is the Thrice-Holy One: Holiness is the deepest mystery of His Being, the wondrous union of His righteousness and His love. To be holy is to be in fellowship with God, possessed of Him. Therefore the Spirit specially bears the name of Holy, because He is the bearer to us of the love of God, and the maintenance of the divine fellowship is His special work. Jesus is the Holy One of God, who makes us holy in filling us with His Holy Spirit.”
So our testimony is the real sign and wonder. We are the children given to Jesus as proof of His ministry. Our changed lives are His signs and wonders.
1 Cor. 6:9-11 – Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
One of the key problems in the church in Corinth was being influenced by the immoral city they were all part of. The interesting thing is that after two thousand years not much has changed. The list of sinful behavior is quite familiar to all of us: sexual immorality, stealing, greed, drunken behavior, verbal abuse (revilers), swindlers, homosexuality. Rather than making an excuse to cover up and allow this behavior in church Paul was very clear; this is the life we used to live. We can no longer be part of this behavior. Paul used three beautiful words to describe our escape from sin. First he says we are washed apolouo. We are washed from our sins by the blood of Jesus, we confirm this by being baptized in water, and we are daily washed by the washing of the powerful word of God. Next, Paul said that we are sanctified. This is a beautiful Bible word; hagiazo in the greek. It means we have been separated, cleansed, purified, and made holy for the Lord. We are now God’s property. We no longer belong to this world.
The next word is the word justified, dikaioo. The moment we believe in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ something beyond amazing happens too us. We are declared righteous by God. The person we used to be is forgiven and changed. From God’s perspective we have no sin in our account. We are rendered just and righteous by God.
So if you are honest Corinth is no different from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, or New Orleans for that matter. The world is corrupt and has taken its toll on church over the last few years. Have I given up hope? Absolutely not. I believe in the power of the gospel. I also believe there is a community today that can say like Paul, “such were some of you”. There is going to be a new generation that embraces what Paul is saying. A generation that says we are washed, sanctified, and justified.
Eph.1:21 – far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
CHRIST CONQUERED DEATH AS A MAN. ALL AUTHORITY ON EARTH WAS GIVEN TO HIM AS A MAN – MORE THAN THAT, ALL AUTHORITY WAS GIVEN HIM AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF MANKIND.
This has to be in that too good to be true category. Jesus not only forgave and cleansed us, He restored man to a place of authority. All of us were born in a state of servitude. We were bound by our sinful nature. Our sinful state kept us in bondage. The results of our fall was dealt with by the the cross. Because of the cross we now qualify to be His dwelling place. Now Christ is in us, working His beautiful plan in us. When we represent Him all things become possible. Here is how Erasmus describe this verse.
“Paul here explains what it means for Christ to be seated at the right hand of God in heaven. It means that he has become Lord of all things in heaven and on earth and that he has been made high above everything in heaven and on earth. There is no principality, no power, no strength, no dominion and no name that can be compared with him. All things are subject to him, and he has been raised up so high above all the creatures that he has been appointed the cause, author, giver and transmitter of our righteousness and made our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. Finally, our salvation is located in Christ alone.”
How does this effect my day to day life? Like Paul said, if Christ is for me who can be against me? No matter what I face, whether it is sickness, lack, temptation, or simply demonic attack, none of these enemies will stop me or the Lord’s plan in my life. Christ is seated at the Father’s right hand, He is ruling all things. I have to ask myself, am I following the Lord and His plan? If the answer is yes all I need to do is rest. It is impossible for the Lord’s plan to be thwarted. He has my past, my present, and my future. Why should I worry? He will finish what He started.
Eph.1:14 – Amp. – That [Spirit] is the guarantee of our inheritance [the firstfruits, the pledge and foretaste, the down payment on our heritage], in anticipation of its full redemption and our acquiring [complete] possession of it—to the praise of His glory.
Nothing like some good home cooking. Last week there was an impromptu Mary’s Song Banquet for ladies involved with Rodan and Fields. There was several thousand women from Rodan and Fields in New Orleans for a convention. Because of a friend of a friend being in leadership with that company, a request was made for a banquet with the Mary’s Song girls to “give back” in light of all the Lord has given us. It was an awesome night of testimonies and giving but that is not why I brought this all up. The meal was cooked by the Mary’s Song girls under the direction of Tyren George.The ladies at my table were raving over the “home cooking”. They also said it was the best meal they had eaten all week; pretty good with the amazing restaurants they all went to in the French Quarter. I guess you just can’t beat home cooked meals.
Now this brings me to the whole point of all of this, today’s verse says that the Holy Spirit is the foretaste of all the Lord has prepared for us. That first taste, or sampling of the food before a meal, tastes awfully good. It actually increases our anticipation for the coming feast. In Psalm 63 David was enjoying feasting on the Lord. He was enjoying the feast of God’s presence, enjoying what he was receiving, but smacking his lips in anticipation of more. Here is how it reads in the Message Bible.
Psa.63:3-5 The Message
In your generous love I am really living at last!
My lips brim praises like fountains. I bless you every time I take a breath;
My arms wave like banners of praise to you.
I eat my fill of prime rib and gravy;
I smack my lips. It’s time to shout praises!
The good meal at our banquet for our out of town guests last week was really only the foretaste. The real meal was when Parris, Ali Spitsbergen (the lady with Rodan and Fields), and the girls from Mary’s Song began to share what the Lord had done in their lives. The testimony of Jesus was our taste of the coming heavenly banquet. So I think I’m going to join David and smack my lips, if this first taste is this good it’s hard to imagine what the whole meal will be like.
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
(Phil 3:12 NAS95)
It seems every few years we have to cycle through historic doctrinal errors that get rediscovered and repackaged. Everything from ultimate reconciliation (everyone will be saved), to excessive emphasis on demons, and spiritual warfare (that one decimated the Welch Revival), to a rediscovery of antinomianism and its twin sister sinless perfection. There seems to be another version of sinless perfection filtering through the church today. One version says that once you get a revelation of the cross you won’t sin. An even more sinister version says that because of the cross it doesn’t matter what we do because the Lord can’t see our sin because of the cross. Both versions are destructive. Here is how Spurgeon addressed this in the 1800’s.
“Recollect that there are two kinds of perfection which the Christian needs-the perfection of justification in the person of Jesus, and the perfection of sanctification wrought in him by the Holy Spirit. At present, corruption yet remains even in the breasts of the regenerate-experience soon teaches us this. Within us are still lusts and evil imaginations. But I rejoice to know that the day is coming when God shall finish the work which he has begun; and he shall present my soul, not only perfect in Christ, but perfect through the Spirit, without spot or blemish, or any such thing. Can it be true that this poor sinful heart of mine is to become holy even as God is holy? Can it be that this spirit, which often cries, O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this sin and death? shall get rid of sin and death-that I shall have no evil things to vex my ears, and no unholy thoughts to disturb my peace? Oh, happy hour! may it be hastened! When I cross the Jordan, the work of sanctification will be finished; but not till that moment shall I even claim perfection in myself.”
I love that, the two fold work of perfection of Jesus in our lives. First, to those in Christ we are legally free from sin and no longer have its stain on our conscience. Secondly, the Holy Spirit continues His work in our lives to perfect us in our spiritual journey. I have to join Paul in saying, “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus”.
Eph.3:20 – Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
Have you been filled with the Holy Spirit? If you want to start a fight just ask that question in the middle of Christians from different persuasions. Of course everyone thinks they are filled with the Spirit but there are some differences that we must explore. First of all Paul spoke about being filled with degrees of the Spirit. 2 Cor.3:18 – “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” From the context of this passage, the more we come under the influence of the Spirit there are greater degrees of His influence in us. I have to agree with that, I think there is more of the Spirit available to all of us than we have ever begun to experience. If that is true think about today’s verse. It seems to me the more we are effected by the Spirit the more He does through us. Today’s verse says He can do anything in and through us according… According to what? According to His power within us. Here is how Wuest describes today’s verse.
“The power (dunamis) that is putting forth energy in us, is the operation of the Holy Spirit in His work of sanctification. God is able to do for us and answer our prayers according to the efficiency, richness, and power of the working of the Spirit in our lives. This latter is determined by the yieldedness of the believer to the Holy Spirit. Thus, the saint determines what God is able to do for him. In His inherent ability, there is no limit to what God can do in and through the saint. But the saint limits the working of God in and through him by the degree of his yieldedness to the Spirit.”
So how much have you been effected by the Spirit? Have you been effected enough to change your own life? What about other people’s lives? Have you been effected enough to impact others? If this verse says what I think it says the Lord can do way more than we think through us. What is the determining factor? I think its how much we have been effected by the Spirit.
Psa. 4:3 But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The LORD will hear when I call to Him.
The world we live in is not random, it is well planned and orchestrated to accomplish the plans of the designer. He orders all things for His pleasure and glory; the best part of this is that He sets apart His own people to be participants in His great plan. This verse uses a phrase “set apart”. I did not set myself apart, I have been set apart by the Lord and for the Lord. It is not my plans that are at the center of my life anymore, I have been set apart for the Lord to be used in bringing about His plans. The amazing thing about this is that somehow my testimony is critical in all this. Actually it is not my testimony at all but the testimony of Jesus being displayed in me. Like all of us, I was rescued from my own misery brought about by my bad choices. He redeemed me and has set my life on display. That is what being set apart is all about, He displays His sons and daughters as examples of His love and power. Here is a word study by Dick Mills on set apart.
“This phrase set apart is a mind boggling phrase. It includes thinks that are extraordinary, marvelous, full of wonder and awe, supernatural in origin and result. Set apart is the Hebrew word palah. It is defined as, to make wonderful, to be distinguished, to be favored, to be selected, to make a difference. It is a word akin to pala, meaning a wonder, a marvel, a miracle. It’s a name for Jesus the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6, the Wonderful One.
Being set apart does not make us better than anyone else; it just makes us better than we used to be. Before the Second Coming of the Lord, the Holy Spirit is at work in the Lord’s body of believers. Jesus is being magnified, glorified, and exalted in His people. In John 15:16 He tells all of us, “You did not choose Me but I chose you.” You are set apart and destined for great things.”
God’s plans for you are bigger than you can imagine. The only thing that you have to be willing to do, give the glory for your transformation to the Lord. He will give you the joy of belonging to Him, He just wants the glory for all He does.
The God of peace, sanctify you through and through.
Have you ever had a guilty conscience? If you are born again, that’s where your salvation experience started. By grace, you realized the obvious; you are a sinner in need of a Savior. We all are. So our spiritual journey started with a guilty conscience, it continues with a clean conscience. We were separated from God from our birth, Paul said we were God’s enemies until that great day when we were changed by amazing grace, we are no longer enemies; we have become friends of God. Now that we have passed from being enemies to becoming friends, the Lord has more He wants to do in us. He refuses to leave us as He found us and just overlook or punish us for our sins. He wants more than that for us. He is not content until He sees Christ formed in us. Now it’s becoming clearer and clearer, those cloudy plans He has for my life are not so cloudy any more. He is determined to complete His work of change that He began in me. Here are some thoughts from Ellicott on the beauty of being holy.
“The very God of peace.—In more usual English, “the God of peace Himself:” the contrast is between the futile efforts after holiness of which they in themselves were capable, and the almighty power of sanctification exercised by God. This sanctification (which is the special work of the Third Person) is here ascribed to the First Person of the Holy Trinity, from whom the Holy Ghost proceeds. He is called the “God of peace,” not in reference to any dissensions between the Thessalonians, but because of the peace which His sanctification brings into the soul, so that it fears neither temptation’s power nor persecution’s rage.”
So much for the struggle of trying to be holy myself. He has cleansed us and given us a new nature. Christ is being formed in each of us. So rather than trying to convince myself that I am not that bad I have come to some conclusions. Just admit what a horrible person you are. That’s where the change begins. The horrible me is not only forgiven but given over to death so that this new man, Christ, can live in me. As Christ lives His life in us, we see the fulfillment of today’s verse. We are being sanctified through and through.
The God of peace, sanctify you through and through.
May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our
Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
1 Thes. 5:23–24
I like those old Bible words. ‘Sanctify’, I just like the sound of that. This word, which isn’t used much anymore, is chock full of meaning and life. It means set apart and implies set apart for a purpose or a person. It also has the sense of holiness and purity; all of this meaning in one word, I love it. It also implies that this work of holiness can’t be accomplished by us. This is the work of God in His sons and daughters. What is our part? Simply yielding. He does all the rest. That brings us back to today’s verse, ‘the God of Peace, sanctify you through and through’. We are at peace because it is this awesome God working in us, He is sure to complete His work. Here are some thoughts from Billy Graham on today’s verse.
“The God of peace. What inexhaustible meaning is locked up in these words! God gives us the assurance that He Himself will do the work. He will sanctify us completely. Our entire spirit and soul and even our body are to be preserved without blame at the coming of our Lord. This promise is so great it appears incredible. Paul himself senses this and adds the words, “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” That leaves no room for doubt, but calls us to a place of confidence in the faithfulness of God. The Trinity accomplishes this work. God the Father says, “Be holy, because I am the LORD. I am the LORD, who makes you holy”. The Son prayed, “For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified”. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of sanctification, and it is He who facilitates our sanctification. The thrice-holy God accomplishes the great work of sanctification through His continual indwelling and fellowship, breathing His life into us.”
So sanctify is not a scary word reeking of condemnation. It is a word filled with joy and saturated with peace. I am sanctified, set apart, to be with Him. This intimacy that is connected to the word ‘sanctify’ is the place of joy unspeakable. It is also the place all of our hearts are longing for. So go ahead Lord, sanctify your people so you will be glorified and we will be happified.
1Th. 5:23 ¶ And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord doesn’t do anything partially or in halves, He does everything completely. Today’s verse is talking about sanctification, He wants to sanctify us completely. He isn’t looking for partial Christians but He is looking for wholeness. I love this, He is making us whole and holy. So take a moment and think about this, our wholeness is connected to our holiness. So the process of healing and restoration is directly connected to our holiness.. Yep; He is making all of us whole and holy. Check out this verse in the Message Bible
1Th. 5:23 ¶ May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ.
This is really powerful, holiness is not just rules and religious dogmas, it is the work of Christ in our soul that is bringing total healing and recovery. Listen to these words about this restoring process from the 1500’s from John Calvin.
“We know, however, that under the term sanctification is included the entire renovation of the man. The Thessalonians, it is true, had been in part renewed, but Paul desires that God would perfect what is remaining. From this we infer, that we must, during our whole life, make progress in the pursuit of holiness. But if it is the part of God to renew the whole man, there is nothing left for free will. For if it had been our part to co—operate with God, Paul would have spoken thus—”May God aid or promote your sanctification.” But when he says, sanctify you wholly, he makes him the sole Author of the entire work.”
So now I am beginning to understand the God of peace part. I can rest in His finished work, rest in His promises, rest in His presence, and rest in His love. He has completion on His mind, He will settle for nothing else or nothing less. So today let’s soak ourselves in His word and trust Him to finish what He started. His peace is my portion and my testimony is His glory.