As a believer we would like to know the ‘will of God’. We can know the will of God in most areas of our life through applying the established biblical principles, whereas in some areas the will of God is so perfect and straight forward without a shadow of doubt.
Sanctification is one of the important issues where the word of God clearly states that “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor. (1 These 4; 3-4). The word of God gives us ample information about the significance of sanctification in a Christian life.
In order to understand the concept of sanctification better, it is vital to know what sanctification means. Sanctification relates to being set apart for a specific use or to be cleansed from the sinful nature. In the Old Testament times several utensils, places and articles were kept exclusively for the purpose of rendering the services to God. The consequences of using these for general purposes would mean the user have to pay a heavy penalty. For instance, during the reign of King Belshazzar the sanctified vessels were brought into the King’s party. The King Belshazzar and others drank wine in those sanctified vessels and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone. The very night, King Belshazzar of the Chaldeans were slain.
According to the New Testament, we are the sanctified vessels. We are the temple of God and the most Holy God almighty wants to reside in us. Because the Christ is the head of the Church and we all belong to the body of the Christ. Each part of the body plays unique role in communion with the other parts of the body. The Spirit of God wants to dwell alone in our hearts. When we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour the Spirit of God regenerates our spirit and we experience the new life from the above. (Born-again experience) In this new life, we have rejected our old ways of life which contradicts to the Word of God and we welcomed the Holy Spirit into our lives.
Sanctification is the act of God and we cannot sanctify ourselves since our nature itself is corrupt. Our efforts will not help us to become sanctified and since it is a subsequent to our regeneration. Sanctification is an ongoing process and it is an incessant work of God in believers’ life. The sanctification plays an important role in submitting ones mind and body in subjection to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The old nature always constantly wants to prevail in believers’ life and there is always a contradiction between the flesh and the spirit.
Apostle Paul states that “for we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing I do not understand. For what I will to do that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” (Rom 7:14-15) This is the most common phenomenon in believers’ Christian journey – There is a constant battle between the flesh and the spirit, as it is experienced by the Apostle Paul. But thank God, Jesus provided a way out from this terrible experience which is continuously undermining the believers’ right standing with God. The spirit is regenerated and the flesh is having its old nature which needs to be crucified daily, without giving any room for resurrection. The flesh or the old human nature entice us for committing sin and does not want us to be under constant subjection to the spirit.
The flesh produces sin and the sin is having two natures, one is the fruit and other being the root. We can see in our daily life, the fruit of the flesh such as an adultery, fornication, uncleanness, hatred, selfish ambitions, drunkenness, rivalries and so on ( Gal 5:19-20). We always want to address these fruits in our lives without paying much attention to the root of the tree which produces the sinful fruits. This ongoing failures and constant stumbling in Christian life, is the evidence of a believer who is merely addressing the sinful fruit instead of putting the end to the cause of the fruit. It is clear from the scriptures that the Spirit of God who starts the work in the sinner life to come to Jesus, will continue to convict the sinner to surrender everything to the authority of Lord Jesus. When we welcome the Spirit into our lives, He will uproot the very nature of the sin from its roots and completely uproot its existence in our lives. When the root is destroyed there is absolutely no chance of producing the sinful fruits in our lives. This work is instantaneous in some believers’ lives and in others it takes months and maybe even years, depending on their obedience and submission to the constant conviction of the Holy Spirit.
For example, in Apostle Peter’s case, he was well fellow-shipped with our Lord for about three and half years and he knew the in and outs of Jesus activities. When Jesus was arrested, Peter was following Jesus to the High Priest house. At the High Priest’s house a housemaid pointed Peter and said to the congregation that he is the follower of Jesus of Nazareth. Spontaneously the old nature prompted Peter to deny Jesus three times utterly.
The same Peter in Acts when he was empowered with the Holy Spirit stood firmly and declared to the multitudes the works of Jesus and admonished them with boldness and power. So we need to realize that it is very important for us to plead God for the baptism of Holy Spirit which is similar to Sanctification. Unless we are obedient to His word, the Holy Spirit doest not like to be in our lives. If we sin purposely, the Holy Spirit will depart from us and it is very difficult to lead an anointed life. Unless we plead to God with true repentance and with a sincere heart, the Holy Spirit doesn’t reside in our lives and execute the sanctification.
The above instance reminds us to surrender completely to God and to the authority of the Holy Spirit. Then the Holy Spirit will enable us to lead a victorious Christian life. The falling down with the burden of sin is not a problem but staying in the sin will separate us from the fellowship of Jesus eternally.
What is sinful nature? It is self-centredness.
In the Garden of Eden God placed two trees:
1. The tree of knowledge of good and evil
2. The tree of life.
The first tree was forbidden to eat. But the man disobeyed God by eating the fruit of this tree; man begins to understand the things according to his own knowledge. It led to self-centredness, which is outward, legalistic, physical and of flesh. It’s ME on focus and deciding myself rather than relying and listening to God. Therefore the first tree represents self-centredness.
“Man is not a sinner because he sins, he sins because he is a sinner“. He is a born sinner. Out of it come sinful actions. This is the reason King David quoted that “I am a sinner from my mother’s womb”. When we truly repent for our sin then the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit will truly transform our lives and change us into the image of Jesus.
According to Romans 8:9 – He dwells in us. So therefore sanctification is a process of baptism of the Holy Spirit. He becomes the host and we become the guest but not other way (Like the colour dye in me and me in the dye)
Sanctification can be both instantaneous and a process.
Do the believers sin after sanctification? John says, “we have possibility of sinning not because of the sinful nature anymore, but because we were given the freedom to choose”.
– Not a code of conduct
– Not having rules
– Not about legalism
– Not about external experience
But it is total yielding/submission/obedience to the word of God.
So we must separate the essentials from the non-essentials issues in our Salvation. For instance, Ten Commandments are good and they give us a code of conduct. But we need to follow Spirit of the commandments not the letter. Since the letter kills us but the Spirit gives us life.
Love your God with all your heart and love one another; when we follow them, the two great commandments, we can be assured to be set apart from all the sinful nature and the concept of sanctification will be fulfilled in our lives.
Edited by: Sis. Sowbhagya Paul
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