#WCSK Episode 2.9b: Sanctification (The Christian Walk)

Picking up from last week …

Sanctification is active not passive

I mentioned previously that sanctification is cooperative, meaning that neither does God do all the work while we sit back and watch nor do we labor while The Lord supervises. The cooperative part of sanctification means that after God enables and empowers us to respond to Him in faith by regeneration, we then play an active role in our pursuit of holiness.

This helps to explain why Jesus can command us to “seek first” the kingdom of God in Matthew 6:33. Seeking, of course, involves individual action, just like the example of the woman who eagerly seeks to find a lost coin (Luke 15:8-10). In fact, when Jesus commands us to seek first the kingdom and righteousness in Matthew 6:33, the word first does not merely imply ordering of sequential activity but rather carries a force of priority as in “seek, above all else.”[1]

Playing an active role, or becoming sanctified, can begin with one simple task: reading the Bible and meditating on the Word of God.[2] Why? Because if we want to be like Christ, then we have to know who He is and what He desires of us. Subsequently, the Holy Spirit inspires us through Scripture, illuminates the Word to us, and then applies that truth to our lives.[3] Of course, the central character of the Bible is Jesus, and the book is filled with God’s mandates on how to live (e.g., the Ten Commandments[4]), His moral prescriptions (e.g., the Sermon on the Mount[5]), and how to praise Him (the Psalms). If we go back to the Tabernacle, sanctification is analogous to the continual, repeated process of washing in the waters of the bronze laver that not only cleanses us but also forces us to look at ourselves in the reflective washbasin. The Word of God is a mirror[6] and the objective standard that we use to gauge ourselves. So, in the Tabernacle, after the priest washes in the laver, what comes next? He would walk into the tent, a place of fellowship, praise and worship, and illumination by the light of the Spirit. By practical extension, our sanctification begins with the Word, and that incremental, day-by-day familiarity with Christ extends into, for example, prayer,[7] worship,[8] witnessing,[9] fellowship with other believers,[10] self-regulation,[11] submission to God,[12] sacrifice,[13] godliness and holiness,[14] abstinence from immorality,[15] shunning immorality,[16] purification,[17] and obedience.[18] The Bible makes it clear that sanctification involves a renewed mind[19] and a renewed heart.[20]

It must be mentioned that as we grow in Jesus, we will be convicted of the truth and therefore begin to change how we think and behave. But, if we begin to value the external rules that we obey at the expense of other people, then we have missed the point. Caring for rules without caring for people is Phariseeism, an erroneous and flawed type of righteousness that can be equated to hypocrisy. Explicitly, Jesus warned us all to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.[21] Sanctification means striving above and beyond Phariseeism.[22] The biggest danger of Phariseeism is spiritual pride: One can obey so many external rules that they begin to say, “Look what I can do!” and look down on those who can’t “do” as much. Such a dynamic may have even fooled the Pharisees. Of course, this misses the point that external behavior not grounded in a deep, inward change is not a marker of a Christ-centered life. You don’t even need God to follow a bunch of rules. You just need willpower.

Barriers to sanctification

The fact is that the normal Christian experience is one of struggle. The reason why is because of a continual assault resulting from the battle inside (the flesh), the battle outside (the world), and the supernatural battle (the devil). All of these opponents are formidable, and the process of sanctification involves increasing triumphs over these foes…

Santification Process Christian Walk Performance Holiness Sin World Devil Jesus

Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal

 

[1] R.C. Sproul, Pleasing God (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2012), 24.

[2] Joshua 1:8-9; Psalm 1:2, 19:7-11, 119:105, 111; Matthew 4:4; John 17:17; Romans 10:17; II Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12

[3] I Corinthians 2:10-11

[4] Exodus 20:1-17

[5] Matthew 5-7

[6] James 1:23

[7] John 15:17; Romans 8:26; Ephesians 6:8; Philippians 4:6; I Thessalonians 5:17

[8] Psalm 95:6; Isaiah 12:5; John 4:24; Ephesians 5:18-20

[9] Matthew 28:19-20; Ephesians 4:1

[10] Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; I Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 10:24-25; I Peter 2:5, 9

[11] Galatians 5:23; Titus 1:8

[12] Luke 22:42; Romans 6:13; Ephesians 5:21; James 4:7; Hebrews 13:17

[13] Romans 8:13, 12:1

[14] Romans 12:1-13:14; Ephesians 4:17-6:20; Philippians 4:4-9; Colossians 3:5-4:6

[15] I Thessalonians 4:3

[16] I Corinthians 6:18

[17] II Corinthians 7:1; II Peter 1:5

[18] John 14:15; I Peter 1:14; I John 5:3

[19] Romans 12:2; II Corinthians 10:5; Colossians 1:10, 3:10; Philippians 1:9, 2:13

[20] Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 4:31; I Peter 2:11; I John 2:15

[21] Luke 12:1

[22] Matthew 5:20

[23] John 12:31, 14:30; Ephesians 2:2

[24] II Corinthians 5:17

[25] Romans 6:11; Galatians 2:20

[26] Romans 7:22-25

[27] Galatians 5:16

[28] R.C. Sproul, Pleasing God (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2012), 128.

[29] Romans 12:2

[30] Matthew 6:20; 16:26

[31] Colossians 2:8

[32] Philippians 2:14-16

[33] Ephesians 6:12

[34] Genesis 3:1

[35] II Corinthians 11:14

[36] I Peter 5:8; Revelation 5:5

[37] II Corinthians 3:17

[38] See Luke 15:11-32

[39] John 3:16

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