Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Sanctification

"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." - 1 Thessalonians 5:23

I believe the Bible is unmistakably clear on the issue of whether or not it is possible to overcome sin in this life. I recommend you read carefully the previous post on Romans 7 that talks about being dead to sin and alive in Christ. The topic I want to deal with now is the process of sanctification, not whether the end result is attainable, for it is; but what is sanctification, what does it look like, and how does it happen?

"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly..." We find here the design that God intends to sanctify each and every one of us completely and totally. This is a promise for all God's children, not just for so-and-so in the ministry and for some obscure people in the past or in a distant land. God's grace has been poured out upon all believers, His Spirit upon all flesh, that each one of us can lay hold of these promises and walk in victory throughout our days on earth. It is exciting to know that our dusty jar of clay is filled with a heavenly treasure, useful to a heavenly cause! Though we are earthly, God has chosen to make us heavenly! Let us not settle for dust when we can live and move in the Spirit!

I love how sanctification is identified with peace here in this verse. Dear Christian, let me ask you: Is there nothing more peaceful than walking upright before God? Is there nothing more blissful and joyous then having a clear conscience, a steady foot, a fixed eye on Jesus, walking in the light as He is in the light? Indeed, we have sweet fellowship with one another. But is there nothing more restless, agitating, sorrowful and burdensome then walking against the truth, against the current of God's heavenly stream? We can all answer from experience. God be praised that He is the God of peace, the God of peace that transcends all understanding! He Himself has offered to sanctify us wholly... to do all the work for us, to carry us up to a higher plane! Is this not a happy thought!?

What then hinders God from sanctifying us? Dear brothers and sisters, it happens in three ways:

1. The sin of unbelief. We do not believe God when He promises to do this. We do not believe a man can be wholly sanctified, holy and blameless on earth. We do not believe our flesh can be dead and our body and soul brought into obedience to the King. This is the number one hindrance to holiness! Unbelief is the chocks that stop the wheels of God's transport from taking off down the runway of promise. All spiritual impasse, whether it be the filling of the Holy Spirit, the healing of the sick, the saving of the soul... Jesus pointed to the sin of unbelief. "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" (Matthew 14:31)

2. The arm of the flesh. A person can no more sanctify himself than a dog itself can learn table manners. Apart from Christ we are nothing; we are only evil, bent of folly. The Pharisees tried to become holy by following the Law, but Jesus exposed them for what they were: wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. The Laodicean church tried the same thing, but righteousness without Christ is filthy rags. Hear the words of Christ as He says: "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see." (Revelation 3:18) Every good and perfect gift comes from God. Our righteousness, our sanctification, our holiness must come from the Lord, or we will not have them at all.

3. Failure to fix the eyes upon Jesus. Here lies the work of sanctification: "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." (Hebrews 12:2) What? No work? No effort? No endeavoring? No! Nothing but looking unto Jesus and allowing Him to do all the work. God has promised to sanctify us, He has not commanded us sanctify ourselves. Jesus Christ already finished the mission, which now only remains to be realized in our lives. "And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." (John 17:19) Brothers and sisters, fix your eyes upon the blessed person of Jesus Christ and upon the work He has already accomplished, the cup He has already drank, the death He has already died! Only when we reckon these things finished do we realize these things fully. Christ's death wrought about our life. It is a sad wonder so many Christians do not live it.

Jesus Christ did not simply die to save you from hell, "but to purify unto Himself a pecualiar people, zealous for good works." (Titus 2:14) Let us put aside unbelief and doubt. Let us allow the working of the Spirit to sanctify us wholly; every aspect of our lives: spirit, soul and body. And let us fix our eyes on Jesus, who alone is rightfully and truly the perfecter of our faith.

13 comments:

Paul West said...

Amen, Eli. If we continuously look unto Jesus, all things become possible, we can do all things, we are more than conquerors, and we have victory over the world, flesh and devil because He is the Victor who now LIVES IN US! A great post of truth! Hallelujah!

Brother Paul

jedd said...

Eli,

I have a random question for you. This may not be the most approporiate thread in which to ask it, but I see no better one so I'll go ahead and ask:

If street preaching is your thing, what's the point of a blog? I don't see how a website can have any effect on an afternoon sermon in downtown Freddy. Furthermore, Its seems that your blog is doing more harm than good (I think anyone who follows your blog regularly would agree). Can you explain why you started this blog? How do you feel it compliments your street preaching ministry? In light of all the negativity on this website (and I don't deny that I've likely played a part in it), is it really worth maintaining it?

Again, I acknowledge that this has nothing to do with this thread. Its just a thought that popped into my head.

Thank you.

jedd

Charles LeBlanc said...

hey? Anyway to spread the word....lol....hey Eli??? Where's my link???

Logic said...

Eli,

This claim seems odd:

"our holiness must come from the Lord, or it comes from the devil."

First, I think it is a false dichotomy. I do not believe that you can credit the devil for free acts that man has willed.

Second, since a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand, how can you claim holiness would come from the devil? Not that I think the devil would not use a 'wolf in sheep's clothing' but I'm not sure I understand what you mean by holiness coming from the devil.



-Logic

Samuel Kennedy said...

Hello Again
This blog of yours is full of argument, its interesting to see all the opposing views. I think a paragraph of your post shows a limitation in thinking for a lot of Christians. Its not a bad thig necessarily, it just shows they havent moved beyond stage one, or two, in Christian thought. I encourage you Eli to hear me out and be blessed by it.

God is a God of Peace, that is a great great thing. But what kind of peace? Yes, you are right in saying that a relationship with him brings peace, but that is more of an inner calm that stems from knowing that God is with us. You miss the greater peace, or at least do not acknowledge it here. It is a much more practical peace. God is a God of practical peace. A peace that comes from ending wars, mending broken relationships between people, classes and nations. It is in that peace that God is found. Both Jesus and God were very concerned with those who fell between the cracks of society, and it is is when we become in a relationship with them, that God shows himself.

This means a much more dedicated action on Christians' behalves to social causes and real street ministry. Real street ministry being not simply preaching at people on the streets but carrying the Gospel out to those who need it. Hearing it, and acting it out must go hand in hand, the Bible is clear about that. I encourage you Eli my friend to do that. Youre friend Charles knows this for he, according to the website, has a mission that is beyond mere words, as yours is. Follow God's call and bring peace and harmony to the poor, naked and hungry for while they do need the bread of life, they need bread of sandwhiches as well.

I hope God moved you to listen Eli. Good luck if you seek to better your ministry even more.

PS: Any more thought on pursuing university studies? I learned a great deal, you may like it. You seem like youd be able to handle it. Good luck.

Eli said...

Brother Jedd, thanks for asking that question.

Here's how this blog got started:

A friend of mine told me about this blogging thing, I had not intention or pre-thought of doing this. So he set me up and I played around with it a bit. I thought it would be useful to have to steer people towards when I go preach at churches and stuff, so they can see what my ministry is about (street preaching) and also my doctrinal beliefs.

It was a pretty quiet website and I didn't expect anything from it. Until I posted a thing about the New England Primer which seemed to attract crazy attention, and from there it seemed like every post I put up was attacked and belittled and opposed. The snowball started to roll until now it seems like the site has a large audience and many frequenters.

The saddest thing about this blog is the fact that Christians come on here and create a huge issue with simple fundamental doctrines (ie. repentance, faith, Holy Spirit, witnessing). This blog is not the cause of harm, but it is all these foolish and unreasonable people who argue for arguing sake or our genuinely ignorant of sound doctrine and speak before they know what is true. I do not think the site is the problem, but these people.

Then you have people who come on here that are anonymous though they are well known by many of us. They like to say their ugly piece without standing up to the consequences of saying it. They are cheap and cowardly. They want a voice without responsibility. I say, get out.

Christians are suppose to be like Christ. We had better start acting like it, loving one another and seeking to build one another up instead of tearing down. I sense there are many people on this blog who are hear simply to tear down myself and others. It's one thing to discuss doctrine, it's another to be proud, unrelenting, deaf to correction and spiteful. To these people I say shame on you.

I believe we can make this site a better place for everyone, sinner or saint:

1. Before you comment, ask yourself deep inside why you are commenting. Is it to help or to hurt?

2. Study the Scriptures thoroughly and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It's not enough to just know what the Bible says, but get to know what the Bible means. Don't be afraid to ask questions, but don't post so assuredly before you have rightly divided the word of truth with all diligence. This would save us much trouble.

3. Have a humble heart to take correction, but don't compromise if you truly are unsure. However, there is a difference between not compromising and being proudly stubborn. Check your motives and you spirit as you read, ponder and reply.

4. Only comment when necessary. Don't add fuel to a fire or needlessly post just to stir up contention. Post if you feel you need to encourage or correct. Otherwise, it is best to remain silent, and wisest.

5. If you have an issue that is more personal, don't take it up on the blog. Send an email to me or to whoever it is you have issue with. Let's use wisdom in our actions as well as privacy where privacy is due.

6. If you're a non-Christian coming onto the site, be respectful of us and our beliefs. Do not cast ridicule or slurs. These words are pointless and in the end do you and us no good. If you want to use this site, use it to learn and to benefit from, not make it a ruinous place on the internet.

7. And as Christians, exemplify Christ in your behaviour here. Set the mind of Jesus in you. Be humble, be encouraging, be sensitive to others. Let this site be used for good and not for evil, for edification. Don't be ignorant, but get to know God who saved you and be like Him. "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

May God bless and guide the further use of this site.

jedd said...

Hey Eli,

Thanks for taking this up in a new thread. I'll continue my comments over there.

jedd

Chris said...

Logic, I think what eli is trying to say (maybe he's not) but i believe he's trying to say "if your not serving one, your serving the other" which unfortunatley many people don't like to say, but it's the truth, there are only 2 entities in this existence we live, God and the Devil, Heaven and Hell, and if your not following one, and letting one guide everything that you do, you are letting the other.

Hope this helps..

Chris

Eli said...

You're right, Logic, I'll change it.

Guess I've been exposed as the wicked false teacher that I am!?

Logic said...

Eli,

have I ever said you are a "wicked false teacher"?

Stop putting words in my mouth.

-Logic

Logic said...

Chris,

What evidence do you base this claim on?:

"there are only 2 entities in this existence we live, God and the Devil, Heaven and Hell, and if your not following one, and letting one guide everything that you do, you are letting the other."

Please, tell me how you have arrived at such an incredible revelation!? I wish to become enlightened to this fantastic knowledge as well!!

Last I checked, not only do God and the Devil exist, but angels, demons, people and animals exist as well. I must have been mistaken.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'letting one guide everything that you do', but it sounds like you're saying that we don't have free will. I am fairly certain that neither God, nor the devil, is guiding me when I decide which pair of socks to put on in the morning. Perhaps it is the devil though... i tend to mismatch unintentionally sometimes.

-Logic

Adam Wright said...

Logic, I agree. Mismatched socks are evil and are from the devil.

I do think that this person is commenting on the statement Jesus made that says "you must follow me or the devil". Forgive me, I don't have my bible close and I cannot remember where it is. I agree that this statement could be interpreted as a lack of freewill. However, I do think that both God and Satan make us fully aware of how we could follow their patterns. This still suggests freewill. I will admit that I am not certain how angels and demons interact with us except for serving their own ideologies. However, I don't think that we as humans can be completely ignorant to both God and Satan. I am not suggesting a dualism, either. I think our flesh and former sinful nature instruct us on evil; the Holy Spirit teaches us about God. This of course can be seasoned by saying that we must choose to buy-in to whatever course of action we decide to take.

I do have a question, though. If we truly have freewill, how does this account for the default sinful nature that we as humans are born with? Would this not suggest that we are guilty without any form of choice? I realize that our guilt hovers over our choices in life, so to speak. Can we truly say that God's removal of this blanket of guilt, which we have freewill within, is our choice? I hope I make this clear.

Eli said...

A brother in Christ I know recently said it very well:

"Justification by faith, sanctification by faith."

Sanctification is obtained by faith just like any other good and perfect gift from the Father. But if you don't believe you can be sanctified, you needn't expect to be.