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Monday, October 30, 2006

Sanctification - Growth In Holiness

2 CORINTHIANS 6:14-7:1


The word sanctification invovles the idea of purity, holiness. The Greek words for saint, sanctify, sanctification, holy, holiness all come from the same root word. They are all related words. When we speak of sanctification we are of necessity addressing one's relationship to holiness.

Our sanctification is the will of God according to verse three. God’s will is that we be purified, that we be made increasingly holy. To be holy is to be separate from sin. Sin is, according to the Scripture, a transgression of the law. Thus, God’s will is that we transgress the law less and less. This is the objective of sanctification. In this process we become more like Jesus who never transgressed the law.

In fact it is interesting to note the context in which we are told that our sanctification is the will of God.

Vs: 1 –
It has to do with how we ought to walk
Walk – Live, deport one’s self.
Ought - Necessary (as binding): be meet, must (needs), (be) need(-ful), should.
There is a way we ought to live. If There is a way we ought to live then there is a way we ought not to live. But "boy howdy" start telling some people how they ought to live and watch the fireworks. The flesh is very aggressive in defending the territory it has staked out.

And to please God
Holiness pleases God. Worldliness does not please God. We are to please God in our daily walk. I am thinking that there would not be much disagreement here. Everyone would agree that holiness pleases God and worldliness does not please God. The problem is in how we define holiness and worldliness. One things seems obvious we should all be concerned about having the right percpetion concerning holiness and worldliness because our veiw of these two vital areas will ultimately determine the degree to which we please God.

So ye would abound more and more
Our lives should be more and more characterized by holiness, separation from sin and the world.
Abounding more and more is the essence of sanctification.

Vs: 2 –
The commandments we gave you
Sanctification is in the context of commandments and consequent obedience. Paul gave them commandments. Today no one wants commandments at least not any that do not suit their fancy or that would demand a change in their lifestyle, manner of dress, choices of entertainment, etc…

By the Lord Jesus Christ.
Obviously the New Testament is not adverse to commandments in spite of what many would have us believe. The commandments that Paul gave were by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Vs: 3 –
For this is the will of God
Walking in a way that reveals a pursuit of holiness. Walking to please God. Abounding therein more and more. Acknowledging and obeying the commandments.

Even your sanctification
This is the practical method for allowing the sanctification to be brought about in our lives.
When we are following the aforementioned pattern we are being sanctified.

Vs: 4 –
That everyone one of you should know how to possess his vessel
It is experiencing the sanctification process in our lives that causes us to know how to possess our vessels. What is the vessel? Is it not the body??? Of course it is. So much for the argument that God is only concerned about the heart! This is an insidious doctrine that allows people to embrace hedonism with impunity. It allows people to practice worldliness and believe they are spiritual. God is interested in us knowing how to possess our vessels.

In sanctification and honour
Sanctification – Purification, holiness.
Honour - a value, i.e. money paid, or (concretely and collectively) valuables; by analogy, esteem (especially of the highest degree), or the dignity itself

Vs: 5 –
Not in the lust of concupiscence
Lust – Passion, inordinate affection
Concupiscence - A longing (especially for what is forbidden)

Even as the Gentiles which know not God
The frightful reality is that we can live like the Gentiles that know not God. Are we not doing that very thing when we adopt their styles of dress and hair styles, and choices of entertainment, etc……
It should not be about what we want, but more about what pleases God. Is God pleased with my level of separation? Could I make some changes that would result in him being more pleased? Or will I allow the lust of concupiscence to continue to control my heart and decisions so that I am living even as the Gentiles that know not God.

I want to leave off this aspect of sanctification for a bit and turn our attention to two other aspects of sanctification. Our positional sanctification wherein we are delivered from the penalty of sin, and then turn the corner and examine our permanent sanctification in which we are delivered from the presence of sin. Then at the end of the message we will come full circle and arrive back at the emphasis of our introduction as we deal more extensively with our progressive sanctification by which we are delivered from the power of sin.

Different spiritual family.
Before we are saved.
Eph. 2:3 – Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
John 8:44 – Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Matthew 13:38 - The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
Acts 13:10 - And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
1 John 3:12 - Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.
The reality is that before we were saved the wicked one was our Father. We did his bidding and bore his likeness. Satan leaves his imprint upon his children.

After we are saved.
Romans 8:14-17 – For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Gal. 4:4-6 – But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
We are set apart into a different family. Once we are saved we live in the context of a new family where the Holy God of heaven is our Father. We now are to bare his likeness. Something is terribly wrong with some one being a part of God's family and looking and acting like they are part of the Devil's family. Is there no difference between the two families? Does the differences not make themselves known in the children of the respective families?? Should we not want to identify by how we dress, our attitudes, our spirit, our speech, our choices of entertainment that we belong to a family whose head is holy to an infinite degree?

Different kingdom.
Col. 1:13 – Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Acts 26:18 – To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Ephesians 5:8 - For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
1 Peter 2:9 - But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
When we get saved we are part of a different kingdom. We are no longer a part of the kingdom of darkness but we have been translated into the kingdom of his dear son, a kingdom of light. We are to be a holy nation. We are to be a peculiar people. That's where people really get scared. They do not want to be too peculiar. Neither do I. I simply want to be as different from this world as God himself is. To the degree that I achieve that which is usually not a very high degree I can never be too peculiar. We should not worry about the world thinking we are peculiar.
Different direction.
Eph. 2:1,2,10 – And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
2 Cor. 5:17 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Matt. 7:13,14 – Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
We are going in a different direction. Instead of heading south we are heading north. Instead of going down, we are going up. Why would we want to reflect the culture of those who are going south. All too often we are like Lot's wife who looked back to Sodom longing for the comfort, gaiety, and prosperity of the city. We want the acceptance of the world instead of the reproach of the Saviour.

Delivered from the battle of sin.
Galatians 5:17 - For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Rom. 7:14-23 – For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Is there any one who does not relate to the battle concerning sin. We all know it is there. The thing about the flesh is that it is never satisified. If you give the flesh a foothold it will transform it in time into a stronghold. The flesh will always demand more gratification. If you feed the flesh it will not have its hunger quenched it will have it aggravated. It will not be satisifed but it will be even more demanding. The problem is that people get comfortable with certain levels of sin in their life and when they do they are ripe for taking the next step into worldliness and away from holiness. You do anything long enough and you will be convinced that there is nothing wrong with it. It is called in biblical terminology "searing" the conscience.

Delivered from the burden of sin.
Rom. 7:24 – O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
1 John 1:8 - If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
Is this not our daily cry?? One of the genuine manifestations of a person who is perfecting holiness in the fear of God is that they are always mindful of their failings and tend to have a better understanding of how far they have to go.

Delivered to the banishment of sin.
1 John 3:1-3 - Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
Rev. 21:27 – And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Rom. 8:30 – Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
What a wonderful day that will be when we do not labor under the burden of the flesh, the world, and the devil. To be in a setting where sin poses no problems. To be freed completely from any desire or temptation to live at odds with God. In that day we will keep the law perfectly and it will not be grevious to us.

People are happy with the reality of positional sanctification, they anticipate the promise of permanent sanctification but they do not care to bother themselves, nor do they want anyone else to bother them with the present reality of progressive sanctification. It is my observation that many people, even sincere people take the position of “I am justified, I will one day be glorified in the meanwhile leave me alone so I can be satisfied.”

The power of realization.
Realise the truth about the world’s system.
1 John 5:19 - And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
Galatians 1:4 - Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
We must realize that the "world" is wicked. We begin the process of sanctification handicapped if we are unwilling to see the world system for what it is. It lies in wickedness. God's purpose in Christ is to deliver us from this present evil world. When we participate in the world with an open hand and embrace its precepts, and reasonings we diminsh immediately our ability to pursue holiness and piety with vigor.
Col. 2:8 - Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Some people live and interact with the world and adopt its dress code, entertainment choices, and speech patterns and feel that they are in no danger. How can this be?? The warning is clear! Beware!! We can be spoiled through several things and one of them is the rudiments of this world. That is the way the world looks at things. One of them is the tradition of men. That is the behaviour that has become the cultural norms. One of them is philosophy and vain deceit. That is the reasonings and empty logic of the world. It is so easy to be spoiled (the idea here is that of being plundered) because the flesh desires to move in that direction.
Realize the truth about the world’s ruler.
2 Corinthians 4:4 - In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Ephesians 2:2 - Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Who is in charge here? The devil is. I fully recognize that he does not have unlimited power, authority, or jurisdiction. But.......he has been permitted to have broad influence in the world in which we live. In may respect his work moves along mostly unhindered for now. As he sense that time is running out he will become more desperate. We must be careful about have too close of an allegiance with a system that is led by the arch-enemy of God. He who is a liar and a murderer.

Realize the truth about the world’s opposition.
John 15:18,19 - If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
This gives us some sense as to what we can expect from the world. I do not propose that we go about seeing what we can do to get the world to hate us. I think what we should draw from this is that the more we are like Jesus the more the world will hate us. And when we are hated by the world we need to remember that it hated him before it hated us. Why does the world hate us? Because we are not of the world? It is a given here that we would not be of the world and consequently would be hated by the world. Because we live at odds with the world system the world will hate us. While I do not propose to go about making an effort to get the world to hate us neither do I propose living in such a way that the world will not hate us. We should simply live right, live as we ought to live. When we do the world will hate us. Remember what the Scripture says. 2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

Realize the truth about the world’s repugnancy.
1 John 2:15 - Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
James 4:4 - Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
The world should be repugnant to us. Honesty though would require that we admit our tendency, our propensity is to love the world. To love the things in the world. I know that it is true of me, I suspect that it is true of your. Nevertheless, because it is our tendency does not mean that we have to give over to it. How we tend to be is not normally how we ought to be. It is important to recognize that when we love the world we become a spiritual adulter or adulteress. When we "buddy up" to the world we are placing ourselves at enmity with God. It is an amazing thought to me that the believer can live in such a way that he is in fact opposing God. God open my eyes and help me to see areas of my life where this is true!

The power of reckoning
Rom. 6:6-18 - Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

Vs: 6 – The old man is crucified, let us reckon it to be so.
That the body of sin might be destroyed.
That henceforth we should not serve sin.
What is sin? Sin is the transgression of the law.

Vs: 7 – The death of the old man = freedom from sin.
Dead men cannot be enticed. They are not subject to temptation. When temptation comes we must reckon ourselves to be dead to sin, because I am dead I will not be enticed. I will not live as though I am in bondage to sin and temptation.

Vs: 8,9 – We now have a spiritual life in Christ.
Gal. 2:20 – I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Vs: 10 – Christ died unto sin, and lives unto God.

Vs: 11 – We are to reckon some things base upon the foregoing realities.
We are dead to sin. We are alive unto God. All of this is through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Vs: 12 – Therefore.
Let not sin reign in your mortal body. Do not obey it in the lusts thereof.

Vs: 13 – To what will we yield??
This is the question?? This is where the verdict will be rendered concerning our sanctification.

Vs: 14 – Being under grace means that sin shall not have dominion over us.
What is sin? Sin is the transgression of the law! I am sick of hearing people justify breaking the commands of God based upon the premise of grace! Paul said the fact that we are under grace means that sin would not have dominion over us.

Vs: 15 – The answer to the debate.
Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace?
What is sin? Sin is the transgression of the law! Shall we transgress the law because we are not under the law but under grace? This is a great question. The answer does not sound an uncertain note. God forbid! The language could not be any stronger. God forbid - Expresses an absolute denial; (adverbially) not. Do we transgress the law because we are under grace. NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, A THOUSAND TIMES NO! Try to preach separation and some people will scream do not put us back under the law! For justification purposes we do not. For sanctification purposes we do. I hear Baptist preachers say things like that and I know they have been reading the thoughts of men more than they have their Bibles. Grace is not license. Many people say this but do not believe it in any practical way.

Vs: 16 – Our sanctification is dependent upon to what we yield ourselves to obey.
Are we going to yield to sin or to righteousness? Upon what basis are we going to attempt to determine what is sin and what is righteous? I trust the Bible. We will deal with this issue more fully in a later message.

Vs: 17 – We are no longer the servants of sin.
We do not have to live in bondage to sin. We can do the right thing. We can live the way we ought to live.

Vs: 18 – Being free from sin we are the servants of righteousness.

The power of purpose.
1 John 3:3 – And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
1 Thess. 4:7 – For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
Matt. 5:6 – Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Titus 2:11-15 – For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
2 Cor. 7:1 – Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
The bottom line is that God saved us to make us holy. The grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts not to justify it. God is seeking to create within us a hunger and thirst for righteousness. If we feed the flesh and accomodate the flesh we will slowly erode the work God is seeking to do. We will be found opposing the work of God in our lives. We will find ourselves to be the enemies of God. Why? Because we love the world and the things in the world.

We rejoice in our positional sanctification. We anticipate our permanent sanctification. Yet we give little effort or attention to our progressive sanctification. We are glad we have been changed. We expect to be changed. But please don’t ask me to do any changing!

May the Lord give us a heart that is willing to be changed. Changed for him and changed for good.
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