SANCTIFICATION is a word that means, “being made holy, or purified.” A comprehensive definition of sanctification states,
“Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of His holiness; that it is a progressive work; that it is begun in regeneration; and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, the Sealer and Comforter, in the continual use of the appointed means-especially the Word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness, and prayer.
Nothing can be more crucial to our view of sanctification than this truth. When people become holy, they completely conform their behavior to follow Jesus’ example. Anything less than that is a lowering of the standard set by Scripture. The definition above, however, implies that Christ is more than our pattern. He Himself provides His holiness for those united with Him. He is our sanctification.
For I, the Lord, am the one who brought you up from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. Therefore, you must be holy because I am holy. Leviticus 11:45 (NLT)
Jeremy looked toward the man who had raised him. Although not his real father, Sean had protected him from the other gang members. He’d treated him gently when he was a little boy but then taught him how to survive and how to treat the others who’d challenge his right to exist. Jeremy owed this man a lot.
“Jeremy, come here. I need you to take Hank out, once and for all. You know how the man has been a thorn in my side for years. Well, I’ve had it. Some of the guys think you’re chicken so this’ll prove that you ain’t.” Sean scowled toward the locked door leading to the large room where everyone came together at the end of the day’s ride. “They think that because I raised you, you leave me to do all the stuff you should be doin’. I raised you to be like me, didn’t I? Well, get goin’ and come see me when you get back.”
Jeremy strutted toward the door, flipped the latch, and strode into the larger room. Heads turned as conversations came to a screeching halt. Jeremy swaggered as Sean did, grabbed Hank by the shoulder and lifted him bodily from his chair. The others watched, silently.
Jeremy owed Sean his life so he reflected everything that was unique about Sean, his swagger, his demeanor, and his attitude about life. God wants us to reflect Him. Because He is Holy, we should be holy, separate, and not with the mindset of this world. We should show others how much God cares for them, allowing Him and Him alone to be their judge. We should act as if Jesus was walking beside us, as He is all the time.
Does that mean that we should shun those who are not followers of Jesus? Definitely not. Jesus didn’t shun non-believers and neither should we. We just don’t have to act as they do. As long as we love them, they will accept us. It’s not our acts that make us welcome; it’s our attitude toward them. If we are Holy, not hypocritical and they can see that our walk matches our talk, they will welcome us with respect.
Father, help us to act as if we are set apart, Holy reflections of Your glory, love and mercy to the people You bring into our path. Help us defeat the enemy by not giving into the temptations of this world but by loving all whom You love and who You died for. Amenby
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT)
Derek grabbed the large book that stood out on the warn book shelf in his office. He turned to the page he wanted and read a passage written by the founder of the club. This was how he should handle the situation facing him. It made sense. Derek picked up the phone. “Jase, get in here. We need ta talk.” Derek slammed his phone onto the desk, a piece of furniture that had seen better days.
A tall man with a scruffy, gray flowing beard walked through the doorway. “What’s up?” He sat in the chair in front of Derek’s desk. He crossed one leg over the other and slouched.
“Man, you gotta stop treatin’ the guys as if they count for nothing’. They’ve earned their patch, same as you. The book says…”
“What book you talkin’ about? You mean that old thing.” Jase pointed to the worn volume on Derek’s desk. “It was written a long time ago. Things have changed…”
“They haven’t, not really. When this book was written, the guys acted the same as they do today and…” Derek picked up the heavy book and opened it to the page he was referring to. “See, it says here…”
The Bible is our book of instruction for right living today. Although it was written a long time ago, God knew that the truths that he wanted us to know for life would not change. He gave us passages to teach us, to inspire us, and to show us where we’ve been wrong and what to do about it.
The Bible has not changed and even though the passages are written about a specific time long ago, they apply every bit today as they did then. God has not changed and does not expect that because we live in the 21st century that we should discard some parts of His Word because our culture is different. People are the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. The only thing that has changed is our respect for God.
Father help me see that Your Word is applicable to today’s world every bit as much as it applied to ancient times. Help me understand the principles for right living so I can be pleasing to You and be a proper reflection of You to the people around me. Amenby
But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness. 2 Peter 3:13 (NLT)
Sloan sat across the table from his new wife. They’d been married for almost a month. It was time he told her about Jesus. “I should have done this a long time ago but I was afraid you’d run. Betsy, Jesus is the reason I treat you differently than the other guys do their women. Jesus is the reason I try hard to earn a good living, honestly, not dealing drugs. The guys know that I have limits but they’ve come to respect my views so they leave me alone but you and I need to be on the same page.”
Betsy stood and strode over to the oven. She pulled the roast she’d been preparing out and checked it to see if it was done cooking and then placed it back for another half hour or so. She wiped her hands on a clean dishtowel and leaned back against the stove looking at the man she was crazy about. “Sloan, I woulda never married you if you’d been doin that stuff. I knew there was something different but I wasn’t sure what. I shoulda asked, I guess but…”
“Yeah, I know. Fear. That’s not from God. Christians have an enemy and he wants nothing better than that we are too afraid to speak out. But not anymore. I want to know that you will be in heaven with me some day.” Sloan proceeded to tell Betsy about how he found Jesus and why knowing Him made such a difference in his life. Betsy listened, not fully understanding but anxious to be one with her husband on this other level. She also wanted to have peace in her heart about God and all the religious stuff she’d been running from for years.
Their cup of coffee grew cold as Sloan explained God’s gift of salvation. Betsy’s heart became receptive and she asked Jesus to come into her life. She sighed. A deep feeling of peace and understanding seeped into every corner of her heart. Her smile was radiant as was Sloan’s. “There’s more. One day God will cleanse the earth with fire and make a new earth where everyone will be filled with His righteousness. There will be love, peace, patience…”
“And no more gun fights, drug busts, murders raps…”
“That’s right. Isn’t that something great to look forward to?” Sloan hugged her. We are now truly one.
Father, I look forward to the day when all will be as You once created our world to be. When people get along, animals live side by side, and there are no more wars, or rumors of wars. Bring Your peace Lord, soon, so that we can all begin living eternally for You, no deviations or backward steps. Amenby
And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory. Romans 8:30 (NLT)
Jeremy rocked back on his heels. He looked into the face of the man who stood at his side.”What’s eatin ya, Digger?” Jeremy twisted the bolt on the wheel he’d just fixed. His bike was ready for the iron butt run he was planning with his buddies.
“Aw, I just thought…I mean…I hoped…Why didn’t ya choose me to ride with? I’ve been hopin to make this run some day and…well…I trust ya, man. We could do it together.” Digger kicked some sand with the toe of his boot.
“Digger, the guys…and me too…thought you’d chicken out again, like ya did last year. We wanted someone we could count on to go the distance.” Jeremy stood, his six foot two inches towering over the older man. He wiped the grease from his hands and tucked the rag into his back pocket.
Jeremy knew, before he even asked Digger, whether the man would accept his invitation to ride or not. Not because of any psychic power but because he knew Digger and knew his past. God knows us. He knew us before we were born and He knows whether we will accept or reject His free gift of salvation.
He holds the gift of salvation out to everyone, nonetheless. He brings people into our lives who will point the way but the final decision is up to us. The ones who accept become His chosen, the ones who don’t miss out on His glory when they die. They miss the chance to stand before the throne of God and look into His wonderful face. They miss the chance to have a glorified body just like His.
Father, open my eyes to the people around me who You’ve called to be Your own. Holy Spirit, place within all I meet the desire to be with You in heaven, to be chosen for a new glorified body when they leave this earth for the heavenly home You have prepared for them. Amenby
For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. Ephesians 2:14 (NLT)
Jones walked across the compound, one hand squeezing his arm in an effort to stop the blood gushing from the wound near his elbow. He was only making it worse but no one was there to help him. He was on his own. The rumble had gone as expected. He knew that the gang he and his buddies fought wouldn’t be back anytime soon. They’d lost a lot of members tonight. But he was losing a lot of blood. He’d better get back to the clubhouse.
Jones was a member of a black group of teenagers who had commandeered the streets around their homes as their turf. No other people, especially Italians, Mexicans, Irish, or Jews were allowed within shouting distance of their streets. Each group kept to their own kind, made sure their woman were never seen with the others, and kept their families too frightened to step out of their boundaries either. There were repercussions for disobeying the set of rules they’d established for the neighborhood.
That’s the way it was in Jesus time. Jews and Gentiles did not mix, didn’t eat together and never intermarried. In fact the Jews would take the long way around an area they knew was the home of gentiles and the gentiles did the same. Jesus changed all of that when He died on the cross.
He made the rules obsolete, redundant. He tore down the walls between the races. People today still like to hang with their own kind, believing that there version of the Bible is the correct one or that their interpretation, their set of sacraments are for their own kind only. According to Paul, when he wrote to the church in Ephesus, Jesus united Jews and Gentiles. If we are living as Christ would have us live, there would always be unity among believers, especially on the importance of His message of salvation, a message given to all people for all time.
Father, help us look at others the way You want us to and treat them with the respect that You would have us treat them. Help us focus on our similarities and not our differences so that we can love them, and worship You with them. Amen.by
So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is
the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT)
Jennifer reached into the drawer and removed the knife she needed to peel the potatoes. The bin held more potatoes than Jennifer had seen at one time in her whole life. She began to hum. I’d better get at it if these are going to be ready for the supper bell.
“Hey, gal. You gonna hum like that all day. No one has a right to be happy in a place like this.” Corinne opened the fridge and began removing the vegetables needed for the stew, the main part of tonight’s menu. She slammed the large commercial sized fridge door shut and thumped a large arm load of beets, carrots, and celery on the counter. “Ever since you got that Jesus stuff rammed down your throat, you ain’t the same. Why’s that? You’re still here.”
“Corinne, I understand more about the love of Christ every day. The more I study my Bible, the more I know that Jesus is the answer for you too. You know how much I hated that laundry detail. The detergent was making my eczema worse and now look where I am. God cares about us…even here.”
“Oh, give me a break. I don’t need none of that religious stuff to get through my time. I’m doin just fine.” Corinne turned her back so that Jennifer couldn’t see the look of fear on her face. That morning she’d received a death threat from one of the other inmates, a woman who wanted her stash of smokes.
“Corinne, it’s like I can see things more clearly now. I know that once I serve my time, I’ll be able to go straight and stay that way…make a new life for myself. I also know that should something happen to me, I would go to heaven and that’s the most comforting thought of all…in a place like this.”
Jennifer had had the veil (the blinders) lifted from her face. Non-believers can read through the scriptures over and over again but still everything is a mystery. For believers, like Jennifer, they see clearly, they understand what the Bible tells them about Jesus Christ. Jennifer was able to reflect his image to the other women around her. She was learning every day ways to make her life more tolerable as she focused on Christ and not on her circumstances.
Lord Jesus, thank You for lifting the veil of mystery from my eyes. Thank You for allowing me a deeper understanding of Your word every day and help me practice what I read so others will see that You are the answer for them too. Amenby
Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right
standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Romans 8:33-34 (NLT)
Tom Derrick stood before the 12 men and women assembled in the courtroom. This was his last chance to sway their thinking. He needed them to believe in his client’s innocence if he was going to get the man off on the charges the district attorney had leveled at him.
He began reciting the merits of his case and the merits of his client. “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you’ve heard the district attorney tell you of the heinous crimes committed by my client. You’ve also heard the evidence and while it is compelling, there are other facts to be considered. The crimes my client is accused of has already been paid for. The district attorney would have you believe that you need to make my client pay restitution all over again but the law clearly states that…”
This is exactly what Jesus does for us. When Satan, our enemy accuses us before the Father, Jesus, our Advocate, pleads our case. He reminds the Father that He died for whatever sin we committed, and His death paid the price that God prescribed for us when we were found guilty.
Tom Derrick is only a man, a good lawyer, but still just a man. Jesus Christ is God Himself and what better advocate could we possibly have on our side than God. We are His own and while the enemy would claim that we are not worth God’s time, God has already decided otherwise. He sent His Son to a cruel death because He loves us. Let His death count. Seek Him, accept Him, and walk with Him in all ways.
Father, You have become my advocate and that is such a hard concept to believe. I am not worthy of You Lord, nor do I understand that kind of love but, God, I do love You and I have accepted that while I do not understand, I can believe anyway. Thank You. Amenby