~John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Noah Webster defines the word sanctify here as:
To cleanse from corruption; to purify from sin; to make holy by detaching the affections from the world and its defilements, and exalting them to a supreme love to God.
I am totally convinced that the born again Christian who keeps claiming “grace” for his continued sin struggles with this verse. How can one who continues to act like the world say he is sanctified? Is that Christian cleansed from corruption? Is he purified from his sins? Is he making himself holy by detaching himself from the affections from the world and its defilements? I’m not talking about Christ’s blood covering our sins and salvation. I am talking about the on-going process of our spiritual walk after salvation. God is the Potter, we are the clay. He molds us into Christ’s image through sanctification – through our continued growing process as we read His Word.
Sanctification is a process. When we read God’s Word, the Holy Spirit wants to prick our hearts with conviction. When we respond to that conviction, we begin the process of sanctification.
Mr. Webster further defines this process of sanctification as:
The act of making holy. In an evangelical sense, the act of God’s grace by which the affections of men are purified or alienated from sin and the world, and exalted to a supreme love to God.
It is no wonder that today’s “church” is struggling! They are no longer in the act of making their lives holy. Instead, they are busy with distractions and not digging into God’s Word. This produces a church that does not separate themselves from the world – they act like the world – they talk like the world – they dress like the world! All because they look at God’s grace as though He looks the other way when they act like the unsaved! Christ took His salvation to the people, yes. He ate with them, He told them truth and He led them to truth. He always had a purpose and that was to lead them to truth. He didn’t compromise that truth by “acting” like them. The world sees Christians like this and they do not desire what they have for there is no difference between the two in their eyes. The Christian’s salt has lost its flavor!
Sanctifying ourselves means that we must daily strive towards being more Christ like. Would Christ use the Lord’s name in vain? Would Christ have a cursing mouth? Would Christ gossip? Would Christ get drunk? Would Christ have a temper tantrum? Would Christ steal? Our lives as Christians should be an on-going process of spiritual growth. Granted, we’re not going to be sinless – but we should sin less!! The more we hang out with the world and act like them, our standards will lower. How can one grow unless one sets himself apart from sin? How can one grow if one doesn’t make himself holy? Just because we are saved does not grant us the privilege of sinning! If this is what you are thinking, then something is not right with your spiritual walk.
Church today is big on God’s “grace” but they miss out on the half of it. They want His understanding and forgiveness but they do not want to purify themselves and alienate themselves from sin and the world. Sin brings pleasure and they are not so willing to part with it. This is the basis of our struggling church today. Man’s heart is desperately wicked and deceitful says Jeremiah 17:9. Why would we trust our own heart to make decisions when we are not sanctifying ourselves?
Granted, our salvation is not in question here. Christ’s blood covers us and we are assured Heaven because of HIS work, not ours. However, the process of allowing the Holy Spirit to be the Potter (and we the clay) who will mold us into Christ’s image is the process of sanctification. Surely we cannot be so brazen as to think that we can be saved and yet continue to live in sin. If that is the case, we are sorely mistaken. The Word of God is a “living” Word – it cleanses and purifies! Just as water cleanses our bodies, so is God’s Word to our spirit!
~2 Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
We walk on dangerous grounds when we trust our own heart to lead us down the Christian path!
~Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
God wants to show us where to go and how to live. He does not want us trusting in our own thoughts and desires but in Him! He wants us to lean on His understanding, now our own. How important it is to read His Word and allow His Spirit to guide us!
~1 Thessalonians 4:4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
How do you possess your vessel? Do you protect yourself from the temptations of this world? What are your weak areas? Do you have a pet weakness? Honor God with your actions. Honor God with your mouth. Honor God by sanctifying your life – set it apart from what the world does. Grace has nothing to do with us continuing to sin and act like the world. Grace has everything to do with salvation! Once we have received salvation, we must train ourselves to turn to God’s Word and allow the Holy Spirit to convict us and sanctify us! Wake up Church!