I would like to continue the theme that I began with the last article, sanctification, or holiness. With the last article, I looked at holiness and the call to holiness in the Old Testament, specifically for the nation of Israel. All were called to be holy, set apart by God for Gods’ purpose; to proclaim Him to others, to transmit the Word of God to the people as well as live out the Word of God in a practical manner. When Jesus Christ came to this earth and initiated the New Covenant, He did not abolish or negate the Word of God in the Old Testament but instead He came to fulfill it. Therefore, the idea of sanctification is applicable in the New Testament as well.
The Greek word for holy/sanctified is “hagios” which means pure, without defect (morally speaking), innocent, separate from the things around you. Some people believe that they can make themselves holy by doing certain things yet the Bible teaches that we must become holy, explaining how this is possible.
By this will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And indeed every priest stands daily ministering and offering often the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right of God, from then on expecting until His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified. (Heb 10:10-14)
It is clear from the text that we must be sanctified by God and His method of sanctification is through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for our sins. God has done the work, we have to accept His gift, believe that He has done and will do what He says. Of course, if we believe then we will live accordingly on a daily basis. In the process of sanctification there are 2 parts; God’s part (making it possible) and our part (choosing to live like He says). Jesus explains this process in His prayer for all His disciples, past, present, and future.
I do not pray for You to take them out of the world, but for You to keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through Your truth. Your Word is truth. As You have sent Me into the world, even so I have sent them into the world. And I sanctify Myself for their sakes, so that they also might be sanctified in truth. (Joh 17:15-19)
As disciples of Christ, our part in the process is explained here. We live in the world but we are not like the world. We are set apart (different) from the rest of the world because of the Word of God. We understand and apply God’s Word to our lives and we are made different in our characters.
What does this look like practically? Paul explains how we can live a life set apart for God, what it looks like practically.
For this is the will of God, your sanctification, for you to abstain from fornication, each one of you to know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor (not in the passion of lust, even as the nations who do not know God), not to go beyond and defraud his brother in this matter (because the Lord is the avenger concerning all these, as we also have forewarned you and testified). For God has not called us to uncleanness, but in sanctification. Therefore he who despises does not despise man, but God, who also has given us His Holy Spirit. (1Th 4:3-8)
Some people pray for years and years wanting to know what God’s will for their lives is yet God has already explained what His will for you here in this passage. God wants us to be sanctified, live a sanctified life. What does it look like? We are to abstain from fornication (any form of sexual activity outside the confines of marriage between a man and a woman). This includes pornography, cohabitation, incest, having sexual relations with a person in your mind, masturbation, phone sex, etc. You cannot possess your body in honor if your practice the previously mentioned sins and you are not living a life of sanctification. In fact, when you live a lifestyle of slavery to sexual immorality, you prove through your actions that you do not know God. Those who live in the passions of lust are called “pagans’ here who do not know God. Please do not deceive yourself, thinking that you can live as a slave to sin and be a Christian at the same time. The 2 things are like oil and water, they are not compatible.
Is a life of sanctification/holiness for all in the church or just a certain few (the leaders and super dedicated)?
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for possession, so that you might speak of the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (1Pe 2:9)
Peter is speaking to Christians here (not just the leaders of the church but all Christians). We have been chosen by God to be different from the rest of the world. All believers are to be holy (sanctified) and we have a special calling in life, we are to speak of the excellencies of God who called us out of the darkness of slavery to sin to the marvelous light of freedom.
As we can see, God calls all Christians to be sanctified, holy and to deny this is to deny the Word of God. To claim that you can be a Christian without being holy, living like the rest of the world as a slave to sin, is self-deception. My dear friend, have you been deceiving yourself? Would you like to become a saint (as God calls all Christians to be)?