Monday, July 25, 2022

Sanctified By Truth

The Bible tells us that man is a triune being. "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 5:23) However, most people tend to find this difficult. They can accept a dual nature, that is, the body and soul (mind, will and emotions) because these entities are obvious and easily recognizable. Nevertheless, the scriptures do not reveal man as a dual being, but a triune being like God Himself. (1 John 5:7)

What the Apostle Paul is talking about in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 is sanctification. As defined by Noah Webster, sanctification is, "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. The act of consecrating or of setting apart for a sacred purpose; consecration." One of the issues that many believe find when looking at the subject of sanctification is that in the common translation of our English Bible, there is very little distinction made between soul and spirit. However, the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Ephesus reveals the fine distinction of the soul and spirit. The writer of Hebrews tells us, "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)

Until one is born again, the human spirit lies dormant and under the sway of the soul and body. "And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” (Genesis 6:3) The Apostle Paul reveals the works of the flesh and shows us the war between the flesh (the five senses) and the recreated human spirit. "For the flesh (senses) lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish." (Galatians 6:17) But, when the human spirit is touched by the Spirit of God, a quickening immediately takes place. The dead human spirit comes alive and begins to operate within. It begins to discerns the things in this present life like never before, but even  more exciting, it reaches beyond this life and becomes the avenue by which the believer touches God and God moves upon the believer. This gives the believer the ability to comprehend and know heavenly things. PTL "But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding." (Job 32:8)    

The believers sanctification is a process of God working in us our entire life which began the moment of becoming born again. It is a real conversion that awakens the unbeliever to a consciousness of the Fatherhood of God through faith in Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God." (Romans 8:16) However, in order to become more aware of this beautiful union with God, it is necessary that everything be removed that hinders this new consciousness and dulls the understanding and knowledge of God. It is sin in the life that hinders the process of sanctification. "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear." (Isaiah 59:2)   

Notice that Paul tells us, "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 5:23) God is at work in the believer (Philippians 2:13) transforming us into the image of Christ from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18) The Apostle Paul tells us how we can askew sin and let the work of God prevail in our lives. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:1-2) 

Believers are to dedicate their body to the service of God as well as renew their mind (with the Word of God) so their recreated spirit dominates their life. This has absolutely nothing to do with rules and regulations, but the believers continuous response to God's grace. "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age." (Titus 2:11-12) The greatest struggle that the believer faces is not one with Satan, Jesus defeated him and gave authority to the church to uphold and enforce that defeat, (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:17-18; Luke 10:19; Ephesians 1:19-23; Colossians 2:15), no, it is the believers mind where the greatest struggle exists. This is why we are to renew our mind with God's Word. Our minds must stay fixed on Christ, so that we reflect His glory, show forth His love and evidence His power. 

It should be a wonderful thing for believers to know that if we are willing to sell out to God and let Him complete the work (sanctification) that He started in us the day we were born again, He will purge and drive out every particle of evil and every sensuous or lustful thing in our thoughts so that we become on earth, what Jesus was on earth. We should think on terms that sin soils and defiles us. It is an unholy thing that waits at the door and has a desire to keep us from fellowship with God. So, let us take a stand and know that "...we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2)

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