22. Sanctification

By John Thiel, First Angel’s Message, study 22, mp3

As we beheld the Godhead at work for us in our previous studies did we not desire to enter into a discipleship with God?  We are to come to the point where justification takes deep root inside of our heart.

We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.  {SC 62.2}

Does that not relieve the person who is a sinner and who knows his condition in contrast to Gods perfection?  We are before God just as though we had not sinned.  This person is justified.  He is declared righteous, he is a just person.  He is free, he is at liberty.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Although we are at liberty, although in that condition with open face we behold the glory of the Lord and are changed into the same image, the changing continues.  A change has taken place in justification and now being justified we are set at liberty and now we move on in the change from glory to glory.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 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.

He calls us, then justifies and then he glorifies us, or sanctifies.

Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Through the death of Jesus, we have been brought to a condition of being justified but the change continues.  We are reconciled by his death and now reconciled we shall be saved by his life.  This process is expressed;

Proverbs 4:11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. 18 But the path of the just [is] as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

God teaches us the way of wisdom and now we are in the right path it leads us on to the perfect day.  The path of apprenticeship leads us into justification as it continues.

Changed From Glory To Glory

Predestinated; called; justified; glorified (sanctified).  Therefore, if God be for us, who can be against us?

He who places himself where God can enlighten him, advances, as it were, from the partial obscurity of dawn to the full radiance of noonday. HP 75

This is the privilege of those who have been justified.  To move to brighter and brighter realms of glory.  When a person has been captivated by the heavenly mysteries, he hates his former life.

When he understands these things, his former life appears disgusting and hateful. He hates sin, and, breaking his heart before God, he embraces Christ as the life and joy of the soul. He renounces his former pleasures. He has a new mind, new affections, new interest, new will; his sorrows, and desires, and love are all new. . . . Heaven, which once possessed no charms, is now viewed in its riches and glory; and he contemplates it as his future home, where he shall see, love, and praise the One who hath redeemed him by His precious blood. The works of holiness, which appeared wearisome, are now his delight. The Word of God, which was dull and uninteresting, is now chosen as his study, the man of his counsel. It is as a letter written to him from God, bearing the inscription of the Eternal. His thoughts, his words, and his deeds are brought to this rule and tested. He trembles at the commands and threatenings which it contains, while he firmly grasps its promises and strengthens his soul by appropriating them to himself.  {FLB 139.2}

This is the ongoing activity.  This requires beholding the master, the older brother the one who has gone before us.

Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

How?  By his life.  Changed by his life.  We’ve been reconciled and justified but now changed.  By an apprenticeship, by his life.

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10 For it became him, for whom [are] all things, and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified [are] all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

Did you notice what he is?  He is the captain of our salvation. He was made perfect through suffering.  He who is sanctifying us is himself the master of that sanctification.  He himself is one in the process with us.  He is the one who has done it before and we are now following his trade of sanctification.  He prayed to God as he himself did this work and then prays for us.

John 17:13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

17:18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

Jesus who sanctifies us sanctified himself so that in the study of him in the truth all may be sanctified through the truth.

The Truth of Jesus Christ

We are saved by his life, the truth of his life.  We are sanctified by the sanctification with which he himself sanctified himself.  To understand the experience of sanctification you cannot explain it, it is insufficient.  Jesus says follow me.  Do as I do.  You repented as I did you died and rose as I did now follow in justification and sanctification.  Especially as you were justified by following me now you will be sanctified by following me.  We will be sanctified by the truth that He brought into existence.  It can only be understood by following Jesus in the action. What is sanctification?

Learn Its Meaning through Jesus

1 Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

To understand what sanctification means, you learn its meaning by the one who was made unto us sanctification.  He was made sanctification of God so we can look at him.  We understand the meaning of sanctification by understanding him in his life.  He himself is the meaning of the word.  Who was he? Jesus was made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption. He was made this in the man Christ Jesus and as you study Him you will understand what sanctification means.

Psalms 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou [art] my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

When Jesus was born on this earth he was in fulfilment of a decree that God had made way back there in the distant past.

Hebrews 1:4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

1:5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

1:6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

He the second person of the Godhead took a role to become a son submissive to a father when he by decree came to fulfil that role.  He is called the first begotten or first born.

Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

This is a very important statement that is typified in the Mosaic Law in reference to this subject of sanctification.  We are to understand it.

Exodus 13:2 Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, [both] of man and of beast: it [is] mine.

As God was teaching the Hebrew nation the subjects of sanctification, he did it by engaging them in every first born of every creature to be sanctified unto himself.  What did this mean?  Of all that was born, sanctify the first born. Jesus was the firstborn of all creatures typified by the first born of all the creatures of the Hebrews whether human or animal.  What does it mean by sanctify the first born?

Genesis 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

God sanctified the seventh day.  What did that mean?  When the Ten Commandments were written notice what is stated.  When God finished his work he sanctified the seventh day.

Exodus 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

20:11 For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

To sanctify the seventh day meant to set aside this day to hallow for holy use because in the commandment it says thou shalt not do any work thereon but you are to worship God that day.  It was set aside for holy use to be holy.

1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

To be set aside and to be sanctified for holy use means that it is to be holy.  We are to be holy as God is holy.  We are to be transformed from glory to glory, Gods perfect character. Therefore sanctification is the process of being made holy like the Sabbath was made holy.  Like everyone was set aside that was first begotten for holy use, Jesus the first begotten was holy and he came to this earth to develop holiness as an example for us.

Brighter and Brighter

Here is the call that we read that we should be changed from glory to glory as per 2 Corinthians 6.  We are set at liberty and now we are going to be changed from glory to glory.  The process is as the dawning day.  That process from the dusk of early morning through to the perfect brilliance of noonday is best portrayed by looking at Jesus.  We can look at the changing of our lifestyle but the best example is Jesus himself.  Remember we are justified by his death but sanctified by his life.  When was it that he sanctified himself?

Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

He sanctified himself while he was here in his life on earth living in his flesh.  What did he do?  With much prayer and supplication he cried to the father to save him. He learned obedience.  He was the first begotten, he was the son who received the first training of the whole human race.  He learned obedience by the things which he suffered.

Jesus is the one who demonstrates to us the process of sanctification.  He was the author of it. He was the one whose biography we are to read so we can be sanctified by the truth of it.

Hebrews 12:2 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

What a true statement this is.  As we try to reach for the high standards of Gods expectations we sometimes feel I can’t anymore and as it says we become weary and faint in our minds.  Gaze upon his sufferings who cried continually to God to help him.  He continually guarded his path by prayer and supplication and learnt obedience.

He Became the Author

We are to look unto him and then we will understand sanctification.  As Jesus grew from babyhood to full adult maturity we are to grow with him from the babyhood of justification to the adult of complete glorification through the process of sanctification.

Hebrews 5:13 For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

This is apostles Pauls wording in reference to us being babes and using the milk of the word first.  Having used the milk of the word we then grow thereby and develop into stronger food until finally we know how to use the word having our senses exercised.  Jesus grew from babyhood to adult hood and we are called to follow suit.

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

The church has been given the ministry;

Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

As Jesus was growing up from babyhood to adulthood under the tuition of his mother and the doctrines of the bible, we also are under the tuition of the gospel church and the saints are being perfected to grow up from babyhood unto a perfect man the stature of the fullness of Christ – full maturity. From the point in time from which you are justified, your growth in sanctification commences.  By the death and resurrection of Jesus the life of a new born creature takes place just like Jesus was born in Bethlehem and grew up, the believer is born through the resurrection that takes place through Jesus Christ.  Your growth now commences as it is also spelt out;

Philippians 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

The process of pressing on from something small to something big I do.  I have not attained to the full growth yet.  A baby doesn’t understand everything yet but grows. This is the development of the brain and of the mind of the image of God inside of us as we behold Jesus Christ from babyhood to adulthood.  This is sanctification as Jesus grew and so we grow and develop.  He is the master we are his apprentices.  If the in the process we make mistakes and sin and fall just like a little baby trying to walk, it trips and falls, what is the scriptural explanation of how to meet that?  We are being sanctified, we are growing we are developing, brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

Proverbs 24:16 For a just [man] falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

A man may fall but that doesn’t matter, he will rise again just like a baby is learning to walk.  It doesn’t stay down there and say I’ll never walk, it gets up again.

Psalms 37:23 The steps of a [good] man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

37:24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth [him with] his hand.

Just like an apprentice.  Every apprentice makes mistakes but it doesn’t mean he won’t become a fully qualified tradesman.

Micah 7:8 Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD [shall be] a light unto me.

7:9 I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, [and] I shall behold his righteousness.

He will bring me forth to the light.  Does that sound familiar?  Brighter and brighter unto the perfect day.  I made mistakes and I fall, sin took me but I rose again.  I continue to be lifted out of the darkness.  I will not fall again in that same way, I will come across another exercise I had not been prepared for.   I will learn from my mistakes.  The Lord is distressed about me and he is grieved when I make mistakes but he pleads my cause and he will bring me forth to the light.

When we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, we shall have no relish for sin; for Christ will be working with us. We may make mistakes, but we will hate the sin that caused the suffering of the Son of God.  {FLB 118.2}

If one who daily communes with God errs from the path, if he turns a moment from looking steadfastly unto Jesus, it is not because he sins willfully; for when he sees his mistake, he turns again, and fastens his eyes upon Jesus, and the fact that he has erred does not make him less dear to the heart of God. He knows that he has communion with the Saviour; and when reproved for his mistake in some matter of judgment, he does not walk sullenly, and complain of God, but turns the mistake into a victory.  {FLB 118.3}

We mistakes and fall like when a baby falls it trips over as it hasn’t learnt to take that particular step the right way.  We don’t want to sin, but we fail.  It is not because he sins wilfully for when he sees his mistake he turns again and fastens his eyes upon Jesus.

To all appearances you grow like a child grows.  Your sanctification is a process of looking to Jesus and as you look and grow you don’t realise that you are growing.  You are not there saying look I can do this now because you are concentrating on Jesus.  You don’t see a child glorifying in the fact that it is growing up unless you take the child against the door post and measure their height.  We don’t know we are growing.  This is the same in sanctification.  As it says in Proverbs, we will grow brighter and brighter unto the perfect day.

Imperceptibly to ourselves, we are changed day by day from our own ways and will into the ways and will of Christ, into the loveliness of his character. Thus we grow up into Christ, and unconsciously reflect his image.  {RH, April 28, 1891 par. 2}

It’s an unconscious reflection.  It is not something that you know is happening to you because you are concentrating on looking to Jesus and following his example.  Practising and as the tradesman is watching he becomes better imperceptibly.  Unconsciously to himself he is improving.  Along the way, the person who is being sanctified will more often than not be more concerned about his failure than his success.

Christ rejoiced that He could do more for His followers than they could ask or think. He spoke with assurance, knowing that an almighty decree had been given before the world was made. He knew that truth, armed with the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit, would conquer in the contest with evil; and that the bloodstained banner would wave triumphantly over His followers. He knew that the life of His trusting disciples would be like His, a series of uninterrupted victories, not seen to be such here, but recognized as such in the great hereafter.  {DA 679.2}

We will not see that we are having a series of uninterrupted victories we will see only our mistakes.  Just like any other learner, we will learn and unconsciously reflect the progress that we have made.  We will be fastidious on doing it right only.  If we make mistakes, we grapple with them and try to learn from them.  The change is not seen until later on when we look back on the period of our apprenticeship we will see the changes that were taking place to bring us to the point of the capabilities of mastery and graduation of our apprenticeship.  The graduation will be when we will be in the great hereafter and we will look back and see a series of uninterrupted victories that we can’t see now.  This needs to be our constant encouragement that if we have been justified we are as if we had not sinned.  As we continue to concentrate on following Jesus every step along the way, we are having a series of uninterrupted victories.  Justification is an acceptance before God that will be constantly abiding with us and the growth of change will be constantly there. The past may have had its mistakes but the present is a process of uninterrupted victories.  We will grow forgetful of any sense of glory about ourselves.  We will be unconscious of that.  We will also be determined that we are not going to stop and think now I have reached it, no we will press on until we have reached the condition where God can say well done faithful servant. We have covered every aspect of sanctification in its process from the beginning of sanctification through to the end.  There will be hiccups along the way but we will not become weary but we will persevere. We will look to him who learnt obedience through the things which he suffered.  Jesus went through it and he is here right with me. This is the process of sanctification.


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Posted on 09/07/2009, in 1st Angel's Message and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. My opinion of Justification by faith does not involve an imputation of Christ righteousness on the account of the believer, but it involves God creating unity (sociology not soteriology) between Jews and Gentiles (see Acts 15, & 21). Both Jews and Gentiles are accepted before God as equals. In the 1st century Gentiles were depicted as inferior, if they didn’t convert to Judaism (613 Commandments). However Paul’s purpose of Romans was to remind the Jews, that Gentiles even though under the natural (Noahide) law do not have to become circumcised in order for God to accept them as an equal. Just as God has accepted Melchizedek (uncircumcised) as an equal to Christ (circumcised) (see Heb 7:1-3) so God accepts both Jews and Gentiles as equals (see Gal 3:28). Paul seeks to put an end to discrimination among both Jews and Gentiles, Paul sought to clarify to the Gentiles that Jews though circumcised are still God’s people even as Christ was accepted who was born and then circumcised on the eight day. Justification is not by faith alone but it also involves work Romans 2:7-13 “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.12All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” In Galatians 3:28 It states, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” As Christ the Jew is equal to Melchizedek the Gentile, so it is with both Jews and Gentiles, God the Father accepts both there is no inferiority. Sin enters the moment we discriminate against one another, by discriminating we are not keeping the law that states in, Mat 22 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'[b] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

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