The word "holiness" means spiritual and moral purity, being undefiled in soul and in body, not involved in evil.
Holy means undefiled, not being involved in evil (Heb. 7:26).
Only the Triune God is holy in the absolute sense, i.e. in the highest meaning of the word. "Who is like unto Thee, O Lord... glorious in holiness?" (Ex. 15:11) "There is none holy as the Lord" (1 Sam. 2:2). "Thou only art holy" (Rev. 15:4).
All those who separate themselves and who surrender themselves as God's possession, become holy. God makes them saints, i.e. pure, unblemished in spirit, soul and body—and He Himself performs this (1 Thess. 5:23).
This process of separation and surrender to God, this process of acquiring the characteristics of holiness is called sanctification.
The word "sanctification" means separation, selection, and consecration as a possession of God. Apart from God there can be no holiness. As a holy God He is an enemy of
all evil. For wickedness, for sin, He is a consuming fire (Deut. 4:24). "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Heb. 10:31). When Isaiah saw the Lord and heard the words, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts" he exclaimed, "Woe is me! For I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips" (Isa. 6:3-5).
Not only Isaiah must pronounce such a judgement upon himself, for the Word of God says that every one who is born of a woman is unclean (Job 15:14).
"There is none righteous, no, not one ... they are together become unprofitable, there is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Rom. 3:10-12). Yet God showed people such great mercy that He freely gave them purity, holiness and salvation (1 Cor. 1:30).
How does God perform sanctification, and how does He make holy what was unclean?
In the Word of God we see that in the Old Testament, sanctification began with separation. That which God had chosen for purification He separated out from the rest. For purification, it was necessary for the people of Israel to separate themselves from the people of Egypt, to be the Lord's possession (Lev. 20:24; Deut. 7:6; Psa. 114:1, 2). The Levites were required to separate themselves from the people of Israel as a possession of the Lord (Num. 8:14). During purification, the sons of Aaron were required to separate themselves from out of the midst of the people of Israel as a possession to the Lord, in order to fulfil their priestly duties (Ex. 28:1).
But separation is only the first part of sanctification. After separation the Israelites were required to wash themselves in order to cleanse themselves from any defilement and sin. For that purpose they washed themselves with water, then they brought a clean and unblemished animal, placed their hands on the head of the sacrificial animal and so identified with it, that is, they became one with the sacrifice, consequently their sin was transferred to the sacrifice and the holiness, purity and blamelessness of the sacrifice was imputed to the one who offered the sacrifice. Then the sacrificial animal, which now had the sin upon it, had to undergo fire, that is, it had to be burned by the consuming fire. However, the heart of the one who had received holiness and purity was filled with the awareness of complete peace with God, complete innocence, purity and holiness (Num. 8:6, 7, 12).
In the New Testament the Lord has abolished all human mediators and animal sacrifices as a means of purification and has made every believer a priest unto Himself (1 Peter 2:9). Therefore we, the priests of the New Covenant, must learn both from the model of the Old Testament as well as from the pattern of Old Testamental sanctification which was performed at the consecration of the priests. It began with:
1. Separation (Ex. 28:1), this was followed by
2. Purification (Ex. 29:4, 10-14) and finally
3. Anointing with holy oil (Ex. 40:13-15).
This pattern is full of simplicity and wisdom. If there was even the slightest violation of this God-ordained order, purification could not be attained; for it is impossible to purify the one who has not been separated from an unclean environment. How much less can one, who has not purified himself, be anointed with oil? The Old Testament pattern of sanctification is, for us today, only significant as an example and an instructional type. Jesus Christ has never violated any of the regulations (for they are established by God) but has given us higher expectations regarding sanctification. Christ has replaced the ritual holiness, which focused on the outer purity, with an infinitely higher inner holiness which is based on the purification and renewal of the mind and the heart.
In order to perform this most blessed sanctification, the Lord gave incomparably precious means. God Himself approached mankind in order to sanctify them. In place of the blood of animal sacrifices He gave His Son, our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and His precious, holy blood (John 1:29; Heb. 9:12). Instead of the holy oil He gave us, the believers, the anointing of His Holy Spirit (1 John 2:20) and made our bodies the Temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in us (1 Cor. 6:19). However, God did not change the order of sanctification.
The precious truths regarding separation, purity and the filling of the Holy Spirit permeate the whole teaching of the New Testament.
Regarding separation we read: "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (2 Cor. 6:17). "Let him deny himself (Matt. 16:24). "Whosoever he be of you that for saketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33). "Ye ... have been taught by him ... that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man" (Eph. 4:21, 22).
God's desire is, through separation from all sins, to free us from everything to which our heart is in bondage and from ourselves as well, for only then is purification possible. What does the Word say regarding purification?
After the sin has been forsaken, even after separation, we are still unclean; sin still clings to us. The apostle Paul says: "Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit" (2 Cor. 7:1). But when we have separated ourselves from sin, then purification is possible: "Come now, and let us reason together," saith the Lord, "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow " (Isa. 1:18). "The Blood of Jesus Christ... cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).
Only after purification is the filling of the Holy Spirit possible, for it is written: "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" (2 Tim. 2:21).
When our heart is pure, then we are required to, and can be, filled with the Holy Spirit more and more (Eph. 5:18).
When the temple is free from the idols of sin, the Lord fills us more and more with the Holy Spirit, as it is written: "I will dwell in them, and walk in them" (2 Cor. 6:16). By living in us and walking in us He also makes our walk holy.
The great truths regarding sanctification are also explained in many other places in the Holy Scriptures. However, the essence is the same: the one who is being sanctified must increasingly remove himself from every sin and purify himself and continually be filled with the grace of God for his walk in holiness.
The words "lay aside," "mortify," "unclothe," occur throughout Scripture. They exhort us to separation, to the removal of every sin and summon us to sanctification.
The words "risen with Him," "be filled," "be clothed," exhort us to be filled with the Holy Spirit and with the grace of God (Eph. 4:22-24).
God pursues very definite goals in the process of sanctificarion.
First, He wants to free His people from the law of sin (Rom. 8:2), to lead them in the way of ever increasing holiness— "He that is holy, let him be holy still" (Rev. 22:11) — and to keep them in constant readiness for the Rapture.
Second, He wants to take full possession of His people to use them for holy works and for His glory. "For the Lord's portion is His people ..." (Deut. 32:9). "Ye are not your own" (1 Cor. 6:19). "Ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me..." (Ex. 19:5).
On the day of our conversion to the Lord we merely stepped over the threshold of God's house. In spite of taking the most important step, nevertheless, we only took the first step on the way of a holy life before God which lies before us. When a child of God, which has taken this step, remains satisfied with this step and does not continue walking in the way of further sanctification, he will inevitably fall into sin and move toward destruction.
Israel escaped out of Egypt and was baptized in the Red Sea (1 Cor. 10:2). Although they had escaped from the Egyptians, they were not released from their sins, for one cannot flee from oneself. This resulted in the situation that, even though Egypt no longer threatened her with anything, the vice and sin which revealed itself on the way to Canaan dashed many into destruction (1 Cor. 10).
We, who on the day of our conversion stepped out of the world and were baptized in Christ Jesus but did not separate from our natural character, from our sins and vices, are like that too. If we do not free ourselves more and more from our sins and vices, we will not have the victory over them, but they will have the victory over us and bring us down to destruction. The Lord has not chosen us just so we could be called saints but rather, so that we should be holy (Eph. 1:4).
One cannot call such a person holy who, on the day of his conversion, has abandoned such big, conspicuous sins as drunkenness, filthy talk, smoking and similar things and yet, at the same time, has retained greed, envy or hatred. That is not holiness. Even though you do not commit adultery, yet you look on a woman with lust; or you do not kill, yet you arc full of hatred (Matt. 5:28; 1 John 3:15/ That is not holiness but sin which has resettled from the outside and hidden itself on the inside. That is a dangerous, inner sickness that will burst out whenever an opportunity arises. That is a hidden uncleanness which will, in due time, lead to open sin. Instead of sanctification and purification, such people add another sin to themselves: a hypocritical godliness (if they only have the appearance of godliness but inwardly are full of sin. Matt. 5:20). We must remember that the hypocritical "righteous" will not inherit the Kingdom (Matt. 24:51).
The Lord, who has granted us everything which is necessary for true godliness (2 Peter 1:3), did not command us to sanctify ourselves just so we could varnish ourselves on the outside and allow uncleanness free reign on the inside. He did not give us the great riches of grace in His Son so that sin could be covered over and whitewashed without exterminating it; but rather, for the purpose of the inner transformation of mankind, to work in us an imperishable inner beauty, to make us into people who, constantly beholding the glory of the Lord, will be transformed into that same likeness from glory to glory, even as through the Lord, the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18), and gradually we acquire the mind which was also in Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:5).
Then the greed which proceeds from our hearts will give way to increasing generosity, pride to humility, hatred will be replaced with love. Then the one who went his own way, will joyfully place himself totally at the disposal of the Almighty, "as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service" (Rom. 12:1).
For our sanctificadon. God has given:
In order to become sanctified and to walk before the Lord in holiness, one must, first of all, have an understanding of holiness. One must know what is holy and what is not holy. We learn this only from Him Who is Himself holy in the highest sense.
The Word of our Holy God is, therefore, the unsurpassed doctrine which is the only true and satisfying source of holiness. The Word of Truth reveals with absolute accuracy and clarity what we are, and how through obedience we must act in relation to the Word of God.
The command of the Lord is, "holy and just and good" (Rom. 7:12). In order to be holy, just and good, one must live according to the commands of the Lord, according to His Word. The Lord has said: "This book of the Law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shall meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein..." (Josh. 1:8).
"Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine, continue in them..." (1 Tim. 4:16). A constant striving to abide in the Word of God and an ever more blameless fulfilling of the Word of God in life and in service—precisely this is the path of sanctification. No Christian and no congregation can be holy if they do not pattern their life and their service according to the Word of God.
Yet, just to have knowledge of what God's Word says about holiness is not any kind of sanctification. It is one thing to know something, and a totally different thing to fulfil what one knows.
One must bear in mind that the command to purification was given from the Lord and was given in consideration of the specific conditions in which God's people lived. These conditions are extremely difficult and make the fulfilling of the commands of God totally impossible without His personal assistance. What is the source of these difficulties for the people of God?
«I have given them Thy Word, and the world hath hated them " (John 17:14). The true children of God have lived as the minority in all ages. The majority of mankind, however, goes against the Truth (Matt. 13:14).
The way which the people of God tread is narrow and thorny. Jesus Christ said, "If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you " (John 15:20). "And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death... andye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake" (Matt. 10:21, 22). "They shall
deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten; andye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake" (Mark 13:9).
One who fought this fight on the path of holiness and service said: "Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; and labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, -we bless; being persecuted, -we suffer it: being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day" (1 Cor. 4:11-13).
These are the conditions in which we not only protect the standards which we have attained, but also those in which we must sanctify ourselves more and more. These difficult conditions will not be experienced only by those who have degraded themselves to the standard of the world. Those who desire to live godly lives, who desire to walk in the path of sanctification, must also be prepared to endure these hardships (2 Tim. 3:12).
In such circumstances when, in addition to the harsh outward conditions, constant inner temptations present themselves, powers for sanctification must be readily available which are immeasurably greater than those other powers which attack us. For it is precisely in these difficult conditions we must "have a fervent love for one another," "hear one another's burdens," "be kindly ajfectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honour preferring one another." In these conditions one must show holy fruit and in every place be the sweet savour of Christ. Therefore, we need the powers of Him Who is stronger than the world. Who has overcome the world (John 16:33). "For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power" (1 Cor. 4:20), and without power from on high we cannot begin to address holiness.
Every attempt to live a holy life without power from above, is futile and only leads to the humiliation of those who undertake it. Nothing produces more anguish, than when one has the knowledge regarding holiness; when one must act and has no power to fulfil what one knows. And that happens with everyone who tries to fulfil the Word without the power of God. Life, for them, becomes a difficult ordeal, their conscience constantly judges them, they are plagued by a guilty conscience, for the good which they desire and for which they possess all power, that they cannot do, but the evil, which they do not want, that they do. In despair they cry out, "0 wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Rom. 7:19, 24).
It is sad that many, after these groanings and many years of fmitless efforts, come to the conclusion that the power is with God (Psa. 62:11) and that, without His power, it is impossible to fulfil His Word.
Because of His great love, God gave us, not only His Holy Word, but also His power in order that we could fulfil His Word. It was for that purpose that He sent His only begotten Son into the world — our Saviour Jesus Christ.
In Christ we have, not only the power from above, but also complete wisdom, all knowledge, all heavenly treasures. Everything that is necessary for our sanctification is found only in our Lord Jesus Christ. That is why the Apostle Paul tells us that Christ, "is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Cor. 1:30). "I and the Father are one" says Christ (John 10:30). "All things are delivered to Me of My Father" (Luke 10:22). "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matt. 28:18). Sanctification is impossible without Christ. He said, "For without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). Not without His permission, yet without His personal participation.
That is the reason why Christ came—to sanctify us (John 17:19). Without Christ mankind has no access to the heavenly treasures, for everyone who is born of a woman is unclean. "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me " (John 13:8). Therefore, the first gift of God's grace is the precious, holy blood of Christ with which He cleans and sanctifies us. Only then does everything heavenly become ours in Christ Jesus.
"Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered" (Heb. 13:12). He "gave himself for us" (Titus 2:14). "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb. 10:10).
After our conversion and adoption as His sons, Christ moves into our lives and dwells in us. He performs His blessed work of furthering our sanctification, so that, more and more, we become "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4).
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God" (1 John 3:1). Not merely called, but we are to be. If it should happen that we fall and become unclean (consequently we lose fellowship with the Lord), when we then come to Him in repentance, we again receive His treasures, for the holy blood cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
In Jesus Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead, and in Him we are complete (Col. 2:9, 10). In order to be filled with this completeness of God, one must have an inner fellowship with Christ; not with that part of His prophesies and with His power but with Himself. For only in Him is everything granted to us which we require for life and godliness. When Christ lives in our hearts, He works in us "both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13). He will transform our entire being.
He Himself will be formed in us and sanctify us more and more, guiding our lives. And then our old nature will increasingly decline and die away, and the life of Jesus Christ will be revealed in all its power, holiness and beauty. Then we will be able to say as did the Apostle Paul, «I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Gal. 2:20). "And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness" (Rom. 8:10).
A Christian is holy and beautiful when Christ is in his heart, for he is "fairer than the children of men " (Psalm 45:2).
We know that everything that God has prepared for us is hidden in Christ. Christ came so "that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).
How then, can we receive Christ, all His riches and all the total fullness of God? Everything that we have in Christ does not truly become our possession other than through the working of the Holy Spirit. You see, when the Holy Spirit fills our hearts, then He makes Christ our own, and that is the only way to win Christ. Christ said, «I go my way to him that sent me" (John 16:5). "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away" (John 16:7). «I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth" (John 15:26).
"The Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things" (John 14:26), "For he shall not speak of himself..." (John 16:13), "He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you" (John 16:14). So we see that Christ, through the Holy Spirit, takes up residence in our hearts. Being filled with the Holy Spirit means to gain Christ more and more. We read, "Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you?" (2 Cor. 13:5). And in another place, "Know ye not that... the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1 Cor. 3:16). The purpose and goal of the Holy Spirit who lives in us is for the working of good in our total being.
We know from the Word of God, that the evil comes forth "from within, out of the heart of men" (Mark 7:21), and this evil defiles men, makes them unclean.
And even if a man, under the strict prohibition of the law, restrains all this evil and does not allow it a place, so that it does not come to fruition, however, in his inner being, that man does not become any cleaner by this effort.
Therefore we require cleansing and sanctification which takes place in the inner man. God sent the Holy Spirit into our hearts to accomplish this. And in order for this sanctification to be truly performed in us, the communion of the Holy Spirit with our spirit is necessary.
The Holy Spirit is the anointing of the Holy One; He teaches us all things; He "is truth and is no lie" (1 John 2:27). The more we are filled with the Holy Spirit, in that we are doing the will of God, the more we receive the realization of, and the power for, holy living; and the more Christ is formed in us, the less room remains for our "I", for the expression of our character. For where the Lord enters, everything becomes holy; everything is sanctified by His Presence.
Through the Holy Spirit we have, "the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16). Through the working of the Holy Spirit we must "let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5). Through the Holy Spirit "God... worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).
In this way, when the Holy Spirit works sanctification in our spirit. He produces fruit: "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Gal. 5:22, 23).
It is the main purpose of the Holy Spirit to renew in us the image of the true Man—Jesus Christ, into which we are constantly being changed "into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:18), "until Christ be formed in you" (Gal. 4:19). That is why the Word of God gives us all the commands of the Lord regarding how sanctification must be achieved. It also tells us how, what method, and which power we must use to fulfil our sanctification.
In Christ Jesus we have sanctification through His blood and with it His power and all heavenly treasures which are necessary for further sanctification and for a holy walk.
In the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ and all the treasures hidden in Him actually become our possession through the infilling of the Spirit of Christ, Who, as one is filled with Him, transforms us into the image of Christ, for "God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts" (Gal. 4:6). Therefore, may God grant you "according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith" (Eph. 3:16, 17).
In striving after sanctification many may ponder on how one may receive the gifts of God and neglect to think about what the Lord requires of them or how they may please the Lord. They can have desires which are offensive to God: to govern the word of God, to over-rule Jesus Christ, to rule over the Holy Spirit. This, however, is a blasphemy that offends the Holy Spirit. Simon the sorcerer coveted the power over the Holy Spirit, so the Spirit would serve him, and not for the service of God. This led to his destruction. The one who desires to rule over the Word of God does not please God, but whoever places himself under the power of the Word in order to be obedient to Him, pleases Him. "But to this man I -will look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word" (Isa. 66:2).
God is pleased with those, who, like the Apostle Paul, considered all things as loss in order to win Christ (Phil. 3:8), but not to reign over Christ, but rather, to give oneself fully over to His might. "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6). This was the most important question for the Apostle Paul and it was pleasing to the Lord.
The Holy Spirit is given only to those who present themselves to His power, for the Lord gives the Holy Spirit "to them that obey him" (Acts 5:32).
The Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, that is, namely, the living God Himself. He desires our obedience toward Him, to see us giving ourselves to Him.
Giving oneself to the power of the Word of God means to explore, to make an effort to fulfil blamelessly what it commands us to do.
To put oneself under the power of Christ means to take His yoke upon you, not to be in an unequal yoke with unbelievers, but rather to acknowledge Him and to follow unwaveringly in His footsteps.
To give oneself to the power of the Holy Spirit means, not to grieve Him and not to offend Him by our actions, but rather, to be filled with Him and to develop a sensitive ear for His holy voice, in order to fulfil everything which He dictates to our conscience. In order to give oneself to the power of God, one must, first of all, relinquish the dependence on his own strength, even in the most difficult circumstances of life, and submitting to the heavenly Father, humbly say, "Not my will, but thine, be done " (Luke 22:42). For that purpose we are to, "present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God..." (Rom. 12:1). "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, " (Psa. 51:17) not a renewed old man!
Crushing means crumbling. Crushing means to dethrone and to crush the ego, to leave nothing of self, nothing of one's own will, to fully humble oneself and prayerfully listen to the voice of God, to do only that which He wants, not to humble oneself under a strange yoke but rather, under the powerful hand of God. God gives grace to the humble. He looks on the humble and He exalts them (Isa. 66:2; James 4:6, 10).
The first steps in devoting ourselves to the Lord result in rich blessings. The Spirit of the Lord will fill us more and more. He will sanctify us and employ us for holy works.
Sanctification is, before all else, devotion. To fully devote oneself, that is the foundation for success in sanctification. Many who know and preach the theory of sanctification, nevertheless, remain unsanctified and unclean because they refuse to devote themselves to God as His possession. However, He desires, not to hear our words regarding sanctification, but rather to see our works and our love toward Him. Are we truly prepared to put ourselves at His disposal?
What manner of blessed devotion we see in the Apostle Paul! He says, «I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ" (Phil. 3:8). When the Lord sent him into dangerous places, he did not consult with flesh and blood. He went into these dangerous places without consideration of the danger, although he often realized that he might not stay alive. He had the sentence of death within himself (2 Cor. 1:8, 9). This is what "denying oneself means!
The Apostle Paul was devoted to the Lord and the Spirit of Christ filled him and transformed him into His image. The life of this Apostle is a bright torch for the Lord. He became this because he could consciously say, "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Gal. 2:20). The Apostle Paul was a man just as we are. Yet what a tremendous distance away (from a spiritual perspective) most of us find ourselves compared with him! Someone will say, "He is the chosen vessel of God." But are we not also chosen of God?
Paul recognized himself as the greatest of sinners, as one born out of due time; yet the grace of God did its work in him and exalted him to blessed heights. "There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness" (2 Tim. 4:8). Paul did not accomplish that by himself. It was the Spirit of God who dwelt in him. Through Paul, the overwhelming power of wisdom and sanctification accomplished their purpose because, although an earthen vessel, he carried the treasure of the Lord within him and was filled with it (2 Cor. 4:7).
The other apostles, who had previously been fishermen and sinners, lived in this same way. With the Lord they themselves became exalted in sanctification to a level of holiness and wisdom that is unreachable by mankind.
The Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, which filled them, performed this through their devotion, their self-denial. Through the Spirit of God they shine as lights in the world. Many, and once again, many myriads of believers have walked this same way of self-denial and have reached this blessed perfection; but beside them there were also others, who knew the Lord as well. He had accepted them but they did not dedicate themselves to Him as is appropriate and they went into the abyss.
Diotrephes, Ananias and Sapphira, Alexander the copper smith, Hymenaeus and Philetus and others were close to the saints. And what was their end? Was it only thus in that time? It is the same now. Some devote themselves to the Lord daily and grow in their sanctification; the others—next to them—only carry the Name as though they live. In reality, however, they go into destruction. Yet, the love of the Lord constantly calls all of us. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever" (Heb. 13:8).
Devote yourself totally to Him, keep yourself from all uncleanness; go forward in surrendering yourselves, even though with small steps, and He will bless your sanctification. "A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench" (Matt. 12:20). Just move forward, become filled with the Spirit and Christ's image will be formed in you!
On our side, sanctification consists of a constant turning away from everything which is not pleasing to God and in being totally devoted to Him; and on His side. He actively fills us with the Holy Spirit so that we receive the fullness of Christ, grace upon grace (1 John 1:16).
We see also, that the whole teaching on sanctification can be simplified into one commandment, "Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart" (Matt. 22:37).
The genuine children of God who are insignificant and know no complicated theories, but who remain under the power of the Word, under the power of Christ, under the power of the Holy Spirit, these receive all the treasures hidden in Christ through their love for Him, when Christ enters into their heart.
It may seem to us that we love the Lord; however, this must be verified by the Word of God. The Lord says that only the one who keeps His commandments really loves Him Read the following words of Christ thoughtfully: "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him ... and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him" (John 14:21,23).
He will live in us through the Holy Spirit and bring about our sanctification, for it is written, "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 5:23).
Therefore, without self-sacrifice, without self-denial, the Lord will not fill our hearts; and without Him, sanctification is impossible.
One may be called a Christian for many years and know the Holy Scriptures; but whoever has not given himself over to Christ regarding sanctification as it should be and which must follow conversion, has not even taken the very first step in this direction.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Rom. 12:1).
God has chosen us in Christ, "that we should be holy and without blame before him in love " (Eph. 1:4). On the day of our conversion, we were sanctified by the Lord through separation from the world and from sin, through the cleansing in the blood of Christ, and through the anointing, that is, the sealing by the Holy Spirit. Thereafter, some obtained holiness in Christ and fellowship with God and began on the blessed way of further sanctification, while they were being filled with the grace of God. Others, however, although unconsciously, actually deceived the Holy Spirit.
On the day of their dedication they promised, with a good conscience, to serve God and to place themselves at His disposal. Yet, after their conversion, they did not apply their zeal to a holy walk but rather to fleshly living. They have robbed God in that they have used their powers and means for their own purposes. They have allowed the earthly to tear them away and live to fulfil the lusts of the flesh. One may encounter this in whole families of the people of God, who, like Ananias and Sapphira, had promised to give everything, yet they gave God a miserable portion and had hidden the remainder.
Are you actually serving the Lord as you promised you would? Have you actually devoted as much zeal, power and means in blamelessness and sanctification as you promised?
Today one may ask the question of many, "Whiles it remained, was it not thine own ... was it not in thine own power?" (Acts 5:4).
They were called and sanctified on the day that they became believers, yet that did not save them, because after-ward, they did not walk in the way of sanctification, but instead, turned to sin.
What awaits the contemporary Christians who do not walk in the way of sanctification?
We are surrounded by many believers. There are not a few congregations, which call themselves Christian, where one may hear the never-ending, "Lord! Lord!" in various languages and dialects. But should not the true children of God and true congregations distinguish themselves through holiness? What does the Lord say? "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 7:21). And what is the will of the heavenly Father? "This is the will of God, even your sanctification, " (1 Thess. 4:3) "that we should be holy" (Eph. 1:4).
Therefore, the necessity for sanctification grows out of the commandments of God. Not to follow these commandments results in most serious consequences, for without holiness no one will see the Lord (Heb. 12:14). Why will no one see the Lord without holiness?
The one who does not keep on being sanctified does not have a close relationship with the Lord and consequently will certainly bow to sin and fall deeper and deeper into sin. The sins make him unclean and if such a one does not repent and start on the way of sanctification, he will never see the Lord. For "sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:15).
But someone could reply, "I do not sanctify myself, but I do not sin either." This is self deception. Christ has eliminated the false affirmation of "the golden mean," "he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad" (Matt. 12:30).
The mean is the most dreadful sinful state. The one who is neither cold nor hot but is lukewarm is in the most dangerous situation. «I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm ... I will spue thee out of my mouth" (Rev. 3:15, 16). The one who stands in the middle is "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. " That is precisely "the golden mean."
To all who practice untruth, He declares that the time is coming in which they will stand outside, knocking and asking, "Lord! Lord! open up for us! " But He will answer them, «I know you not whence ye are" (Luke 13:25).
The same will be said to the foolish virgins who did not sanctify themselves, who were not continually filled with the Holy Spirit.
Why will the foolish virgins remain outside? How will their foolishness be revealed? Through conversion they were once espoused to one husband, Christ (2 Cor. 11:2). They travelled together with the wise virgins and in no way distinguished themselves from them. They held lamps in their hands and initially, possessed oil, therefore their lamps burned. Then, however, in the most important moment, their lamps began to go out and in the end, they inherited a tragic destiny.
What is a light? "The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord" (Pro. 20:27). Be "fervent in spirit" says the Lord in Romans 12:11. But how can one be fervent in spirit when he is not set on fire by the One who came for the purpose "to send fire on the earth?"
David says, "For thou wilt light my candle" (Psa. 18:28). The Lord lights the lamp and it burns, filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit. The lamp, which was lit on the day of our conversion, must bum and must not be allowed to go out. "The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out" (Lev. 6:13). That requires a continuous filling with oil, "be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18). This infilling with the Spirit is accomplished by the sanctification of the righteous. "The light of the righteous rejoiceth but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out" (Pro. 13:9).
Therefore, "he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be ... Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches" (Rev. 22:11, 12, 14-16).
Home / Index