All who are called may take the second step—SANCTIFICATION
To sanctify is to set apart or separate to a special thing or use. God’s will is that all justified ones should be sanctified or set apart to his service as we read: “This is the will of God even your (believers) sanctification.” 1 Thess 4:3.
There are two parts to sanctification–first ours, secondly God’s part.
As we have seen, God provides for our justification as men and then calls us to set apart–sanctify –or consecrate to him that justified humanity. When we do, thus consecrate or give up our will, our time, talent, life and all we have and are to God, and ask him to take our little all and use it as seems to him good, and agree to let the will of God dwell in us richly–when we have done this we have done all that we can do; and here God who accepts of every such sacrifice, begins His part of the sanctification work. He begins to use this will resigned to his care and “to work in you both to will and to do” in harmony with his will. From that moment it is no longer you (the human) but “Christ in you.” Even the earthly (human) body under the new controlling will (God’s) is used in God’s service and is thereby made holy.
From this moment when we give consecrate–ourselves–we are reckoned dead, as human beings for the human will, should be buried from that moment forward; and when the will of God– the mind of Christ–the Holy Spirit takes possession of us so that it becomes our will and our mind, we are called “new creatures“–we are thus begotten to newness of life. This new creature is only an embryo being: It is not complete; but it grows and develops and “we all with open face, beholding as in a glass (mirror) the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 3:18.) Thus as new spiritual creatures we grow in his likeness during the time we abide in this earthly condition. As the spiritual nature grows stronger the human nature grows weaker and is the easier to keep dead, for I must not only give up my will to God, but keep it in a surrendered condition, “keep my body under“– under God’s will.
As the new spiritual nature grows it longs for its perfection when it will no longer be trammeled and fettered by human conditions, but be “like unto Christ’s glorious body.” This is promised us–we have been begotten, and by and by shall be born of the Spirit–spiritual bodies, for “that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit,” just as truly as “that which was born of the flesh was flesh.” Our begetting we have and our spiritual life is begun. It is to be completed, perfected, when this corruptible, and mortal condition shall give place to the incorruptible, immortal conditions of the Spiritual body. This will be at the moment of resurrection to those who sleep in Jesus (those who died prior to this time)—raised spiritual bodies; and it will be the moment of change to the living (i.e. those who die in Christ henceforth) from the fleshly body to their own spiritual bodies– theirs as new creatures. Thus, “we which are alive and remain shall be changed in a moment.” 1 Cor. 15:52.
“If I in Thy likeness, O Lord, may awake, and shine a pure image of Thee, Then I shall be satisfied when I can break the fetters of flesh and be free. When on Thine own image in me Thou hast smiled, Within Thy blest mansion, and when the arms of my Father encircle His child, O! I shall be satisfied then. And O! The blest morning already is here; the shadows of nature do fade; and soon in Thy likeness I’ll with Thee appear, in glory and beauty arrayed.”
This change of residence or condition, from the earthly body to the spiritual body is the third step of our development, viz: REDEMPTION.
This redemption from the present earthly conditions finishes and completes our salvation and the glory of power will follow.
Toward this the end of the race we are looking with longing eyes, “Ourselves, that have the first fruits (begetting) of the Spirit, even we groan within ourselves waiting for sonship, –the redemption of our body” (the body as a whole, the body of which Jesus is the head and all overcomers are members.) Rom. 8:23.
THE POWER WHICH SANCTIFIES
It is not a power of physical force that is used by the Spirit of God in our development, but a mental power which appeals to our minds and wills. The Spirit appeals to our reason, and uses the word of God as its agent. In the Word, the Spirit has in former ages stored up, both by prophetic utterances and Law shadows and types, those truths which God designed should during this Gospel age to be the food to sanctify the body of Christ and build it up in the most holy faith. And we act wisely if we make use of this spiritual food. (“Thy words were found and I did eat them.” Jer. 15:16). It is furnished us for the purpose of sanctifying us.
If we go to our Father and say, Father, I give myself all to thee; I pray thee, set me apart as holy to thy service, both now and hereafter. Give me needed strength to do thy will.
He answers, yes, my child, I have already provided a rich store-house of truth, from which, if you eat, you shall have the strength you ask. “Knock, and it shall be opened unto you”–seek, and you shall find.”
The seeker returns, saying, Father, I found the store-house, but saw little but plain food exposed to view; most of the choice viands must have been locked up in the great closets which the keys did not seem to fit. Father, give me strength in some other way.
Not so, my child. Part of your lesson is to learn that my way is best; that my way of giving is your best way of receiving strength. Go; your strength, joy, zeal and love for me will increase as one after another these closets open before you, revealing their rich treasures.
Yes, the word of God is the treasure-house of our Father, in which He has stored truth to sanctify the church in every age, wherein is “given us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might become partakers of the Divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:2, 4). In it is revealed “the love of Christ (which) constraints us.” (2 Cor. 5:14), and by means of it our Master prayed that we should be sanctified: “Father sanctify them through Thy truth. Thy word is truth.” (John 17:17.)
What Christian, then, who desires sanctification, can afford to ignore the Scriptures? Which one will say he has no time to examine and seek in it for truth?
As well say he has no time for sanctification. “It is the power of God unto salvation.” (Rom. 1:16.) Let us, then, who seek this great salvation– high calling– say to ourselves as Paul said to Timothy (2 Tim. 3:15-17), “From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salvation.” “All Scripture given by inspiration of God is profitable, for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Now call to mind the steps: First, justification of the human nature; second, a consecration or sacrifice of that human nature to God, its consequent death and the beginning of your existence as a spiritual new creature in the human body during the present life; third, the completion of your new, divine nature, by the power of God, when you will be like unto Christ’s glorious body–who is the express image of the Father’s person. What a glorious, high calling! You are called:
“Many are called, few are chosen,” “Make your calling and election sure.”
Do you ask how you can make it sure?
I answer, by doing according to your covenant; give up your all to Father and let Him use you as he sees best–
“All for Jesus! All for Jesus! All your being’s ransomed power: All your thoughts and words and doings, all your days and all your hours.”
“If you do these things (which you covenanted) ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet. 1:10-11.) God will surely keep His part of the agreement [Faithful is He that called you.] “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.” (2 Tim. 2:12.) R199