~2 Timothy 2:21 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. ~1 Thessalonians 4:4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 

Sanctified – a setting apart … We are sanctified when we are born again because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross. However, every day we should be growing in Christ, as we study and learn from His word. As new Christians, we don’t automatically become spiritually perfect or mature.  Just as a baby is not born as a wise adult, neither are new born babes in Christ!  It takes time – it takes reading the Bible and applying its wisdom to our lives! I love the message God gives us through the life of a butterfly. While in its cocoon, the butterfly struggles to be free. To watch it struggling, one is tempted to help this butterfly along. But in so doing, we deprive that butterfly of the strength it gains during its struggle. Helping it only kills it. So is the Christian. We need the struggles in our Christian walk so we can turn to the Scriptures and allow it to heal us. The more we break free from sin, we become conformed to Christ’s image. We can rid ourselves of the sin that so easily besets us and be set free like the butterfly.

Noah Webster defines sanctification as “The act of making holy.” God commands us to be holy as He is holy.

Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 20:7)

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

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

I found it interesting that this statement from God is found three times in the Bible. Our Three-in-One God is a holy God. We will never reach a perfected state of holiness in this lifetime but we are to be a constant “work in progress” as we walk the pilgrim’s path on earth. We sanctify ourselves through our daily time spent in God’s word. His word then washes us as we apply its applications to our lives. That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (Ephesians 5:26) We can read the Bible faithfully every day – but without applying it to our lives, it is of no value. A police officer can look at body armor all he wants and admire how it can protect his body from bullets. However, the body armor does him no good if he does not put it on for protection.

The word of God is just not for reading, my friend. The Bible convicts the heart of sin. If we do nothing with that conviction, what good is it? The word of God is truth and leads us in the path of becoming more like the Father, thus fulfilling His command to be holy as He is holy.  It can be done! People use their laziness as an excuse to not be separate from the world; but this is not so. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17)

Jesus was our perfect example of One who practiced sanctification. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. (John 17:19) As we study the Bible, learn about Jesus and how He lived His life, we learn of His meekness, His faithfulness and His love; afterwards we should apply what we have read to our own lives. We learn how His desire was to seek the Father’s will and not His own. So should we, as children of the Living God, work diligently weeding out sin in our lives. The more we work to be more like Christ, the more sanctified (set apart) we will become. That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; (1 Thessalonians 4:4) Emphasis mine. We are to know how to do this. We cannot know without being in God’s word! The more we love Jesus Christ, the Lord of Lords, the more we will want to work towards eliminating known sin from our lives.

This is the difference between a Christian who is moving forward in his spiritual walk and one that is at a stand still. Twice Paul spoke of those who were still babes in Christ because they did not get into the meat of the word of God – they were still drinking milk. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. (1 Corinthians 3:2) For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. (Hebrews 5:12) A pool of water that is still (or stagnant), develops scum and the waters become green with algae.  However, water that is kept moving and aerated remains fresh and living creatures can make their home in it.  Remember the pool at Bethesda? (John 5:1-9)  While the waters were still, no one was able to be healed of infirmities. However, when the angel stirred the waters, the first one who went into the waters was healed. No spiritual growth can come out of a stagnant Christian life.  Jesus Christ has the water of life (John 4:14) and your heart must be stirred and renewed before you can make any progress.

My friend, repentance brings forth sanctification. One cannot say he is growing in Christ if he is continuing in the same sin. Are you struggling with a particular sin? Until you have forsaken it, you cannot grow more into the image of Christ. I truly believe that many Christians have become complacent to their sin and are satisfied with living with known sin. They live a life of delusion and they will not be a vessel meet for the Master’s use. What kind of vessel are you today? Are you enjoying a Christian life sanctifying yourself daily so the Master can use you? Or are you satisfied with the way you are now, not interested in setting yourself apart from the world? Only you can answer this and only you can change the answer.

God formed us. Sin deforms us. School informs us. Christ transforms us.

What a great quote!! The Word supports it repeatedly!

~John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

~John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

~1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

~Colossians 3:9-10 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

~Galatians 3:26-27 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

~Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

~2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Have you changed since you claimed salvation? If you cannot read these verses and understand them, that should be a red flag because the born again Christian is given the ability to understand God’s Word. If you can understand them, then can you truly say you have changed? If you have not changed much from your previous life, you are quenching the Holy Spirit and not allowing Him to change you from within. Let Him be the Potter and you be the clay – let Him mold you into Christ’s image!

Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines “sanctify” as:

To cleanse from corruption; to purify from sin; to make holy by detaching the affections from the world and its defilements, and exalting them to a supreme love to God.

To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t see many born-again Christians today sanctifying themselves in the same light as Webster’s definition. In fact, I see more Christians today claiming “grace” as if it were a ticket to continue living in their old sin nature.

The two phases of sanctification are quite different from each other. One is not performed by us and the other one is. At the time we are born again, we are sanctified by the blood of Jesus Christ and placed into the position of being a child of God (Luke 20:36). This is called positional sanctification. There was nothing we could do to earn our salvation because it was all about Christ paying our penalty and His blood covers all our sin.  We are now a member of the family of God.

The sanctification I’m talking about today is setting ourselves apart from the unsaved world.  Should we not be acting differently now that we belong to the family of God?  Should we not be acting more like we are a member of a new family with a Holy and Righteous God?  Now that we are part of the family of God, it is time for us to start acting like we are part of His family.   Becoming more Christ-like in our nature by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, is what sanctifies us.

~2 Timothy 2:21 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.

So what are we to purge ourselves from in order to be actively sanctifying ourselves for the Lord?

~Proverbs 16:6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.

~Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

~Luke 13:27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.

The only way we can know whether or not we are workers of iniquity is by being in God’s Word. When we read the Word, study it, and then apply it to our lives, we will not desire to continue in the sin that God has just taught us to remove from our lives.  For example,  if I have a problem with my temper and God’s Word reveals that to me and my heart is under conviction, I will strive to remove that sin from my life.  I will ask the Holy Spirit to help me exercise and “ripen” that fruit of patience, mercy and love in my life.  These are fruit that are worth bearing.  If I do not yield to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, then I will continue to bear the fruit of the world in this area of my life.  I love the following verses because they clearly outline what I’m trying to relay to you:

~Ephesians 4:28-32 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Isn’t this great? When we do not grieve the Holy Spirit, we are automatically changed more and more into the likeness of Christ. We become kind to each other, tenderhearted, and we forgive one another, even when our old flesh doesn’t want to. We do it because we do not want to grieve God. Paul finished that statement in verse 32 “even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Wow!

God’s Word is totally truth, am I not correct? It is through the Word that we will be sanctified. It is not through a spiritual mentor – a preacher – a good devotional – or even a good tele evangelist. Although all these things are good and may prod you to go to the Word of God, their words in and of themselves are not what purges and sanctifies. It is the Holy Word of God that is powerful!

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

~Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

God’s Word will find our hidden sin, will shine a bright light on it and will expose that sin to the believer who wants to grow. The Apostle Paul exhorted the Thessalonians not to quench the Holy Spirit but to submit to the Spirit’s desire to mold us into the image of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

~1 Thessalonians 5:19-23 Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. 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.

So what actions do not quench the Spirit?

  • Not despising the preaching of God’s Word – when the Preacher’s words quicken your heart don’t resent it.  Instead, acknowledge to God that you’ve heard the Holy Spirit and that you will strive to be rid of this sin in your life.
  • Proving all things that you hear by studying God’s Word and not just taking for granted that if a preacher said it, it must be right.
  • When we stay away from anything that appears to be sin.  How is one to know?  Go back to the second bullet – study God’s Word and HE will point out your sin quite clearly.

The born-again Christian who strives to fulfill these verses in Thessalonians every day to be more like his God is a believer who is in the process of sanctifying himself to God.

~Psa 63:1-9 A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

If you’ve ever gone for a long walk and forgotten to bring water, you can almost feel your dry, parched throat as you read David’s Psalm this morning, can’t you? Do you have this same overwhelming thirst for the Lord? As we grow in Christ, our thoughts should become more in tune with Him and our lives should be centered around Him. He should become our focus in everything we do. As a result, our walk more and more reflects the Saviour. Whether it be in our speech or our actions, we should be transforming to be more like the Master.

David had reached this point in his walk with God. You can feel this in his writing. O God, thou art my God! David’s description of his personal relationship with God opens this Psalm and he captures us with his relationship with God. Do you not desire to have this type of relationship? David’s description of his need for God in his life reached down to the depths of my heart! David had experienced God’s loving kindness in such a way that he praised God and rejoiced in Him. Verse 9 describes just how close David was to God – he said that his soul followed hard after God. When I was reading verse 9, I was captured. David said that his soul followed “hard” after God.

The word hard in Hebrew was:

H1692
דּבק
dâbaq
daw-bak’
A primitive root; properly to impinge, that is, cling or adhere; figuratively to catch by pursuit: – abide, fast, cleave (fast together), follow close (hard, after), be joined (together), keep (fast), overtake, pursue hard, stick, take.

David’s soul clung/adhered to God! This brings to mind another verse that speaks of “sticking”:

~Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

The word “sticketh” here comes from the same root – I found that very interesting! God was trying to show me something! 🙂

The word hard
H1695
דּבק
dâbêq
daw-bake’
From H1692; adhering: – cleave, joining, stick closer.

I want to be so close to my Saviour that I can say that we are adhered together! Oh Lord, my heart’s desire is to walk so closely with You that our footprints in the sand would be as one!!

~Psalm 119:59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.

God’s Word teaches no Christian is sinless. However, His Word also teaches that we should not be participating in habitual sin.  The believer should be thinking about his walk with Christ and evaluating his life through the Word of God.

~1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

It is also clear that God expects the true believer to not sin habitually.

~1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Our sinning is by choice and it need not be. To practice sin as a way of life is living as the unsaved. This is a normal practice for the lost. However, a true believer should not be living in habitual sin. The true believer may sin from time to time but will not make it a normal practice.

Peter exhorts the believer to live holy lives:

~1 Peter 1:15-16 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

The word holy here means to set apart to God. Believers are set apart for God by the Holy Spirit which is given to us at salvation. We enjoy a unique relationship with God because of Jesus Christ and we have an obligation, as Peter says, to live holy!

To “practice” sin is to sin as a way of life. An unsaved person lives a life of habitual sin. The sin of unbelief is a normal thing for the lost person. A true believer does not live in habitual sin. He may commit occasional sins but he will not make it a habitual practice because he has a new nature given to him by God through the Holy Spirit.

At the time of salvation, we are given a new nature. This is evidenced in that the new Christian changes – it’s an ongoing change through sanctification. Yesterday’s devotional spoke of sanctification and how it should be an every day occurrence for us.

~2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Are you changing? Are you in the process of sanctifying yourself daily? Are you getting better through Christ?  Does your life look more like it’s Creator or the devil?  Are you an habitual sinner? If you are continuing in sin with no remorse for that sin, you must ask yourself if your salvation experience was a sincere one or was it seed which had fallen on rocky ground.  Granted, it is not by anything that we have done in our lives that we can achieve salvation.  It is all because of Jesus Christ and His work on that cross with the shedding of His blood that we can be righteous. However, this does not give the believer an open forum to sin – this life style is not imitating God and His righteous nature.  The Word of God does not lie. If we are His, we will have remorse for our sins and not be so desirous to continue in them. We are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ – that is grace! Our bodies – our flesh – continue to desire to sin but our spirit should convict us of this through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. We should never be “comfortable” in our sin.

Are you comfortable in your sin?

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

Noah Webster defines the word sanctify here as:

To cleanse from corruption; to purify from sin; to make holy by detaching the affections from the world and its defilements, and exalting them to a supreme love to God.

I am totally convinced that the born again Christian who keeps claiming “grace” for his continued sin struggles with this verse. How can one who continues to act like the world say he is sanctified?  Is that Christian cleansed from corruption?  Is he purified from his sins?  Is he making himself holy by detaching himself from the affections from the world and its defilements?  I’m not talking about Christ’s blood covering our sins and salvation.  I am talking about the on-going process of our spiritual walk after salvation.  God is the Potter, we are the clay.  He molds us into Christ’s image through sanctification – through our continued growing process as we read His Word.

Sanctification is a process. When we read God’s Word, the Holy Spirit wants to prick our hearts with conviction. When we respond to that conviction, we begin the process of sanctification.

Mr. Webster further defines this process of sanctification as:

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.

It is no wonder that today’s “church” is struggling!    They are no longer in the act of making their lives holy.  Instead, they are busy with distractions and not digging into God’s Word.  This produces a church that does not separate themselves from the world – they act like the world – they talk like the world – they dress like the world!  All because they look at God’s grace as though He looks the other way when they act like the unsaved!  Christ took His salvation to the people, yes.  He ate with them, He told them truth and He led them to truth.  He always had a purpose and that was to lead them to truth.  He didn’t compromise that truth by “acting” like them.  The world sees Christians like this and they do not desire what they have for there is no difference between the two in their eyes. The Christian’s salt has lost its flavor!

Sanctifying ourselves means that we must daily strive towards being more Christ like. Would Christ use the Lord’s name in vain? Would Christ have a cursing mouth? Would Christ gossip? Would Christ get drunk? Would Christ have a temper tantrum?  Would Christ steal?  Our lives as Christians should be an on-going process of spiritual growth.  Granted, we’re not going to be sinless – but we should sin less!!  The more we hang out with the world and act like them, our standards will lower.  How can one grow unless one sets himself apart from sin? How can one grow if one doesn’t make himself holy?  Just because we are saved does not grant us the privilege of sinning!  If this is what you are thinking, then something is not right with your spiritual walk.

Church today is big on God’s “grace” but they miss out on the half of it. They want His understanding and forgiveness but they do not want to purify themselves and alienate themselves from sin and the world. Sin brings pleasure and they are not so willing to part with it.  This is the basis of our struggling church today. Man’s heart is desperately wicked and deceitful says Jeremiah 17:9. Why would we trust our own heart to make decisions when we are not sanctifying ourselves?

Granted, our salvation is not in question here. Christ’s blood covers us and we are assured Heaven because of HIS work, not ours. However, the process of allowing the Holy Spirit to be the Potter (and we the clay) who will mold us into Christ’s image is the process of sanctification. Surely we cannot be so brazen as to think that we can be saved and yet continue to live in sin. If that is the case, we are sorely mistaken. The Word of God is a “living” Word – it cleanses and purifies! Just as water cleanses our bodies, so is God’s Word to our spirit!

~2 Timothy 2:21 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.

We walk on dangerous grounds when we trust our own heart to lead us down the Christian path!

~Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

God wants to show us where to go and how to live. He does not want us trusting in our own thoughts and desires but in Him! He wants us to lean on His understanding, now our own. How important it is to read His Word and allow His Spirit to guide us!

~1 Thessalonians 4:4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;

How do you possess your vessel? Do you protect yourself from the temptations of this world? What are your weak areas? Do you have a pet weakness? Honor God with your actions. Honor God with your mouth. Honor God by sanctifying your life – set it apart from what the world does. Grace has nothing to do with us continuing to sin and act like the world. Grace has everything to do with salvation! Once we have received salvation, we must train ourselves to turn to God’s Word and allow the Holy Spirit to convict us and sanctify us! Wake up Church!

Snow

~1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Peter exhorts us to sanctify the Lord God in our hearts. But how do we actually do that? Noah Webster defines the word sanctify as:

To cleanse from corruption; to purify from sin; to make holy by detaching the affections from the world and its defilements, and exalting them to a supreme love to God.

We are to totally cleans ourselves from corruption – totally purify ourselves from sin – totally detaching ourselves from the affections from this world and its defilements and lifting them before God so He can create in us a holy heart. Wow … can you imagine just what God could do through us if we were to set ourselves apart in this manner?

What a wonderful Christmas gift to the Lord Jesus Christ this would be if we were to take this verse with all seriousness of heart! Then we could truly tell others about this hope that Christ has given to us through His precious blood shed on the cross so we may gain eternal life with Him in Heaven!

Celebrate this Christmas by giving Christ the one thing He truly desires … our sanctified hearts!