sanctification Posts

Someday, When I’m a Grown Up…

Real ChristianityWhen I was a kid, I wanted to be a teenager. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be an adult. There’s nothing else to want but death, so I’ll stop there in terms of physical age. Now I find myself wanting to finally be fully grown up spiritually. Or as Paul once said, “We groan as we eagerly wait for our adoption, the freeing of our bodies from sin.” (Romans 8:23 GW)

Right now, believers in Jesus live in the nether regions. This world no longer feels like “home” but we haven’t yet arrived at our final destination. We’re in the process of being re-shaped into the image of Jesus, but we’re not there yet. So we fight temptation, suffer setbacks, and struggle for deeper understanding of our new identities in Christ.

My friend and fellow Pastor, Cary Schmidt, said it well: “So it is to be a real Christian – by grace I am rescued into a redemptive relationship with Jesus, promised an eternity of perfection, but constrained to wait with patience for God’s eternal purpose to unfold. In His Word He calls it “groaning” – it’s wonderful but difficult.”

I believe that there are two approaches to living well during this interim period between new birth and eternity. The first is to learn to live in total appreciation of the grace of God that has made and continues to make all the difference. And the second is to have our eyes and our affections set on the future fulfillment of all that God has promised His children. By looking back at what God has done, and by looking forward to what we know He will do, we can experience what He is presently doing in a special way.

Read more about or purchase Pastor Cary Schmidt’s book Real Christianity by clicking here.

God Is A Finisher

I have taken lessons in piano, guitar, trumpet, and karate. Does this make me a master of all of these abilities? No! Because I stopped each one after only a few months. I’m a master of starting things! God, however, is the Master of finishing.

Soul-Padding

Jesus: “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil (one)… Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” –John 17:15, 17

The church is a movement started by Jesus consisting of people who are “called out” together into one body in a single locality charged with the assignment of bringing the glory of God to all peoples in their community and in their world. Elsewhere the Bible calls God’s people “peculiar,” signifying that we are God’s alone and therefore are to be different and distinct in some way from the world.

There are basically three strategies when it comes to living up to our role as a “called out” people. One is isolation whereby we disconnect ourselves from the world around us and move into a spiritual ivory tower. We do this when we establish rules of righteousness that we can easily live by and use to assign others to a notch lower than ourselves.

The second strategy is imitation whereby we become like the world in order to reach the world. This seems to be a very popular approach today and it certainly builds large churches, but it fails to enable us to live up to the full potential of our calling as separate and distinct from the world.

The third strategy is insulation and infiltration in which we insulate ourselves with the truth of God’s Word and then carry that truth into the world with us. God calls very few into full-time ministry. He leaves the rest in their lives as His newly-called missionaries. Your workplace is a mission field, as well as your family and your neighborhood. If you isolate yourself from the world, you’ll never reach it. If you imitate the world, you might “reach” some but you’ll never bear lasting fruit. But if you insulate your life with God’s Word, then infiltrate the world with that truth, God will receive the glory!

God’s Will For Every Believer

“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification… For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3, 7)

It’s very easy to get caught up in the pursuit of something secondary to God’s great purpose for us as believers. We constantly face the temptation to be driven toward success or popularity, possessions or prestige. But God has caught us and called us to a higher purpose, a better life, a heavenly goal. We’ve been called to cleanness.

While many believers will suffer spiritually as they struggle to gain the freedom to rule their own lives (and thus resorting back to the old, unredeemed life), we must pursue the purpose for which we have been apprehended by Jesus – holiness, cleanness, and sanctification. What other pursuit could be more important in our personal journey of faith?

If you’re a believer, you’ve been caught! Jesus, the fisher of men, has apprehended you. He has purchased you in such a way that you are no longer your own. Contrary to popular opinion and American individualism, you are not your own any longer. God has placed certain spiritual authorities in your life. He’s placed you in the family of God and your church has a mutual stake in the outcome of your faith. While you may scream for the freedom to rule your own domain, God’s Word will remind you that the greatest freedom of all is to be enjoyed within the boundaries of God’s will.

His will is in one respect, an individual issue. In another respect, His will is universal to all believers. We cannot resort to a Christian brand of moral relativism. Instead we must realize that certain rules are applicable for all Christians, regardless of individual circumstances. This is not legalism, which is seeking to please or “pay off” God through rule-keeping. Rather it is merely reverencing God’s moral authority as our Father, Lord, and King.

If Jesus is your Savior, then pursue that for which you’ve been saved – holiness! It’s a worthy pursuit. Holiness brings the confidence of spiritual assurance, it earns a crown in heaven, it pleases the Lord who purchased us with His precious blood, and it supports our verbal witness to a lost world. Give yourself wholly to this goal – total perfection, total spiritual completeness, and total Christlikeness!