Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"Sanctified... To Be Sanctified" 

"We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews10:10).      

"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" (IThessalonians 5:23).           

Why does the Apostle Paul ask God to sanctify completely those whom the writer of Hebrews (perhaps Paul) declares to be sanctified "once for all?"    

The answer involves one of who we are and Whose we are, as opposed to our practical response concerning such truth.  The Greek root word of sanctify, "hagiazo," means to consecrate, or to make holy.  That is, we first acknowledge ourselves as belonging to the Lord lock, stock, and barrel, as it were, or in Biblical terms, in spirit, soul, and body.  In this sense, born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ become as sanctified as we shall ever be when we trust in Him.  We are sanctified and holy "once for all."  Indeed, whether or not we act accordingly, Christians belong to God no less in this moment than we shall in our glorified eternity in Heaven.  We are a "purchased possession" (Ephesians 1:14).  Nothing alters this fact, and the more we discover the Biblical truth that we belong to Another, the more likely we are to think, speak, act, and relate accordingly.  "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25).   

The experience and outworking of such reality, however, requires a lifetime growth in the grace and knowledge of our Savior.  Our sanctified being may or may not result in sanctified walking.  We can - and do - sometimes think, speak, act, and relate as if we still perceive ourselves as belonging to ourselves.  The marvelous freedom in Christ that makes real love for God possible also provides the possibility of not loving Him in our presently less than perfect existence.  Nothing changes the fact that we belong to Him -"sanctified once for all."  Living, acting, and walking accordingly, however, requires God's working in us (as evidenced by Paul's prayer for the Thessalonians) to increasingly illuminate and empower us to respond to the truth of who and Whose we are.   

Grace gave to us the blessed gift of belonging to our rightful Owner and Master.  Growth in grace gives to us the blessing of a life that practically reflects such truth. Let us therefore pray Paul's prayer for each other concerning a whole sanctification, even as we also thank God for the writer of Hebrews' wonderful affirmation of a "once for all" sanctification.  Indeed, by the ongoing work of God in our lives, may our being and our walking align for the glory of God and the fulfillment of His will.

"Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light."(Ephesians 5:8)

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