In Search Of Our Identity (Part 8)
To be sanctified means to be "set apart" or to be "made Holy". As a child of God, you have been made 100% Holy by and ONLY by the blood of Jesus. Despite differences of opinion, the Bible clearly tells us that holiness is not something we can attain by our own good works. Like salvation, holiness is a free gift that is given to all who put the faith in Christ Jesus.
"...yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach --" - Colossians 1:22
Here's some foundational Truth concerning our identity in Christ. CHRIST... notice God's Word says "CHRIST" reconciled us to God through His physical death. As a result of ONLY this action by Jesus, we are now seen as a "Holy" person! We will NEVER again be condemned by God because we are forever now seen as "holy, blameless, and BEYOND REPROACH!" Glory! Is it starting to dawn on you yet just how magnificent the work of Christ toward us as Savior really is? Glory to His Name!
"...who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity..." ~ 2 Timothy 1:9This passage of scripture is perfectly clear. We ARE called to a "Holy" life. But are we Holy because of ANYTHING we have done? Not according to scripture, which means the Truth of the matter is, our holiness cannot ever come from our actions, but our holiness is ALWAYS provided ONLY by God's purpose for us, and God's Grace, which is in and through Jesus Christ!
The "reason" we are made Holy is for God's own purpose. You know what that is? God wanted to save us from an eternity in hell! God wants us to be with HIM forever! God wants to USE us in what time we have left! THAT'S God own purpose! Amen & Amen! And God provided this even before the beginning of time (eternity)... That kinda tells us we've never caught Him by surprise doesn't it? I know it's impossible for us to understand "how" God knows all this, but through faith? We "know" it never-the-less. Glory to our Father! What a God!
So... Could "we" ever have anything to boast about concerning our "holiness?" Could we EVER live in such a way as to be considered "holy" by our own doing? No rocket science to it... Absolutely not! But what we will experience is our flesh being more and more "subdued" by the Holy Spirit of God, bringing even surprise to ourselves sometimes. We will grow in the character of Christ... We will mature... We will go from m ilk to the meat... Our minds and hearts will be continually transformed... And the speed at which this will occur will depend greatly on your desire to "submit" yourself to God's Instruction... THAT is "living by the Spirit"! What a glorious process to behold... a treasure beyond compare... an honor... An Honor to participate as a child of God! Thank You Jesus!
"By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." - Hebrews 10:10Oh... My... GOD! No, I'm not using the Lord's Name in vain here! Folks? Can you see the Good News all over this scripture? The sheer POWER of the totality of Christ's Work toward us is incredible! For many, it's unbelievable (sadly)... Friends? There is enough power in this one verse to alter your life forever if you'll just hear what has been said!
We... are ...made ... HOLY through the sacrifice of the Body of Jesus Christ... ONCE AND FOR ALL! Precious Lord! Could that one statement be perfectly true?!!? Think about something please... What does, "Once and FOR ALL" mean to you? To me? It says that our "holiness" has been provided by Jesus Christ from now on, without end! ... Forever! It is FINISHED! This kinda suggests our "holiness is COMPLETE" doesn't it? Ummm... YEAH!
Now one more question: "Is there anything you as a man or a woman can do that would overpower what Jesus did here for our holiness?" Are you more powerful than God? Can you change the "once and for all" part with any human element in your possession? Well friends. Some may think they can, but I rest in knowing that what God hath put together, no man shall separate! Amen! Romans 6:10, Hebrews 7:27, Hebrews 9:12, Hebrews 10:10, 1 Peter 3:18, Jude 1:3, Jude 1:5 ! ...and Amen!
Friends and family? In light of all these "once and for alls" and all the other Truth in Scripture presented up to this point, are you willingly ready to continue to present your teaching of mis-understanding of that one verse that would put God's people back on that "performance treadmill" that is ever-so-similar to the one the Jews trod on before the Messiah ever came to us? If so? Shame on you. Shame on you indeed! That may be strong verbiage, but not nearly as strong as what the Bible says. The Word of God says that "to anyone, man or angel, that would teach a different gospel, may he be accursed!" ...
"But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ." - Galatians 1:8-10
Like I said... Strong verbage... But this is an important topic.
"For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren..." - Hebrews 2:11
Look at this scripture for a moment please. What family is referred to here? The family of God. How can Jesus be called our "Brother"? Because He (Jesus) who sanctifies, and those who are sanctified (you and I) are all from one Father. If we are part of the same family with Jesus and Jesus is our Brother, how should this affect our relationship(s) with other believers? Should we not all consider ourselves all of the same family? If it relies ONLY on what Jesus has done for us (provided our sanctification), are we not of the same family? Friends? Yes we are. That Truth cannot be changed whether we believe it or not, understand it or not, dis-agree with it or not... It doesn't matter... Truth says we are ALL, as believers, in the same family of God!
"To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, Saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:" - 1Corinthians 1:2
The Corinthian church as you may know, had many problems. Paul wrote 1st and 2nd Corinthians to address these problems. One of the major concerns of Paul was the sexual immorality that was being tolerated. Despite the severe immorality that was going on within the Corinthian church, Paul still identifies them in his address by "those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy". Now that's a far cry from how most churches would approach things such as that today, huh?
Despite being acutely aware of the conditions of extreme immorality within the Christian Church at Corinth, Paul still reinforces the fact that they "ARE SANCTIFIED IN CHRIST and called to be Holy!" Now to back step just a second, what were they called to be? That's right. HOLY! Let's ponder something for a second... According to this scripture, what do ALL of us that have called on the name of Jesus have in common? Without doubt, the commonality is, we are ALL in the family of God! I don't know about you all folks, but I myself will never get over this. I mean, I enjoy this life as much as the next person, but it pales ever-so-much knowing that when this is all over (I die and leave this earth) that I have an eternity to look forward to that is so wonderful it can't enter the mind of man (and we have some pretty smart people on this earth)!
Realizing within your mind and heart that you ARE holy, not that you must "work" for the status, should begin to totally transform your life... IF it is important to you at all... I mean, isn't it wonderful to know that Jesus has already done what many men teach you have to attain on your own? Your Holiness? Taken care of? THAT'S part of what man should mean when he speaks of man's Saviour, Jesus Christ! Amen!
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless." - Ephesians 5:25-27
Here, the Bible says Christ gave Himself for us as an act of love. That's amazing in itself, but here's what many in the world fail to understand: The RESULT of this action is what makes us holy! When Christ died for us on the cross and was raised from the dead into life, the avenue to be made holy was provided right then and there! All that was then needed is for us to accept It! THAT's where our holiness lies folks! In the works of CHRIST! Not the works of Matt! Not the works of Grant! Not the works of Markus, James, or anyone else! Our holiness does NOT rely on the works of man in ANY fashion! It's ALL JESUS! People have been wondering for years what I mean when I say, "It's all about Jesus." This expose', when concluded in it's 13 chapters, will explain just what I was saying... And yes, it really is that simple.
Look at some of the adjectives used in this passage describing US, the people that have been born again in Christ! In this scripture alone:
- WITHOUT STAIN, WRINKLE, OR ANY OTHER BLEMISH
Folks? This whole expose' is so we can all discover within ourselves a wonderful, life-changing Truth that is thousands of years old in relation to our physical reality, but It is timeless Truth in eternity. Please give this entire series it's due, in that you'll save it, re-read it, take your time in study of this Truth about your salvation if you have been truly saved by Jesus...
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." - 1Corinthians 6:9-11
Scriptures such as these frequently throw people for loops in their understanding of their future because they do not know for certain what scripture reveals about our "New Identity in Christ". Here is why:
According to these verses, who will not inherit the Kingdom of God? You can go through the list. It's a long one isn't it? Now, do you see yourself "in the flesh" anywhere in there? I do. The Corinthians most certainly could... To be brutally honest? You should be able to see yourself in there too. Scary? You bet! Had it not been for our Savior, we wouldn't stand a chance. The reason I say that is, notice what Paul also says about our identity. After all, the Corinthians and us... we have alot in common don't we? Maybe our flesh is much more subdued to the things of Christ than these Corinthians were, but we're still far from perfection aren't we?
In the same breath, Paul told the Corinthians that all those evil things is what they "were" (past tense). Now it may strike many of you as strange, as it first did me, that Paul would say these Corinthians were no longer unrighteous in their fornications, their idolatry, adulteries, their "girly-man" actions, homosexuality, thieving, covetousness, drunkenness, reviling, swindling etc., etc., etc. . Now were these Corinthians still participating in this stuff? This perversion? Yes they were! Yet their "Identity In Christ" is secure! They are born again! They are saved! Hey... Don't get upset with me... It's the Bible that says it, not me.
Now that most of you are really upset, let's shed some light on a few other things, shall we? Now what has just been described here? "A license to sin!" you might say... Well? Let's see what else Paul had to say. You see, we fail to understand much of what the Bible has to offer us because we don't take the time nor put in the effort to grasp it in it's entirety! Too many times we stop short in our studies and miss the main points of many a conversation in the Bible! Let's not do that here. Let's get it all... We need to. We need to understand our Identity in Christ before we can clearly understand anything else in the proper perspective, which is "God's Perspective"!
"He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need." - Ephesians 4:28
Ok. Take a look at this Scripture, please. What is God's response to a child of God who has stolen? Well? ... ... . He instructs us we must steal no longer, but work, so we will have even something to share with others! Does he call such a person a thief? Noooo! He couldn't call us a thief, as that would contradict who we are, which is a person inherent to the Kingdom of God! But let's not lose sight of why we are Saints... It's was only by our acceptance of Jesus Christ, and Jesus being who He is that enables that!
Again, what does God tell us to do if we have been stealing? He tells us plainly to "steal no longer". God says, "Work!, so you can GIVE!" God clearly teaches us that He wants us to bear fruit, and we must realize we CAN bear the fruit if we'll learn of God and His ways, and humble ourselves to the authority of The Holy Spirit inside us. For if the Holy Spirit is inside you, He will let you know when you do wrong, and He will want you to "change your ways" (repent)! So? Why fight it? Why be miserable? REPENT-> (agree with God that you have done wrong)<-! And experience the blessings of God through the fruits that will come forth through you as God's Tool! Amen!
Now don't you find it odd God doesn't say, "Get on your knees straight away and beg Me for My forgiveness!" ??? It might surprise you to know the Bible never tell us anywhere in it's text for us to beg for forgiveness. Why should you beg for something that was given over 2000 years ago? The knowledge of this fact is more than clearly displayed in Jesus Himself when he made the statement in John 3:18, that "sin" is "unbelief in Jesus!" There was many a call unto the Lord to restore the "Joy" of salvation, but never was there a call to restore "salvation".
Rather than a standard to be lived up to, the holiness of God is a "Gift" that has been given to all who believe on the Lord, Jesus Christ. As we have clearly seen, whether or not we want to humble ourselves to it, we are sanctified ONLY through our faith in Jesus Christ, NOT by our "good works"! Therefore, our "identity" is based on what HE has done rather than what "we" do! And I for one am dog gone glad of it!
God does not "need" us to carry out His work in this world. Yet, in His sovereignty, He has "chosen" to "use" us. Through sanctification, He has "set us apart" for that purpose. We are a VERY PRIVILEGED people, knowing that God, at any time, can and will use us to share His Life and Love to those around us.
Is it starting to mean a little more now when you say, "Glory to You Father God! You alone are WORTHY!" ??? Amen & Amen!