Tag Archives: Sanctification

Sanctification-Purpose

photoPottersHands_1600x1200.9994505_stdHow mysterious to think that we were made in the image of God. Do you ever feel like  we are such failures that there is no possible way I resemble any part of God. This however was God’s main purpose when He created us(Mankind) in the Garden. In Gen 1:26 it reads, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”” This was God’s purpose then and it is His purpose now.

We were made in His likeness, having the nature of God, the characteristics, personality, emotions and will, so that we could have fellowship and communion with God. Unfortunately this was short lived as sin entered mankind through Adam, and we became separated from God. Adam and Eve decided to have it there way. They became self centered and wanted autonomy as the ate of the fruit promising them that freedom. It was because of this sin original that now all mankind is born into sin, and our image no longer reflects God.

But God

But God does not change, and His purpose for us does not change either. Although through Adam we all were made sinners, “Therefore as one trespass led to condemnation for all men” Rom 5:19a.  Jesus stepped in and makes us righteous, “so one act of righteousness leads to justifications and life for all men” Rom 5:19b. So what does this have to do with sanctification you ask? It is because God is still creating us in His image. We have, as Christians a new birth. We are born again. His original purpose is the same it is just being carried out through Jesus and not through Adam.

Conformed in His Image

It says in Romans 8:28-29 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Also in 1Cor 15: 49  Paul writes  “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”   In Gal 4:19 it reads  “my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!”

Sanctification.

This is the end result of sanctification. We are being set apart, made holy to be transformed, reborn, recreated, into His image.  Paul promises that all things will work together for His purpose to this chief end. Fortunately or unfortunately this is usually not an easy transformation. One of God’s most effective ways in conforming us is to allow failure, bring trials and hardships, to strip away self so that our image decreases as Christ’s image increases. So let us be reminded oh Christian that on our road to sanctification there will be road blocks, hazards, and obstacles in our way. Know that they are there working for our good to conform us into the image of our God,  because that is His purpose.

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When Our Testimony Goes Awry

FallingFromGraceEverybody loves sharing their conversion story, also known as their testimony. This is the story about how bad you once were before you became a Christian. Every Christian has their story and I have mine too. These are usually great stories about how people were enslaved in drugs, alcohol, gangs, crimes, or a life filled with endless greed never  quenched. Then there is this “aha” moment were God taps them on their shoulder or hits them square in the face and realize Jesus is the answer to all of these former problems. Then we share how God changed our lives and we are not the people we once were, rather we are changed from the inside out. Our desires change, and we are no longer bound to that sin that held us captive. While these stories are true and encouraging to hear, what happens when we fall back into the sin we were first guilty of?

When it comes to our testimony we love to share how bad we once were, but then we become quiet as a mouse when we fall back into sin, and we usually try to cover it up so no one finds out. It sounds great when people say I used to be hooked on drugs before I gave myself to the Lord. For some reason though if you attend church and are a Christian and get back into drugs it seems shameful and we hide it. For men in the church, there are many who are addicted to pornography that will never admit it because God forbid anyone find out they are not perfect. This is where  hypocrisy creeps into the church when we pretend we are perfect when we are far from it.

We have legalistic tendencies that we continue to nurture. We don’t have a hard time understanding that we are saved by grace and not by works, but once we accept that we think we need to be perfect. We know that we are not able to cleanse ourselves of all of our past mistakes. We therefore come to Christ for forgiveness of our past sins, but then act as though we need to take it from there. We try hard to be a better person, we go to church, read our bibles, pray, and put on our smiley faces saying we have it all under control. Then we fail, we fall back into an addiction, stop reading the bible everyday, miss a couple of Sunday sermons and start drinking a little here a little there. We then feel like failures, like we let God down and we are no longer good Christians. Forgetting that we were never “good” to begin with.

We needed to be saved by grace,because we can’t atone for our own sins and we can’t live a perfect life by our own means. Not only is our past sins forgiven, but  our future ones also. We need to stop pretending that we are perfect, and that we got things under control, because we don’t. We need to bring our sins, past and current to the forefront, in the right situations of course so 1) others know that it is normal not to be perfect even if your saved. 2) To encourage and pray for one another 3) To keep us from being judgmental and hypocritical, and 4) to remind us not to “try to be better” rather to daily crucify the old self and carry our cross.

We need to create environments within the church so that people can open up about struggles they are going through without feeling looked down upon or feel like a lesser Christian. We need to stop feeling like we need to be perfect, rather we need to remember we are sinners that are saved by God’s grace and not our perfectness or good deeds.

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Growing Pains

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Do you ever realize that spiritual growth usually comes along with some sort of trial. It seems to be some necessary process for growth that it is paired up with pain, heartache, hardship or loss. I recently had a such an experience and spent the last couple of days trying to sort it out.

I have written recently about the idea that I like to be liked, in this post. I know I am probably not alone in this, because who doesn’t? I however may take it to a different level because I think I care too much what others think of me. That being said, I recently found out that people whom I have known for many years, and I thought were my friends are talking about me behind my back and  the comments were not complimentary. This hurt me on two different levels, one being that people who I thought were my friends are obviously not. Secondly that there are people out there that I like and called friends who don’t like me back. This causes me a lot of confusion and disappointment

After the initial sting of hearing these comments I spent time contemplating what I said, did, or  didn’t do that caused this, and what I can do to rectify it. As I was thinking on  these things, I thought of something my boss said to me the other day. She said “I don’t trust anyone, or any person that is”. I thought, how sad to go through life thinking this way. However, after this current situation I thought maybe she has a point. I have a habit of letting people into my life too easy and I open up and let down any defenses I may have. I am a person who wears his heart on his sleeve and will tell you how I feel, and it will be evident how I feel by my actions and facial expressions. Maybe I should be more guarded like my boss and not trust anyone, this way I won’t get hurt.

The more I thought about this however I realized there is a lesson to be learned in all of this. I continue to realize that I put my trust in people and my satisfaction is in their approval. The funny thing is, there is no where in scripture that says our hopes and approval should be in others, rather it is to be in Jesus and Jesus alone. Time and time again we are told to love others, not have others love us. We are told to count others more significant than ourselves, but no where does it say make others love you. This is pride speaking, I am making myself more important than I am. I am finding my worth in others, or as Paul puts it, I am putting my confidence in the flesh. He goes on to say in Phil 3:8 “indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

I have failed at this miserably, I continue to count things I do as worth, and my confidence is in my flesh and the approval of others is the measuring stick of my worth. So although I feel as though I have lost friendships and the pain is still fresh. I have learned that is because my trust was in the wrong place, myself. I had made myself and others too big .Where my faith and confidence should be in Jesus. I know I will let others down and others will let me down. As my boss said “I don’t trust  anyone, or any person that is”, but she finished this statement by pointing skyward and saying,”There is only one I trust”. This is words to live by. I wish it just didn’t have to feel this way in order to learn this lesson.

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Sanctification-Acceptance

I want to continue to build on the foundation on which holiness needs to be constructed. Last week we looked at the principle of faith and that it is based upon the evidence of things not seen, and the need for it to be God dependent  Today we are going to look at the fact of being accepted in Christ. For many of us, this may seem like an easy thing to believe, but for others it seems a distant reality. Why is this so?

Just like faith, our acceptance of God is based on the truth of God’s word and not our emotions. How often we fail at this. For many of us when we are going through good times we may feel that God is blessing us and we give Him praise for these blessings.During these times we feel loved by the father. When hardships come however, we, like Job’s friends start to reason why this is so. Has sin come into our lives, have I fallen out of favor from God?

If we look at the life of Joseph we can begin to see how situations surrounding us have little to do with our acceptance in God. In every hardship Joseph encountered the Scripture says “and God was with Joseph” When he was in the pit, when he was a slave in Potipher’s house, and when he was in prison the Bible says that God was with him. Do you think Joseph felt that God was with him during these times? Do you think God is with you during the hardships? Again many of us base our faith and our acceptance on emotion and on the situations surrounding us. We need to break this mindset and realize that God’s word is firm and true. In Romans it says “Every believer is accepted by the Father, in Christ being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” You see our acceptance is through Jesus, it is not based on us. It is not based on how good we think we are doing in the faith, nor is it based on the hardships that we are going through. It is not based on if you have sinned because it is not based on us. It is based on Christ and Christ alone.

This is an important fact to rest upon, because we will all face hardships. We will encounter times that don’t seem to make any sense and we don’t find purpose for. Like Joseph, we too may find ourselves in places we feel we have no right being. We will question God’s love for us and ask why has he allowed such tragedy to bestow us. But we need to stand firm, and know through it God is with us. If you believe your acceptance has anything to do with you, you have not trusted in Christ alone, because you are putting faith in yourself. We need to arrive at the truth that we can not please God through what we do or what we don’t do, or what situation we are in. We can stand firm in the truth that if we are in Christ, we are accepted. It says in Eph.1:5 “He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of His will” and in Rom.8:16-17 ” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children then heirs-heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ”.

So rest assured that whether in season or out of season if you are in Christ, you are accepted in the Father. Do not let you situations dictate your faith. Don’t let your perceived failure to determine your acceptance nor let pride creep in and think you deserved His grace. Rest on the solid truth of His word and know without a shadow of a doubt that you are in the palm of His hand and nothing can snatch you from it.

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Principles of Spiritual Growth

I am going to veer from my normal style of blogging, and do a series on spiritual growth or sanctification if you will. I am going to post weekly on a topic of spiritual growth and build on it. As believers we all know, or should know that our salvation comes from grace alone, by faith alone, by Christ alone. Our salvation is a free gift given to us by the redeeming work by Christ accomplished on the cross. “For our sake he made him to be sin, who knew no sin the we might become His righteousness” 2 Cor.5-21. We, if believers had the moment were we accepted this truth and repented from our sins and believed in Jesus Christ as our Savior as the redeemer of our sins, and the Holy Spirit now indwells us. This is the good news that is the gospel. But the question is,  then what? We continue to come to church and here this message and witness others coming to Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. We continue to grow in knowledge but how do we grow in Christ? How are we to become “better” Christians, and “be conformed into the image of Christ”? Rom 8:29a.  A lot of times we are taught we are saved by grace, this is a free gift, there is nothing you can do to earn it. But once we have accepted it, now we must work to keep it? So I would like to take some time and vet out the truths of God’s word and how it pertains to us growing in Christ, and how to become spiritually mature.

I would love for there to be a running dialogue during this series, for I am quickly to accept the fact that I am no expert on the subject rather an enthusiastic layman who seeks to know Christ more.  “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17:3

Since this is different from my normal intended audience I will list it under the category of sanctification with the same tag and will  start each title off with the word Sanctification with a sub title. For Instance, the first one in the series will be called “Sanctification-Faith”, the second “Sanctification-Time” and so forth.

It is my goal that we will grow together in our growth in Christ.

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