SET APART AND FOR A PURPOSE

Sanctification explained

The word sanctification comes from the word ‘Hagiosmos’, which means ‘set apart from everything else and dedicated for God’s use’. In simpler words, ‘being made Holy for God’.

In the Old Testament, there was the ‘Sanctuary’, which comes from the same root word as sanctification. The sanctuary is a place set apart and dedicated for Yahweh to dwell, also known as the Most Holy Place. And then, in the New Testament, we see how God sets apart individuals and not just places for this very purpose. God is setting apart individuals by sanctifying them from within.

1 Corinthians 6 : 19-20 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

“It is the blood of Jesus, offered without blemish through the spirit, that sanctifies all those who believe in Him. This means, a person must put his or her faith in Jesus for the work of true sanctification to begin in them.”

So what really brought that difference between the two testaments? What brought the change from the ‘sanctuary – a place’ being sanctified to ‘individuals’ being sanctified? The answer is Jesus Christ!

What Jesus prayed to God in the Gospel of John, chapter 17 is very crucial for us to understand sanctification.
Jesus prayed in John 17 : 19, “For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”

Here, first of all, Jesus says that He was sanctifying himself. And, how do we see that He sanctified himself? Going by the meaning of the word sanctification, He set himself apart, kept himself pure and without sin. He did not give into the pleasures of the world. Nor did he use His God-given gifts to make his life comfortable, unlike so many men do for their personal gain. Rather, He made himself available for God, for the purposes that God intended for Him – for the Cross, for humiliation, for insults, for pain, for flogging, for resurrection. And He declared all these even before they took place.

Luke 18:32-33 says, “He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”

Secondly, when Jesus prayed for his disciples to be ‘truly sanctified’, it is important to note that the disciples had already left everything and everyone behind, yet according to Jesus, ‘true sanctification’ did not even begin in them thus far. So this shows us that mere human efforts cannot help a man sanctify himself or make himself holy. Likewise, the offerings and sacrifices offered by people year after year in the Old Testament could not sanctify them.

Mere human efforts cannot help a man sanctify himself or make himself holy.

People can do wonders in personal and professional lives, and still not be separated from sin and the consequences of sin, which is death. Because of which, they are not truly ‘holy’ to the Lord. Each and every person needs Jesus’ sanctification to truly be sanctified. It is the blood of Jesus, offered without blemish through the spirit, that sanctifies all those who believe in Him. This means, a person must put his or her faith in Jesus for the work of true sanctification to begin in them.

The author of Hebrew points us to this vital truth, in Hebrews 9 : 14, “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

God’s purpose of sanctification in the lives of individuals is two-fold –

  • BEING SET APART

God’s work of sanctification is to free people from bondage of sin, addiction, the power of satan and worldly philosophies (which at times comes from your own family and friends).

A lot of people, after accepting Jesus as their personal saviour, are taken on a guilt trip by the devil about what happened, what they could do or couldn’t do in the past. Satan also constantly works to make people slaves to him by making them slaves to sin, slaves to people, slaves to idols; causing them to forget the sanctification power of God in them that set them apart.

Press on to be rooted in Christ by a constant and continual renewal of your mind with God’s word and by remaining in communion with God

As Christ desires, let us throw off everything that entangles us and makes us slaves to sin again and instead let us keep ourselves pure and holy. Through all these experiences that we go through, we know that sanctification is an ongoing process until we die. No, it is not a one time event. So, press on to be rooted in Christ by a constant and continual renewal of your mind with God’s word and by remaining in communion with God. Both of these are very important for the sanctification process to fully take place in our lives.

“to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” – Acts 26:18

Paul reminds the believers in the church in Corinth, “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1)

  • DEDICATED FOR GOD’S PURPOSE

God is sanctifying us so that we can fully represent Him in this world, be his ambassadors, share His Gospel, be that aroma of fragrance to the people who are oppressed, suffering and ailing, to share His love and to share the truth in love.

Let us embrace our calling and purpose on earth and do it diligently.

Most often, we are not prepared to face a situation that requires us to give a reason for our hope in Jesus. It could be because of lack of courage or the feeling of not being equipped. We tend to avoid such opportunities that God creates in our lives. Let us remember that we are sanctified by God for this very purpose. Let us embrace our calling and purpose on earth and do it diligently.

The apostle Peter, reminds us in 1 Peter 2 : 9, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”

TACKLING THE NEW NORMAL – ‘SOCIAL DISTANCING’

S o c i a l d i s t a n c i n g

Stay three feet away from each other.  Do not go out and stay indoors. Don’t shake hands, don’t hug. Stop meeting up. Cancel all your programmes. The pandemic that has hit this world has called for a phenomenal shift in the way we are supposed to live and the world calls this ‘social distancing’. This is no ordinary situation. While some of us are locked up in our homes with family, some people are all alone and some are without a home wandering for shelter on the streets. Yet, the common shift is being ‘socially and physically disconnected from people’. We also generally come across this scenario of social distancing during semester holidays, shifting jobs, shifting cities, being newly married, post a broken relationship, while facing trials.

People in the bible also faced this and felt lonely. King David in a psalm expresses how he felt alone when everyone including his son abandoned him.

So how do we face a situation where we are alone and social distancing ourselves? The Bible has an answer!

In John 16:32-33 (AMP), Jesus spoke this word to His disciples, “ Take careful notice: an hour is coming, and has arrived, when you will all be scattered, each to his own home, leaving Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]

Here Jesus was talking about how the disciples will be scattered, each to their own home! A very similar to situation. And Jesus said, he would be left alone. What would cause the scattering is the death of Jesus. Even now, what is making us scatter due to the pandemic is the fear of death.

The Disciples faced with a similar situation! And, what did they do? What was Jesus’ advice?

  • Receive/ Be filled with the Holy spirit

“…an hour is coming, and has arrived, when you will all be scattered, each to his own home”

Jesus knew he would be leaving them soon, and they will all be scattered. That is why, before saying this, Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit – who would be their Helper, Counselor, One who leads them into all truth.

It cannot be emphasised enough how being filled with the Holy Spirit is the solution in a situation of isolation, seclusion and being alone.

In John 14: 18, Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit and says, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you”

It cannot be emphasised enough how being filled with the Holy Spirit is the solution in a situation of isolation, seclusion and being alone.

  • Danger of going back to the world

“…Leaving Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me”

Here, Jesus points out to the disciples about how they were going to leave Him alone. That is how He predicted about Peter denying Him thrice before the authorities. And that’s what Peter did, Soon after Jesus Died, Peter (who healed the sick and cast out demons) denied Jesus thrice and started fishing. He went back to his previous way of Life- being a fisherman.

Be alert and not sober, simply because only those who protect their faith till the end will be saved.

You may have been actively volunteering in church, participating, singing or even preaching. Nevertheless, in times like these, you have to be vigilant. Be alert and not sober, simply because only those who protect their faith till the end will be saved. Spend more time in God’s presence, reading the word of God and praying. Be accountable to someone who can encourage you and correct you in love.

If you’ve already fallen, it is never too late to reach out to Jesus and turn back to Him. And, as the Bible says in 1 John 1:9, He is faithful and just to forgive you.

  • Let the Word of God richly dwell in you

“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace.”

These are good times, isn’t it? Work from home, more time for ourselves, for family. But we tend to feed ourselves with movies, songs, tiktok, news, social media and a lot of other things during these times. These are good for enjoyment, but these will never give you the lasting peace, joy, it will not help fight away fear completely. Instead, it only increases fear. That is how Devil wants us to live – with fear, no peace, discouragement and no purpose.

We can have immense peace, if we let the word of God richly dwell in us.

On the other hand, Jesus wants us to have life and life in abundance. That is why Jesus tells his disciples, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace.” He spoke the word to them and has also given us the word. If we meditate on it, like the psalmist says in Psalms 1:2-4, we will thrive and grow and flourish through any season, any trial. We can have immense peace, if we let the word of God richly dwell in us.

  • Testing of Faith

“..In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering”

Jesus reminded the disciples a crucial truth here – in this world (that is full of strife and sin), you will have trouble. Your question may be, ‘Why would Jesus allow us to go through trouble? Why can’t he take them away?’.

Well, God is a loving father and He wants us to grow and become more and more like Him. So, He allows us to go through trials to purify us, strengthen us, and make our faith grow. These have come to shape us, mold us and make us the creation that God created us to be.

Jesus prophesied about the end times in Matthew 24:7, saying ‘For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

These have come to shape us, mold us and make us the creation that God created us to be.

1 Peter 1:6-7 :  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

  • Be courageous

“…but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]”

While Jesus told the disciples that there will be trouble, he also went on to tell them to ‘be courageous’  because He has overcome the world.

In Jesus, you stand victorious, redeemed and saved.

God told Joshua in Joshua 1:5, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, They cannot touch your soul”. The devil cannot condemn you, no one can touch you without Jesus’ permission. In Jesus, you stand victorious, redeemed and saved.

This is God’s word for you in this time of social distancing, beloved. You and I need to be sensitive to God and respond as He would want us to. Seek and receive the Holy Spirit, who will lead you into all truth to protect you from going back into the world, from trials and test and to stand victorious with Him.

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