I was studying this morning on sanctification. I have a number of friends who are of the “sin-we-will, sin-we-must, sin-we-can’t help-ourselves” doctrine and I’ve wondered a lot of times exactly why this is so deeply ingrained in them. This morning I understood. There is no teaching of sanctification in their church! They have no concept of the power and plane of holiness that the Lord wants them to have!
I know I’m slow sometimes but why in the world has this never dawned on me before? It seems I should have understood it many years ago. I’ve talked so many times with these friends—people who love the Lord and sincerely want to live for him. Yet they are beset with sins. Not the “huge awful” ones (if I can use the comparisons) but those ‘little’ ones. Satan is not so foolish as to try and get them to commit adultery or steal someone’s money or lie on their income tax. No, he uses the “little” ones-- the minor spitefulness that makes us short with our companions, the temper that makes us treat our children unfairly, and the day to day irritations that make us snotty and short to co-workers and customers or clients. Those are the daily sins that they believe they cannot over come and that so bind them into the idea of daily sinning because there is no help for it.
I’ve tried to explain many times why those daily sins aren’t necessary that they can have victory over them. I might as well have been speaking a foreign language. In spite of their trying to take it in they simply couldn’t. In spite of many times their wanting to live better lives, the concept just is beyond their grasp. And then this morning it became clear to me WHY they could never understand it. They had no concept of sanctification in their lives!.
There has been a huge amount of discussion ( dare I even say arguing and temper) around the church of God as to exactly what ‘sanctification’ involves. Some teach ‘two definite works of Grace’ that must be accomplished in each saint for salvation to be complete.. Others say it is not so much the work of God as it is the work of the individual in their own setting self apart for the Lord. Others say yest it is that ‘setting apart’ but then there is God’s acceptance of that dedication. I have even been accused not believing in holiness. One dear friend cut off communication with me completely when I only tried to discuss it. But laying all of those discussions aside, there is a state of sanctification that must exist in the life of a child of God.
Sanctification is the dedication of our entire life, purpose and being to the Lord; we must be willing to give up our way entirely and allow the Lord to take full control.. And that is sometimes hard to do for some people. It’s a struggle to give up our own way, our own wants and needs, our ties to parents, houses, land to devote our whole being to the use of the Lord. But if we are to have complete victory over ‘sin, self and the Devil’ (as the old preachers used to say) we must set our self apart to God’s Use, exclusively. Once we are able to deny our self, God accepts that dedication and we become His with His indwelling power to give us that victory we so desperately need if we are to over come. Call it and describe it as you may, it is necessary for victory in the Life for Christ.
When I talk to these friends who are so bound in daily sin, I’ve found out they have no perception of sanctification. It has never been taught in its depth, but only as a general state that the Lord supernaturally confers on those who are born again. And because they have never fought the battle defeating their own desires and human flesh, placing themselves under God’s complete control, taking their hands off their own life entirely, they continue to struggle with the daily sins and in some cases major sins.
Once that battle is fought and won and our self is set apart to God’s use and the sacrifice has been accepted by God, ("present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God," ) we have we have a freedom from many of the daily struggles those friends find so recurrent. Many decisions for our actions were made at that altar of self repudiation and we only do the work of God. The sacrifice of our living self was holy and wholly offered to the Lord and it was an acceptable sacrifice.
Isn’t that glorious! Sometimes the blessings of God just sweep over us afresh and things that we have known and believed and followed for years are endued with bright new wonder. That is the way I feel today.