Last week we learned the definition of Holiness according to the book and all of you memorized it, I’m sure. So let’s all say it together without looking at that screen.
The book says:
“Holiness is God’s saving Love reflected in a God-Centered life, expresses in a promise of spiritual cleansing, and experienced in a covenant relationship with God.”
Good! Well kind of…. J
As we move forward learning about living a sanctified life is seems to me that it’s important that we know what that word means. What are we talking about when we say; ‘sanctified’, ‘sanctification’, or the act of being ‘sanctified wholly’ or ‘sanctified Holy’.What does being Sanctified have to do with being Holy or living a Holy life?
We have talked about Holiness being defined as ‘perfection’. In Matthew 5:48 Jesus used the word ‘perfect’ instead of the word ‘Holy’ when quotingLeviticus 19:1, “Be perfect”.
We need to understand what the Bible means when it says “perfect.” It’s not the same as when we use the word. In our Western and modern way of thinking “perfect” means “flawless.” That’s not what the Bible means. The Bible word is “telos” which essentially means, “to fulfill the purpose for which you were created.”
Can we be flawless in our walk with God? No. Can we fulfill the very purpose for which we were created? Yes we can. What is that purpose? Jesus put it like this: “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22: 37, 39).
Can we “fulfill our very purpose” for which we were created?
We often refer to the crisis of entire sanctification as our own personal Pentecost.
If you remember from Acts 2 at the Jewish gathering of Pentecost that Church as we know it was born in a radical flash of the Holy Spirit through those who had followed Christ and who submitted themselves to His plan. Knowing that Christ had left them bodily they still went where He told them and waited in faith. Their reward was the infilling of the Holy Spirit and what followed was a live dedicated to the plan of Christ.
Last week that we said that Holiness for us is manifested in a ‘God centered life’. It is really more about relationship with God and the purposes of God that it is about some giant set of rules for us to follow.
It is a about a change of heart and mind that bends us away from the world and toward a desire to do God’s will. Paul says of those who are not God’s that they have “(19)…lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” This helps us see that the goal of the sanctified is the opposite of that. Paul says of those who belong to God that they are “(23b-24) …made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
What belongs to God is Holy. Holiness is a covenant of belonging to God.
This has been a part of being a Christian since the beginning. From the moment that we accept Christ into our lives he begins a new work.We are born again or regenerated at that moment. We are cleansed and Holy in Christ at that moment. Hebrews 10:14 Jesus has done for us and is doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Praise be to God! “He has made perfect forever, those who are being made holy.”
So what is the difference between being made Holy through God’s grace as we were reborn in Christ and being sanctified wholly (entirely) as we mature?
Sanctification is both a process and a crisis
Holiness for humanity is an ongoing process of maturing more than it is a onetime event. God can do as he pleases and I believe that there are those who have been saved, sanctified, and called to preach in one event.But for most of us human experience and scripture tell the same story.
Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
For all of us though there is a maturing and a development from that original moment of crisis.It is a maturing from where we are to where God would have us be.For the homeless hurt and lonely person who lives in a box on the street; the starting point may simply be that she need not be scared and lonely anymore. For the young woman raised in the Church all her life, loved, well fed, and clothed it may be a realization that she has a choice of her own to make to walk her life with Christ in all she does.
When we talk about being sanctified wholly we are talking about a crisis moment in our lives when we surrender all of the remaining self to God. Paul puts it like this when talking to the Church at Thessalonica, “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
In this video we see an example of the fact that God will often use a crisis moment to show us where we need to be changed.
SHOW Video Clip: Gifted Hands – Take This Temper Away – WingClips HIGH.mov
The sanctified heart looks to God and cries out for change. The sanctified heart wants nothing but God’s will.