One of the books I’m reading currently is Holiness by J.C. Ryle (excellent read, by the way! I definitely recommend it!). I’m in the second section of the book, which discusses sanctification. As providence would have it, this same topic is brought up specifically in the portion of a devotional I’m currently in as well as in the marriage book my husband and I are reading together. Hmmm…I think I’m sensing a theme… 🙂
Since I haven’t yet had the chance to finish other posts I’ve begun (and very well may not have the time for a week or more), I thought I’d pass on an excerpt or two on sanctification for us to chew on:
Firstly – as I like to ask the kids – what does that big Christian word mean anyway?
“Sanctification is that inward spiritual work which the Lord Jesus Christ works in a man by the Holy Ghost, when He calls him to be a true believer. He not only washes him from his sins in His own blood, but He also separates him from his natural love of sin and the world, puts a new principle in his heart and makes him practically godly in life.” ~ J.C. Ryle
Speaking of one of the ways sanctification is visible in the lives of genuine believers, Ryle continues:
“Genuine sanctification will show itself in an habitual endeavour to do Christ’s will, and to live by His practical precepts. These precepts are to be found scattered everywhere throughout the four Gospels, and especially in the Sermon on the Mount. He that supposes they were spoken without the intention of promoting holiness, and that a Christian need not attend to them in his daily life, is really little better than a lunatic, and at any rate is a grossly ignorant person. To hear some men talk, and read some men’s writings, one might imagine that our blessed Lord, when He was on earth, never taught anything but doctrine, and left practical duties to be taught by others! The slightest knowledge of the four Gospels ought to tell us that this is a complete mistake. What His disciples ought to be and to do is continually brought forward in our Lord’s teaching. A truly sanctified man will never forget this. he serves a Master who said, ‘Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you.’ (John 15:14)” ~ J.C. Ryle
And, finally, through his sermons which were compiled by his widow to make the classic devotional My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers challenges us:
“When we pray to be sanctified, are we prepared to face the standard of these verses (referring to 1 Thess 5:23)? We take the term sanctification much too lightly. Are we prepared for what sanctification will cost? It will cost an intense narrowing of all our interests on earth, and an immense broadening of all our interests in God…It means every power of body, soul, and spirit chained and kept for God’s purpose only. Are we prepared for God to do in us all that He separated us for?…Are we prepared to separate ourselves to God even as Jesus did?…Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the disposition that ruled Him will rule us. Are we prepared for what that will cost? It will cost everything that is not of God in us.”
The flesh doesn’t like it, but it is well worth the cost.
Lord, make me as holy as you can make a sinner saved by grace, who is still living in this fallen flesh on this fallen earth. Align my desires with yours. Bring forth fruit in my life by the power of your Spirit.