July 23, 2016

Sanctification involves living . . .

Ecclesiastes reads like a depressing rant about the futility of life, yet my perspective changed when a young disciple joyfully concluded that the writer of this book realized that life is meaningless, but he didn’t care because he lived it with God and he would die and be with God. To this young disciple, Ecclesiastes should be read with delight because the bottom line is the Lord.

I was thinking of him during my yearly ‘through the Bible’ reading in Ecclesiastes this morning. Then I turned to “My Utmost for His Highest” and read this . . . .

“God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’” (1 Corinthians 1:28–31)

The meaning of life boils down to this: I am a sinner, low-born and distained by the world’s standards, but because of God, I am in Christ Jesus. That means that I have His wisdom, His righteousness, His utter devotion to God, and have been fully redeemed from my sin to serve the Lord. I can read the rant of Ecclesiastes with joy in my heart. Because of Jesus, my life is not futile or lived in vain.

Chambers singles out the topic of sanctification from these verses. Yesterday he discussed the ‘death’ to self aspect of it, and today he focuses on the ‘Life Side’ of sanctification. He says that the perfections of Jesus Christ are imparted to His people the instant we, by faith, become His children.

This is a mystery, yet it can be compared to being enlisted in the army. A recruit is instantly a soldier, but needs boot camp and training to function as a soldier. In the same way, when I was redeemed, instantly I became a child of God. I instantly have the holiness of Jesus, but it takes all of life to learn how to let His perfections show up in this mortal body.

As Chambers says, sanctification is “Christ in you.” When that happens, the saving power of God begins to make it real in my life. By the power of His Spirit, He uses His Word and the circumstances of life to bring out the holy qualities of Jesus Christ in me: His patience, love, faith, purity, and more.

Chambers also says sanctification is an impartation, not an imitation. I cannot merely copy Him or live along the line of ‘what would Jesus do.’ Imitation does not have the power of having the perfections of Jesus released in my life. For that to happen, I must get out of His way, stop all efforts of self-righteousness and simply confess my sin and inability to be or do anything close to what a sanctified person should be or do.

The Bible tells me that my part in this is mostly about confessing and repenting . . .

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Think of a mirror with mud on it. Confession gives God freedom to wipe off the junk so that His reflection is far easier to see. That is sanctification!

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