8-23-15 First Thessalonians 4:3a
Good morning, can you all hear me. I didn’t think I was going to preach again so soon, I thought I was in the clear, I guess Andy didn’t have the gall to come back today [laughter]. I’m sorry. I’m thankful Andy is out of the hospital and feeling better; we need him back, Amen. Can we pray?
Thank You Father for Your Word, we acknowledge our dependence on You and on Your Word, may You open our hearts to Your Word, and use me Father as You see fit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today I’d like to speak about a subject that ties very well with what I spoke on a few weeks back concerning the Judgment Seat of Christ. We learned that every believer that puts their faith in Jesus Christ will ultimately stand at this Judgment Seat and the reason we will stand at this Judgment Seat is to give an account of our lives to God the Son. And it is so that Christ will recompense us, to pay us back, to evaluate our individual lives based on how we stewarded our lives, how we stewarded our relationship, how we stewarded our money, our time, and so forth.
And we also went over some very important test questions in how we can prepare ourselves for this coming judgment. So this topic today ties very nicely with my previous message and it’s our sanctification. And the title of this message is Our Sanctification. I taught this topic at our men’s expedition a few years back and I was very blessed as I prepared it and I hope the men were blessed to.
Sanctification becomes a hugely important issue in the believer’s lives for so many reasons. One, because we know it’s a major facet of our salvation; it’s the phase that we are currently in, and it’s the very phase that we will be evaluated on. And this phase, in God’s eyes, will either generate gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay or straw. That’s from 1 Corinthians 3:10 and this is a quality of our work, whether good or bad. [1Corinthians 3:10, “According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.”]
And another reason why our sanctification is so vitally important is because 1 Thessalonians 4:3 says this is the will of God, our sanctification. [1 Thessalonians 4:3, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality.”] Now when we read “this is the will of God” shouldn’t our ears perk up? Shouldn’t we, as Christians in the church, do everything in our power to figure out this subject called sanctification? It’s a major facet of our salvation. So I’d like to cover this topic, Lord willing, in three parts. We will cover the three phases of sanctification; the Bible uses sanctification in three ways. Now we’re going to be using our Bibles a lot today so I hope you guys are page-turners… ready?
We are all familiar with this chart, Andy uses this chart a lot and this is the three phases of our salvation: justification, this is the past tense of our salvation and this is the phase we are saved from the penalty of sin. Then there is sanctification, the second phase, which is the present tense of our salvation and we are saved from sin’s power in that phase. And finally there’s the last phase called glorification, which is the future tense of our salvation, and here we are saved from sin’s presence.
Now each phase of salvation is worthy to be studied at length but we’re going to focus today on the middle phase there, sanctification. So what is sanctification? We find the word “sanctify” or “sanctified” both in the Old and the New Testaments, they both in general mean the same thing. But in the New Testament, in the present dispensation of grace, because of what Christ has done on the cross the person putting their faith in Jesus Christ, sanctification takes on a whole new dimension.
Sanctify in the Old Testament is the Hebrew qadash. It means to hallow, to dedicate, to purify, to make holy, to prepare, to consecrate or to be separate. This term is used in various tenses, moods, but in general it means the same. It’s used 106 times in the Old Testament, and 31 times in the New, and in a general sense it’s defined as set apart, or the state of being set apart. It indicates a classification, as you see there, in matters of position and relationship. The basis of the classification is usually that the sanctified person or thing has been set apart, or separated from others in position and relationship before God, from which is holy.
It’s also used as sanctified, past tense for sanctifying in the process of being set apart and we should not mistake this general use of the word, sanctify, or holy in relation to the believer, meaning holiness, or sinless perfection. Only God is holy in that sense of the word. Many times in the Old Testament the word “holy” is used to describe, like a holy mountain, a holy people, or a holy nation. And it’s in this perfection is not what it is implying; these things were being set apart positionally, relationally.
So we see the word as early as Genesis 2:3 and it says, “Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified if,” that’s the word qadash, past tense, because, “…in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”
Another place we find it is Exodus 13:2, “Sanctify,” qadash, “to Me every firstborn, the first offspring of every womb among the sons of Israel, both of man and beast; it belongs to Me.”
And another example, Exodus 31:13, “But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths, saying, for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you,” qadash, “sanctifies you.”
In the New Testament, however, the translation, “sanctification” comes from the Greek word, hagiasmos. It’s found ten times in the New Testament; it comes from the Greek word hagios, which means holy. And hagiasmos, sanctification, means the act of becoming more personally dedicated to God, either in being more set apart or becoming morally pure; to be separate from profane things and dedicated to God.
Now we see in the Bible that it teaches three aspects of our salvation; there is the past tense (we already went through this) justification; the present tense, sanctification, and the future tense, glorification. And I’m of the impression that people in this room have already dealt with the past tense of our salvation, upon faith alone in Christ alone. Romans 3:28, we have been justified, declared righteous. [Romans 3:28, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the Law.”] I like how pastor Andy said it, we’ve been saved, justification happens in a nanosecond. We have been passed over from death to life, the Bible says, and now that justification is complete we are now in the present tense of our salvation which is sanctification.
And just as there are three aspects in salvation, similarly there are three major aspects of sanctification. There is the positional sanctification, progressive or experiential sanctification, and then there’s the ultimate sanctification. And you could even see these as three tenses of sanctification, positional being the past, experiential being the now, the present, and ultimate being the future tense of our sanctification. And at first glance it may look identical to the two phases of our salvation but it’s not. The way the Bible uses these terms, sanctification, is distinct from justification and glorification. We’ll see that as we move along.
Let’s start with the past tense first, our positional sanctification. In the Bible the past tense of sanctification is that the truth of all believers upon faith in Jesus Christ have already been sanctified; we’ve already been set apart, positionally, for God’s service. Did you know that when you became a Christian God set you apart. That’s exciting to me, solely for God’s purpose. There was no interview process, there was no test of competency, you are set apart by God.
Chafer/Walvoord says this has been accomplished “by the operation of God through the body and shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [Major Bible Themes, page 206, Lewis Sperry Chafer, Revised by John F. Walvoord.”] Because of what Christ has done for believers we are positionally sanctified; we are set apart; it’s a done deal! The moment we believed we were justified; the moment we were justified we were also sanctified. And it must be understood that positional sanctification is not contingent or bears no relationship to the believer’s daily life, this part, the positional sanctification. Whether the believer is living in sin or not as a believer, the Bible still calls me sanctified. And I know that might be a hard pill to swallow for some circles, particularly the Lordship circles and my answer to that is I didn’t write the Bible, talk to God about that because positional sanctification is clearly taught in Scripture.
Please turn with me to 1 Corinthians 1:2, talking about positional sanctification, 1 Corinthians 1:2 says, “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified” notice the past tense, “in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours….”
Wait a minute, wasn’t this the church that Paul sent his disciplinary letter to? 1 Corinthians? Didn’t this church struggle with all sorts of worldliness, worldly activity? I mean, this is where the concept “carnal Christian,” from the book of Corinthians. This is the book that Paul spoke about the Judgment Seat of Christ, Paul says they were sanctified, past tense.
Now let’s move to 1 Corinthians 1:30, it says, “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption….”
“…who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification….”
1 Corinthians 6:11, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified,” past tense, “but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”
Notice the three verbs, wash, sanctified and justified, independently and together they denote the salvation the Corinthians had experienced through the power of Jesus and the Spirit, the Holy Spirit. The verb there, “sanctified” is the perfect passive participle, which means a completed action that occurred in the past that produces the state of being or result that exists in the present. Praise the Lord for perfect passive participles. Say that three times fast.
In Paul’s thinking when people believe in Jesus as their Lord, we become sanctified; we become justified and sanctified. We are set apart from the world and dedicated to God Himself, He dedicates us to Himself! And with all that is going wrong in the church today or in the Corinth church in that day, it might seem strange to call this group believers, or sanctified. But Paul allows his theology, the way he thought about God, to rule here, rather than his observations. And this is the way we should view all children of God in Christ, as fellow believers, justified and sanctified in Christ Jesus. God sanctified us, He set us apart.
In the book of Hebrews this idea of already being sanctified, past tense, perfect tense, dominates the book. Hebrews 10:10 says this: “By this will,” meaning God’s will, “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Here again sanctified is in the perfect tense; it points to our already achieved standing before God. It’s an accomplished fact. And nowhere in Hebrews does the writer refer to the progressive part of our sanctification, the more an accomplished part of the believer’s life, and instead sanctification is for him a functional equivalent of a Pauline concept of justification. In other words, it already happened.
If we turn right, Hebrews 10:14 says, “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” The NIV translation says, “are being made holy” constantly. [“Hebrews 10:14, “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”] It sounds more like a continuing process. I believe the NASB has a more accurate rendering here compared to the NIV, because the NIV ignores the force of the expression “made holy” in verse 10. The sanctified have a status in God’s presence that is perfect in the sense that when they approach Him, God sees them with full acceptance to the death of Christ, through the death of His Son. That’s exciting.
Now as you see there in the Scriptures, they teach that we have been sanctified positionally, past tense, regardless of the levels of practical holiness, despite our present sinful nature, salvation dealt with our sin nature in some regards but it did not eradicate it, it did not get rid of it. And not all Christians live consistent holy lives. But, all are considered sanctified; you are considered sanctified. I mean, let’s look at the church of Corinth and their carnality again, Paul’s whole letter addressed their carnality, yet he calls them saints. “To the Church of God, which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified,” [1 Corinthians 1:2, ‘To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.”] And please keep that in mind, that we have been sanctified because it carries on into the next phase of our sanctification. Remember it’s a done deal! Amen!
In other words, in this position God sees His child, you the believer, from the divine perspective, as already being perfect because of your position in Christ, Christ is in you, and regardless of how you live, once you’re saved in God’s eyes you are completely sanctified. Now don’t misunderstand me, this is not a license to live however you want. Just read Romans 6, right? Rather, it should have the complete opposite effect on you. This truth of being sanctified gives us incentive to holiness. One thing we need to understand about positional sanctification is that it is the complete work of God.
Listen to this quote by Lewis Sperry Chafer; he says, “We are not now accepted in ourselves; we are accepted in the Beloved.” Notice the capital “B” there, “Beloved.” “We are not now righteous in ourselves; He has been made unto us righteousness. We are not now redeemed in ourselves; He has been made to unto us redemption. We are not now positionally sanctified by our daily walk; He has been made unto us sanctification. Positional sanctification is as perfect as He is perfect. As much as He is set apart, we who are in Him are set apart. Positional sanctification is as complete for the weakest saint as it is for the strongest. It depends only on his union and position in Christ.”
That’s good news—positional sanctification, the truth that all believers have already been sanctified, set apart positionally for God’s sake.
There is also a second major aspect to sanctification, we could also view this as our present tense of sanctification, it’s progressive sanctification. Andy harps on this a lot. Another word for it, another term, would be experiential sanctification. So progressive sanctification relates to the experience on a day to day basis in the life of the believer. Positional is completely unrelated to your daily life. And progressive sanctification is, it has everything to do with your daily life. In other words, it involves my effort, it is contingent on how we live. And this, by the way, our growth in Christ is what we will be evaluated on; this is it right here, our progressive sanctification at the Bema Seat of Christ.
There are three things that our progressive sanctification is dependent on and it’s this: How much we yield to God, number 1. Number 2, how much we separate ourselves from sin, and number 3, how effectively we control our sin nature. I’m sorry, I misspoke, three things that progressive sanctification is dependent on: number 1, how much we yield to God, how much we separate ourselves from sin, and number 3, how much we grow in Christ. And I want to break this down for a minute because this is very important in the life of the believer. I mean, after all, we read during the announcements that this is the will of God, our sanctification.
Let’s look at the first part. Progressive sanctification is dependent on how much we yield to God and what this should look like is complete self-dedication to God. The Bible calls this our reasonable service. Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” The New King James Version says, “This is our reasonable service to God.” In other words, it makes sense, it’s rational; it’s only logical to present our bodies as a sacrifice to God, so much so our progressive sanctification depends on it.
And by the way, the word body there represents the totality of one’s life. It’s actually a Hebrew expression, the body means the entire self, the inner man, the desires and choices that we make as well, all of us. This self-dedication to God’s concerns our volition, our wills, we exercise our wills, we come to a resolve, a resolution, a resolute decision to dedicate our life to God. We choose to live for God and reject the flesh. We are yielding to God on a daily basis. Our progressive sanctification is dependent on how much we yield to God.
The second part is how much we separate ourselves from sin. Scripture does not teach the eradication of our sin nature, the sin nature will continue to reside in us until we die. But the Scripture does promise a moment by moment victory over sin through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:16-17 says this: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.  For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”
Romans 8:4 also talks about this living according to the Spirit. [Romans 8:4, “so that the requirement for the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”]
Is that all? No, there’s more. It not only takes action on our part, walking, that’s action, right? It not only takes our action, walking in the Spirit, it also takes a causative effort, our mind, our thinking. The Bible commands us to reckon ourselves to be dead to sin….reckon. This is our responsibility as Christians, to reckon ourselves dead to sin.
Romans 6:11-13 says, “Even so consider yourselves,” the New King James Version says “Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts,  and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”
The words “consider” or “reckon” is also in this, it’s in the imperative mood, it’s a command, we are commanded to do this; we are commanded to think this way. The word “consider” in Greek is logizomai, and it’s the same word used in Romans 4 when it’s used in connection with righteousness. In fact, Romans 4 alone, which consists of 25 verses, 10 of those verses have the word logizomai. For example, Romans 4:3, “For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him” logizomai, “as righteousness.” The word “credited,” credited is the same word, logizomai, but it’s used in an indicative mood. Now bear with me, the indicative mood describes an assertion made by the writer to be actual or true. Okay. It’s presented as true. You might be asking, why are you giving me all this Greek mumbo jumbo; please bear with me, I want you to listen to an excerpt from The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. It’s kind of lengthy but he says this very well, describes this very well.
“We encounter here the oddity of the juxtaposition of the indicative and the imperative—i.e. something is flatly affirmed to be true, and then immediately we encounter the command to act in a way that manifests this truth. This interesting feature of Pauline thought is the result of the tension between what is sometimes called ‘positional’ truth and ‘experiential’ truth and is not unlike that between present and future eschatology. The challenge of Christian living for Paul can be stated in the maxim, ‘Be what you are, and act your true identity.’ Counting something as true does not create the fact of union with Christ but makes it operative in one’s life. The charge to consider oneself ‘dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus’ is thus in the present tense, stressing the necessity to keep up the process if one is to avoid reactivating the body of sin.”
“Paradoxically, the Christian is dead and alive at the same time, as in Galatians 2:20—dead to sin and self but alive and responsive to God. The Christian is to give no more response to sin than a dead person can give. On the other hand, all the potential afforded by a redeemed life is to be channeled Godward: ‘alive to God.’ Paul seems to lay considerable stress on the importance of this process of counting true or reckoning. It is not a matter of attempting to convince oneself of something untrue, thus amounting to self-deception. Rather, it is a matter of letting the truth of union with Christ have its intended effect. What is factually true must be allowed to become a matter of experience. Christians are to arm themselves with the mentality that they are dead to sin; for that is what happened to them in the baptismal experience.”
The Word of God says we are dead to sin; sin has been done away with, katargeō done away, that’s it in Greek, it has been made powerless. If that’s the case then why aren’t we acting like we’re dead to sin? We have the doctrine laid out by Paul; remember Paul’s approach, doctrine first, thinking, right thinking, and then application. Paul says “Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body.” [Romans 6:12] Why do we need to separate ourselves from sin? Because our progressive sanctification is dependent on it. When we think rightly we act rightly. When we learn and think correct doctrine we act accordingly.
I’m reminded of Andy’s series on Romans, remember that? We just finished the book of John, how long did that take? [Someone says three years] Three years. How long did Romans take? About the same, less than [someone says two years] two years. You know, that series of Romans was one of the reasons we moved here. Confession time… when I heard that series it was so rich, it was so “delicious,” we weren’t living in Sugarland yet but at the time I consumed that series in a matter of months, listening on my phone, and every day I listened, every day I checked the Scripture, and you know, listening to Andy was the first time I heard expositional speaking. And so I told [can’t understand name] I said pack your things, grab the kids, we’re leaving. We are going to this church, and we are so thankful that we did. Our progressive sanctification is dependent on how much we separate ourselves from sin. I like how, in that series Andy quoted Nancy Reagan, because of the resources we have in God we like, Nancy Reagan says, “we can just say no.” Just say NO! NO!
Why do I, as a believer, choose to sin? It’s not because I have to, it’s because I want to. The Bible says but I’m dead to sin. Then act like it. Just say NO! So why do Christians struggle with sin? Paul says because they don’t know, they weren’t thinking right. [Romans 6:11, “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”]
Paul said we should know this. He says, “…knowing this” we should know this, he says, “…knowing this,” know this, it’s a cognitive effort, “that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away” katargeō, it’s rendered powerless, “that we should no longer be slaves to sin.”
When I read this in my mind’s eye I think about slavery, most of us, we don’t know what slavery is like, or the life of a slave, some have [can’t understand word/s], we have not actually been a slave to someone. But can you just imagine if you were a slave, just for a moment, just imagine if you were a slave. You wouldn’t be here, you’d be working, the long strenuous hours of work, from the time you opened your eyes to the time you closed them you were working, the kind of work that bleeds your fingers, bleeds your feet, your knees, poor diet, poor clothing, poor health, wretched living conditions, perhaps a broken up family, every form of abuse you can think of, no rest, no peace, no freedom, shackles on your hands and feet. And then one day, all of a sudden, your evil task master is taken away, rendered forever powerless, the shackles are taken off of your hands and feet, and you’re just standing there, holding these shackles.
Paul says what are you doing? What are you doing there? Go, get out of here, be free! Consider yourself, know that you are dead to sin. We’re not slaves anymore, “consider yourself,” reckon yourself, “to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Jesus Christ.  Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts.”
There’s a third part of progressive sanctification; our progressive sanctification is dependent on and it’s how much we grow in Christ. Do you know that we are commanded to grow? I wish I could command my garden to grow, grow…grow in the name of Jesus. But progressive sanctification is closely related to Christian growth; there’s no way around it, we are commanded to grow. We are commanded to grow in salvation, in grace, in knowledge, in diligence, in faith, in moral excellence, in self-control, in perseverance, in godliness, in brotherly kindness, in love, grow in the Word of God, the inward man, righteousness, endurance, grow in character, hope, fellowship, good works, humility, patience [can’t understand word/s], in all respects in Christ. We are commanded to grow!
We should be growing in these things, in these areas. These things should become manifest in our lives if we are taking our progressive sanctification seriously. I’m speaking to the choir here, [laughter] and as we grow in these things a transformation takes place. The Bible says we are being conformed to the image of Christ, from glory to glory. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
This transformation from glory to glory has the effect of us becoming more set apart to God, more sanctified, being progressively sanctified. Our progressive sanctification is dependent upon how much we yield to God, how much we separate ourselves from sin, and how much we grow in Christ, progressive sanctification, the second phase of our sanctification, the present tense.
So far we discussed the positional sanctification, the past tense; we discussed the progressive or the experiential, day to day, now we reach the third part, the ultimate sanctification and we can view this also as a future tense of our sanctification.
Ultimate sanctification is when sanctification has reached its zenith, if you will, it’s completion. This is when we will be totally free from sin and totally used for God’s service. Ultimate sanctification is the aspect which is related to our final perfection. It will be ours when we reach our glorified state. The Bible teaches that in this phase, in ultimate sanctification, it will take place only when Christ returns. The Bible reveals great and awesome things for the believer. It says we will be like Him, we will be like Christ. 1 John 3:2 says this: “…when He appears we will be like Him,” that is exciting, “because we will see Him just as He is.”
The Bible also says we will be without blame, 1 Thessalonians 3:11 says, “Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you;  and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you;  so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”
Another verse, 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says, it’s talking about our ultimate sanctification, it says, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ultimate sanctification involves Christian united with Christ at His return in a blameless, faultless state. The Bible says we will be free of every spot and wrinkle. Amen! Three phases of our sanctification, positional sanctification, progressive sanctification and ultimate sanctification. These important and vital aspects of our sanctification we should know, particularly the progressive part. Praise the Lord for the past and the future part of our sanctification. I’m availing myself to God in the progressive part, for His purposes; I’m yielding to Him on a daily basis. I am separating myself from sin on a daily basis. Why? Paul says it’s true, act like it. I’m considering myself dead to sin, and as I do that I’m consistently growing in Christ Jesus. Our sanctification depends on it.
I want to leave us with encouragement concerning our sanctification, after all, living the Christian life is a piece of cake, right? NO, it’s not… it’s NOT! It’s tough. I want us to understand two things before we leave today, if you don’t get anything from this message get these two things.
Can you turn with me to Romans 6:14, and my encouragement to you is this: Be encouraged, we can be free from the power of sin. We can be free from the power of sin! Romans 6:1, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?  May it never be!” mē genoito, no way. “How shall we who died to sin still live in it?  Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?  Therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,  knowing this,” think about this, “that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away,” katargeō, done away, rendered powerless, “so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.” Wow!
 “for he who has died is freed from sin.  Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,  knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.  For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.  Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey it lusts,  and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” “Instruments of righteousness” there means like a weapon.  For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”
The whole of Romans 6 is our relationship to sin, Paul says we can be free from sin; if it was not possible to be free from sin do you think Paul would waste his breath and energy writing to these churches? His journeys would be in vain. To be dead to sin is to be free from sin, the Bible says. We must first understand the transaction that was completed when Christ died on that cross. I, you, the believer, was baptized into this transaction. We now have the divine resources to say no to the sin nature. Again, in Romans 6 the reason we don’t do that is because we lack the understanding of our true identity in Christ. Let us let go of those shackles, and then be encouraged; we can be free from the power of sin.
And second, and finally, be encouraged and know that our sanctification is still a work of God. Initially if it wasn’t for Christ and His atoning death on the cross our sanctification would not be possible. Ephesians 2:10 says this, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” God went before us; I love that phrase. God went before you! Now don’t get this verse wrong, we’re not doing a work of God, rather, it is God performing His work in and through us. He has prepared good works ahead of time, all we do is walk in them.
And then Titus 2:11-14 says this, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,” ALL men,  “instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age,  looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,  who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.  These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”
Our sanctification is a work of God. Praise the Lord! Do we take part in it? Of course we do, the progressive part. That one song comes to mind pertaining to the progressive sanctification, Trust and Obey, Trust and obey, for there’s no other way… but to trust and obey. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!!!
My prayer is that we as a church take our sanctification seriously and why is that? Because a dying world is watching, our unbelieving family members are watching, our children are watching, because Christ is coming back. My prayer is that we don’t just sit and soak and sour as Christians, but we share what Christ has done for us concerning our sanctification, our testimony. Amen! People are watching us, people are watching to see who we are, who we say we are as Christians. I mean, just turn on the TV, watch the news, it’s kind of a tough thing to separate a Christian now days from the world. Let us be people who… let us be the people who God says we are. Amen. Let’s think correctly and then act correctly.
So you might be here today wondering what is this guy talking about? Well, some 2,000 years ago the Son of God, Jesus Christ, left His abode and came to earth and while He was here His will was to do the Father’s will, and that was to die for the sins of the world. He died for my sin and for your sin. And the Bible says all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’s Word. So when Christ died for you what His death accomplished was that He saved every human who believed in Him, He saved them from an eternity separate from God. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” And those who believe in Him are considered saved, they are considered eternally secure, they are considered His children.
I encourage you today to believe and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible says today is the day of salvation. Believe in Him and God declares you righteous. You have just been sanctified, set apart for God’s work. Now we have to avail ourselves to the resources of God, walk with God, yield to God, progress in our sanctification. Isn’t that good news? That’s good news. And if you still have questions I’m here after the service. I pray that you’ve done that and praise the Lord. Shall we pray.
Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your Word, I thank you for the truth of our sanctification, that it has already happened and that You are giving us strength as we yield to You and we progress in our sanctification, and that our sanctification, our ultimate sanctification is sure. I thank you for this fellowship, Sugar Land Bible Church, may You bless the rest of our day and may we be careful to give you the glory and the praise, in Jesus name we pray, Amen.