But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”2 Thessalonians 2:13
What about Sanctification? Sanctification is a word that is not often spoke about, yet it is one of the most important aspects of a Christians position in Christ. A. B. Simpson, founder of Christian Missionary Alliance spoke of the “Fourfold Gospel,” which is Jesus Christ as the Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King. Have you ever thought about Jesus as your sanctification? The Greek word for sanctification is “hagiasmos,” which means separation, or setting apart. Did you know that this is “the will of God, even your sanctification?” [see 1 Thessalonians 4:3]. As a young adult, I learned about the importance of being set apart for a special purpose. I did not know what that special purpose was at that time, but I did know that I was saved through the blood of Jesus Christ. That Christ was my savior who rescued and delivered me from danger and destruction. The power of God literally saved me from death more than once in my life.
The apostle Paul was thanking God for those who were at Thessalonica. God had chosen them to receive salvation through the sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. They accepted the truth about Jesus Christ that he came in the flesh, died, and arose from the cross. Christ death on the cross and resurrection has freed us from sin. This brought reconciliation to God and the purification through the Holy Spirit. The process of being made holy and pure is what sanctification is all about. It is God’s will for each Christian to continue in the process of sanctification. This process is done through faith in Christ, and it is worked through the Holy Spirit. The aspect of sanctification is vital to every believer in Christ in that it establishes our position with God. It is why Peter stated, “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” [see 1 Peter 1:16]. To sanctify is to be made Holy. It is hard for us to believe that we can be holy. Holy in our actions and in our conversations. Just look at the apostle Paul’s life. Paul a Pharisees was persecuting Christians in Rome. Listen to what Paul said about what he done.
“For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God and wasted it.”Galatians 1:13
Noticed how Paul did not deny what he had done in the past. He had persecuted the church of God and wasted it. A voice from heaven asked Paul the question, “Why do you persecute me?” “I am Jesus whom you persecute.” [see Acts 26:14-15]. Just think about it if you persecute a brother or sister in the Lord, you are persecuting Jesus. It was Jesus who revealed this to the apostle Paul. It is clear that God had chosen Paul for a specific purpose and that purpose was to make him a minister and a witness of the truth about Jesus, [see verse 16 of Acts chapter 26]. Oh! What a witness Paul was to the early church and look at verse 18 in chapter 26 of Acts.
“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”Acts 26:18
Open our eyes and turn us from darkness to light, oh Lord, from the power of Satan to God. That we may receive the forgiveness of sins. Take note of the end of the verse that states, “sanctified by faith that is in me [Jesus].” These are the words of Jesus Christ. We are all sanctified by faith in Christ Jesus. Why, because Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, [see Hebrews 12:2]. Our faith is in Jesus who is the object of our faith. Sanctification takes on two essential points. The first point is the objective which is in the person and the finished work of Jesus. The second point is the subjective which brings provision by the working of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the agent in the process of sanctification. God has called us to holiness which means the state of being holy. Are you continuing to be in the state of holiness? Can you see how the apostle Paul’s life was changed from hostility and ill-treatment of Christians to loving them in Christ Jesus.
Every Christian should be changed in their actions and characteristic from hatred, rage, hostility, and anger to the characteristics of Christ, which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, meekness, and temperance. As Christians we continue to be sanctified through the word of God. Jesus prayed to the father for those who believed that they would be sanctified through God’s truth. [see John 17:17]. We must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, [see Hebrews 11:6]. The body of believers in the church is subject unto Christ. We are now under the control of Christ through the Holy spirit and not under the power of Satan. We yield ourselves to God the Father because Christ has reconciled us unto God.
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”Ephesians 1:4
It may be hard to understand that God has chosen us before the foundation of the world and that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. We all should have similar experiences on how we have been changed in our actions to the characteristic of Christ. Sanctification is a process that is worked out daily in our Christian walk because it is by faith, and that is how we are set apart unto God. If we purge ourselves daily of unwanted actions and or feelings, we will be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and ready for the master’s use and prepared to do every good work, [see 2 Timothy 2:21]. This reminds me of a song written by A.A. Whiddington and Albert B Simpson titled, “Not I, But Christ.”
- Not I, but Christ, be honored, loved, exalted.
Not I, but Christ, be seen, be known, be heard.
Not I, but Christ, in every look and action.
Not I, but Christ, in every thought and word.
Saved from my sin and myself, dear Lord,
Saved to be filled with Thee.
Self-crucified, so now not I,
But Christ, that lives in me.
Remember it is not I, but Christ in every thought and word.