Summary: What does it mean to be a holy man or woman? This passage looks at the term "sanctification" and how it applies to believers.
Called to Be Holy
Text: 1 Peter 1:13-16
Introduction: It was the late 1920’s when a woman and her new husband moved into the man’s old family home. It was a clapboard house with a hall down the middle. It wasn’t much of a home, but it was all they had. Ten years later, however, the two had managed to save just enough money to tear down the old house and build another next to it which was to be their home for the rest of their lives. To cut back on the expense of the new place the husband, without informing his wife, decided to reuse many of the materials from the old house in the construction. He used old facings and doors, and many other pieces of the finishing lumber. When it was completed, the woman was finally permitted to inspect her "new home." As her husband walked her through it tears streamed down her cheeks. Unfortunately they were not tears of joy, however, but sadness. For as she looked around she saw the same old doors that wouldn’t shut properly; the same crown molding that was split and riddled with nail holes, the same unfinished window trimming. There wasn’t much in fact that was really very "new" about it. So on what should have been one of the better days of her life; she eventually sat down and had herself a good cry. Her husband was confused at her response. "But I’ve built you a new home," he objected. "No, you didn’t," his wife responded. "You just rearranged the old one."
It seems to me like a lot of people in our churches today have approached the Christian life in much the same way as this man approached the construction of his "new" home. Rather than allow God to completely remake us in His image, we have asked only that He remodel us so that we are nothing more than a little better version of what we were before. God is not interested in reforming our fallen, sinful nature. He is in the business of making us new creations (See 2 Corinthians 5:17 & Romans 6:4) that are the visible representation of Jesus Christ in this world. This process by which the lives of men and women are conformed to the very likeness of Christ is called sanctification. The word means "to make something holy." In the Bible it refers to the ongoing work of God and man that makes us increasingly free of sin and like Christ.
Today we are beginning a new series here at CLCBC called "In the World, But Not of It." Obviously, this is taken from John 17 where Jesus, in what has become known as His "High Priestly Prayer," makes a request of the Father on behalf of all believers: "My prayer," He says, "is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth."
For the next 10 weeks we’re going to be looking at what the Bible has to say about the subject of holiness. It is my prayer that every person in our church would see significant change in our moral conduct as a result of sitting under God’s instruction on this important subject. I invite you now to open your Bibles and look with me at this wonderful work of sanctification. A work, we are told, that begins at conversion, increases throughout life and is completed at death.