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Summary: This sermon on prayer answers two basic questions: "How can I be effective in prayer?" and "What hinders prayer and makes it ineffective?"

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Sanctifying Grace

--I Thessalonians 5:22-24

This dirty glass represents each one of us as a sinner separated from God. Washing the glass makes it clean; that’s Justifying Grace, what the Holy Spirit does in my live the moment I say “yes” to God’s offer of forgiveness and a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. As the glass is now clean, “just as if it had never gotten dirty,” so in Justifying Grace God relates to and accepts me “Just as if I had never sinned.”

Let’s go one step further by filling the glass with water—pure water, representing our holy, righteous God and His pure, unblemished love. This represents the stage of grace we label as Sanctifying Grace. Its seeds are planted in us at conversion; crescendos to the moment God baptizes us in the Holy Spirit, and then continues to lead us onward to Christian maturity the rest of our lives. Good morning! My name is David Reynolds, and the title of my talk is “Sanctifying Grace.”

Please remember there is only one grace—God’s grace, but we describe the way His grace works in us at different stages in our pilgrimage with Him in different terms. Prevenient Grace is God wooing us to Himself, His grace extended to us during His courtship period with us. It begins at the instant of our conception and continues until the moment we surrender to the Holy Spirit by saying, “Yes, Lord, I accept the personal, father-child relationship you offer me in Jesus Christ.” Justifying Grace is the moment we say our “yes” to this personal relationship Jesus offers us.

Sanctifying Grace is “the work of the Holy Spirit moving us on toward perfection in love and truth.” This stage of grace has several other names: Christian Perfection, Perfect Love, Heart Purity, the Baptism with the Holy Spirit, Christian Holiness. Holiness and sanctification come from the same root and really mean the same although technically sanctification is “the process of making someone or something holy.” Sanctifying Grace is the work of the Holy Spirit molding us into the image of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ making us like Jesus. It is the process by which the Holy Spirit makes us “holy as God is holy.”

Sanctifying Grace is the work of the Holy Spirit in rooting out sin—moving us from imputed righteousness (what Christ did for us) to imparted

righteousness (what Christ does in us). Impute is “a heavy, theological word” that simply means “to count, credit, or reckon.” God’s word declares in Psalm 14 and Romans 3:10-11:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;

there is no one who understands,

no one who seeks God.”

In Justifying Grace, God “counts, credits, or reckons” us as righteous

because we have put our faith in His Righteous Son, but our hearts are not

actually made righteous. This is how it was with Abraham according to

both Genesis 15:6 and Romans 4:3, “What does Scripture say? ‘Abraham

believed God and it was credited (counted, reckoned) to him as

righteousness.”

In Sanctifying Grace our hearts are cleansed from the control of

sin, and we are liberated from slavery to it. The imputed righteousness of

of Justifying Grace is God delivering us from the consequences and penalty of sin; the imparted righteousness of Sanctifying Grace is God delivering us from the control and power of sin so we are enabled to live in the victory of Romans 6:14, “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” The Holy Spirit in Sanctifying Grace empowers us to be victorious over sin.

Sanctifying grace is the process by which the Holy Spirit reveals to us the original righteousness. The moral image of God that was marred in us when our first parents fell into sin is restored, and by His Spirit we are empowered to live a holy life. God created the human race upright and holy, but we lost that original righteousness as Ecclesiastes 7:29 accurately testifies:

“This only have I found:

God made human beings upright,

but they have gone in search of many schemes.”

Thanks be to God, Sanctifying Grace reveals and restores that original righteousness, as Paul affirms in Romans 8:29, “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” In Sanctifying Grace the Holy Spirit restores our original righteousness by conforming us into the likeness of Jesus.”

Through Sanctifying Grace the Holy Spirit empowers us to love as God loves. Another term for Sanctification is Perfect Love. Our Lord gives us the two greatest commandments in Mark 12:29-31, “‘The most important one,’

Answered Jesus, ‘is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

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