Summary: Explaining Sanctification from the view that it is about restoring the image of God in a person
Restoring the Image
CCCAG October 20th, 2019
Scripture- Rom 6, Gal 2, 1 Pet 1
A little over a week ago Tammie and I went to Michigan, and to get there we took the ferry out of Milwaukee. You drive your car onto this huge boat, and then sit in a cabin during the trip, or you can sit on deck if you can handle the wind and enjoy the cruise across Lake Michigan.
It was the first time I had been far enough away from the shore in the lake that I couldn’t see land, and that was an experience in itself- being surrounded by only water.
As I was walking around the deck I saw a red rope with a red handle marked “EPIRB”. I remembered that from watching the TV show “Deadliest Catch” that this EPIRB stood for “Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon”, and if it’s deployed it sends out an emergency beacon so the Coast Guard knows your exact location.
I was thinking about that as I meditated this week on this message. What if something had happened, and the ferry sank and I’m bobbing in the water holding onto the EPIRB for dear life, knowing the Coast Guard knows right where I am and would be sending a couple of helicopters and boats to save me.
My Dad was in the Coast Guard, and would occasionally serve as the watch officer at the Kenosha Station. His job was to monitor the marine radio for emergencies and listen for EPIRB alerts. Now imagine the watch officer at the local Coast Guard Station sees an EPIRB alert flash on his screen. He notes the time, the location, the vessel involved, and does nothing else other than go back to watching TV.
Or maybe he sends out a singe helicopter. The helicopter circles the location a few times, drops a raft, and says it’s up to us to row ourselves back to Milwaukee.
What I have described are two different but wrong ways that people think of this idea we will be talking about today called sanctification.
Some people think that God just makes a note in a logbook that St Peter uses to govern the entrance into heaven, and other people think that God provides the life raft for us, but it’s our job to work and row ourselves into heaven by our own effort.
I don’t hold to either of those ideas.
What God has in mind for us is something so much greater than we can even comprehend.
Let’s start by defining the word sanctification. If you have to ever take a theology class, the definition of sanctification is to separate something from the ordinary and make it holy. That’s the bible school definition and if you ever see it on a multiple choice test, pick that answer!
I like that definition, but it is very cold and dry. It’s cerebral and lacks any motivation to even want it in our lives because in our culture, we have little understanding of what being holy means.
Therefore, let me give you a new definition. It’s our big idea for today.
Sanctification is the restoration of the Image of God within a person.
Name this tune from this verse- hint, it’s a Christmas Carol
“Adam's likeness now efface, Stamp Thine image in its place:”
Hark the Herald Angels Sing
That’s sanctification in a nutshell. Removing that old image of the sinful person and allowing God to remake us into His Image.
This idea of being made holy is usually seen in Christianity like this in two extremes.
This is how I see our Christian walk with God as we live our lives-
Our walk with God is like taking a narrow path up a mountain that has huge drop offs on either side of the path.
If you travel too far to the left or too far to the right you fall into one pit or another.
In the right pit are people who want to earn God’s favor through their own good works or by following rules that are largely man-made, and then tell other people that if they don’t follow those rules they are not as Godly as they are. This is called legalism. The extreme examples of this would be places like Westboro Baptist church or any church that talks more about following rules to be personally holy instead of glorifying the finished work of Christ that has made us holy through HIS sacrifice.
This is a fine line- God wants us to pursue Holiness. God says be holy for I am holy. The difference is when you trust your holiness more than you trust Christ. That’s how you identify a legalist.
On the left side ditch on the path of sanctification is equally dangerous, and it's probably the ditch that we see most often in American Christianity. This one is filled with people who used the grace of God as an excuse to live however they want. They would say that since the cross of Christ cleanses us from all of our sin and the penalty of that sin then while we are here on earth, we can do whatever we want because the blood of Christ is covering it. This is called lasciviousness which means to live without any moral boundary.