Summary: THEME: Sanctifying Grace
INTRODUCTION: Having been justified (saved) by grace does not mean we continue living in sin. When one is justified he or she has within his or her heart a desire to be like Jesus. This is because of a new nature. The new nature is at odds with the old nature.
Sanctification is one of the most misunderstood experiences available to a believer. Sanctification takes place after one has become a Christian (having experienced Justification). Sanctification is both an instantaneous and progressive work of grace in the life of the believer.
The initial experience of sanctification occurs when God instantaneously cleanses, purges, purifies one from the influence of the old nature. God continues to work in our lives moving us toward “Perfect Love” or “Perfection.” The way we seek the experience of sanctification is primarily three-fold:
I. Surrendering ourselves to Christ.
Before one can experience sanctification he or she must be born again! It is easy to be all "churchy" and sing "I surrender all" but to actually wave the white flag and give up the self-run life is not easy. It often takes folks going way down emotionally, physically, mentally, etc. before living a surrendered life to Christ becomes an option to them. We cannot save ourselves but when we are ready to stop the downward trajectory of our lives we can surrender to the One who can save us!
II. Separating ourselves from Sin.
There is a difference between consecrating ourselves and sanctification. Consecration is a decision followed by an act of the will to present ourselves to God for His holy purposes. Sanctification is an experience a believer has whereby God eradicates the sin from the believer's life. He straightens the "bent" to sin and we can now live a life of holiness by the power of God.
III. Sanctified by God’s grace.
It is all grace! Grace is God doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves! It is His unmerited favor. It is instantaneous in that it is a crisis experience in our lives where God does the work but then it is also progressive in that we will always be imperfect beings on this side of heaven. As I used to love the children sing from our denominational orphanage, "God's still working on me..."
CONCLUSION: Jesus, in the context of love, teaches us “to be perfect just as your heavenly Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
Jesus never commands the impossible. He is not commanding us to be perfect in all things, only to be perfect in Him (love).
It is sanctifying grace because it is God that does the work in us. As the Holy Spirit works in our lives we become more like Jesus, and becoming like Jesus is the purpose of Sanctifying Grace. Sanctifying Grace empowers our entire life and ministry.
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