SanctificationSeries: The Comeback. James Dewhurst May 23, 2021
Today, I want to close out our series today with one of the most critical processes that need to make a quick “Comeback” in the life of every saved sinner – Sanctification!
Someone once said – “If you’re not actively pursuing the person you want to be, your becoming the person you don’t want to be.”
Our 34th President, Dwight D. Eisenhower said – “Unless we progress, we will regress.”
The same is true spiritually! No one remains morally neutral or static: We are either slipping back into more sin, or overcoming sin and moving towards more holiness!
Ephesians 2:4-5 “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
Philippians 2:12 “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”
Paul taught that we must follow up our decision for Christ with a commitment to Christ!
The spiritual journey of a Christian doesn’t begin and end with a one-time prayer of salvation! Christianity is not a moment, it’s a movement; it’s not a destination, it’s a daily decision; it’s not a parking spot, it’s an on-ramp taking believers from glory to glory!
#>2 Corinthians 3:18
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
Stagnation is never supposed to follow salvation!
The Christian journey is in reality a 2 Step process:
> Step #1 is Salvation: Salvation has to do with our Status
(Who I Am!)
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works so that no one can boast.”
> Step #2 is Sanctification: Sanctification has to do with our Practice
(What I Do!)
Ephesians 4:22-24 “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
The reason most Christians know a lot more about Salvation than they do about Sanctification is because we live in a world that loves status more than practice!
What is sanctification? It is becoming in practice what we already are in status!
Philippians 3:12-14 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
1 Peter 2:10-12 “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
Hebrews 6:1 “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.”
We must know that change is inevitable but growth is chosen!
John Wesley, the Father of the Methodist church, and leader of the greatest revival in the history of England saw salvation as both instantaneous and gradual. Wesley taught salvation after conversion, as a process by which a man or woman would pass through successive stages, by continually reaching higher levels. Salvation, according to Wesley, was not a static one-time experience in each of our lives. It is an ongoing experience of God’s grace working in our lives to change us into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Wesley called this unique dimension of grace sanctification or holiness. Wesley believed that through God’s sanctifying grace the new believer would continually grow and mature in their ability to live like Christ. Motivated solely by love for God, Wesley taught that believers must commit to a life of unending surrender, as their desires, motivations, and behaviors are transformed. Wesley saw the word salvation as both a position (declared righteous by faith through the redeeming work of Christ) and a process (the launching point of God’s sanctifying work of grace in our lives).
This was the exact understanding of grace the apostle Paul had, and this understanding should lead all of us to believe: grace demands more, never less! That is to say that a right view of grace should lead me to lay the entirety of my life as an offering at the feet of Jesus. In short, grace calls me to a life of holiness. But the problem is, there is a new gospel of cheap grace that’s being taught in the church today. Cheap grace is preaching forgiveness without any repentance, baptism without redemption, communion without confession, justification without conviction, grace without truth, and heaven without hell!
Grace is freedom FROM SIN, not freedom FOR SIN!
We don’t become righteous by erasing sin, we become righteous by confessing sin!
Cheap grace tells us it’s okay to continue living the way we were, before Christ!
It’s okay to lust the same way you did before you got saved! It’s okay to cuss the same way you did before you got saved! It’s okay to drink the same way you did before you got saved!
It’s okay to judge the same way you did before you got saved! It’s okay to be selfish the same way were before you got saved!
Truth – The reason cheap grace is so popular is that it feels good to our flesh!
Our flesh will never care about your eternity because it’s not going with you!
1 Peter 2:1-3 “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
Romans 6:1-18 “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life…6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him…10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 In the same way, counts yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master because you are not under the law but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”
Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?
Now, we all sin on a daily basis and will continue to do so until we leave these bodies of sin. But Paul isn’t talking about making mistakes, missing the mark, and falling short. Paul is talking about willfully continuing to sin because God gives grace!
We can use grace to our advantage, or we can take advantage of grace!!!
Paul’s answer to his own question is clear – Absolutely Not, No Way, God Forbid!
Sanctification is the relentless pursuit of Christ and the willful rejection of sin!
John 14:5 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.”
I want to close with the 3 pillars Paul lays out for spiritual growth in this passage:
Count yourselves dead to Sin! (You must settle in your mind that yesterday died!)
Refuse to let sin get the Win! (Sin may mess with you, but don’t let it master you!)
Offer yourself fully to God! (Christian obedience is not forced it is willfully offered!)
The saved and sanctified believer has simply changed masters – From sin to the Son!
It is not okay for believers to accept Christ and stay the same! It’s not okay to continue living in the same cycles, patterns, attitudes, and actions we were living in yesterday!
It’s time for Sanctification to make a comeback in our lives and in God’s church!
There are over 400 references to the later in Scripture! While in the O.T. The altar was a place for sacrifice, in the N.T. The altar is the place of surrender.
It’s the place where we surrender our sins, our wounds, and our worries to God, and he heals us!