“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)
Once we know the Lord as our Savior, we must understand that God is not in the Re-hab business.
God makes men New. He doesn’t try to make “the old man” better. He makes an entirely new man.
Unfortunately, the watching world may not always see clear evidence of that change in our lives. Because we are too often distracted with trying to fix up our “old nature”.
Not realizing that it is impossible to do so.
Trying to Get Sanctified
God “gets the old man out in order to get the new man in.”, as Major Ian Thomas often said. (You can find many of his sermons on SermonAudio.com. Check out especially, “A Grain of Wheat“.)
I think one of the reasons so many people stop going to church is because they are getting the same old crap over and over. The same old stuff that doesn’t bring them any hope or rest or victory. Just more stuff to do or not to do.
Or Christianized Psychology and self-help ideas. Or a continuously-growing religious works list. Fundamentalists have a version of that list. And so do Evangelicals.
The reason for this is that churches, whether Evangelical or Fundamental, consistently misunderstand that we cannot achieve our Sanctification by our own efforts. In fact, it is not something we do at all.
Nor is it some kind of percentage deal where God does 99.999% and I do the rest.
The truth of the matter is that the Lord sanctifies us by His blood, by His word and by His Spirit.
It is a 100% fruit-of-the-Spirit deal.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. That this isn’t what you’ve been taught. Believe me, I know that all too well — from personal experience.
Much of my life has been a comedy of self effort to get Sanctified.
And I know I am not alone.
Faith is Trust in the Lord’s Working
The answer is that it all comes back to FAITH.
“Now the just shall live by faith:” (Hebrews 10:38)
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
We read these words and then forget them. Going on our merry way to try to do the things that only the Spirit of God can do within us. Trying to make ourselves clean, holy and sanctified.
But our faith cannot be in our own ability. Nor by our having faith in our own faith. Nor by trying to work up the faith.
We must trust in His promise to sanctify us. Our faith must be in His word to sanctify and cleanse us.
And our faith must be in the simple, amazing fact that the Lord, Himself, is our Sanctification.
Please, look at that last statement. It is not meant to be poetic. It is meant to be literally true!
The Lord, in His Person, is what we need to seek. Not a method. Not a strategy. Not more power or strength or will-power or any good thing. We seek a Person.
The Lord is the Resurrection
He is the Resurrection and the Life.
Remember when Lazarus walked out of that tomb? He did so because the Lord Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. Not because of anything that Lazarus did. Lazarus was dead as a doornail and didn’t bring himself back to life!
Now we can rejoice, truly rejoice, in the fact that this life we now live is not to be weighed down with what any religious group or church or teacher tells us which puts the focus on our own presumed goodness rather than the Lord.
We are free men and women.
Free from the law and alive in Christ.
And we are resurrected men and women. Walking right now in eternal life because of the Lord within us.
“…that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)