Sanctification

Sanctification

Scripture: Romans 1:16, Matthew 1:21, Galatians 2:20
What is the purpose of God in giving a Savior and the gospel? To save the people in their sins? No, indeed. But to save them from their sins.
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The moral strength of our society seems to be crumbling dangerously from the very top down to the bottom. Some public utterances by men in high positions have been both startling and unsettling. A house subcommittee estimated that one-third of American workers have lied about their work record. A more recent release of a statement published in a leading religious newspaper boldly declares that tax evasion is not a sin.

Whether we agree or disagree with either of these important statements, we must admit that they indicate a very obvious trend in our modern world. The least bit of encouragement from either government or church officials to misrepresent the truth reveals a flagrant departure from those moral principles which once ruled our society.

How long can this erosion continue before a complete collapse takes place? Listen to Paul’s words in Romans 1:16. “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation.” Of Jesus it is declared in Matthew 1:21, “Thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Now what is the purpose of God in giving a Savior and the gospel? To save the people in their sins? No, indeed. But to save them from their sins. According to the Bible, sin is the transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4).

Preparation for heaven is more than just a beautiful theory. It’s a matter of character, a character produced by a power above man but available to him in the gospel. The plan of God is expressed by the great apostle Paul in the following language in Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

Now this experience-Jesus living His life in me and in you-leaves no room for sin in the life. Notice one thing. It is not I who lives without sin, but it’s Christ in me who thus lives. This is the secret of a sinless life, and it’s the only way. If one is dead, he does not respond to the lusts. That’s what Paul declares we are when he says, “I am crucified with Christ.” When I, my selfish nature, am dead, Christ has a chance to live in me. But when I’m alive to sin and assert my own carnal desires, Christ does not and cannot live in me. So I may sin. But when He comes in and lives in me, there is power not to sin-for He does not sin. Do you understand this, friends, from our text? This is the same thought expressed in another Scripture where it is called a new truth. “Whosoever is born of God doth not sin; for his seed (that is, Jesus Christ) remaineth in him” 1 John 3:9. This message has been greatly misunderstood, and men have been led by misinterpretation to teach that a man once in grace is always in grace despite his own wishes even.

But listen, my living daily life acceptable to God does not depend solely upon a transaction which took place when I was born again, but upon a daily renewal of that inner life by faith, prayer, and a daily surrender of self. When that connection with Jesus Christ is broken, then I go back into the old former carnal paths, for I am cut off from Him. But is need not be so. He is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by Him (Hebrews 7:25). This lies entirely in my will and its relationship to Jesus.

The theory that once a man has been born again he cannot afterwards sin or slip out of God’s hand is a very dangerous theory. According, men may then do as they please once they have been converted, and they still may be the children of God and be saved in the kingdom of heaven in spite of themselves.

This is not the teaching of the Bible, for it tells us that if a man has once tasted of the grace of God and then falls away, there is a fearful future waiting for him. Read it in Hebrews 10:26, 27: “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation.” This one passage alone is so clear on this point that none need misunderstand.

When we read the scores of other passages voicing the same solemn truth, when we read the heart-burning appeals of God to backsliding Israel to return to Him, there can be no doubt that man is in danger of slipping away from his experience with God. Man’s position of living a daily life of victory over sin must be maintained constantly. No man, no circumstance, no devil, neither height nor depth can remove a man from God’s hand. He holds His children tightly and we may safely commit our all to Him to keep against that day. The only one who can remove you from God’s hand is you yourself.

God is not arbitrary. He won’t hold you against your will. But when you will to remain in His hand, He will hold you fast. When you will to leave Him in a desire to indulge in sins, He will let you go. Therefore, the devil endeavors to control the will. He may seek to force the will by circumstances and pressures created by the artificial society of sin around us. This may be illustrated by observing a father and his little son out for a walk. The road was rough for the little feet, so Daddy took the small hand in his and grasped it firmly in guidance and support. All went well, but then the child said, “Daddy, let me hold your hand.”

With his little hand at the end of his small, slender arm, he took hold of his father’s hand. For a little time all went well, but then suddenly the little fellow stepped into a hole and lost his balance. The strain was too much for his small fingers, which slipped loose and down he went. Looking woefully up into his father’s face he said, “Daddy, you hold my hand.” Oh, how much that is like our life with the Saviour.

Let’s look now at another passage of Scripture. “Whosoever committeth sin trangresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4. And in verse 6, “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” Verse 8 declares, “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.”

Continue in verse 9, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” Looking very carefully at these striking passages of Scripture, friends, we learn first that sin is the transgression of the law. Second, that before we can abide in Him, we must be born again. Third, when we are born again, Christ comes to abide within.

Fourth, while Christ abides within, he will not practice sin. Fifth, the conclusion then must be that our only hope of living above sin is to have Christ living within us by faith, and that the evidence of this is the keeping of God’s law and attaining the Bible standard of a perfect character. To the very degree that we allow Christ to abide and rule in our life, to that degree we overcome sin daily.

If men think that after being born again they can flout the law of God and transgress it with impunity, they grossly misunderstand the Holy Scriptures. The power of the gospel is not to save men in sin but rather from sin. On the other hand, men had better be a bit reluctant about saying, “I have not sinned for a year, or for ten years.” Would to God that could truthfully be said; but, again the Bible speaks out. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8.

The nearer the apostle Paul came to Jesus Christ, the more he sensed his own unworthiness, and so will it be with every real Christian. Yet in spite of man’s nature and his tendency to sin, there is no provision in God’s plan for man to keep on living in transgression. He says. “… these things write I unto you that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1.

Friends, this is a foolproof plan. First we are giver power to keep us from falling, and then if we do fall by the subtle tricks of the devil, we may have forgiveness through Christ. This forsees the possibility of man’s sinning and make provisions for it. But it also declares that God does not make provision for man to live in sin. He make provision for him only if he should sin.

Yes, Jesus is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by Him. And the great secret is being born again, not of corruptible seed but of the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever. How do we know this transactions has been completed? Let John answer. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments.” 1 John 5:2. Again, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” John further presses home the truth in the following language. “And hereby do we know that we know him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” 1 John 2:3, 4.

Oh friends, there is power in the gospel to save from every sin. There is provision in the blood of Jesus Christ to atone for and wipe out every sin however dark. Thank God there is power in Christ to enable men to keep God’s commandments and to live above sin. David said, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Psalm 66:18.

There’s a great difference between deliberate, planned, cherished sin and the sin which stumbles into because of weakness. On this I’m sure we agree. The sin that is planned and cherished will rule the life, whereas the one committed because of momentary weakness will bring remorse and sorrow and a decision to gain the victory over it.

I hope you’ll feel the urgency to write for today’s message and study it deeply and carefully. To be a Christian today requires much more than good intentions and honest motives. There must be a dynamic spiritual power vibrating in the life to bring deliverance from the bondage of sin.

There is a strange doctrine abroad in the world today that sin is normal and natural even in the life of the Christians and that God will be understanding of our weakness and save us in spite of our continuing in sin. This is a fatal delusion.

If the Bible teaches anything without a single reservation, it’s that no sin will enter the kingdom of heaven. If God could save men in their sin, He certainly would not have sent His son here to suffer and die to take those sins away. The whole plan of salvation would have been unnecessary if men could have been saved in their transgression. May God help you to understand and experience the great sanctifying power of God.

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