A Study of What Sanctification Means

The Inheritance of the Saints

“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” (Col. 1:12) Sanctification means the impartation to us and through us of the Lord Jesus Christ, His patience, His purity, His holiness. It is not that Jesus Christ enables us to imitate Him; not that the power of God is in us and we try our best and fail, and try again; but that the very virtues of Jesus Christ are manifested in our mortal flesh.
 
“The inheritance of the saints in light.”  Often the Bible refers to God as light, to Jesus as light, to the Spirit of God as light, and to the saints as light. By sanctification God places us in the light that He is in, the light in which our Lord Jesus lived His life. Our inheritance in light means that we manifest in our mortal flesh the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. The “light” means the very things He exhibited, a life full of approach to God, full of understanding of God and man.

If we have entered into the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, the light has shone, and, this is the marvelous thing, as we begin to do what we know the Lord would have us do, we find He does not enable us to do it, He simply puts through us all His power and the thing is done His way. Thank God for everyone who has seen the light, who understood how the Lord Jesus Christ clears away the darkness and brings the light by showing His own characteristics through us.

One remarkable thing about our Lord’s life is that He always understood that His Father was right. I wonder if we always do. There is much that is obscure, much we cannot understand, but are we certain that our Father understands? Have we let Jesus Christ so manifest Himself in us that we know that the Father always does things well? When we come across a dark trial, such as war, or a trial more personal, something that is a distress and a pain and a wilderness, with no light or liberty, the danger is that we begin to say, “Why should this happen to me? But if we remember our possession of light, the Son of God in all His understanding of the Father takes possession of us absolutely, and we see in our hearts just as Jesus Christ saw. That is the marvel of sanctification. At the threshold of every new experience, of every new phase of the truth of God, there is a margin of darkness where we have this glorious test – will I let the Son of God manifest Himself in my mortal flesh in this thing, and will I possess the light that God has given me? If so, we shall see just as Jesus Christ saw.

I wonder if we have seen Jesus Christ as a possession of light – in our circumstances, in our business, in our home relations, or whatever it may be? Have we seen clearly what God wants us to do, and we have done it? As surely as we begin to put ourselves into the path of obedience, the perfections of the Son of God as manifested through us with such a great brilliancy of light that we will never think of taking credit to ourselves for it. When once God’s light has come to us through Jesus Christ, we must never hang back, but obey; and we shall not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. “As He is, so are we.” The sanctified life is a life that bears a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, a life that exhibits His virtues, His patience, His love, and His holiness. Slowly and surely we learn the great secret of eternal life, which is to know God.
 
“But now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” (Eph. 5:8) What we have in the kingdom of light, we give. That is always the characteristic. If we try to picture to others the glory of communion with God without being in close contact with God ourselves, we will paralyze the imagination of those we talk to. As we partake of this possession of light, it is as if the Son of God lifted the veil from the way God created things. He lifts our eyes up to the stars and says – “Do you see those? Every one of them is known to your Father in heaven,” and something we cannot state in words gets hold of our souls and it means this – God is so full of light that He knows us down to the tiniest detail of our lives. Then another time He shows us the makeup of a daisy and He says – “That was God’s thought when He created a daisy,” and slowly the Spirit of God makes our lives into exactly God’s idea of what we ought to be.

By sanctification we are placed in the will of God. We have not to ask what the will of God is, we are the will of God, and as we keep in the light as He is in the light, the decisions of the mind and the natural progress of the life go on like a law, and when the decision is likely to be wrong the Spirit checks. Whenever there is the tiniest inward check, we must stop, and we will find that the Lord Jesus Christ and His perfections will be there to meet every emergency. As we are made partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, we begin to understand that there is no division into sacred and secular; it is all one great glorious life with God as the Son of God is manifested in our mortal flesh. Paul puts it in this way: “When it pleased God…to reveal His Son in me.” You in your shop, you in your office, you in your home, say that in your heart – “The Son of God revealed in me!” That is sanctification.
 
“And has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.” (Col. 1:13) Just as the stars are poised by God Almighty, so the Apostle says the great power of the Father lifts the saints into the light that He and His Son are in, and poises them there, as eternally established as the stars. Have we ever allowed our imagination to be kindled by the light of God?  When we shut ourselves in alone with God at night, with the stars and the great quietness round about, it is so easy and so wonderful to talk to God; but do we walk in the light of the talk we had when morning comes? Do we allow the Son of God to manifest Himself in our walk and conversation, or do we forget and begin to work from ourselves, and at the end of the day do we have to say to God – “I am sorry, Lord, but I made a tremendous blunder, I forgot to step back and let You manifest Yourself.”

Remember, God wants to lift us up and poise us in the light that He is in, and that everything that is dark just now will one day be as clear to us as it is to Him. Think of all the things that are dark just now. Jesus said, “There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed.” (Matt. 10:26) Things are dark and obscure to us because we are not in a right condition to understand them. Thank God for all that we have understood, for every bit of truth that is so full of light and liberty and wonder that is fills us with joy. Step by step as we walk in that light, and allow the Son of God to meet every circumstance by His virtues, by His power and His presence, we shall understand more and more with a knowledge “which passes knowledge.”
 
Reflection Questions:
What have you learned about this Gospel Mystery of Sanctification?
Are we allowing the life and liberty and power and marvel of the holiness of Jesus Christ to be wrought out in us?
Do we know what it is to be made creatures in Christ Jesus?
Have we let God raise us up to the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, and are we learning to walk in the light as God is in the light?
 

In Heavenly Places

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6) Sanctification is the impartation to us of the holy qualities of Jesus Christ. It is His patience, His love, His holiness, His faith, His purity, His godliness that are manifested in and through every sanctified soul. The mystery of sanctification is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27) “That which hath been made was life in Him”, that is, Jesus Christ can create is us the image of God even as it was in Himself.
 
“And hath raised us up.” Who are the “us” He has raised up? We often hear it said, “Well, it can’t mean me, I’m not a true, fine spirited person; my past life has been sordid; I have not had the advantages of other people, and it cannot mean me; God cannot mean that by His marvelous grace He can raise me up.” Yes, He can, and it’s just such a person He does mean. God stoops down to the very lowest, to the very weakest, to the persons of disobedience, the children of wrath, and raises them right up.  Thank God for the impartiality of His grace! Any person, every person, we ourselves, may partake of this marvelous raising up whereby God puts us into the wonderful life of His Son, and the very qualities of Jesus Christ are imparted to us. There is plenty of room to grow in the heavenly places; room for the head to grow, for the spirit to grow, for the bodily relationships to grow, for the heart to grow – plenty of room for every phase of us to grow into the realization of what a marvelous Being or Lord Jesus Christ is.
 
“Heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”  That is where God raises us. We do not get there by climbing, by aspiring, by struggling, by consecration, or by vows; God lifts us right straight up out of sin, inability and weakness, lust and disobedience, wrath and self-seeking – lifts us right up out of all this, “up, up to the whiter than snow shine,” to the heavenly places where Jesus Christ lived when He was on earth, and where He lives to this hour in the fullness of the plentitude of His power. May God never relieve us from the wonder of it. We are lifted up into that inviolable place that cannot be defiled, and Paul states that God can raise us up there now, and that the wonder of sitting in the heavenly places with Christ Jesus is to be manifested in our lives while we are here on earth.

“And made us sit together.”  Sit? But I have to earn a living! Sit? But I am in the midst of the wild turmoil of city life! Sit? But I have my calling in life and my ambitions to fulfill! Paul says that God has raised us up and made us sit together in heavenly places in Jesus Christ. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) We must have in our minds that by “heavenly places” is meant all that Jesus Christ was when He was down here, and all that He is revealed to be now by the Word; and God raises us up to sit together with Him there. There is ample time and ample room to grow in the heaven places.

“My peace I give to you.” (John 14:27) “Your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3) We are familiar with these verses, but has God ever struck the marvel out of them until we are lost in wonder, love, and praise as they are applied to us as sanctified souls? We talk about the peace of Jesus, but have we ever realized what that peace was like? Read the story of His life, the thirty years of quiet submission at Nazareth, the three years of service, the slander and spite, backbiting and hatred He endured, all unfathomably worse than anything we shall ever have to go through, and His peace was undisturbed, it could not be violated. It is that peace that God will exhibit in us in the heavenly places; not a peace like it, but that peace. In all the rush of life, in working for our living, in all conditions of bodily life, wherever God engineers our circumstances – “My peace”; the inviolable peace of Jesus is imparted to us in every detail of our lives.  “Your life is hid with Christ in God.” Have we allowed the wonder of it to enwrap us round and soak us through until we begin to realize the ample room there is to grow there? “The secret place of the Most High” (Psalm 91:1) is absolutely secure and safe. As we go on in life and grow in grace, we realize more and more wonderingly what the peace of Jesus means.
 
“All spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3) “The unsearchable riches of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:8) “God is able to make all grace abound toward you.” (2 Cor. 9:8) These verses mean that just as the overflowing, omnipotent power of God was exhibited in and through our Lord, so it will be exhibited in and through us when we are raised up into the heavenly places. Get in the habit of saying – “Lord Jesus, prove yourself sufficient in me for this thing now.” Don’t say – “Oh Lord, show me what to do”; let Him do it and it will be done. It is His perfections, not ours; His patience, His love, His holiness, His strength – “all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus.” How blind we are! There is a danger with the children of God of getting too familiar with sublime things. We talk so much about these wonderful realities, and forget that we have to exhibit them in our lives.
 
“Blessed are the pure in heart.” (Matt. 5:8) What do we mean by “pure in heart”? We mean nothing less and nothing else than what the Son of God was and is. When God raises us up into the heavenly places He imparts to us the very purity that is Jesus Christ’s. That is what the sanctified life means – the undisturbable range of His peace, the unshakeable, indefatigable power of His strength, and the unfathomable, crystalline purity of His holiness. There is plenty of room in the heavenly places to grow into the realization of the unfathomable depths of the purity of Christ’s heart.  When Jesus walked this earth He understood the revealed counsels of His Father to Him because His heart was pure, and to the sanctified soul God says – “Friend, come up higher.” Jesus warns the disciple never to be afraid of the contempt of the world when he possesses spiritual discernment. Those who are in heavenly places see God’s counsel in what to the world is arrogant stupidity. We can never stand for one second in the heavenly places in a secular mood. Jesus never had secular moods; His heart was never defiled by secular thinking or by secular ways. What do we mean by secular ways? Secularity has to do with what we desire within, not with what happens to our bodies. What do we desire most? What the heart of Jesus wanted most was God’s glory, and sanctification means that that same desire is imparted to us. Sanctification does not mean that a purity like Jesus Christ’s is gifted to us, but that His purity is gifted to us.

The sanctified soul realizes with growing amazement what we are trying to feebly to put into words, that all things are ours if we are willing for God to realize His claim in us. “All things are yours…and you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” To be “in Christ Jesus” means that we are initiated into the position of sons and daughters. Do you know how God speaks to His children? He softly breaths His stern messages in the heavenly places, with what result? There is no panic in His children. God keeps us in perfect peace while He whispers His secrets and reveals His counsels.

When our minds are stayed upon God and we are growing in the realization of the purity of Christ’s heart and His wonderful strength and power, we will find that that same characteristic is being worked out in us, there is no mental or intellectual in subordination, but a complete subordination to Jesus Christ, even as He was subordinated to His Father. The same thing is true of our wills; just as Jesus brought His will into subjection to His Father – “I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me,” when we are raised up to the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, we will manifest the same.
 
Reflection Questions:
Are you “sitting” with the Lord daily? If so what has that meant for you?
Are you exhibiting the “spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus” in your life?
What do you desire most in your heart? Is it secularity?
Do you find Jesus’ characteristics being worked in you?
 

Urealized Truths of Sanctification

Unrealized Truths of Sanctification
 
 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” 2 Cor. 5:17-18.
Let’s deal with some of the unrealized truths of sanctification, the things we do not readily notice, from the standpoint of the new creation in Christ Jesus.
As we have seen, the idea of sanctification is not that God gives us a new spirit of life, and then puts Jesus Christ in front of us as a copy and says, “Do your best and I will help you”; but that God imparts to us the perfections of Jesus Christ. By the perfections of Jesus we do not mean His attributes as Son of God. What is imparted to us is the holiness of Jesus, not a principle of life that enables us to imitate Him, but the holiness of Jesus as it met life in Him.
“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” Colossians 1:16 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.” Revelation 3:14

These are just a few verses in the Bible which reveal that God Almighty created the world and everything that was created, through the Eternal Son. Some people tell us that Revelation 3:14 means that the Son was the first Creation of God Almighty. The Bible does not say so. The Bible says, “He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” Colossians 1:17. “So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35 The Son of God was the One Whom we know as Jesus Christ, and in the life of Jesus we have a pattern life of sanctification.

“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” John 1:3-4.  By creation we are the children of God; we are not the sons and daughters of God by creation; Jesus Christ makes us sons and daughters of God by regeneration (John 1:12). Creation in Christ means that Jesus Christ is able to create us into His own image, not merely re-create us, because what we get in Jesus Christ is something that Adam never had. Adam was created a “son of God,” an innocent being with all the possibilities of development before him; God intended him to take part in that development by a series of moral choices whereby the natural life was to be sacrificed to the will of God and turned into a spiritual life. Adam failed to do this. Jesus Christ creates in us not what was in Adam, He creates in us what He was and is. “Christ Jesus, who of God in made unto us…Sanctification.” 1 Cor. 1:30.
 
“As He is, so are we in this world.”(1 John 4:17) Those of us who are God’s children ought to stand in determined reverence before this verse. It can mean only one thing, and that is that the image and character and holiness of Jesus Christ is ours by the sovereign right of His creation. Sanctification means that we are taken into a mystical union which language cannot define. It is Jesus Christ’s holiness that is granted to us, not something pumped up by prayer and obedience and discipline, but something created in us by Jesus Christ. No wonder the New Testament puts Jesus Christ upon the throne! No wonder Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would glorify Him!

We are potentially sons and daughters of God through God’s claim upon us in Christ, but we are only sons and daughters of God in reality through our will. Do we will, not to imitate Jesus, but to hand ourselves over to God until His claim is realized in us? It is one thing to realize in speechless wonder, when the heart is attuned to an impulse of worship, what the claim of God is, and another thing to tell God that we want Him to realize His claim in us.
 
“Old things are passed away.” (2 Cor. 5:17) By “old things” Paul does not mean sin and the “old man” only, he means everything that was our life as natural men before we were re-created in spirit by Christ. That means a great deal more than some of us mean. The “old things” means not only things that are wrong, any fool will give up wrong things if he can, but things that are right. Watch the life of Jesus and you will get Paul’s meaning. Our Lord lived a natural life as we do, it was not a sin for Him to eat, but it would have been a sin for Him to eat during those forty days in the wilderness, because during that time His Father’s will for Him was otherwise, and He sacrificed His natural life to the will of God. That is the way the “old things” pass away.
 
“Behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17) Have those of us who are in the experience of sanctification learned the practical insistent habit of realizing that the “old things are passed away,” and that “all things are become new”? In their testimony people put it in this way – “God alters the thing that matters; it used to matter to me what certain people thought, now it does not matter at all.” “Old things” are passed away, not only sin and the old disposition, but the whole old order of things, and “behold, all things are become new.” Paul is trying to get us to an amazed state of mind – “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature”! Some of us talk about sanctification as if we were talking of a new book, or an article in the newspaper. With Paul the wonder never ceased; however often he talked about it, each time he was more full of wonder than the last.
“All things are of God.” (2 Cor. 5:18) God by sanctification creates us into the image of His Son. Do we choose to walk in the light of that life? Never make excuses, never turn to the right nor to the left. Keep the life concentrated on this marvelous gift of God. “Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us…Sanctification.” (1 Cor. 1:30)
 
Reflection Questions:
What are some “old things” you are holding onto that the Lord wants you to give up?
What changes in yourself have you noticed since you have become a believer?
Do you have that “wonder” every time you think or talk about your faith in Christ?
 

The Gospel of the Grace of God

The Gospel of the Grace of God
 
“Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ.”  Ephesians 3:8
“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27

The mystery of sanctification is that the perfections of Jesus Christ are imparted to us, not gradually, but instantly, when by faith we enter into the realization that Christ is made unto us sanctification. Sanctification does not mean anything less than holiness of Jesus Christ being made ours manifestly, and faith is the instrument given us to use in order to work out this unspeakable mystery in our lives. There are two “means”; the Gospel of the Grace of God, and faith, which enables the life and liberty and power and marvel of the holiness of Jesus Christ to be worked out in us.
If we have been born from above of the Spirit of God, the deep craving of our hearts is to be holy as Jesus Christ, and just as we took the first step in salvation by faith, so we take the next step by faith. We are invited; we are commanded and pleaded with, to believe the gospel of the grace of God, which is, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The one marvelous secret of a holy life is not in imitating Jesus, but in letting the perfections of Jesus manifest themselves in our mortal flesh. Do we believe that? Do we believe it with the same simple trust and confidence we had when we first trusted Jesus to save us?
The way to believe it is to listen first. “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” Rom. 10:17. Have we listened? Have we ever listened with ears of our spirit to this wonderful statement, “Christ in you”? Do we hear that? If you are born of the Spirit of God, we do hear it; we hear it more eagerly, more passionately, more longingly than anything else that can be told. We are invited and commanded by God to believe that we can be made one with Jesus as He is one with God, so that His patience, His holiness, His purity, His gentleness, His prayerfulness are made ours. The way the gift of faith works in us and makes this real is by hearing. We first hear, and then we begin to trust. It is so simple that most of us miss the way. The way to have faith in the gospel of God’s grace, in its deepest profundity as well as in its first working, is by listening to it. How many of us have brought the ears of our spirit straight down to the gospel of God’s grace?
 
Some of us have never allowed God to make us understand how hopeless we are without Jesus Christ. Everyone who is born again of the Spirit of God knows that there is no good thing outside the Lord Jesus Christ. It is no use looking for sanctification through prayer or obedience; sanctification must be the direct gift of God by means of this instrument of faith, not a half-hearted faith, but the most earnest, intense, and personal faith.
Sanctification is “Christ in you.”  It is His wonderful life that is imparted to us in sanctification, and it is imparted by faith. It will never be imparted as long as we cling to the idea that we can get it by obedience, by doing this and that. We have to come back to one thing, faith alone, and after having been put right with God by sanctification, it is still a life of faith all through. Those who are in the experience of sanctification know that it means that the holiness of Jesus is imparted as a sovereign gift of God’s grace. We cannot earn it, we cannot pray it down, but, thank God, we can take it by faith, “through faith in His blood.” Rom 3:25 (KJV).
 
God says that He will give us the desires of our heart. What are our desires? What do we desire more than anything else on earth? If we are born again of the Spirit of God, our one desire is a hunger and thirst after nothing less than holiness of Jesus, and He will satisfy it. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” John 6:54. Just as we take food into our bodies and assimilate it, so, Jesus says, we must take Him into our souls. Faith is not seeing food and drink on the table; faith is taking it. So many say, “Oh, yes, I have faith that the Lord Jesus will save me.” If we have faith that the Lord Jesus will save us, we are saved, and we know it. When by the Spirit of God Jesus is made real to us, His presence makes everything as natural as breathing. His presence is the reality.
What do we do to earn a gift? Nothing; we take it. If we have the slightest remnant of thinking we can earn it, we will never take it. We come with the sense of abject unworthiness, knowing that “in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing”; if ever I am to be holy, I must be made holy by God’s sovereign grace. That is the Gospel. We receive it by faith; and the Spirit of God is the One Who makes the simple act of faith the supernatural work of God. To those outside Christian experience it sounds foolish; to those inside it is wonderfully real. Immediately we stretch out the instrument of faith with implicit trust, the Spirit of God imparts to us the holiness of Jesus Christ and all that that means; and it is on this line alone we live. Obedience is the means whereby we show the earnestness of our desire to do God’s will. We receive this perfect adjustment to God as a gift, and then begin to manifest the life of Jesus Christ in our mortal flesh.
 
Reflection Questions:
Are you in the habit of listening with the ears of your spirit?
Have you any doubt of the gospel of grace of God?
What are the desires of your heart?
 

The Mystery of Sanctification

Introduction
This study will greatly help the seekers after Holiness, because it meets us on the threshold of our life in Christ and leads us along a luminous path of Scriptural teaching, to the full measure of the believer’s identification with the Risen Lord. This journey will nourish the heart as well as the mind with deep Scriptural truth. We will discover how to possess the Light, and shows its marvelous ministry in illuminating through His saints with the darkness around.
*This material is from the talks and lectures given by Oswald Chambers at the League of Prayer meetings and at the Bible Training College in London between 1911 and 1915.
 
The Mystery of Sanctification
 
Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory. 1 Timothy 3:16. By the word mystery we mean something known only to the initiated, therefore if we are going to understand the gospel mystery of Sanctification and fully experience it, we must belong to the initiated, that is, we must be born from above by the Spirit of God. Sanctification, or in its verbal form, sanctify, literally means "to set apart" for special use or purpose, that is, to make holy or sacred. Therefore, sanctification refers to the state or process of being set apart, i.e. made holy.
Am I born again of the Spirit of God? What is the relation of my heart to holiness? Our Lord said, “Every tree is known by his own fruit,” (Luke 6:44) and I know whether I am born of the Spirit by the desires of my heart. Do I desire holiness more keenly than I desire any other thing? Do I desire that my motives, my heart, my life, everything in me, should be as pure as God wants it to be? If so, it is a strong witness to the fact that I am amongst the initiated; I am in the place where I can understand the mystery of sanctification sufficiently to enter into it.
 
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2. When we are born again of the Spirit of God, the Word of God awakens great desires in us, and in times of prayer the Spirit of God renews our minds; in times of meeting with God’s people the gracious sense of God’s quickening comes until we know that the great desire of our hearts before God is to be as holy as God desires us to be. We do want to be baptized with the Holy Spirit so that we bear a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ. These deep desires are strong in the heart of everyone who is born from above. Paul says he speaks the mystery of God to all as such because they have the Spirit of God to enable them to understand it. We must watch and note whether these are our desires.
Do we long for holiness? Are the deepest desires of our hearts Godward? Do we know, first of all, that we are reconciled to God? Do we know that our sins are forgiven, that God has put the life of His Spirit into us, and are we learning how to walk in the light, and are we gaining victories by the power of the Spirit? Do we realize that as we rely on God we have strength to perform our duties in accordance with God’s will? All this is grand, ordinary, Christian experience in its elementary stage. Everyone who is born again of the Spirit of God experiences these things; they are the initiated, the one ones who can understand the mystery of sanctification and, God grant, may enter into the experience of it.
 
Sanctification does not put us into the place that Adam was in and require us to fulfill the will of God as He makes it known to us; sanctification is something infinitely more than that. In Jesus Christ, perfect holiness, perfect patience, perfect love, perfect power over all power of the enemy, perfect power over everything that is not of God, and sanctification means that all that is ours in Him. That is, all His perfect overcoming of temptation is ours in Him.
Sanctification does not mean that the Lord gives us the ability to produce by slow, steady process holiness like His; it is His holiness in us. By sanctification we understand experimentally what Paul says in 1 Cor. 1:30: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” Whenever Paul speaks of sanctification, he speaks of it as an impartation, never as an imitation.
 
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. John 14:23. Jesus states that the relationship between the Father and the Son is to be the relationship between the Father and the Son and the sanctified soul. Talk about “nothing between”! There is no possible room for anything between unless I step aside. Think what the fellowship of our Lord Jesus Christ with His Father was when He was here – “I knew you always hear me.” “For I always do what pleases Him.” This is not an example for us: it is infinitely more. It means that this fellowship is exactly what is made ours in sanctification. Those of you who are hungering and thirsting after holiness, think what it would mean to you to go out tonight knowing that you may step boldly into the heritage that is yours if you are born of the Spirit, and realize that the perfections of Jesus are yours by His sovereign gift in such a way that you can prove it experimentally!
 
“I am the vine; you are the branches.” John 15:5; “But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in the Spirit.” 1 Cor. 6:17. The New Testament exhausts itself in trying to expound the closeness of this union. The Spirit of God conveys to the initiated, to those who are born again, what a marvelous thing sanctification is. The perfections of Jesus – ours by the sheer gift of God: God does not give us power to imitate Him: He gives us His very Self. This is what sanctification means for you and me. Do you know what it comes down to? It comes down to faith; our word is confidence. If we are born again of God by the Spirit, we have not the slightest doubt in our minds of Jesus Christ; we have absolute confidence in Him. Do we have confidence to let the Spirit of God explain to us what sanctification means, and lead us into the experience? If so, instead of its being painful to follow the ways of wisdom, we will find that “her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” Prov. 3:17.
 
Reflection Questions:
Are you hungering after sanctification?
Do you desire holiness more keenly than you desire any other thing?
Have you such confidence in Jesus that you can pray this prayer, the prayer of a child: “Father, in the Name of Jesus, baptize me with the Holy Spirit and fire until sanctification is made real in my life”?