How Can You Be Sanctified And Set Apart – Spiritual Reading.
1. The first part of the answer is found in our text of this chapter:
I Thess. 5:23, “And the God of Peace himself sanctify you wholly and may your Spirit and soul and body be preserved entire, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It appears from this verse that God sanctifies men, and Sanctification is God’s work. Both the separation of men from sin and their separation unto God, is God’s work. As it was God who in the old dispensation set apart the first-born of Israel unto Himself, so it is God who in the new dispensation sets apart the believer unto Himself and separates him from sin. Sanctification is primarily not our work but God’s.
2. The second part of the answer is found in:
Eph. 5:25, 26, “Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it; that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water by the word.” Here we are taught that Christ sanctifies the church and that Sanctification is Christ’s work. The question, of course, arises, in what sense does Christ sanctify the church. The answer is found in Heb. 10:10, “By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Here it appears that Jesus Christ sanctifies the church by giving Himself up a sacrifice for it. By thus giving Himself up for it as a sacrifice Christ sets the Church apart for God. Just as the blood of the Passover Lamb in the 11th and 12th chapters of Exodus set a difference between Israel and the Egyptians, so our Lord Jesus by the offering of His own body has forever put a difference between the believer in Himself and the world, and has forever set every believer apart for God. The Cross of Christ stands between the [believer and the world. The shed blood of Christ separates the believer from the world, purchases him to God and thus makes him to belong to God.
3. The third part of the answer to the question, how men are sanctified, is found in:
2 Thess. 2:13 and in other passages, “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, for that God chose you from the beginning unto salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” It appears from this passage, as from other passages in the Bible, that it is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies the believer, and that Sanctification is the Holy Spirit’s work.
Here the question arises, In what sense does the Holy Spirit sanctify the believer? In this sense, just as in the Old Testament type, tabernacle, altar and priest were set apart for God by the anointing oil (Lev. 8:10-12), so in the New Testament anti-type, the believer, who is both tabernacle and priest, is set apart for God by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Further than that, it is the Holy Spirit’s work in the heart that overcomes the flesh and its defilements, and thus separates the believer from sin and clothes him with divine graces of character, and makes him fit to be God’s own.
As Paul puts it in Gal.5:22, 23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control.” In opposition to this work of the Holy Spirit, we read in the immediately preceding verses what “the works of the flesh” are, an awful [catalogue of vileness and sin, and we are told in the 16thverse, “Walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
4. The fourth part of the answer to the question how we are sanctified is found in:
Heb. 13:12, “Wherefore, Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood suffered without the gate.” It is plain from this passage that believers are sanctified through the blood of Jesus Christ. Here the question arises, In what sense does the blood of Jesus sanctify? The answer is plain: The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all the guilt of sin, and thus separates us from the mass of men under the curse of the broken law, and sets us apart for God (cf. 1 John 1:7, 9). In the Old Testament dispensation the blood of the sacrifice cleansed the Israelites from the guilt of ceremonial offenses and set them apart for God; in the New Testament anti-type the blood of Christ cleanseth the believer from the guilt of moral offenses and sets him apart for God.
5. The fifth part of the answer to the question, how men are sanctified, is found in:
John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth.” Here our Lord Jesus in His prayer indicates that we are sanctified in the truth, and that the truth is the Word of God. In what sense does the Word of God sanctify? This question is plainly answered in different parts of the Word of God, where we are taught that the Word of God cleanses from the presence of sin, and thus [separates us from it and sets us apart to God. (Ps. 119:9, 11; John 15:3.) As we bring our lives into daily contact with the Word, the sins and imperfections of our lives and hearts are disclosed and put away, and thus we are more and more separated from sin unto God. (cf. John 13:10.)
6. The sixth part of the answer to the question, how men are sanctified, is found in:
1 Cor. 1:30, “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” In this passage we are taught that Jesus Christ was made unto us from God sanctification. Just what does that mean? Simply this: that separation from sin and separation to God are provided for us in Christ Jesus and by the appropriation of Jesus Christ we obtain this sanctification thus provided.
The more completely we appropriate Christ the more completely are we sanctified. But perfect sanctification is provided for us in Him, just as perfect wisdom is provided in Him (Col. 2:3). We appropriate either wisdom or sanctification or anything else that is provided for us in Christ in ever-increasing measure. Through the indwelling Christ presented to us by the Spirit in the Word, we are made Christlike and bear fruit.
7. The seventh part of the answer to the question of how men are sanctified is found in:
Heb. 12:14, “Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man shall see the Lord.” Here we are taught that we have our [own part in sanctification, and that if we are to be sanctified in the fullest sense, sanctification is something that we must pursue, or seek earnestly, if we are to obtain it. While sanctification is God’s work, we have our part in it, viz., to make it the object of our earnest desire and eager pursuit.
8. The eighth part of the answer to the question of how we are sanctified is found in:
Rom. 6:19, 22, “As ye presented your members as servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity, even so present your members as servants to righteousness unto sanctification. . . . But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto sanctification.” The meaning of these words is plain, and the teaching important and practical. We are here taught that we attain unto sanctification through presenting our members as servants (bondservants, or slaves) to righteousness and becoming ourselves bondservants unto God.
In other words, if we wish to attain unto sanctification we should present our whole body and every member of it to God, to be His servants, belonging wholly unto Him, and we should present ourselves to God as His servants, to be His absolute property. This is the practical method of attaining unto sanctification, a method that is open to each one of us here to-day, no matter how weak we are in ourselves.
9. The ninth and final part of the answer to the question of how we are sanctified, is found in:
Acts 26:18, “To open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in Me.” Here we are told that we are sanctified by faith in Christ. Sanctification, just as justification, regeneration, and adoption, is conditioned upon faith. Faith is the hand that appropriates to ourselves the blessing of sanctification that God has provided for us through His Son Jesus Christ by His death on the cross, and through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. And we claim sanctification by simple faith in Him who shed His blood and by surrendering ourselves to the control of the Holy Spirit, Whom Jesus Christ gives.
Excerpt From – The Fundamental Doctrines Of The Christian Faith By Reuben Archer Torrey.
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