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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sanctification must be real

Hi D______,
  Sanctification can be seen in Luke 2:40.
“And the Child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him.”
Or Isaiah 53:2.
“For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground.”
Or 1 Thess. 5:23, 24.
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”

I think we often forget that sanctification builds on reconciliation with God. And we too often assume (myself included) that we are reconciled with God when often this is not the case. This is probably why the Reformation stressed reconciliation. Justification was good news because it was all God’s work. God’s work is always good news, because that means we aren’t laboring under the heavy load of redemption. Sin is what comes naturally to us and takes only a little work to keep it maintained. But, righteousness is very unnatural to our fallen nature and a hard row to hoe―unless we are justified, reconciled and surrendered to God and His Law, and made into new Adams and Eves.

If we are justified and if we are new creations, then righteousness does come naturally, and sanctification isn’t a heaven load. But, historically, we’ve seen  most of the Hebrews and of the Christian church assume they were justified, when they weren’t. They would kill you for telling them they were naturally immoral people. Even the Egyptians thought they were cleaner than the non-Egyptians (Gen. 43:32). And so-called sanctification or holiness is what Jesus was referring to in John 16:2, and was the foundation of the loathing toward the Israelites by the Philistines and other neighbors of Israel (Jer. 50:7).

So, we need sanctification, but we need to make sure we have the true sanctification.

One thing we learn from Luke 2 and Isaiah 53 is that it takes a little Jesus to be sanctified. It takes the son to lead us into holiness. If we are truly reconciled to God and His Law, it will only be because we were humbled and made happy to be small. We will stand before God as a tender plant. Our hearts will be pliable, for God will have taken out our stony hearts and given us a heart of flesh. This is the automatic fruit of justification.

We didn’t work for the soft heart or the little childlikeness. That was God’s work. It will always be His work and His alone because it takes a Creator to rework the mind and throw the devil out of it. All we can do is seek Him every day for that meekness. But, watch out here!

The promise of a new heart of flesh, one in which God has put His Law (Eze. 36:26; Jer. 31:33), when one looks at the contexts, he sees that it comes after 70 years of hard captivity. The justification and meekness that He promises is not easy to come by. It costs a lot! Many Christians don’t read the fine print, and so they use a lot of imagination to make believe they are justified (Deut. 29:18-20).

Mrs. White didn’t look very highly on such holiness, but knew that one day it would speak like a dragon. This is the end result of everyone who will not submit to the hard conviction of the Law of God, or of the hard, divine consequences for disobedience to the Law. We cannot justify ourselves, crucify ourselves, or baptize ourselves in guilt or punishment. But, we can bear up under the consequences; or, we can prevent the consequences by standing before the burning conviction of the Spirit of prophecy/Bible/Law of God, until God decides to deliver us. Then we are humbled, teachable, redeemable. Then we are the meek that merit hearing the gospel, because only the meek can hear the good news with a humble, whole heart without immediately presuming upon God’s goodness. If we jump out of the frying pan, then we’ve lost God’s golden opportunity to sanctify us and our eternal life is in jeopardy.

I say all of this as preliminary to what sanctification is because with so many misconceptions on the subject of sanctification leading to so much self-righteousness, it’s a waste of everyone’s time and heartache to gloss over the preliminary. Paul very profusely clarified the preliminaries to sanctification. So, I feel right in doing the same.

If we are justified, everything we read in the writings of Ellen White makes perfect sense and is a joy to do. She was the Lord’s messenger to prepare a people to stand before the Lord at His second coming. Diet, dress, family and marriage, living the Christian life, true education, motivation for evangelism, Bible study, preparation for the coming time of trouble, etc. All of these and many more are the work of sanctification. And obviously, it’s the work of a lifetime because sanctification encompasses so much, and because the converted person couldn’t have it any other way.

But, we have these statements from Great Controversy:

Says the prophet: “Who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:2, 3. Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth. This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14.

When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for His appearing. “Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” Malachi 3:4. Then the church which our Lord at His coming is to receive to Himself will be a “glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.” Ephesians 5:27. Then she will look “forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.” Song of Solomon 6:10. Great Controversy, 425.

The “time of trouble such as never was,” is soon to open upon us; and we shall need an experience which we do not now possess, and which many are too indolent to obtain. It is often the case that trouble is greater in anticipation than in reality; but this is not true of the crisis before us. The most vivid presentation cannot reach the magnitude of the ordeal. In that time of trial, every soul must stand for himself before God. Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in the land, “as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.” [Ezekiel 14:20.]

Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ. Not even by a thought could our Saviour be brought to yield to the power of temptation. Satan finds in human hearts some point where he can gain a foot-hold; some sinful desire is cherished, by means of which his temptations assert their power. But Christ declared of himself, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” [John 14:30.] Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept his Father’s commandments, and there was no sin in him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble.
It is in this life that we are to separate sin from us, through faith in the atoning blood of Christ. Our precious Saviour invites us to join ourselves to him, to unite our weakness to his strength, our ignorance to his wisdom, our unworthiness to his merits. Ibid. 622, 623.

So, the standard is high, very high. It is much higher than what the Sunday preachers use for a standard. It’s also a standard that the Advent movement has largely ceased to use. So, how do we get there? “Our precious Saviour invites us to join ourselves to him, to unite our weakness to his strength, our ignorance to his wisdom, our unworthiness to his merits.”

If we will join ourselves to Him, His strength will fix our weakness, His wisdom will teach our ignorance, His beautiful character will influence our loathsome filthiness and will purify us. And, judging by the movements of Satan today, we need to get sanctified. But, finding the Child of God and letting His love win us over to surrender and reconciliation with God is the key to sanctification. Whoever hath the Son hath life. And whoever hath not the Son hath not life. 
Hopefully this helps in your group study.
David

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