Count the Cost of Sanctification



  “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.  20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.”  (2 Timothy 2:19-21)

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, Who has also given us His Holy Spirit.”  (I Thessalonians 4:3-8)

I know a man
Maybe you know him, too.
You never can tell
He might even be you.
He knelt at the altar
And that was the end;
He’s saved and that’s all
That matters to him.
His spiritual tummy
It can’t take too much;
One day a week
He gets his spiritual lunch.
On Sunday he puts on
His spiritual best;
And gives his language
A spiritual rest.

“Fat Baby” Songwriters, Rodney S. Robinson and Steve Milliken

Capitol CMG Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group


My 41 years of God-called ministry experience has shown me that within the Church of our LORD Jesus Christ there is a large degree of those which must be referred to as “false Christians” and others who are “sleepy Christians”.

What do I mean by “false Christian?”   There are those in most every church who recited a prayer after someone’s prompting, who may have walked the aisle to the altar as a result of a finely tuned appeal during a revival invitation; that came more by fear than by faith.  They may have believed that the prayer they were prompted to recite aloud had the power in itself to get one into heaven.  They were satisfied that the prayer was all they needed, never looking to a Person.  They may even become very involved in the Church, but never personally involved with the Person of the LORD Jesus Christ Himself.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3, that unless a man is born-again, he could not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Born-again is speaking of a new life; a new creation where everything old is replaced by new life, new nature, new character guided by the Holy Spirit of God.  A “Christian” is not simply a better person, or an improved version of that person; a “Christian” is an entirely new creature.  He is now in Christ, and Christ is in Him by the Spirit.  A “false Christian” cannot be sanctified.  Also,

“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation; in Whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”  (Ephesians 1:13-14)

At the very moment of expressing believing, trusting faith, this new creature in Christ is sealed by the Holy Spirit, and that seal cannot be broken.  The way of sanctification was gloriously expressed in John chapter 15 by Jesus when He charged, I am the Vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.  If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”  (John 15:5-8)

“Sleepy Christians” choose to not engage themselves in purposed growth through discipleship and sanctification.  May the Holy Spirit shake them awake!

Sanctification literally means a life-long process of being set apart for the special purpose to make one holy or consecrated, as one being full of the Holy Spirit of God.   The expression can be used to refer to items which are set apart for special purposes, but the most common use within Christian theology is in reference to the transformation brought about by God in a born-again believer, begun at the point of salvation and continuing throughout that life.  Most approaches of Christianity believe that this process reaches completion once in Heaven.

Sanctification is extremely important to the life of the truly born-again believer in that it means being made uniquely one with God’s Son, Jesus, so that the temperament that dominated Him will dominate us.

Sanctification had a cost to God.  God so loves mankind that all He does for man is beyond any act of love man can ever comprehend and comes with a high cost, the way of sanctification is no exclusion.  However, it was necessary for God to make this provision for man, since man without divine help cannot bring about sanctification.   Bear in mind the cost:

12  “Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.(Heb. 13: 12-13).

Although man enthusiastically takes part in his sanctification, Jesus’ blood had to be willingly sacrificed for sanctification to become possible.     Jesus said, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matt. 26: 28).

Sanctification comes only through Jesus Christ.  The sensible query continues to be, just how does God sanctify man; what is the instrument?

In Jesus’ final comprehensive address, He spoke of the need for His people to be detached from the world (John 15: 19).   In this frame of mind, Jesus said, “Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15: 3).

Indeed, Jesus put profound emphasis on the Word as God’s means through which He works (Jn. 17: 6, 8, 14).   Jesus made it clear how man is sanctified when he expressed the following in prayer to the Father:

16  “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  17 Sanctify them by Your Truth.  Your Word is Truth.  18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the Truth.”  (John 17:16-19)

As man applies and conforms to the teaching of the Word, man becomes holy, consecrated, or sanctified.

Are we prepared to pay the cost of sanctification?  The cost will be a deep restriction of all our earthly concerns, and an extensive cultivation of all our godly concerns.  Sanctification means to be intensely focused on God’s point of view.  It means to secure and to keep all the strength of our body, soul, and spirit for God’s purpose alone.  Are we really prepared for God to perform in us everything for which He separated us?  And after He has done His work, are we then prepared to separate ourselves to God just as Jesus did? “For their sakes I sanctify Myself…” (John 17:19).   The reason some of us have not entered into the experience of sanctification is that we have not realized the meaning of sanctification from God’s perspective. Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the nature that controlled Him will control us.  Are we really prepared for what that will cost?  It will cost absolutely everything in us which is not of God.

Are we prepared to be caught up into the full meaning of Paul’s prayer in this verse?  Are we prepared to say, “Lord, make me, a sinner saved by grace, as holy as You can”?  Jesus prayed that we might be one with Him, just as He is one with the Father (see John 17:21-23).  The resounding evidence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life is the unmistakable family likeness to Jesus Christ, and the freedom from everything which is not like Him. Are we prepared to set ourselves apart for the Holy Spirit’s work in us?   (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, February 8th)

While sanctification is not sinless perfection in the highest sense, without sanctification there is no salvation and justification.   Straightforwardly, sanctification is the splendor of holiness, “… without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).

23   “Now may the God of Peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  24 He who calls you is faithful, Who also will do it.”       (I Thessalonians 5:23-24)

Beloved, may He sanctify you as you abide in Him on purpose with purpose.  Pray On!

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