Wednesday, September 23, 2009
~~By James Fire
If you're a new believer and feel a certain lack of direction spiritually, or even if you've been a Christian for some time, but feel as though you're either missing something in your walk with the LORD or that you've been missing out on something vital, then this may indeed be what you're looking for.
For myself, I know after I read material on this subject, I discovered that while I had 'bits and pieces' of these truths, I hadn't gotten 'the big picture' as I have now, thanks be to God!
So we continue with this article, and if you haven't read part One yet, please do so. Otherwise, read on, and I pray that the LORD blesses you in what you see here!
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.
Paul was never actually physically crucified; he died by beheading. He refers here to the spiritual reality of identifying with the death of Jesus on the cross, and by this means, dying to his own self will and sin.
This is how the process of sanctification is accomplished, and the way of a disciple of Jesus Christ. You can’t be a disciple and ignore the necessity of the cross and of sanctification, and any that endeavor sanctification is by definition a disciple.
You may be thinking by now: “Wow, this discipleship sounds extremely difficult! I don’t know if I can do this!” You’re quite correct; if you try to do this, it is extremely difficult. That’s why it’s absolutely vital that you not try in your own strength to do this, but rely upon God and His empowering grace to do this work.
Remember, sanctification requires your yielding and obedience, not your self effort. You simply acknowledge your need of sanctification, your need to become a person of holiness, and release yourself into God’s hands, surrendering your will and allow Him to do this work in you!
Think of it in these terms: if you were in a car accident, and immobilized in your wrecked car, and dialed 9-1-1 on your cell phone, calling for help, the police and an ambulance would arrive, and you would yield to them, receiving their help. Effort on your part would be unnecessary, just your cooperation. They would do all the work. It’s the same idea here.
Or putting it another way: suppose you had an empty glass before you, and you wanted to get all the air out of it. You think about it, and decide to get an air pump. You place the hose into the glass and then begin pumping, hoping to rid the glass of all its air. Obviously, there is still air in the glass, so you start pumping faster, but it still isn't working. So you begin pumping harder and faster, and in a while you’re exhausted, and have accomplished nothing!
Then you get another idea. You run off, and come back in a few minutes with a pitcher of water, and with no effort of your own, you simply pour that water into the glass, and in no time, all the air is out of the glass!
Christians (myself included!) are often guilty of trying to get rid of the sin in our lives by our own self effort. Here’s the problem: all of our resources… our will power, our mind, our volition, our intelligence, our sense of discipline are all tainted by our sin nature! We can’t purge out our sin with any powers which are themselves tainted with sin: its like trying to use air to pump out air: no matter how hard you try, you can’t succeed!
However, as with our illustration, if we simply pour water into that pitcher, problem solved! Just so, we are to pour the water of the Word into our lives (Ephesians 5:25-27), and yield to the sweet influences of the Holy Spirit, and be filled with the Spirit of God (Ephesians 5:18), deny the flesh and all its sinful tendencies by nailing it to the cross of Christ and accounting it to be dead with Christ (Romans 6:11).
Remember something that the LORD showed me once some years ago:
Victory in life is not obtained in a Vacuum (by our effort emptying ourselves of sin) but in the Vitality (the Life) of Jesus Christ!
An acronym that I’m very fond of, and use quite often when I sign off of emails and posts in my blogs or here on TTUF is: A.V.R.A.S. which stands for:
A.bsolute V.ictory (in life) R.equires A.bsolute S.urrender (to Christ).
This came to me shortly after reading Andrew Murray’s small, but powerful book
The process is not all that different than your salvation experience: you recognized your need for justification, acknowledged the truth, acknowledged your helplessness to do this for yourself, expressed faith in God that He can accomplish this work of justification in you, and surrendered yourself to His will, and received Christ Jesus into your heart and life.
When you are confronted with any particular temptation, and the old appetites for sin rise up in you such as alcohol, drugs, sexual lusts, bitterness, hatred, what have you; you resist that temptation by addressing the LORD Jesus who knows all things from His throne in heaven and confess to Him your struggle in this temptation.
Remember temptation isn’t sin in itself; our LORD who is our holy high priest was tempted in every way (so He knows what you’re going through), but He never committed a sin; see – Hebrews 4:15. It’s only when we give in to temptation that we commit sin.
Acknowledge that it would be a sin to give into that temptation. Acknowledge to Him that you’re dead to sin 1, that you’re not your own any longer, that you belong to Him 2 and that as a disciple you desire to honor and please Him by obedience. Surrender yourself into His hands and ask Him to fill you with the power of His Holy Spirit who alone can enable us to conquer sin in our lives!
Rom 6:6-7, 11
1 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Prayerfully read the entire 6th chapter of Romans)
1 Cor 6:19-20
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
Temptation can, like a storm, stir slowly in us, then rise to a fever pitch and rages, but if you stand fast, eventually that storm will pass. It can also strike suddenly like a bolt of lightening. We must always be alert, and guard our hearts (1 Peter 5:8). You can live the life of an over comer, but not by any self effort, but by yielding to the LORD as described above.
Alright, now let’s look at some scriptures that talk about sanctification:
1 Thess. 4:3-4
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel (the mind and thus physical appetites) in sanctification and honor;
2 Thess. 2:13
But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
The LORD Jesus specifically stated the means by which we would be sanctified when He prayed to the Father:
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
It’s the Word of God, the Truth, that we find the guidance, and direction for this process. We learn what pleases God, what doesn’t, how to overcome sin, and live a victorious, joyous life. It has its cleansing influences on us!
Paul the Apostle had much to say on this subject as well:
Hus.bands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
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.
. . . and . . .
Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
The apostle Paul also spoke of yielding our members (our bodies) not to unrighteousness (sin) but to righteousness:
Romans 6:13, 19
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
Paul further develops this spiritual truth by speaking of the “old man” that is, humanity that is part of the fallen Adamic nature, prone to sin; and the “new man” that is, humanity that is part of the regenerated holy nature through Jesus Christ, prone to righteousness; also be aware that most often in the New Testament, especially in the Epistles, where “walk” is mentioned, it refers to one’s manner of life or “life style” as we would put it:
Eph 4:17-24, 27
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness (unrestrained wickedness), to work all uncleanness with greediness.
But ye have not so learned Christ;
If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
That ye put off concerning the former conversation (also means, “life style”) the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Neither give place to the devil.
Being “renewed in the spirit of your mind” is another idea that Paul develops in Romans ch. 12 and Philippians ch. 2.
And we will examine what being "renewed in the spirit of your mind" means, and what's required for this to happen in the life of the believer in the next, and last segment of this article.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to email us here at The TRUTH Under FIRE or if you wish to inquire of a pastor, please email pastor Bob Lawrenz at the email provided. Should you have any personal questions for me, myself you may contact me at: KNYHTF1RE@aol.com
May the LORD Jesus truly bless and edify you, WAY TOO MUCH!
Posted by A.M. Kisly at 8:36 AM