How To Obtain Sanctification
In seeking and obtaining Sanctification, consecration is necessary. Sanctification has a two-fold meaning. First, it is referred to in many places in the Bible as “set apart.” It is the devotion of our life and service to God. We are in the world, but not of the world. Consecration means to set apart for a sacred office. We are not our own for we are bought with a price. The Bible in Deuteronomy, chapter 15, tells us that a slave was bought and then served his master six years, but in the seventh year God ordained that he must be set free.
“And it shall be, if he say unto thee, I will not go away from thee; because he loveth thee and thine house, because he is well with thee; Then thou shalt take an aul, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant forever” — Deuteronomy 15:16,17. He is now a servant forever, but a willing, loving servant and not a bond servant. Pray that God will give you a picture of this in seeking Sanctification that you may see the beauty of holiness.
The Hebrew children were serving under a hard taskmaster. Then they were delivered out and bought as servants, When we are saved, we are delivered from the taskmaster, Satan, and bought by Christ to serve God. We serve God then, but there comes a time when we are sanctified that we are dedicated and consecrated to a loving, willing service. Songwriters call it a land of perfect Love that casts out fear.
The rich, young ruler came to Jesus asking what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him of the commandments that he must keep. All of these he had kept from his youth. Jesus looked on him and loved him. Now comes the part that most people cannot stand:
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” — Matthew 5:48. The contention is: “Do you think you can be perfect?” Jesus said to the ruler after he had told Him that he had kept the commandments:” …If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me” — Matthew 19:21. He went away sorrowful for he had great possessions. This is the price that we face after we are walking in the light of Justification: God reveals the secret or inward parts. How much do people want purity and holiness today? The price looks too great, even though they have confessed their sins and made things right.
The other phase of Sanctification is a cleansing and purging. David said: “. . . blot out my transgressions” — Psalm 51:1. He speaks of iniquities and sins (plural), but his sin (singular) was ever before him, and in sin did his mother conceive him. He said: “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts . . .”Psalm 51:6. So there must be a purging and washing.
After God has redeemed one, he oftentimes starts wandering in the wilderness as the children of Israel did. However, God wants us to go quickly into Canaan Land and not fall into murmuring and complaining, or coveting after positions or honor as they did with Moses. They were led by a cloud by day and fire by night. When they reached the border of Canaan, the place was called Kadesh, which means “called to holiness.” Later on, we see Barnea, which means “turned back,” is added to Kadesh. How many today when they are saved will not go on to Sanctification? It is the light we must walk in when God sheds it across our path.
When the children of Israel saw the high-walled cities and the inhabitants, they were fearful. God told them to drive out the inhabitants of the land or they would be pricks in their eyes and thorns in their sides and would vex them continually. So many Christians today are vexed with things that mar their Christ-like walk. This brings condemnation, robs them of their faith, and destroys their prayer life.
The self-life must be destroyed. Ask God to show you “self” in your life. We are to walk as Christ walked, and not as men. If you will prayerfully search out and be willing to deny the self-life, God will make it plain to you. There are many forms of “self,” but the greatest and most dignified offender is self-pity. Someone once said that, outside the spiritual realm, our tears are self-pity. Self-pity is tearful and defensive. Self-reliance is another offender. It must be exalted and honored. When it comes to depriving “self” of its delights, it is a different story. “. . . If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” — Matthew 16:24.
To obtain Sanctification there must be a searching work of denying “self” and getting rid of the self-life so that Christ can take up His abode.
“For in him we live, and move, and have our being…” — Acts 17:28. Paul, the Apostle, said: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me . . . “-Galatians 2:20.
George Mueller once said, “There was a day when I died, utterly died to George Mueller;” and, as he spoke, he bent lower and lower until he almost touched the floor — “to his opinions, preferences, tastes and will; died to the world, its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame of even my brethren and friends. Since then I have studied to show myself approved only unto God.” “. . . Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone . . .” — John 12:24. We must “die” before we can be effective for Christ.
Many who begin in the Spirit slip off into the flesh. This is because they have made allowance for it. Having begun in the Spirit, they now try to perfect the flesh; but the flesh cannot be perfected.
“Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one” — Job 14:4.
Some teach that we sin in thought, word and deed every day. If this were true, the devil could not do worse, for these are the only ways one can sin. What foolishness this is, for the flesh profits nothing. It is good for nothing but to be crucified.
“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain” — Galatians 3:1-4.
The fruit of the Spirit is manifest in the life of a Christian, and the works of the flesh are destroyed. If we return to any of these works of the flesh, the Bible teaches clearly this: “. . . they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” — Galatians 5:21. “For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor” — Galatians 2:18. Transgressors are going to be destroyed.
Here is the cause and beginning of backsliding: sadly, it is the beginning of deceit and letting down. A soul relieved of the burden of sin is happy and everyone rejoices with him. In the delights of his joy, he fails to go into a walk of holiness. In order to go on to perfection one must first be sanctified.
There are many religious movements which claim spectacular things, but there is very little unity. Why? There is no Sanctification which brings oneness.
“But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness” — II Timothy 2:16.
Spurious religious movements not only are fruitless and in vain, but “they increase unto more ungodliness.” To remove Sanctification is to allow the flesh to exist, thus creating a breeding ground for all fallacy and carnality and fanaticism. The flesh is never satisfied, but is constantly crying out for more. “The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give …” — Proverbs 30:15.
To gratify the flesh is to provide a way for the carnal man (which is the flesh) to mature instead of the Spirit. To contend against the doctrine of Sanctification is to reveal the presence of carnality. The motive for contention is to make allowance for the flesh (Romans 13:14). Mark it down that this is a sign! If one does not feel a deep need to be clean and holy, then he needs to be saved. One cannot go on to perfection with sin in his life.
“He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul …” Proverbs 15:32.
Some would lead us to believe that there are carnal Christians, but that very expression disputes itself. It is like saying a color is “black-white” or “dirty-clean.” One cannot live carnally perfect. The answer for this dilemma is to walk in the light, the way, the truth, and clean up the heart channels that keep us in touch with God,
“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” — Romans 8:6.
The church of Corinth was not in a baby state — they were backslidden. Paul is saying in I Corinthians, chapter 3, that he could not speak unto them as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal. He could not even speak unto them as babes in Christ is what he is saying in essence. Even in the beginning you were not able to bear it, neither are you now able for you are yet carnal, is what he is saying. It is important that we “rightly divide” these verses and not just accept what we have been told. Analyze here what he is saying in essence: “I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual; I could not speak unto you as babes, for you are carnal.” Stop and think! Paul is making it clear to us here that they were not even in Christ.
There is much work done in the flesh (or by man’s work) in the name of Christianity, but those who have experienced death of the self-life can tell you that everything they had accomplished before seemed as nothing in comparison to what was accomplished afterward. One author said, “We are strong with God only in the degree that ‘self’ is conquered and is dead.” If we plan and try to put forth our ideas, our plans may be cutting athwart God’s plans; for He knows the beginning of our life to the end and all the pitfalls along the way, and we do not. How do we know our plans and ideas are right? We read in the Word that it is not in man to direct his steps, but that the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.
After you have searched your heart and consecrated all, reckon yourself dead to sin (Romans 6:11). When your offering is complete and pleasing to God, span the gap by faith. Only by faith will the work be done after you have met God’s requirements. Then, and only then, can we present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service. He will give you the witness when Sanctification is received.