by Rob Parlante
1st Thes 4:3a
Mature Christians often used theological terms to describe various aspects of one’s salvation. As a newer believer, I had no clue what any of these terms meant. Terms such as regeneration, justification, sanctification or glorification just to name a few. The only thing I knew was that I prayed to receive Christ, and that I was overwhelmed with the joy of my salvation. I didn’t know the contents of the bible and certainly didn’t understand any of these theological terms. I only knew one thing; Christ saved me and now lives in me. Initially, the term sanctification really confused me, because it seemed to have more than one meaning in the bible. After several years, I learned the meaning of this term depended primarily on the context of how the word was used. The root word for sanctification is the word sanctify. Sanctify means to be set apart. I discovered all believers are set apart once they receive spiritual life and Christ dwells in them. So it’s a spiritual fact that all believers are sanctified, and thus set apart. Many scriptures point out this awesome spiritual truth. But what about a variation of this word, the word sanctification? This word is a little different because it carries with it the idea of some action or process in which Christians goes through while being physically alive. This word is used in several scriptures highlighting a spiritual process all Christians’ experience which is orchestrated by God. One of those verses is 1st Thes 4:3a.
1 Thessalonians 4:3a (NASB) 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification
Many Christians go crazy trying to determine God’s will for their lives. What decisions they should make, where should they live, what career should they take, who should they marry, etc. We see from this verse, the simple will of God for all Christians is their sanctification. So it would seem logical as a Christian to try to understand and pursue sanctification by doing their part in this spiritual process. So what is the definition of the process of our sanctification? I could sum it up by saying this; our sanctification is being conformed into the image of Christ. The best verse that describes this is Rom 8:29a.
Romans 8:29a (NASB) 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son
God’s will for all Christians on this earth is for them to be conformed into the image of Christ. God foreknows and predestines circumstances and events in our lives that by faith will result in a Christian being conformed into the image of Christ. Being conformed is expressing Christ externally to the outside world, who indwells you internally. This is all orchestrated by Him, and is in His timing. This is all in God’s foreknowledge. Christ expressing Himself through a Christian is a Christian being conformed into the image of Christ. This is God’s will for you, your sanctification by being confirmed into the image of Christ. This is what people see when they see you in person, face to face. They see Christ in you. As a Christian, what’s my part in the sanctification process, what do I do, or what choices do I make? It all comes down to one of two choices. To choose to present, offer, and surrender ourselves to Christ to allow Him to live through us and use us, which conforms us to His image. Or to choose the opposite of presenting and depending on our flesh (ourselves) to live our lives, which conforms us to the image of the world, resulting in further lawlessness (chaos in our lives). Let’s read Ro 6:19.
Romans 6:19 (NASB) 19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
Presenting ourselves to Christ, allowing Him to work in us and through us, results in our sanctification. This is God’s simple will for you. Stop the endless search of looking for signs to validate His will for your life. Just present, offer and surrender yourself to Him, and let Him work out the details of your life. This is your sanctification. This is a peaceful and exciting way to live the Christian life.
The Will of God Your Sanctification
If you would like to learn more about the truths described here, come join us at Grace Christian Church, currently meeting at the Freehold VFW, every Sunday at 9:30 am.
In Him, Rob Parlante – Elder / Grace Christian Church