Salvation Series – Sanctification of Believers
He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16. because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1.15-16
Sanctification is the process which we naturally (by the new nature) and spiritually live out when we are saved, sanctification is a process of being made Holy and becoming more like Christ. The doctrine of Sanctification is not the way to receive justification for sin, only Christs sacrifice can accomplish that, but rather is a natural function of the person who is spiritually born again, seeking their Heavenly Father, becomes more like Him. It is the process of growing spiritually once you have been born again.
To understand the Justification process, see Justification.
The word for sanctification in scripture is the synonymous to the word for holy. It gives the impression of being cleansed and being made useful for or to God.
Sanctification in the New Testament
Christ is Sanctified
And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed (Sanctified G37) be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. – Luke 11:2
Jesus was Sanctified by the Father
Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? – Joh_10:36 S
Old Sacrificial System did not bring Sanctification
In the Old Testament God set up the sacrificial system to allow animal sacrifice to symbolically atone for the sins of the people. For the sins of a person, God would allow the animal to die as a substitution for the sins of the person. This was all a symbol of the sacrifice and atonement that Christ would bring for His people (Col 2.17).
Only Jesus Blood provides Sanctification
Believers are to Sanctify Christ in their Hearts
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear – 1Pe 3:15
Believers are Sanctified
Jesus’ sacrifice brough justification and sanctification to His people. All believers are sanctified in Christ. They are cleansed, experience God’s blessings and Holy presence, and are useful for the work of God. However, believers are also sanctified by their own choices and acts of obedience towards God, this is why the Bible calls us to sanctify ourselves.
Believers are Sanctified in Truth – The Word – In Prayer
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. – John 17:17
And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. – John 17:19
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word – Eph 5:26
For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. – 1Tim 4:5
Believers are Sanctified by the Holy Spirit
That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. – Rom 15:16
Believers are Sanctified by Christ Jesus
Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours – 1Co 1:2
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. – 1Co 6:11
Believers are Sanctified by the Peace of God
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. – 1Th 5:23
Believers are to Be Sanctified for Service
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. – 2Ti 2:21
For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren – Heb 2:11
Believers Sanctify Themselves
Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God – 1 Corinthians 7.1
As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16. for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy. – 1 Peter 1.14-15
Colossians 3 is an instruction on sanctification and how believers should live. Paul tells us that because of sinful acts God’s wrath is coming. However, believers who were once like these, are to be dead to these desires. This is all to become more like Christ.
you have taken off your old self with its practices 10. and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. – Colossians 3.9
Romans 5 contains instruction on how to live after being justified by faith. That we once lived in the nature of Adam (v.14) we are now to live in the nature of Christ (v.17). For those that are born again, their spirit desires to will and to do and become more like Christ. Sanctification is growing in Christ (Eph 4.13-16) and dying to the sinful nature.
Sanctification of Objects
We find examples throughout scripture of tool and dedicated objects being sanctified to God for use of service to Him. God’s children and servants are equated to this type of imagery.
Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctified the gold? – Mat 23:17
The Bible tells us that under specific circumstances, unbelievers or those who have fallen away from the faith where or are sanctified. This does not mean they are saved, or are justified, but rather will experience some of the blessings of God for being faithful or near the things of God in their life.
For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. – 1Co 7:14
Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? – Heb 10:29
The Elect are Sanctified and Preserved and Called
Only the elect will be saved by God, for they are sanctified preserved and called by God for His purposes.
Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called – Jude 1:1
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy (Sanctified), let him be holy (Sanctified) still. – Rev 22:11
Inheritance for the Sanctified
The Purpose of Sanctification
To be Made Like Christ
The primary purpose of sanctification is to become more like Christ. We are to live holy lives to honor our father and bring glory to Him. In the same way that Jesus brought glory and honor to the Father.
We are to become more like Christ in our being, in who we are. When we are born again we comes to life (spiritually), and only God can give life. We are to grow in the image of Christ and become more like Him throughout lives. This is why we where created to bear the image of God as perfect beings glorifying Him forever, experiencing the joy of His eternal glory. To move away from sin (all that is opposite of God) and move toward being more like God and in the things of God. We are to have attitudes and lives that reflect who God is, and live a godly lifestyle in every aspect of our lives. Then when He takes us to heaven, it will be revealed that are already like Him, because of the work of sanctification He has been doing in our lives. We are to continually move away from the things of the perishing world, towards the things of the eternal kingdom.
those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son – Romans 8.29
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 – Gal 2.20
we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. – Eph 2.20
beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another – 1 Corin 3.18
when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is – 1 John 3.2
The Path of Sanctification
1.) Your old life is crucified, you are freed from the slavery of sin
knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin; – Rom 6:6
2.) Your debt is paid for
for he that hath died is justified from sin. – Rom 6:7
3.) Your life belongs to God
But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; – Rom 6:8
4.) The legal rights of sin, death and the devil no longer apply to you
knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death no more hath dominion over him. – Rom 6:9
5.) Your life is reset in motion for Gods purposes
For the death that he died, he died unto sin once: but the life that he liveth, he liveth unto God. – Rom 6:10
6.) You are given life, therefore recognize sin is no longer a part of you
Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus. – Rom 6:11
7.) Do not let sin have any control in your life, neither listen to its impulses
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof: – Rom 6:12
8.) Do not provide any part of your life to have an opportunity for sin, rather present all parts of your life in opportunity for God.
Neither present your members unto sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves unto God, as alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. – Rom 6.13
9.) You are not constrained by the laws of morality, but under the dominion of God’s grace, and His sustaining grace supports you in every good work.
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under law, but under grace. – Rom 6:14
What Happens When We Are Saved
Each of the following subjects occurs in a person life when they believe in God and accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior:
We become a part of God’s body
because we are members of his body. – Eph 5.30
In Him we are redeemed
in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, – Ephesians 1.7
In Him we have life
In him was life; and the life was the light of men – John 1.4
We Are Born Again
The term ‘born again’ refers to the literal act of a person who believes in Christ, being born again spiritually. In the same way a baby is born physically, this person is born spiritually when someone believes in Jesus.
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God! That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. – John 3.5-6
having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which liveth and abideth. – 1Peter 1.23
Born Again – A New Heart & Spirit
Our fleshly hearts are deceitful and wicked and we still have to battle with them until we die. This is due to the fallen or sinful flesh nature we are born with was inherited to us from Adam. In spite of this fact, God gives us a new heart & new spirit when we believe, to do and desire His will and know His thoughts.
When we believe, He gives us a spiritual nature, and a heart that is mindful of spiritual and Godly things. This is why until a believer dies their remains within them two contrary natures- the sinful flesh nature and a Godly spiritual nature, each will remain in conflict against the other until that person dies. Each different nature pulls our conscious mind to follow two different contrary paths.
And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh; – Ezekiel 11.19
We Have a New Mind
And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. – Romans 12.2
Growth in Christ – Newborn Babes
The Bible tells us that believers are indeed similar to newborn babes once they are spiritually born again. that they are to take on the milk of God’s word which is the basic beliefs and foundational doctrines that they need to learn and understand.
Desire the Sincere Milk of the Word, That Ye May Grow Thereby – 1 Peter 2.2
Like newborn babes that are learning to navigate their spiritual lives, they will be tempted to fall into their carnal mind and must learn to differentiate between the spirit and carnal natures.
Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? – 1 Corinthians 3.1-3
These elementary teachings and first principles are taught in Hebrews 6.1-2:
- Faith in God
- Laying on of hands
- Resurrection of the dead
- Eternal judgement
Growth in Christ – Maturity
As believers grown in Christ, they are to take on the meat of the word, allowing the word of Christ to dwell in them and doing the will of God. Teaching others and living the life Christ desires for you to live.
But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” … 34. “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. – John 4.32,34
I write to you, dear children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one. – 1 John 2.14
Adoption as God’s Children
We are born into God’s family. God says in His law that when a child is adopted into a family, that child legally and officially becomes a son or daughter in that family. Theologically, adoption refers to the very act of God placing a person into His family as a part of their new birth in Christ.
For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus. – Gal 3.26
But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: – John 1.12
For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. – Romans 8.15
We Have Victory
God’s work of salvation destroys sin & its agents (the devil). When we are freed from sin, we obtain victory over the 3 mediums of sin:
We have victory over the Flesh
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. – Rom 8.3-4
We have victory over the World
For whatsoever is begotten of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith. – 1 John 5.4
We have victory over the Devil
Be subject therefore unto God; but resist the devil, and he will flee from you – James 4.7
We Are Regenerated
Our spirit comes alive in regeneration. We are all originally born in a condition of death and separation from God, but in salvation, the Spirit of God regenerates us to life, and are no longer subject to the sickness of sin that leads to spiritual death!
And you did he make alive, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins, – Eph 2.1
for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; – Eph 2.8
not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, – Tit 3.5
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live; – John 11.25
We Become a New Creation
Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new. – 2Co 5:17
Develop a Hunger and Desire for God’s Word
Just as those born with physical bodies desire and crave nourishment, so do those who are spiritually alive. As God’s children we will have a spiritual hunger and thirst for the things of God. There is no satisfaction in the world for the hunger of spirit who has tasted true life, but when we are filled by God we have eternal satisfaction. Jesus said His food was to do the will of God. God’s word and our relationship to Him is our spiritual nourishment, and food for our soul.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3.3,7
But his delight is in the law of Jehovah; And on his law doth he meditate day and night. – Psalms 1.2
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. – Matthew 5.6
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. – John 4.34
Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. – John 6.35
2. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation 3. if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good – 1 Peter 2.2-3
Fruit (Good Works) Produce Naturally
God’s children are born of His Spirit and He is to sanctify the believer, and good ‘fruit’ is naturally produced as a by-product of being spiritually regenerated. Now the interesting thing about fruit of the spirit is this, the only people that can really see it, is God and yourself! Others people don’t really know the true motivations behind your actions, which is from the fruit of your spirit, and therefore have no true indication about the fruits of the spirit of others besides the ‘deeds or works’ that they do.
By their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them. – Matthew 7.16-20
being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. – phil 1.11
But the fruit of the Spirit is:
against such there is no law. And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof. – Gal 5.22-24
having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which liveth and abideth. – 1 Peter 1.23
Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of repentance: – Matt 3.8
… repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance. – Acts 26.20
Love for God & Others
All of those who are born of God have God’s love residing in their hearts, and continue to love God in all aspects of their lives, including His people. The origin of a believers love is first from God, then they bring this love from God to other people and desire to share it with the rest of the world.
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. – 1 John 4.7-8
We love, because he first loved us. – 1 John 4.19
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, cannot love God whom he hath not seen. – 1 John 4.20
Sacrifice – Give up Everything
God call us to give up everything in our lives that could hinder us from being able to draw near to God and the calling He has in our lives.
And he said unto all, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. – Luke 9.23
God tests our hearts by seeing the depth of your devotion to Him. The love we have for God should cause everything else in our lives to appear as hatred in comparison; specifically when compared to the great love that we are to have for God. Of course everything in the Bible and all of God commandments are summed up simply in love.
There are many who are not willing to give up their family’s for the cause of God’s will in their life, and this is idolatry, putting your family above the God who gave you that family. It is equally true that many others sin by not loving their families as much as they are supposed to, with God’s love in their hearts.
If any man cometh unto me, and hateth not his own father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. – Luke 14.26
He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. – Matthew 10.39
A part of sanctification is to put aside everything that could even possibly hinder us and cause us to sins, and continue daily to keep in the race for Christ in our lives.
Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, – Hebrew 12.1
Service to God
It is in this coming to God that we desire to serve Him. Once we are saved and have His love in our hearts, and His heart and thoughts in us, we desire the things of His glory and kingdom. Even though God cannot be served by human hands, we give to His people and bless them to help build up His kingdom (which is inside of us) on Earth.
neither is God served by men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he himself giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; – Acts 17.25
turned unto God from idols, to serve a living and true God – 1 Thessalonians 1.9
I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or athirst, and gave thee drink?
And when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? And when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me. – Matthew 25.35-40
The kingdom of God is within you. – Luke 17.21
The true spiritual act of service that we can do for God is give up our bodies and lives to live for him.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. – Romans 12.1
Obedience to God
All who love Me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and We will come and make Our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love Me will not obey Me. – John 14.23
In Hebrew the word for obedience is shama; literally to hear intelligently, to understand, witness or regard. In Greek the word is hupakoe which means to attentively listen to, or be in submission, obey.
God calls all mankind to be obedient to Him. As believers, we are to no longer serve sin or the desires of our selfish flesh, we are called to serve our created purpose, to live for God. For believers, we are no longer under the law of God, but rather are to live our lives according God’s grace.
Our spirits from sin are free in God, and we are no longer slaves to sin through the law (God’s law) that reveals what sin is, but we are free so that our spirits may flourish and produce spiritual fruit through obedience to God’s will.
More than any sacrifice that we could ever give to God, or anything that we could try to do in attempt to make up for sins; God desires a person in who’s heart, there is the desires to be obedient to Him.
And Samuel said, Hath Jehovah as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. – 1 Samuel 15.22
Some people make religious penitence with physical gifts to God, but others in their heart genuinely seek God and desire His ways to obedient to them. Even though we fail, God knows what is in our hearts, and if we choose to say either
” I am going to life my life how I want to, but here’s a little something for you God,”
“Lord here is my entire life, help me be continuously obedient to you!”
And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that Jehovah hath spoken will we do, and be obedient. – Exodus 24.7
13. But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke 18.13-14
We are servants to the things we do, and whatever we do becomes our master; and servants to who we obey.
Know ye not, that to whom ye present yourselves as servants unto obedience, his servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? – Romans 6.16
When Jesus comes back, He will avenge all disobedience
and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience shall be made full. – 2 Corinthians 10.6
God calls us to live a life of obedience. It is also within all His children, a desire in their spirit to come to a place of obedience to their Father in Heaven. Obedience to God is a part of sanctification.
casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; – 2 Corinthians 10.5
Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently: – 1 Peter 1.22
but whoso keeps his word, in him verily hath the love of God been perfected. Hereby we know that we are in him: he that saith he abides in him ought himself also to walk even as he walked. – 1 John 2.5-6
Fear of God
Believers are called to work out their own salvation in fear and trembling. Jesus taught His disciples to fear the one who is able to cast both body and soul into hell. This is not written to the unsaved but is a warning to believers to be careful of what is in their hearts, and to guard against unbelief and sin that can corrupt them.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling – Phil 2.12
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. – Matt 10.28
… having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20. of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. – 1 Tim 1.19-20
Does this idea contradict assurance believers are to have in their salvation, not at all, for your continuation in faith and desire for God should assure you that God is still working in you. We are to be cautious to not allow sin to harden our hearts against God.
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13. but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. – Hebrews 3.12-13
Disciplined by God
True believers, just like everyone else can fall into sin because we all are subject to the fallen sin nature of the flesh. True believers can even backslide for a period of their life, either willfully or being tricked by some form of deceit in their life.
Return, O backsliding children, saith Jehovah; for I am a husband unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: – Jer 3.14
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ. – 1 Corin 3.1
Some individuals no matter how well instructed will just continue to backslide and live a life that is very destructive. For some believers who continue to practice a such destructive path, it is better for them to be delivered to Satan so they can be severely punished and finally learn penitence from it.
For other, their paths can become so darkened and eventually lead to their own death because of the consequences of their actions, and God just simply tells them they are done. This is why in the flesh we are to fear God which leads to wisdom, to abstain from the destructive nature of the flesh.
to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. – 1 Corinthians 5.5
So then, my beloved, even as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; – Philippians 2.12
Those who belong to God must turn away from sin, and strive to become more Godly in their life. God will not tolerate His children to continue to practice sin in their life, he will lovingly discipline us to the point where we learn to give up that things that are hurting us or that are causing us to sin.
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, And scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. It is for chastening that ye endure; God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father chasteneth not? But if ye are without chastening, whereof all have been made partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. – Hebrews 12.6-8
Howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his: and, Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness. – 2 Timothy 2.19
God Teaches us to refrain from sin
For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us, to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world; – Titus 2.11-12
Works and Good Deeds
It is critical to understand the difference between living by faith and understanding your salvation comes from faith alone, vs. understanding that you are not saved by any work or deed. However, the Devil tries to implement a gospel of works to severe believes from faith in God, like those in the Church of Galatia that were returning to justification by the law after believing (Gal 5.4).
Many times, after understanding sanctification, believers become confused thinking now they have to earn or maintain some part of their salvation. This is not holiness by faith. The holiness that comes by faith (understanding what faith is) is complete trust in God knowing He does everything, and we just to trust Him in faith.
Now what does true faith look like? If you truly believe God, and what He tells you, why do you still live in sin, which is the opposite of God’s ways? Believers are called to be active in faith seeking God and His will for our lives. James speaks explicitly of deeds combined with faith. In fact, those who are born again will have the Spirit living inside them, causing them to act and to desire to do God’s will (Phil 2.13).
The Apostle James asks the questions that if you don’t do anything for God out of faith, can such a faith save you (James 2.14)? First it needs to be understood that it is WHAT GOD DID that saves us (and we know many people, right before they die, repent like the thief on the cross and receive salvation Luke 23.43).
James question is for us to ask ourselves; if we are not doing anything for God, how do we really know we are saved? or another way to look at it is; if I really trust and believe God, why am I doing NOTHING for His kingdom. If that is the case, you most likely are not saved. How can the Spirit of God dwell within you, and you are not living for Him?
It is a question that can bring us to a fearful place depending on the answer (work out your own salvation with fear and trembling – Phil 2.13). If we take God seriously at what He is tells us, that there is a war going on for souls and the things of this world are passing away and mean nothing; how can we say we believe God is telling us the truth if we just sit idly by and do nothing for Him, or are living a carnal (worldly) life?
What use is it, my brothers, for a man to say that he has faith, if he does nothing? will such a faith give him salvation? – James 2.14
God does not want us to give or do things from obligation or from a grudging heart (2 Corin 9.7). We are called to do things form a loving and cheerful heart, out of our love for God and His glory.
And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing – 1 Corinthians 13.3
Let each man do according as he hath purposed in his heart: not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9.7
God will not fight us for our affection. It’s either all or nothing, either God is the center of your life, or He is not (1 Corin 10.21). Jesus said if you love anything more than Him you are not worth of Him (Matt 10.37-39). Jesus said if you follow Him you must pick up your cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9.23). This is the Christian life, to live a life of sacrifice, denying yourself and doing everything God’s way. In this you find the greatest treasure of all, God Himself.
Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”– Matt 16.24
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6. who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7. but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. – Phil 2.5-8
If you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. – Romans 8.13
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. – Romans 12.1
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires – Galatians 5.24
Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. – Galatians 6.8
Anyone who puts his hand on a plow and looks back at the things behind is of no use in the holy nation of God– Luke 9.62
Believers Live Holy Lives
The Bible tells us that believers will live Holy lives, for the nature of Christ is in them. In fact, the bible shows how important sanctification and holiness is. Without which we will not see God. We know that we have the righteousness of Christ (1 Corin 1.30, Rom 5.19, 10.4, 2 Corin 5.21) as a gift from God.
You are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. – Matt 5.48
Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. – Luke 3.8
I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit. – Rom 15.16
Treasure God and Christ
When we recognize that God has given us everything, and that there is no greater treasure then Him. We should want to give Him everything in our lives and more because He is the whole supplier of everything that we need. Those who are spiritually born again and have the Spirit of God dwelling within them have a hunger for the things of God in their lives. The children of God will treasure God above all things and understand what it is to put Him first and love him more than anything else.
I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. – Genesis 15.1
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. – Philippians 1.21
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. – Luke 7.47
Systematic Theology – Norman L. Geisler