Read Time: 4 minutes.
When we are saved, we come to Jesus just as we are. Broken, dirty, shameful, guilty, sinful, and with baggage that we are hard-pressed to rid ourselves of. We are rough around the edges. Most of us are most often still dragging the chains of our captivity to sin.
What makes the Good News of the Gospel so good is that it's OK with God that we come to Him as we are. This is because God knows that - at least in His eyes - the blood of Jesus Christ washes all our sins away the moment we choose to repent of our old lives and choose to accept the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. This is the beginning of sanctification - when Holy Spirit begins working in and through our lives to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ.
This is the process of Sanctification - to become more like Jesus - Holy. Children of God most often become more like Jesus in holiness out of their gratitude to God for what He has done in their lives to free them of sin. It is in this place of continual thanksgiving and worship of God that we are drawn closer and closer to God and His holiness.
The Greek word “sanctify” means “to set apart” and for a disciple of Christ, this means that they both recognize their need to walk away from the sin and rebellion of their past life as well as taking action to do it (not just talk about it). Sanctification is an ongoing battle. The process of sanctification can be painful. Extremely painful. This is because our flesh fights against the Spirit and the Spirit against our flesh.
Paul urged the new believers to live this kind of "set apart" life (see 1 Thessalonians 4:1,3). God’s will for us is to walk with Jesus. Jesus told those who were following after Him (the curious) that if they wanted to be His disciple they must take up their own cross daily and follow after Him and forsaking all. It is in this following - this daily choice to follow the Savior - that we find our hearts surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
This is where our walk with God gets real! This is where the chains, the baggage, shame, and guilt all fall away as we live completely under the authority of God's love and the Truth and direction found in His Word and through His His Holy Spirit. It is in our surrender that we are made whole.
Holy living is very practical. It keeps us free of the consequences of sin and foolishness. God has called us to make daily choices based on the Truth of His Word. These choices include submitting to the leading and direction of Holy Spirit in our lives. It is a prayer of surrender that says, “More of you Holy Spirit. Less of me.”
When someone puts their faith in Christ, he or she has been made holy in God's eyes through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ once and for all (See Hebrews 10:10). Their sin is completely wiped away, death is defeated and eternal life with God in heaven is their reward. This is the good news of the Gospel!
At the same time, a true disciple of Christ enters into a lifelong process of being purified and becoming more like God through the power of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Thessalonians 4:8). Paul echoes this reality, declaring that God would sanctify the Thessalonians “through and through,” and keep them “blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
This is the same promise that we can hold tightly to today as Followers of Jesus for “the one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
Are you ready to fully surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and be set apart for God's service?