THE LAW OF FAITH
"Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law" (Romans 3:21-28, NASB).
Devotion 25 of 30
THE EFFECTIVENESS OF FAITH #2
Faith Sanctifies the Individual
There is not much said about sanctification in the churches today. Often, those who do speak of it corrupt its meaning in the minds of their hearers. Some believe sanctification is a second work of grace whereby the individual is rendered incapable of sin. Others associate it with external piety alone. However, a significant percentage of professed Christian teachers simply leave the subject alone.
Sanctification is one of the principle aspects of God's great salvation. For example, God has made Jesus to become our "sanctification," as well as "wisdom, righteousness, and redemption" (1 Cor 1:30). Sanctification involves moral purity, as affirmed in 1 Thessalonians 4:3: "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 in sanctification and honor" (1 Thess 4:3-4). It also involves being separated from sin and the world, and set apart in dedication to the living God. As it is written, "Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate" (Heb . 13:12). Again, it is said of Jesus, "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" (Eph 5:25-26). Again it is written, "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb 10:10).
The concept of sanctification was introduced under the Law. It denoted something or someone dedicated to God (Ex 13:2; 28:41; 29:27; 30:29; 40:13). When the law was given, and a covenant made with the Israelites, the people were sanctified--set aside as God's people (Ex 19;14). The tabernacle, all of the vessels associated with its ministry, and the men who ministered in it, were sanctified, or set apart to God (Ex 29:44-45).
The word "sanctification" speaks of holiness, acceptance, and purity. It is a word denoting consecration to God through Christ and by the Spirit. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all active in sanctification. The texts already mentioned affirm Christ's role in sanctification. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 declares the Father's involvement: "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." 2 Thessalonians 2:13 and 1 Peter 1:2 refer to the "sanctification of the Spirit." In all of the texts, the criticality and necessity of sanctification are apparent.
Sanctification is what gives Divine utility to the believer--it is what enables him to be used by God, and to work together with Him (1 Cor 3:9). It speaks of a condition of acceptance and holiness, purity and dedicafion. Without "sanctification," it is affirmed, "no one will see the Lord" (Heb 12:14, NASB).
How is the individual sanctified? How do we become holy and pure, and thus usable to God. It is not by the law of works! It is not possible to work your way into a position where God can use you! As remarkable as human discipline may appear, it is not adequate for this assignment!
The Word of the Lord is clear on this subject. Christ's commission to Saul of Tarsus revealed the truth on this matter. Jesus appointed him "to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been SANCTIFIED BY FAITH in Me" (Acts 26:18).
Faith is what connects the individual with the sanctifying work of Christ. It is what enables purity of life, and dedication to God. It lays hold of the effectiveness of Christ's atoning death, and the productive work of the Holy Spirit. It is the fountain from which personal purity, acceptable service, and praise to God spring. It is the unique possession that qualifies the individual to be a laborer together with God (1 Cor 3:9). Those who live by faith will be used by God.
See, your faith is what qualifies you for service in the vineyard of the Lord! That is the dominating credential God requires! It is what qualified Abraham to be the father of many nations (Heb 11:12). It enabled Sarah to conceive in old age (Heb 11:11). Faith brought Israel into involvement in the overthrow of Jericho (Heb 11:30). By faith Rahab the harlot was used of God to protect the spies (Heb 11:31). Faith makes us usable to God, giving us utility in His Kingdom that brings glory to Him and benefit to us! Thank God for faith that sanctifies!
PRAYER POINT: Father, in Jesus' name I thank You for the qualifying nature of faith. It has qualified me to be cleansed and used by You, and I am grateful for it.
-- Tomorrow: THE RIGHTEOUS LIVE BY FAITH --