The Good News - Home
Made Unto Us Sanctification
By David A. DePra
But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us .sanctification. (I Cor. 1:30)
What is sanctification? Sanctification is Christ Christ being seen in and through a human being. Contrast this to a common misunderstanding that sanctification is ME being made to look like Jesus.
Note the tremendous distinction between the Truth and error on this matter: If sanctification is ME being made to look like Jesus, then God must do something to change ME. He must act upon ME somehow take the materials I have to offer Him in my human makeup and mold and fashion ME into the likeness of Christ. But if sanctification is the Christ who is in me being made manifest through me, then the task is to cause me to decrease, that He might increase. The work of the Cross in that case is to crucify ME so that Christ might be seen.
Most people who think that Christ has come to make them look like Jesus do not realize that this is never taught in the Bible. (We will get to what IS taught.) They do not realize the ramifications of such error. Jesus did not come to affirm, enhance, or improve upon, what we are as old creations in Adam. He did not come to bring the Adam race back to life and in doing so, sort of, "decorate," us with Christ-like qualities. No. He came to die so that we could die in Him and be set free from the old creation, and all that we are in Adam. He came to bring an end to the old creation in Adam so that we could be born from above as new creations in Jesus Christ.
This is what we are, "signing up for," when we receive Christ a NEW creation, not a fixed up OLD creation. This is not only the reality of the new birth, but it is one that God wants to make real and practical through the forming of His Son IN US.
Even some of the most simple and recognized religious terms misrepresent the Truth on these matters. For example, we talk about, "giving our lives to Christ." That is an innocent enough phrase and we could reason that there is some truth to it -- but it is often made to mean something that the Bible never means by the new birth. It is often made to mean that if we give our lives to Christ that God will be so grateful that He will reward us with the destiny of heaven. Or, it is made to mean that if we give our lives to Christ that God will take our lives and fill them with everything WE want. Or, we think that if we give our lives to God that He will then act upon us, and do things to us, intended to make us look and act like Jesus. I could go on. But none of these ideas really hit the nail on the head.
That phrase, "giving our lives to Christ," is never once found in the Bible. That is because conversion is a matter of RECEIVING from God, rather than GIVING to God. As for our lives the lives we possess before conversion we do have to LOSE them. But note: This is a matter of renouncing and losing our lives under the work of the Cross. And then we RECEIVE Christ AS our life.
Most Christian people do not usually think in terms of LOSING their lives of losing their self-ownership. Rather, we tend to think in terms of giving our lives to Christ so that He can make them better, or help us. Yet the Truth on this matter is fundamental, not only to conversion, but to sanctification. Indeed, it is fundamental to the meaning of Christianity itself.
This takes us right to Matthew 16 where Jesus said, "If anyone would came after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." (Matt. 16:24=25) You will note that nowhere in this passage does Jesus promise to bless our lives not the natural lives that we own. He does not say that if we will hand our life over to Him that He will give us that same life back in better shape. I say this because that is exactly what many professing Christians believe Jesus is promising. No. Neither does He promise that if we give Him our lives that He will take them and shape them to look like Himself. Nope. Jesus states clearly that there is ONE THING we are to do with our lives with ourselves if we want to follow Him. We have to lose our selves. Only then will we FIND true life in Him. Indeed, it is only if we LOSE our lives lose possession of them for ourselves that we will truly experience Christ AS our life.
If we are to LOSE our lives and then FIND Christ as our life if that is what God desires, and speaks to His purpose then can we see that sanctification cannot possibly be a matter of God doing things TO ME to make ME look like Jesus. No. Christianity is CHRIST IN US, the hope of glory. (Col. 1:27) God wants to form Christ in us, that is, bring us into a inner realization of Christ. (Gal. 4:19) And this will result in forming us together WITH Christ. (Romans 8:28) This is only possible if we LOSE ourselves to Him. And what will result is not a, "new and improved US," but Christ being manifested through us.
Christ is made unto us sanctification. In short, this is not a matter of US being made to look like Jesus. It is a matter of US being put out of the way through the work of the Cross, and Jesus shining through. This is never accomplished by religion. It is never a human work at all. It is the result of His life within being made manifest now that our life has been lost.
Christ In You
"Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:27) In this short sentence, Paul summarized the core, or essence, of what Christianity IS. Christianity is CHRIST IN US. Everything starts with Him, comes from Him, and is fulfilled with Him. That is why He is called, "The Alpha and the Omega." Indeed, unless Christ is in us, Paul says, "we are reprobate," i.e., of no use or value. In short, all that is of value for any human being is found in THE ONE who is OTHER than himself all value is found in the Person of Jesus Christ. Thus, when Christ comes to dwell in us, IN HIM is found all that speaks of life, light, and Truth.
Now, it is vital that we are settled about this. Human beings without Christ are dead spiritually, and of no value. We are born without a trace of life, light, or Truth in us. There are NO materials in found in natural man that can produce anything that is of value. There is no work of sanctification, no expression of righteousness, and no faith that can be mustered up and produced by any of us. Even when natural man seems to produce good, and do right, it is of the flesh perhaps of religious flesh but nevertheless of the flesh. Sure. It can be from no other source since, "that which is born of flesh IS flesh." (Jn. 3:3) Again since there is nothing that is in natural man that is good, he cannot produce anything that is good in the eyes of God.
Thus, we have an incredible contrast: All that God has for man is wrapped up in Jesus Christ. Nothing that God has for man is found elsewhere least of all in natural man. But then we have the reality of CHRIST IN US. Jesus Christ, in whom dwells all the fullness of God, dwells in the believer He dwells in a believer who still carries his natural man or flesh. Thus, we must ask: What does this look like, and how does it work?
Well, once we realize that Jesus Christ actually dwells in us, and that Christ in us is actually the essence of Christianity, we can then begin to understand some other passages. For example, Paul says, "He that is joined (cemented) to the Lord, is one spirit (with Him.)" (I Cor. 6:17) This tells us HOW Christ dwells in us: He makes us one with Himself in spirit His spirit and our human spirit are UNITED.
That is how Christ dwells in us. We see this pictured in many places in the Bible. For example, in Romans 6, Paul says, "as many of you as were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death. We were buried with Him by baptism into His death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so too we should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together (with Him) in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection." (Rom. 6:3-5) Note the spiritual UNITY one with Christ by His spirit. This is CHRIST IN YOU. It is HOW Christ dwells in us our human spirit is united with the spirit of Jesus Christ.
So Christ dwells IN US by making us one with Himself in spirit. But when we grasp that Truth it carries tremendous ramifications. For if we are united with Christ, indeed, "joined," to Him with our human spirit, then this creates a DIVISION in each believer. It creates what the Bible refers to as the, "separation," or, "division," between soul and spirit; flesh and spirit; old man and new man; the natural man and the spiritual man. By definition, the moment we are united to Christ at salvation, there is that which is united with Christ, and there is that which is not yet united with Christ. There is that separation within each believer.
Here we see the definition of the NEW CREATION in Christ Jesus. Paul says, "If any man be IN CHRIST (i.e., Christ in us) then he is a new creation." (II Cor. 5:17) The new creation is therefore what is birthed when we are joined to the Lord. If you come to Jesus Christ and are baptized into His death, then your old man has died in Him. You are then raised a new creation IN CHRIST. That new creation is essentially Christs union with you in your spirit. Thus, we are back to CHRIST IN YOU. It is you being joined to the Lord that union constitutes the new creation.
There are other Bible terms for this spiritual union: The new man; the spiritual man; etc. But it all goes back to Christ in us, i.e., a person who is IN CHRIST. The spiritual joining of our human spirit to Jesus Christ through His redemptive work births the new creation. That joined to the Lord is the point at which, yes, we are united with Him in His death, but it is the point of the new birth which is our being united with Him in His resurrection. At that point, we are one with Jesus Christ, and thus, one with God.
Now, back to the division or separation. If it were possible to mechanically draw a circle around our resurrection union with Christ to draw a circle around the new creation in Christ then it would be absolutely correct to say that all that is within that circle in that new creation; is that which is saved. But it would also be a fact that all that is outside of that circle is NOT the new creation; is not saved. Rather, all those dimensions of the human makeup that are outside of our union with Christ remains natural, carnal, and of the old Adam race. Thus, within each believer you have that separation between that which is united with Christ and that which is not united with Him during this age.
We can see this Truth in the most simple words. Just the phrase, "Christ in you," reveals much. You have Jesus Christ, and then you have, YOU. Christ does not become YOU, and you do not become Christ. No. You become one with Christ. Yet even as Christ dwells in the believer through resurrection union, Christ is not us and we are not Christ. Rather, it is CHRIST IN YOU.
Paul said in II Cor. 4:7, "We have this Treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power might be of God, and not of us." He is clearly referring to CHRIST IN US but again notice that even while we are one with Christ in spirit that He remains the Treasure and we remain the earthen vessel. He does not lose His identity and we do not lose ours in fact we become a new creation IN Christ Jesus.
It is important to grasp the Truth about Christ in us that this creates a separation between Christ and what is joined to Him and all that is outside of that circle of resurrection union. The Bible talks about this continually. It is the Truth behind the warfare of, "flesh against spirit." It is what is behind the admonition to walk, "according to the spirit," and not, "according to the flesh."
Now, all of this is background so that we can get to the Truth of sanctification. If there is a separation, indeed, a huge difference, between that which is of Christ in us, and that which is outside of Christ, then can we see that sanctification comes from that which is of Christ, and not from that which is outside of Him. Indeed, can we see that sanctification is Christ being seen and not that which is outside of Christ being seen? Sure. Therefore, the necessity is for the natural man to be set aside to come under the work of the Cross, so that the Christ within might be seen in us.
Christ Formed in Us
At conversion, Christ makes us one with Himself. That is how we become saved. It is the means of the new birth. He IS the Life, and thus, when we are made one with Him, we become alive with His life. That is why Paul is able to say, "Christ, who IS our life ." (Col. 3:4)
Here again we see another great distinction between what religion teaches about Christianity, and the Truth. Religion suggests that if we put our faith in Christ that God will give us a THING called, "eternal life." Some people even suggest that this eternal life is merely a legal classification we were once classified as lost, but now we are legally classified as saved. No. God does not merely give us a THING called, "eternal life." He gives us Christ IN WHOM there is all life. Again if you are saved you are alive only because Christ is in you. HE IS your life.
Now, all of that is not the end of Gods purpose for you. The purpose of God is not merely to get people saved the new birth is the beginning. Once Christ dwells in us, God wants to FORM CHRIST in us. In fact, this is central to all that God is doing. Paul said to the Galatians, "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you!"
The original word meanings in this verse are vital to see. The word, "formed," means, "to be inwardly realized and expressed." In a limited sense, we could compare the new birth to conception, and the forming of Christ to the development of the fetus. God wants us to grow to where we begin to KNOW CHRIST to where we come into an inward realization of Him.
When the Bible speaks of these matters it is not talking merely about doctrinal knowledge or facts ABOUT Christ. Sure, all that we discover of Jesus Christ will fully agree with scripture. But there is a huge difference between the forming of doctrine about Christ in our understanding and the forming of the living Christ in us. God wants us to come into a inward realization of Jesus Christ that will eventually break through into a manifestation of His life through us.
Earlier we saw that the moment we are born again, there is introduced ANOTHER life one from above that is not of our natural man. The presence of Christ in us automatically creates a division between natural and spiritual LIFE. Thus, can we see that if Christ is being formed in us that this separation is going to grow all the more? As He is formed in us? Because we inwardly realize Jesus Christ we will be able to discern what is NOT of Christ, but is of ourselves. And we will be able to renounce ourselves and lose our life in more and more practical ways.
As Christ is formed in a person, that person more and more becomes focused on Christ how could it be otherwise? They are set free by the Truth. The result will never be a greater obsession with ourselves. No. Rather, we will have the issue of ourselves settled we will agree with Paul, "you are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God." We will realize that there is nothing that God is doing that is based on anything about US. As we come into a realization of Christ, the fussing we have over ourselves will gradually fall away.
Here we get a clue as to how Christ comes to be made manifest through a human being. It is not because that human being finds a list of Christian character traits and tries to work them into his system. Nor is it because the Christian does this or that. Rather, it happens if we learn to abandon ourselves and leave ourselves alone in the FINISHED work of Christ and focus by faith upon Him. In other words, if you and I want to bear fruit we have to ABIDE in Him.
Those who manifest Christ the most are the ones who are aware of it the least. And those that are trying to manifest Christ through religion the most are usually those who do so the least. Why? Because you must LOSE in order to FIND.
So, "Christ in us," is the core of Christianity, and the forming of Christ in us, is the purpose that emerges from Him. The result is supposed to be that we be, "conformed to the image of His Son." (Romans 8:29) But again, take a look at the meaning of the word translated, "conformed." It means, "formed together with." In other words, we are not formed or shaped so that we look like Jesus." Rather, Jesus as we have already seen is formed IN US, and then we are adjusted and altered such that we are formed with Him.
But take note: You and I cannot be formed together with formed in accordance with the Christ within as long as WE are alive and functioning in our old life. We cannot continue owning ourselves. No. Our mind, our heart, and our wills must be conformed by His very presence in us. Broken, if you will through the Cross. Then His life can flow through us and be seen not because we are practicing religion. But because He is our life.
If we are broken of our own wills or have lost our lives, then in an unconscious way, we will manifest Christ. We will be abiding in Him, and thus, evidence Him. This will happen, not because God by-passes our human frame, but rather, THROUGH it.
A person in whom Christ dwells, in whom Christ is being formed, and who is being formed together in Christ that person will manifest Christ. This is sanctification. And yet, it is not US. It is through US. Paul summarized it all by saying:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live ; yet not I, but Christ lives 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)
Note the progression: I am crucified WITH Christ. I have lost my life. But nevertheless I live -- but YET NOT I, but Christ. I have FOUND Him as my life. That is sanctification. And it results in a life of faith and obedience.
Sanctification is CHRIST it is Christ being seen in and through a human being. Sanctification is not us being made to look like Jesus. Can we now see why? Christ is in us. He alone is holy. That which is outside of our union with Christ is not by nature holy. Thus, if there is to be any holiness or sanctification at all, it must be Christ being made manifest THROUGH a person, rather than that person someone being made to look like Jesus.
You cannot take that which is OUTSIDE of the new creation in Christ that which is outside of that imaginary circle and massage it and mold it and do something TO IT, in order to make a human being look like Jesus. A human being cannot look like Jesus, and was ever intended to look like Jesus. Only Jesus can look like Jesus. But He does want to manifest Himself through human beings. This is sanctification.
When God stated that He wanted to create man in His image, He never intended to create Xerox copies of Himself. He was, even in the beginning, speaking of manifesting Himself through people. It begins by a spiritual joining. That is the core Christ in us. And then the work begins that is intended to manifest Christ THROUGH us.
Christ is Our Sanctification
Natural man, as noted, has no life in himself. But it is only from life that is, by its very nature, HOLY, that holy character can emerge. Unless there is a life within that is holy by its very fabric, there can be nothing of holiness that comes from it. And the only holy life that exists is Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, "That which is born of flesh IS flesh. That which is born of the spirit IS spirit." That is as clear as it gets. Natural man cannot produce, birth, gender, or create anything that is of the spirit. But notice: This means that the natural man of a believer i.e., that which is outside of our union with Christ cannot birth anything that is OF Christ. Of course not. There are NO materials found in natural man no materials found by nature that can be used to form Christian character or sanctification.
We MUST grasp this. Believers are those whose spirit is united with the spirit of Christ. That is the holy new creation. But all that is outside of that within EACH of us remains our natural man. This natural man includes emotions, soul or psychic capacities, our physical bodies, and our natural mind. There are simply no materials available within that natural man that can produce character or holiness. No. Only that which dwells IN each believer Jesus Christ is holy.
Ok. So how does a believer become sanctified? Does God act upon our natural man and somehow mold and shape and transform our natural man so that we look like Jesus? Or do we mold our natural man into a state of holiness by doing good works, building Christian character, or through some act of self-denial? No. In fact, sanctification is never the result of our natural man being molded so that it looks like Jesus. Rather, sanctification is the result of our natural man coming under the work of the Cross being crucified so that Jesus Christ Himself the Christ who already dwells within us can be see in and through us.
Go back to Pauls words: "We have this Treasure IN an earthen vessel .." Then he tells us what is to be the relationship between the Treasure and the earthen vessel that the excellency of the power (i.e., the value) might be of God and not of us. In other words, the earthen vessel HOLDS the Treasure. But the earthen vessel is NOT the Treasure, and never will be. But the Treasure must be SEEN and so the earthen vessel must be broken and crucified out of the way. Then the Treasure can be seen.
Thus, instead of thinking that God is going to make us look like Jesus instead of thinking that God is going to mold the earthen vessel so that it looks like the Treasure -- we see that this is never the goal. Rather, God wants to break the earthen vessel so that the Treasure can be seen. This is an entirely different Christianity than most people have realized or been taught.
Have you labored and struggled to look and act like Jesus? Have you wondered why, if you are truly saved, and if Christ really is in you have you wondered why you cannot seem to do what you should do, and stop doing what you should not do? Have you tried to be sanctified to act as if you are holy? You will fail. Only Christ is holy. And if you are to truly be sanctified, you must lose your life that His life might be seen in you.
Jesus Christ IS sanctification that is, a believer is being sanctified in a practical way to the extent that Jesus Christ is seen in and through Him. That is amazing, but it is exactly what Paul said:
That no flesh should glory in his presence . But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written , He that glories , let him glory in the Lord. (I Cor. 1:29-31)
Paul is careful to make sure that his readers dont think that sanctification or anything else that speaks of eternal values that are ever going to be OF THEM. He is careful to make sure we realize that it is not US becoming any of these things but that CHRIST IN US is the ever present source and embodiment of them. Christ IS our sanctification He is the source and only as HE is seen can it be said that the believer is evidencing sanctification.
The Work of the Cross
What is Christian growth, or sanctification? Well, we grow in sanctification to the extent that Christ, who is our sanctification, is seen in us. But how does this growth process happen? Ironically, as we decrease, He increases. As our natural man, or flesh, is crucified, the life of Jesus is made manifest. That is sanctification or growth in Christ.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed ; we are perplexed , but not in despair ; Persecuted , but not forsaken ; cast down , but not destroyed ; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death works in us, but life in you.
This is a picture of the Christ who is IN us being made manifest THROUGH us. But note again that sanctification is not US being made to look like Jesus. It is not US increasing. Rather, it is US bearing about in our body or natural man the dying of the Lord Jesus, SO THAT the life of Jesus Christ might be made manifest. It is US decreasing that He might increase through us.
Now, obviously, when we read about bearing in our body the dying of the Lord Jesus we are reading about the work of the Cross. But what does this mean? Obviously, God does not manifest Christ to the disregard of us. No. It means that God will put us under the work of the Cross intended to set us free from the control and dominance of the natural man and flesh. The natural man does not case to be. But the natural man comes under the governing power of Christ. As we yield in faith to the Cross and lose our lives, the life of Christ is more and more seen.
Now note: We are not making any of this happen. We are simply losing our lives. We are picking up the Cross daily. We lose our righteousness. We lose our will to God. We lose our entire selves to God. In short, God tells us to LOSE and if we do, we will FIND Christ. We will BE FOUND IN HIM.
Professing believers have been trying to make themselves holy for centuries. One reason is that so many of us have been blinded to the reality of CHRIST IN US. So we try to become holy on another basis.
The most common way in which believers try to become holy is through works. We think that if we DO holy things that this will mean we ARE holy. No. In fact, this is just another way of saying that you are trying to maintain your righteousness before the Lord it is the same error. The sobering truth is that if I am trying to make myself holy or righteous through works, I am already doing an UNHOLY thing. I am trying to do for myself, and do TO myself, what only Christ can be unto me. And that is unbelief. It is unholy.
There are other subtle errors. There are lines of Christian teaching that would suggest that believers can, "build character." There are actual lists out there of character qualities that we ought to all strive, "to build." There are principles and guidelines given as to how to accomplish this. It is error especially since what usually happens is that these lists and principles are taken and applied to the natural man. We try to mold and form that which is outside of the new creation into the shape of the new creation. It is deception to try.
You and I cannot build character. And we dont need to. Christian character or the fruits of the spirit are nothing more than the Jesus Christ who dwells in us being seen through us. Thus, we are back to needing to come under the work of the Cross so that Christ can be made manifest.
No branch of a vine ever bore fruit by self-effort. No branch ever bore fruit by trying to act like the vine. Believers bear fruit just like Jesus said: "Abide in ME." That also means: "Die in yourself."
As I noted earlier, someone once said that the believers who manifest Christ the most are those who are the least aware of it. Sure. That is because through the losing of themselves to Christ, they have had all of the self-obsession crucified out of them, and are more focused upon HIM.
Most of us have little frame of reference for a life that is lost to Christ to the point where we can simply leave ourselves alone and abide in Him. But this is what the work of the Cross will bring. We wont be constantly trying to be anything we will simply by faith live in, and out from, Christ. This is freedom and it is part of what is necessary to manifest Christ. We cannot manifest Christ if we are still fussing over ourselves because in that case we will manifest the self we are fussing with. May God set us free by the Truth of these things.
The suggestion that we can build the character of Christ into ourselves is error because we already have Christ in us. We dont have to build anything. Rather, that which hinders Christ being seen must be dismantled. We must bear about in our lives the dying of the Lord Jesus so that He might also be seen.
There is also the teaching that states that it is by our choices that we build character. But what happens is that people turn all of this into a new form of law we get under a law of trying to build character. No. Again can we really BUILD character by the power of human choice? No. There has to be a life within a Person in us who IS all character. Then we can lose ourselves so that He might be seen. Thus, we dont build anything. We are dismantled that HE might be seen. The choices involved in this must start with coming to the Cross or nothing we do after that will result in anything of value.
If you look up the Greek words usually translated, "sanctification," or, "sanctify," you will discover that as it pertains to Christianity, they mean, "set apart for Gods use." Now, that is a bit religious. Put it into modern language and the words mean, "to belong to God."
Now, if you know a little about the word meanings of the Bible, you will also realize that there is not only, "sanctification," but there are the, "saints." It is the same root word "the saints" are those set apart for Gods use, or those who belong to God. Sometimes the Greek word is translated, "holy," or, "holiness." Gather all of this up and to be sanctified is to be made holy and both expressions of the Greek word mean, "to belong to God." Thus, the SAINTS are the, "holy ones." They are, "the ones who belong to God."
The term that God inspired most often to refer to those who are indwelt by Christ is SAINT. Notice what this means: It means that the very definition of a born again believer is that they belong to God. There isnt any other kind of Christian. A Christian one who is born from above by being made one with Christ is one who belongs to God.
Now, why is a Christian or saint one who belongs to God? Yes, because Christ bought them with a price. But presently, believers belong to God because there are joined to the Lord. Christ dwells in them. His presence in us is what seals us as no longer belonging to ourselves, but to God.
Realizing this will have widespread ramifications. First of all, if we are set apart for Gods use, then that fact covers all obedience, doesnt it? It addresses who is Lord of our lives. It also tells us why Jesus said that if we wanted to come after Him we must deny our self, pick up our Cross, and LOSE our lives. If we do not belong to ourselves if this is a fact then it must be lived out. We must LOSE the spirit of self-possession, or of belonging to ourselves, or we will be walking contrary to the Truth.
There are many positive ramifications. Have we realized that Jesus Christ died on the Cross to purchase us that, no, we do not belong to ourselves, but we DO belong to God? Do we realize what that means? That it seals and makes Gods faithfulness to us a certainty that if we will yield to God there is no possibility that He will not bring us through to the fullness of His purpose? Would God even so much as be indifferent to one who belongs to Him through the shed blood of His Son?
It is so easy for us, when trouble comes in our lives, to think that God has forsaken us, forgotten us, or is indifferent to us. It is easy to think that because we fail so often that surely our trouble is a judgment from God. Often fears arise that we have missed the boat. That we are adrift and will never find our way back. Well, when such concerns surface we can find the answer by going back right to the foundation for everything. Jesus Christ died for the very purpose that we might enter into His fullness. We were purchased and now belong to Him. Thus, such fears are lies. We have the very stamp of Jesus death on us. His very life in us. No matter what trouble we encounter, nothing can change this.
We are made immediately holy when Jesus Christ makes us one with Himself. Because of Christ in us we belong to God. But then God wants to manifest Christ through us. This is the process of sanctification. As we have seen, it is as we decrease and lose our lives that He increases and we find Him as our life.
What kind of a life is a sanctified life? Is it a miserable life of deprivation? No. But it is a holy life one that manifests Christ. It is one that has been set free from its self unto Christ as Lord.
But you shall receive power because the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
Jesus is not telling the disciples that after they receive the Holy Spirit that they are supposed to go out and merely witness to people. Rather, He is telling them that they will BECOME living witnesses TO HIM. The word, "witness," could easily be translated, "evidence." The person in whom Christ dwells is supposed to be living evidence of Him. Is this not SANCTIFICATION?
We usually think of sanctification in terms of good or holy works. Those are included to be sure, but at the core we have been seeing, and it is affirmed here, that sanctification is the evidence of Christ Himself dwelling within.
What is the impact upon someone who belongs to Christ? What is the evidence that a person has Christ in them? Their works? Their service? Sure. But the real evidence that Christ dwells in a person is CHRIST HIMSELF seen and manifested. Sanctification is Christ seen and as such, it is evidence that we belong to God.
In the following passage from I John 5, we have several words translated from the SAME Greek word. These words in bold face -- could be, and are here, all rendered EVIDENCE.
If we receive the evidence of men, the evidence of God is greater. This is the evidence of God which he has testified of his Son: He that believes on the Son of God has the evidence in himself: he that believes not God has made him a liar because he believes not the evidence that God gave of his Son. And this is the evidence that God has given to us: Eternal life -- and this life is in his Son.
The evidence of God is Jesus Christ we are the evidence of God by virtue of Christ in us, and Christ then being seen through us. That is sanctification. It is holiness.
Holiness is belonging to God through Christ in us. The impact of Christ in us is to be Christ formed in us, and us being formed together with Him. This is sanctification. It is a true witness of God in and through a person. And frankly, it is the only kind of witness God is after people who are living evidence of the Christ who dwells in them. Jesus Christ IN US is made unto us sanctification, and made unto others the manifested evidence of God.
The Good News - Home