God's ultimate and highest aim for all of us is our sanctification. God wants to make us more holy like He and His Son Jesus are. He wants to transform us into the express image of His Son Jesus Christ. He wants to consecrate and set us apart unto Himself.
The wording in these verses is very intense. One of the verses will tell us that God wants to sanctify us completely in all three parts of our being - body, soul and spirit. Jesus Himself tells us that He wants us to be perfect just like His Father in heaven is perfect.
When you first look at these verses - you wonder how anyone could ever even begin to achieve any real state of holiness in the cursed world we live in. With all of the lusts of our flesh and with all of the temptations of this world - many Christians never even attempt to give God a chance to start this sanctification process in their life. They feel that this bar is simply too high to even to begin to strive for in this life.
The Bible tells us that all men and all women have sinned and have fallen way short of the glory of God. We are so far from the perfection that God is wanting from each one of us - that we see no real way to obtain it to any degree in this life. As a result, many Christians never ask or seek after God to get this sanctification process started in their life and as a result, there is very little, if any true spiritual growth over the course of most of their lives.
However, if you will study the specific wording of some of these verses - God the Father is showing you very plainly how this sanctification process can start to occur in this life. You don't have to wait until you get to heaven to get this process started with Him.
One of the first verses I will list below is telling us that we get three specific things as a result of Jesus dying on the cross for all of our sins. We get redemption, righteousness and sanctification. Most Christians know about the first two - redemption and righteousness - but they either forget or do not pick up on the third thing we have available to all of us - and that is our sanctification!
This sanctification is a progressive process - it is not something that occurs instantaneously at our conversions. It is a progressive work done by the Holy Spirit over the course of our entire life. The apostle Paul tells us that we have to "work out" our salvation with fear and trembling. He is telling us that there are things that have to be worked out - and I believe that one of those things is our sanctification in the Lord - the process where God the Father begins to set us apart unto Himself and to transform us into becoming more holy instruments of righteousness for His use.
The different Bible dictionaries and commentaries define the word sanctification as follows:
The state of growing in divine grace To set apart for holy purposes The process of being made holy resulting in a changed lifestyle for the believer
Noted Bible scholar Jack Hayford, in his excellent book titled: "Hayford's Bible Handbook," defines sanctification as follows:
"The work of God's grace by which the believer is separated from sin and becomes dedicated to God's righteousness. Accomplished by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, sanctification results in holiness, or purification from the guilt and power of sin. Sanctification is instantaneous before God through Christ and progressive before man through obedience to the Holy Spirit and the Word."
To those of you who have never really sought after God to release this kind of supernatural work to be done by the Holy Spirit - study these verses very, very carefully. God is giving you an incredible spiritual secret that can dramatically alter and change the quality of your life down here on this earth. As I said at the top of this article - you don't have to wait until you get to heaven to have God start this sanctification and transformation process in your life. It can start right now if you are willing to fully surrender your entire life over to Him and then ask Him to begin to start this sanctification process in your life.
Before I go to the actual verses from Scripture on all of this - consider one last thing. Even though this sanctification process appears to be a major leap to be able to make in the Lord - realize that God will start you off with small baby steps to get this process worked into your life. Rome was not built overnight - and neither will your sanctification in the Lord.
Many in our society have no drawing towards the spiritual things of God. Their only goal in this life is to get as much as they can while they can - not really caring who they hurt and run over in the process to gratify all of the lusts of their flesh.
Many think that trying to become more holy in the Lord is "corny." Many of these types of Christians have been labeled as being "not cool" and "goody two shoes" by their peers, their classmates or their fellow workers in the work place. Many of our teenagers are made fun of in their schools if they don't join the crowds in abusing alcohol, drugs or engage in pre-marital sex.
The ways of our God are not the ways of this world!
That is why God tells us that we are considered His enemies if we become too friendly with the things and the ways of this world. That is why God is calling and separating us unto Himself in this sanctification process that He wants to start with each one of us.
To become more holy and more righteous may not be cool to the rest of the world, but it is definitely cool with the Lord - and when everything is all said and done - and we have departed from this life and have to face God for our own personal judgments - the only thing that will really matter is what God thinks - not what the world thinks. We will all be judged by how God views things - not how the world views things.
I'll leave you with one last thought before going into the actual Scripture verses. If you really watch and study people - what is it that people are really searching for and seeking after these days? Why is it that so many people are tempted into entering a life of drugs or alcohol abuse? Why are so many people committing adultery behind their spouse's back? Why are so many business minded people only chasing after their own personal god - which is the almighty dollar? Why are so many people engaging with other alternative forms of spirituality such as delving into the occult and the many facets of the New Age movement?
If you really bottom line all of the seeking that is occurring in these areas - they are all looking for one thing - and that one thing is an incredible sense of well being. They are all looking for that "high" that will make them "feel good."
To those who are seeking after the almighty dollar - they are looking for that high that will give them a sense of approval and sense of accomplishment. They are looking for all the material things that money can buy them - thinking that all of those material things will make them feel good on the inside and completely fill that void that is on the inside of them.
To those chasing after drugs, alcohol or illicit sexual encounters - they are looking for immediate gratification of physical, mental or sexual pleasures. They want to feel good right now - and they will do anything they can to get that next high.
However, as we all know, all of the free sex, drugs and alcohol - and all of the money in this world and all of the material things that this money can buy us will never buy us that true inner happiness - that true state of well being that we are all searching for.
All of the material things that we can buy in this life will only keep us high for a very short period of time. Then when that high starts to wear off - we have to find something else we can buy - thinking that the next purchase will make us feel good for a longer period of time. And then it happens again - the high starts to wane and we are once more looking for that next material thing, that next great adventure that will make us feel good about ourselves. These people are constantly chasing the wind - but never really reaching it or really grabbing a hold of it - thus continually falling short of that elusive state of well being that will give them the love, the joy and the peace that they are really seeking after.
Even many Christians are missing the mark on all of this. Too many Christians have become more attached to the things of this world rather than to God and the things that He wants us to get involved in. As a result, there are many Christians who are no more happy and no more fulfilled with their lives than many nonbelievers are.
Once you become saved and born again by accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior - that is just the beginning. Now God wants to start to build you up in Him and all of His ways for your life. The first thing that God will want you to do is to be willing to enter into a full surrender with Him of you and your entire life so that He can set you on the path that He will want you to follow so that you can accomplish His perfect will for your life. The next thing He will want from you is that you attempt to enter into and establish a personal one on one relationship with Him.
However, this will now lead us to the next big step. Many Christians have done both of those things - but they still feel that there is something missing in their lives. They are perfectly following God's will for their lives, they know how to be led by the Holy Spirit on a daily basis to accomplish what needs to be accomplished, they have established good personal relationships with the Lord - but there still seems to be something missing in their lives and they can't seem put their finger on it.
Where is that feeling of well being that I should be having more of? Where is that joy, that love, that peace of mind I should be having more of? Why is it that at times I'm no more happier and no more fulfilled than a nonbeliever is?
I personally believe that the missing ingredient in many believer's life is this sanctification process. This sanctification process is a deeper work in the Lord - and many have not entered into it either because they have not been shown how to properly enter into it or they don't want to go that far with God. Once you enter into this sanctification process with the Lord - it can be a bit painful at times since God will be working with you to expose and prune out all of the negative qualities that He does not want you to have operating in your personality.
I'll be doing a lot more articles under this sanctification section of our site giving you all of the verses that will give you the specifics on what it is you should be seeking after in order to be able to work with the Lord in this sanctification process. As you will see in the some of the verses listed below - it is the Holy Spirit that will really be the one that will sanctify you and make you to become more holy in the eyes of God.
However - you will still have to do your part in all of this. As I said in the first article under this section titled: "Mindset: Being Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind," you will have to be the one to attempt to "put on" the positive qualities that God wants to instill in your personality and "put away" all of the negative qualities that He doesn't want you to have.
You have to really work in partnership and in cooperation with the Holy Spirit in order to really get God to move you into this deeper realm of making you to become more holy. But for those of you who are willing to let God go this extra step with you - you will find and obtain what everyone is really searching after and cannot find these days - an incredible sense of well being that all of the money, possessions, drugs and alcohol will never be able to bring to you in this life.
This incredible sense of well being can only be found in the process of allowing God to work His very nature into your own personality thereby making you to become more holy. A perfect example of this is the 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit. These 9 fruits are His fruits - not ours - such as love, joy, peace, self-control, kindness, etc. This means that God will start to transmit and impart His love, His peace and His kindness into your personalities. And once that kind of sanctification process starts to occur - that is when you will really start to feel and experience that sense of well being that God really created us to have in Him.
It is only when the very life of God Himself through the Holy Spirit starts to enter into your mind, soul and spirit will you feel that high that everyone is looking for these days. And the only way that you can get the very life of God to start to enter into your mind, soul and spirit is by entering into this sanctification process with the Lord. There is no other way. There are no shortcuts to this process. I really believe that this is one of the main missing ingredients in a lot of believers''s walks with the Lord.
Short note about the author
Written by Michael Bradley of Bible Knowledge Ministries. Their website is a resource of Bible knowledge commentary and teaching. They currently have over 100 in depth Bible articles. All free of charge. http://www.bible-knowledge.com.