TOPIC:“This Strange Word - Sanctification”
by Rev. Dr. Reg Dunlap
TEXT:I Thessalonians 4:1-7
“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification” (I Thessalonians 4:3)
Dr. Sperry Chafer, great Bible teacher and theologian, and first President of Dallas Theological Seminary, stated: “When a person becomes a Christian, thirty-nine theological events take place in that person's life.” Sanctification is one of them. Now since it is God's will for us to be sanctified, we must know what it means.
No teaching of the Bible has been so perverted and corrupted from what God originally intended as the doctrine of sanctification. No subject of the Bible has been so much misunderstood and caused so much confusion among the people of God as this doctrine. It continues to puzzle and perplex many in the church today. I shall now try to throw some light upon this strange word.
Consider, first of all, what I want to call the SUMMONS to sanctification. Notice again those words of our text: “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification” (v. 3). The NIV has it: “It is God's will that you should be sanctified.” Then notice verse 7: “For God has not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.”
It is God's clear will that His children be separated. It is God's clear will that we as believers are being conformed to the likeness of Christ. The passionate desire of God for His people is for holiness of heart and purity of life. The major thrust of the Bible is for the sanctification of the entire person.
Now I want you to know two things about our summons to sanctification. Our calling to follow and be like Christ is a HOLY calling. Listen again to Paul's words: “For God has not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” Or again: “God has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Ephesians 1:4). Then, also, our calling to follow and be like Christ is a HEAVENLY calling. It originated in Heaven by God the Father and is centered in His divine will and purpose, that we be like Christ.
Listen to the summons for us to be sanctified or holy from the Bible. Here are a few verses:
“For I am the Lord your God: You shall therefore sanctify yourselves,
and you shall be holy; for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44).
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