Sanctification: Its Practical Aspect

Exodus 13:3‑22  •  22 min. read  •  grade level: 6
(Ex. 13:3-223And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten. 4This day came ye out in the month Abib. 5And it shall be when the Lord shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month. 6Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the Lord. 7Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters. 8And thou shalt show thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the Lord did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt. 9And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the Lord's law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the Lord brought thee out of Egypt. 10Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year. 11And it shall be when the Lord shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee, 12That thou shalt set apart unto the Lord all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the Lord's. 13And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem. 14And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the Lord brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage: 15And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the Lord slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem. 16And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt. 17And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: 18But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt. 19And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you. 20And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness. 21And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: 22He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people. (Exodus 13:3‑22).)
We have considered the subject of sanctification on what I call the absolute, or the positional side of it. Now we will look at the practical or progressive side of it. It is very important to see that there is the positional side, and then the practical side is the logical sequence. But you will never get a saint to enter really into the practical side unless there be first the apprehension of the truth of the positional side. I have a new place before God upon the ground of redemption. And that place is Christ's place. No less. Christ, bearing the judgment of God on the cross, was the measure of your distance and mine from God, when He was made sin, and when God dealt with Him as sin on the cross. You will never learn the badness of your own heart by looking at it. We never get the measure of our distance from God, and the extent of our guilt by looking at ourselves. If I look at Christ in the place where He once was, bearing sins, and made sin, and judged by God, wholly given up by God and cast off by God, in the agonies connected with the work of atonement,-I get the measure of my distance as a guilty sinner from God. When I see Him now where He is at God's right hand, in all the favor and love of God, I learn the measure of my nearness. I learn what I am in Him.
Get clearly hold of this, your sanctification-in the positive thought of it-before God, is not what goes on inside you, but Christ, as, and where He now is. The moment the soul sees that, it gets into liberty. But then if you have this new place, this new life, and relationship (I do not say that you are really in the full truth of it, but if this be your new place), we shall have a new walk.
Very naturally, the moment the truth of its separation to God breaks upon the soul, it will say, Then there will be a new kind of walk now. You have been set apart to God, and His word alone can be your guide for your path as a saint. Heed to it is at the bottom of all progress in sanctification, viewed from the practical side. I have more faith in Scripture than anything I can say about it. You will never get on in your soul if you do not diligently and carefully read the Word of God. Nothing can take its place; nor any amount of hearing what others say about it supply the lack of your own personal study thereof. Because, you see, if you come to a meeting, by the end of the week very much of what you have heard is gone from you, unless you study the Word thereafter to gain, in the Lord's presence, the truth for yourself. " The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious " (Prov. 12:2727The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious. (Proverbs 12:27)). The first half of that verse illustrates the history of many a young convert. They have enough energy to turn out to a meeting and listen attentively to a teacher of the Word, but have not enough energy to turn again to the Scriptures in their own room, and get the truth of God wrought into their souls by meditation and prayer. They caught the hare, but were too lazy to skin and roast it, just because it was not " precious " enough to them. You have to get God's truth into your own soul in His presence if it is to be really food to you by which you can grow. The secret of much of the lack of spiritual growth among young Christians-and perhaps older ones too-is that there is not enough dealing with God about the truths of Scripture in our own chambers.
We have to thank God for any help He affords us by His servants, who minister His Word, orally or by stroke of pen. God can help me from a hundred sides, and I think it is a great thing for us to be on the outlook for help to our souls. On the other hand, we must remember the Lord's words, " Take heed what ye hear " (Mark 4:2424And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. (Mark 4:24)), as well as " Take heed therefore how ye hear " (Luke 8:1818Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have. (Luke 8:18)). My beloved young Christian, you must get every side of the truth. We want all the truth that God has given us, presented to us in every way in which He is pleased to give it. Why? Because of the varied necessity of our souls.
Now look at the practical side of the truth which we have, in figure, in this chapter. " And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten" (Ex. 13:33And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten. (Exodus 13:3)). Never forget that God has saved you. Start with this, that a wonderful event has happened in your life. God has taken you out of Egypt. Is not everything changed? Surely! The point is this, when you are brought to Christ and know a heavenly Savior, your sins are forgiven and you are clear of the world. I do not mean to say it will not seek- to attract you. It will. You may be in precisely the same external circumstances after your conversion as before, but nevertheless all is changed, and there is a new life. What was true of Israel in three parts of their history, is true of you and me all at once. They are found in Scripture in three places. They were in Egypt, then in the wilderness, and then in Canaan. It took them forty years to get from Egypt to Canaan, but that was because of their unbelief. We are in the world till we are converted. But the moment I am a converted man, this scene becomes the wilderness to me. I am clear of the world in my soul if I apprehend the Lord's words, " They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" (John 17:14-1614I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (John 17:14‑16)). We are in the same circumstances, but the knowledge of God has changed all, and as we press on we find that we have to learn as we go through the wilderness, what we are ourselves, and what God is. You are set to get to heaven, but if you enter into the truth of Christianity, you will find that the Spirit of God will bring your soul there now, while your feet are treading this wilderness scene. He will bring your heart into the heavenly place, and give you now the apprehension and enjoyment of that which is yours for eternity. That is what the epistle to the Ephesians unfolds.
We are no longer of Egypt, because the blood of Christ has separated us from a world that is under judgment. We find this is a wilderness, where there are pitfalls and dangers, but at the same time the Spirit of God takes us into Canaan in our souls. There is a very wonderful sphere before you. Get
into it. " Remember this day in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage," was Moses' word to Israel, and " Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" (Gal. 5:11Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (Galatians 5:1)), is the word to us. " For by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten," was God's injunction. What is leaven? It is the symbol of evil. The moment you are upon the ground of redemption, God looks for a different walk. I would greatly desire to get into your soul, just to be what you are. That is it. You be what you are, and you will be a wonderful Christian. What am I? You are a delivered person, you are a child of God, you have the Holy Ghost, and you are in the knowledge of the love of God. These are wonderful things. Remember, you are out of Egypt-the world-and there must be no leaven (ver. 4).
Leaven, in Scripture, always means what is evil. I know that the term has been used in a very false way, as the gospel spreading, and leavening the world. If God uses a figure, He always gives it a definite meaning. The leaven of the Pharisees was hypocrisy (Luke 12:11In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. (Luke 12:1)). The leaven of Herod was worldliness (Mark 8:1515And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. (Mark 8:15)). Malice and wickedness are called leaven (1 Cor. 5:88Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:8)). When the day of the Passover came, the head of the house took care to see that every bit of leaven was swept out. We must do the same. The leaven of malice and wickedness forms no part of a Christian's life. If you are occupied with what is of God, it will lead to a very lovely, holy, and practical Christian life. If I take the figure, I understand it means that when the day of the Passover came round, the Israelite brought a light to bear upon every corner of his house. Every dark cupboard was carefully examined, and he swept out every single crumb of leaven. I really believe that if we let the light of God's Word fall on us, we should find it might sweep out from our hearts a good many little crumbs of leaven. The way to keep out evil is to be occupied with good. Paul said, " Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Phil. 4:88Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)); and a dear servant of God, now gone to the Lord, once said, " For a Christian the secret of peace within, and power without, is to be always and only occupied with good." Will you book that, young Christian? Will you write it out, and stick it up where you can see it every day? It will do you a world of good all the days of your life. God keep us ever occupied with that which is good. I am not to be occupied with, or to feed on what is leaven, i.e., evil in any shape, but on Christ, nothing but Christ.
If you will take the trouble to read God's injunctions regarding the unleavened bread and leaven in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, you will be struck with how, again and again, there is exhortation on these points. If evil be allowed, I grieve the Holy Spirit, and all light and joy is gone. I lose the enjoyment of God's love, and I lose that which He wants my heart to be enjoying, communion with Himself.
Most important is what the apostle says to the Corinthians: "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;
therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth " (1 Cor. 5:7, 87Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7‑8)). The feast spoken of there is the seven days of unleavened bread (Ex. 12:15-20; 13:6-1015Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. 16And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. 17And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever. 18In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even. 19Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land. 20Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread. (Exodus 12:15‑20)
6Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the Lord. 7Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters. 8And thou shalt show thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the Lord did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt. 9And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the Lord's law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the Lord brought thee out of Egypt. 10Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year. (Exodus 13:6‑10)
). God never supposes that you and I will be occupied with anything but what is of Christ. That is practical sanctification. We are to begin, and to continue walking in holiness, because of that which the Lord did for us. The Israelite kept the feast, and said to his son: " This is done because of that which the Lord did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt. And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the Lord's law may be in thy mouth " (Ex. 13:8, 98And thou shalt show thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the Lord did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt. 9And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the Lord's law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the Lord brought thee out of Egypt. (Exodus 13:8‑9)). You show me a person who is walking on these lines, and I will show you a downright, practical, happy Christian " And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand." Beautiful, the hand that used to do what the owner liked, that hand belongs to Jesus now. So with the eyes and the mouth. When the priests were consecrated, and the leper was cleansed, the blood was put upon the tip of the right ear, and upon the thumb of the right hand, and upon the great toe of the foot (Ex. 29:2020Then shalt thou kill the ram, and take of his blood, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his sons, and upon the thumb of their right hand, and upon the great toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about. (Exodus 29:20); Lev. 14:1414And the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and the priest shall put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot: (Leviticus 14:14)). The moment you are redeemed, you are looked upon as altogether belonging to God; the eyes, the mouth, the ear, the hand, and the foot are all His servants.
But our chapter teaches another striking lesson, as to what to do with what God cannot use " And it shall be when the Lord shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee, that thou shalt set apart unto the Lord all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the Lord's. And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and it thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the first-born of man among thy children shalt thou redeem " (vers. 11-13). What is the meaning of that? It is very simple. Can you devote an ass to God? No. Break his neck. You have something that you were very good at before you were converted; can you use it for, and devote it to the Lord? No. Have you broken the ass's neck: have you judged and set the thing aside as unfit for the Lord? I do not know what the thing is in your history, but you know. The point is this, we used to belong to the world, but now we belong to Christ. What I have, and what I am, all belong to Him. You cannot use some acquirement for the Lord. What is the result? You break its neck, so to speak. Whatever would be a hindrance to you, judge: do not spare that ass. Break his neck. If you can redeem it, do so. If not, break its neck.
" And it shall he when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the Lord brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage: and it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the Lord slew all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both the first-born of man, and the first-born of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem. And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt " (vers. 14-16). Whatever I have is the Lord's, and if I cannot devote it I judge it, and this others can see. If your ways are changed that is manifestly seen by those round about you. Many young Christians lose a great deal of blessing because they do not take a decided, bold stand for Christ when they are converted. If you confess Christ, out and out, it will save you an immense amount of trouble. If you do not, you will escape persecution, but you will not have the support of the Lord, nor the comfort which the Holy Ghost would like to give you. You are not in a state to have it. By our cowardice we may save ourselves a good deal of what we do not like, but at the same time we rob ourselves of the triumphs and victories God would lead us to, were we faithful.
Let us now glance at a few verses in the New Testament. Every epistle speaks of the practical side of holiness. Look first at Rom. 6 What do I find? " In that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus " (vers.-10, 11). Everything is connected with Christ, and you are in Christ, alive from the dead; hence " Let not sin reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof" (ver. 12). Sin is no longer to govern you. Sin was the will of your old mind, and governed you while living, but being dead you escape from its mastery. " Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness " (ver. 18). You are doing the right thing now. All your members, your eye, your tongue, your voice, your ears, your hands, your feet, your mind and strength, all that marks you as a man here, are to be servants to righteousness, unto holiness. That is sanctification. Holiness and sanctification are the same word in Scripture. You begin to walk in a holy way. " For when ye were servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now, being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life " (vers. 20-22). That is practical holiness. And what is the end? Everlasting life. That is beautiful fruit. It is worth while going in for this.
Suppose we go to the first epistle to the Corinthians. We saw that this epistle is addressed to saints by calling. We are told in chapter 3:16, 17, that " the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." You are a holy people, and God dwells in you. If God dwell among His people, what must be the next thing? Everything that is unholy has to go, no doubt about that. And therefore when you come to the sixth chapter, 19th verse, we read: " What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body."
Pass on to the second epistle to the Corinthians (chap. 6:16, 17): "Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you." If I touch an unclean thing, it will soil me. Is there any harm in this?
Well, it is not a question of the harm, but it is a question of what will suit the Lord. The point is, How can I walk here to please Christ? I will give you another question to put at the back of yours. What would Jesus do? Would Jesus do this? Oh, He would not. Then I do not think you and I can. Note now the blessed promise to the separate ones: " And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (6:18). You will get the sense of it. He is my Father, and I am His child. " Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God " (7:1). That is the practical side of the subject. " Perfecting holiness " is really walking in the footsteps of Christ.
In the Galatians and Ephesians you have injunctions which lead to sanctification, but the word does not exactly occur in either of them. " If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Gal. 5:2525If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)). That is part of the practical holiness of the Christian. " And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption " (Eph. 4:3030And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)). Holiness is the great mark of God's people, God's house, and God's Spirit. If you read the epistle to the Philippians you will find that it describes the man who is in the enjoyment of a most blessed, holy walk before God. In the epistle to the Colossians we get a most practical unfolding of the truth (chap. 3:12): " Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another." Fancy God addressing you as a holy person. Is it not remarkable that the Lord should address you and me as " holy and beloved." There is the thing in its practical outcome.
In the next epistle you have more about the practical use of the word sanctification than in any other. To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints " (1 Thess. 3:1313To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. (1 Thessalonians 3:13)). What is the meaning of that? That you might so walk here that there should be nothing the Lord would have to change but your body. Paul desired them to be in such a state as the Lord could set them in forever. Again: " This is the will of God, even your sanctification... that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor... For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness " (vers. 3-7). That is intensely practical, and the power for it is found in verse 8. There is the power for a holy walk. It is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Again: " Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. 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 " (5:21-23).
Just one word as to the epistle to Hebrews. Very remarkable is the way in which they are addressed in chapter 3:1, " Wherefore, holy brethren," &c. Is that the way God addresses us? It is, and as a consequence the heart is at once checked. It is not what I practically am that is the point there, but what I am in Christ. The sense of this will act on the soul. How it pulls us up. Look also at chapter 12. That is a very remarkable piece of instruction: "Lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed." If I do not make straight paths, I shall make a crooked path, for myself and some one else. Then, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." Very simple, but nothing could be more plain or practical. I am to follow holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Of course I believe this is true as a matter of communion, and if I am not walking in the enjoyment and love of the Lord, and in holiness, I am not very happy. Do you know the secret of happiness? Happiness always follows holiness. If you are going to be a happy Christian, you will have to be a holy one. That is it. You cannot have happiness if you do not go in for holiness.
Why should you be holy? 1 Peter 1:14-1614As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1 Peter 1:14‑16) tells us, and further enjoins us not to be living like when we were in Egypt, " Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." That is very simple, beloved friends. When I come to his second epistle, he says to us: " What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness" (2 Peter 3:1111Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, (2 Peter 3:11)).
The apostle John thus addresses us: " Beloved, now are we sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself; even as he is pure " (1 John 3:2, 32Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (1 John 3:2‑3)). He makes Christ's life, walk, and ways, the standard of our ways. That is practical sanctification. Similarly, I find in the Revelation that the blessed Lord, in giving encouragement to those in Philadelphia, says, " These things saith he that is holy, he that is true " (iii. 7). He says, Do not forget that I am the Holy and the true One. There is also what is very beautiful when we look into eternity in chapter 21, " And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God, out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband " (ver. 2). It was not a great city. Men like what is great. Babylon is called " that great city," but God looks for what is holy, and finds it in the Church. We get a blessed picture of eternal purity in that chapter.
And now, as though God would press holiness upon our souls, we read lastly in chapter 22:11, " He that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still." Holiness is always to mark the saint, and if you will trace out the scriptures which thus present sanctification in its practical and progressive aspect-for we ought to be more holy today than yesterday-you will find that they will help your soul in this direction.
As Thine, Thou didst foreknow us
From all eternity;
Thy chosen, loved ones ever,
Kept present to Thine eye;
And when was come the moment,-
Thou, calling by Thy grace,
Didst gently, firmly draw us
Each from his hiding-place.
Thy Word, Thyself reflecting,
Doth sanctify by truth,
Still leading on Thy children
With gentle heavenly growth.
Thus still the work proceedeth,
The work begun by grace,
For each is meet, and training,
Father, to see Thy face.