Sanctification, or Setting Apart to God: 4

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1 Peter 1
In 2 Thess. 2:1010And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:10) it is written, as to the unbelieving contrasted with the Christians, that they have not received (or rather accepted) the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God will send them a strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned who have not believed the truth, &c. But, my brethren, beloved of the Lord, we are bound to give thanks to God for you, because God hath chosen you from the beginning to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.
It is then the belief of the truth; it is not the belief of its fruits. The Holy Spirit cannot present to me the works He has produced in me, as the object of my faith. He speaks to me of my faults, of my short-comings, but never of the good works that may be in me. He produces them in me, but He hides them from me; for if we think of them, it is but a more subtle self-righteousness. It is like the manna which, being kept, produced worms. All is spoiled-it is no more faith in action. The Holy Spirit must always present to me Christ, that I may have peace.
The same principle is in John 17:1616They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (John 17:16), “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by thy truth; thy word is truth.” The world was not Christ's aim.
During His whole life, though He was not gone out of the world, He was no more of the world than if He had been in heaven. When practice is in question, He says, “They are not of the world, as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by thy truth.” Truth is not of the world; the world is a vast lie, which is demonstrated in the history we possess in the Bible. There we find the manifestation of sin in the natural man, and the manifestation of the life of God in the regenerate man by His word. “Sanctify them by thy truth.” “For their sakes I sanctify myself.” What does the Lord Jesus here for us? He sets Himself apart, He sanctifies Himself. It is not that He may be more holy, but He makes Himself the model-man. It is not a law requirement; but it is Christ Himself Who is life and power, whereof He presents the perfect result. It is Christ Who presents the fulfillment and the perfection; He is the vital spring of all; and in considering these things, the reflection of them is in me by faith, which reproduces them in the inner man and in the life.
We find something interesting on this subject in the first chapter of John's Gospel. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” The law was not this. It was not a light that condemned; but the Life was this light, and we have seen it, full of grace and truth-not of truth only but of grace; and of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. When we have received Christ, there is not a single grace which is not for me, and in me. There is no Christian who has not every grace that is in Jesus. Suppose even a state of failure; it is the strongest case: but this hinders not that we possess all in Him. Failure is a sad thing, but it changes not the position; for the Christian has not received a part only of Christ, but the whole of Christ.
On the one hand, it is encouragement: when I say to myself, “I must seek after such a grace,” the answer is, “Thou possessest it;” and on the other hand, “it humbles me,” for if I possess it, why is it not manifested? This always supposes that we have received the truth that God has made peace. We must always return to this, “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” Is it by looking into myself that I shall find this sanctification? No: but in looking to Jesus, in Whom it is, Christ having been made unto us of God “righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.”
I see perfect humility in Christ, and take pleasure in it. When I look to Him by faith, my soul is in peace. His Spirit is always in me, and I am sanctified by faith in Him, according to that grace which makes me one with Him. Christ gives me all that; and His truth reveals to me that the redemption is made, and I enjoy it, having obeyed the truth.
If anyone seeks after sanctification without being assured of his justification, and is consequently troubled about it, doubting whether he be a Christian, then I ask him: “What have you to do with sanctification?” You have not to think about this for the present. Assure yourself, first of all, that you are saved. Pagans, unbelievers, do not sanctify themselves. If you have faith, you are saved; then sanctify yourself in peace. The only question is to consider your sinful state. First, have you obeyed the truth? have you submitted to it? What does God speak to you about? He speaks of peace made. He says to you, that He has given His Son; He says to you, that He so loved the world, that He gave His Only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. This is the truth to which you have to submit, and to receive above all; specially before you busy yourself about sanctification, which depends upon Him Who has given you eternal life.
Begin then by obeying the truth of God. This truth tells you of the righteousness of God, which is satisfied in Jesus, and which is yours; yea rather that you are in Christ. Then you will enjoy peace, and you will be sanctified in practice: for practical sanctification flows from the contemplation of Jesus. Here is what the apostle Paul says to us on this subject in 2 Cor. 3:1818But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18): “We all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord are changed into the same image, from-glory to glory, even as by the Lord the Spirit.”
You see that it is in beholding Jesus that we are transformed from glory to glory. Life, the principle of life, is there, and not in your anxieties; the development of the life of Jesus is progressively realized by looking to Him. It is faith which sanctifies, as also it justifies; it looks unto Jesus.
When Moses came down from the mountain from before God, he did not know that he also shone with glory; but those who saw him knew it. Moses had looked toward God; others saw the effect. Blessed be God that it is thus in a practical sense! As to practice then, the question is the sanctification of Christians, because they are saved, because they are sanctified to God as respects their persons (not those who are not yet so). It is not to exact (on God's part), but to communicate life. Now, this communication proceeds from Jesus, Who is its source. He communicates life, which is holiness in effect.
Oh! that God might always show us the grace to make us ever more and more feel that all flesh is as grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of grass; but the word of Jehovah endureth forever! “And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” It is of this incorruptible seed we are born. What ought not our confidence to be in His word! J.N.D.
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