There has been lot of talk on the subject Grace recently. Grace is not only unmerited favor as many people quote but it is the Power of God which sanctified us and further enables us to live a consecrated life. It is the very controversial subject but more than that it is the darling attribute of God and the most precious Jewel of His Eternal Crown. I dare not pass my own interpretation here. I respect Grace of God and moreover I tremble to add or subtract to this most blessed and wonderful doctrine – Grace!
I am particularly going to speak from Romans 6. Paul’s wonderful passage on sanctification. To help you to understand the subject I want to divide this chapter into two major divisions. First division is about the positional sanctification (Romans 6:1-11) and second division is about practical sanctification (Romans 6:12-23). In the first division we see the finished work of Christ in the life of a believer and in the second division we see the how we must yield to this finished work by His grace. Christ finished the Work on the Cross but He hasn’t finished His work in the life of believers. Cheap Grace or hyper Grace Communities claim only on the finished work of Christ but they completely neglect the present work of Christ in the believer’s life in other words they preach only the positional sanctification but not practical sanctification.
Sanctification is that inward spiritual work which the Lord Jesus Christ works in a man by the Holy Spirit, when He calls him to be a true believer. He not only washes him from his sins in His own blood, but He also separates him from his natural love of sin and the world, puts a new principle in his heart, and makes him practically godly in life. The instrument by which the Spirit affects this work is generally the Word of God, though He sometimes uses afflictions and providential visitations “without the Word.” (1 Peter iii. 1.) The subject of this work of Christ by His Spirit is called in Scripture a “sanctified” man.
He who supposes that Jesus Christ only lived and died and rose again in order to provide justification and forgiveness of sins for His people, has yet much to learn.
Whether he knows it or not, he is dishonoring our blessed Lord, and making Him only a half Savior. The Lord Jesus has undertaken everything that His people’s souls require; not only to deliver them from the guilt of their sins by His atoning death, but from the dominion of their sins, by placing in their hearts the Holy Spirit; not only to justify them, but also to sanctify them. He is, thus, not only their “righteousness,” but their “sanctification.” (1 Cor. i. 30.)
# Positional sanctification. Let us see what it means positional sanctification. Paul uses the word baptism and grafted to explain this doctrine. The first eleven verses explain the true meaning of the work of Christ on the cross. We see a man bathed in blood, nailed to the tree and crowned by thrones on His head. Why He need to suffer this much? Why He took such hostility and humiliation? Paul tells us the reason. He was the substitute for the sinners and identified himself on behalf of all sinners and united them in His death, burial and resurrection. He was the substitute Lamb without blemish to identify me on the Cross. He united me in His death by His Love, He united me in His burial by His mercy and He united me in His resurrection by His power and Grace. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as He was. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. We are no longer slaves to sin because our sinful nature has been crucified with Christ. By this finished work we are made holy that’s why we read in Ephesians 2:10 NLT For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. The synonym of masterpiece is ‘ the stroke of genius’. Yes! We are complete in Christ and we are the art of immortal Genius. Hebrews 10:14 NKJV For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. When we look at Christ by faith we are identified with Him on the Cross. The blood of Jesus not only removes the guilt of sin but it also breaks the power of sin. We are dead to sin but alive unto God by the Power of resurrection. Apostle says, we are joined with Christ in baptism. This is not the symbolic water baptism but it is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor 12:13…but we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. No water in the world can join us into Christ and no water can cleanse us and make us complete but as it is said by John the Baptist “The One who comes after me will baptize you with fire and Holy Spirit”. We are baptized into Christ death. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. We are no longer slaves to sin because we are set free by Christ; our sinful nature has been crucified with Christ. The finished work restored us to the wholeness which God had it in mind before the foundation of the world… This is called positional sanctification
# Practical sanctification
No one can practice sanctification if he is not sanctified. I cannot tell the baby snake to fly because it is born to crawl on its belly but I can surely tell this to baby eagle because it is born with the potential to soar high. You got me right. It is impossible for sinners dead in sin to practice holiness. He may have a good moral outlook but in the eyes of God he is dead. Dead ones can do nothing. Only those who are raised from Christ can live a resurrected life and they only can practice sanctification. II Peter 1:3 By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We are sanctified by the divine power and it is by this power we can continue to live a sanctified life. This is the reason Paul exhort the believers in Rome “Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have a new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Romans 6:12-13 you see we cannot urge this to someone who is dead in sins; only those who are Born of God could exercise this kind of life by God’s grace and faith in Jesus Christ. Let us go further; Reckon and yield are the two important words we will consider under practical sanctification. Reckon the truth of the cross and then yield to the truth by faith. The message of the cross is not just a theory or well fragmented story but it is something that happened in the history. It is the only solution for all our problems. Life and death is linked to the message of the Cross, the problem of sin is dealt by the cross, we have peace with God through the work of Cross and we are made whole by the work of Christ on the Cross. Cross is the divine channel of every spiritual blessing we have in heavenly places. If someone strives to live a sanctified life then he must reckon, pause and ponder on this truth daily. He must give himself to the work of the Cross because that is the only truth which sets us free from all the lies and schemes of the devil, all kinds of worldly lust, hypocrisy, evil and pride of life. It is the only truth that makes us more humble and thankful before God. Now it is possible for a person to consider this truth but not yield himself or surrender himself to this truth. He will live a life in the bondage if he does not surrender and practice this truth. Sin will put him in great delusion; devil will play over his life and make it worse than before. There are chances that a saved person can give himself to unrighteousness. Lot was saved but he never surrendered, Solomon was saved but he never surrendered, Demas was saved but he never surrendered. We have lot of examples of the people who reckon the truth but did not yield themselves to the truth. Brethren, we are not only told to consider the truth but also told to yield ourselves to the truth. Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instrument of righteousness unto God. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness. Yield your members as slaves (servants) of righteousness for holiness. Romans 6:13, 16 and 19. Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price. 1 Corinthians 6:19 .Let me quote Bishop Ryle to explain the responsibility of a sanctified man. “Sanctification, again, is a thing for which every believer is responsible. In saying this I would not be mistaken. I hold as strongly as anyone that every man on earth is accountable to God and that all the lost will be speechless and without excuse at the last day. Every man has power to “lose his own soul.” (Matt. xvi. 26.) But while I hold this, I maintain that believers are eminently and peculiarly responsible, and under a special obligation to live holy lives. They are not as others, dead and blind and unrenewed: they are alive unto God, and have light and knowledge, and a new principle within them. Whose fault is it if they are not holy, but their own? On whom can they throw the blame if they are not sanctified, but themselves? God, who has given them grace and a new heart, and a new nature, has deprived them of all excuse if they do not live for His praise. This is a point which is far too much forgotten. A man who professes to be a true Christian, while he sits still, content with a very low degree of sanctification (if indeed he has any at all), and coolly tells you he “can do nothing,” is a very pitiable sight, and a very ignorant man. Against this delusion let us watch and be on our guard. The Word of God always addresses its precepts to believers as accountable and responsible beings. If the Savior of sinners gives us renewing grace, and calls us by His Spirit, we may be sure that He expects us to use our grace, and not to go to sleep. It is forgetfulness of this which causes many believers to “grieve the Holy Spirit,” and makes them very useless and uncomfortable Christians.
Sin can no more have dominion over those who are saved but if they do not reckon the truth and yield themselves as the servants of God…sin will surely rule them and the wages of sin is death. God and sin cannot be the master at the same time, Righteousness and unrighteousness cannot be the master at the same time, God and money cannot be the master at the same. We cannot have life and death at the same time. Light and darkness cannot stay together. We cannot be the servants of devil and servants of God at the same time. Do we have a responsibility here? Yes we do have. We have to reckon and yield ourselves to the truth and live like servants of righteousness because we are not slaves of sin. Christ has conquered the death!
Blessen Babu Daniel