Unwrapping Sanctification – Christine Burch

Today, we wrap up our series called “Unwrapped” with one more word that you may have heard before. We have looked at justification and redemption and today we will look at sanctification. To summarize what we have learned, justification is the act of being made righteous through the atoning blood of Jesus. We are in fact sinners, but because Jesus died on the cross, God no longer sees our sin, but He sees us as righteous. Redemption comes from Jesus dying on the cross to save us from our sin. This was God’s amazing plan to save us from an eternity in hell.

What is sanctification? It means to be set aside for a sacred purpose. A great example of being set aside is when your grandma or mom tells the family that the “good china or silver” is never to be touched except for special occasions. Why? It was because the owner wanted these items to be special and protected. You don’t throw a hot dog down on your special china! No, you use a paper plate or your every day dishes for that. The china is for holidays and very special occasions.

I know these words can be confusing at first, but they are different and here is how. Justification happens immediately from the moment a person accepts Jesus Christ as their lord and Savior. Sanctification, however is a process that lasts a lifetime. It is a daily decision to live differently than everyone, sometimes a moment to moment process. If you think about it, it makes since that if we live in this messed up world we as Christ followers will have to make conscious decisions to be set apart. To put it bluntly, if at work or school no one knows we are disciples of Christ, we are probably not walking in sanctification.

Now, we all know that when you plant a fruit tree, it takes a process for that tree to bear fruit. As far as I know, no one has ever planted an apple tree and picked apples the next morning. It takes time and it’s the same with sanctification. Certainly if you have lived any amount of time as an unbeliever in this world it’s going to be a process of growth to live set apart and for God’s purposes.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 says, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality.” So how does this process work? 1 Peter 2:1-3 says, “So put aside every trace of malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander and hateful speech; like newborn babies [you should] long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may be nurtured and grow in respect to salvation [its ultimate fulfillment], if in fact you have [already] tasted the goodness and gracious kindness of the Lord.” The number one way to transition from milk to meat spiritually is to dive into the Word of God. When you are newly saved it is common and expected that you are going to depend on your pastor, books, podcasts etc. to learn about your new found faith. However, at some point you will need to read and meditate on God’s word for yourself…while continuing these other ways as well.

We know that we as Christians are called the Bride of Christ. Have you ever met someone who is getting married and they discover their future spouse is in love with someone else? If so, were they happy about it? That would be a massive NO!! It’s the same with God. He does not want to share us with the world, instead He wants us to be set apart for Him and Him alone.

Here is a great thing to look at this week. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, what things do you have in your life to remind you that you are set apart? Do you take a stand for righteousness? I don’t mean throwing coffee table sized Bibles at people either. I mean do you carry yourself in such a way that folks can tell you are different. Do you walk away from the dirty jokes at work? Do you say no thank you to the dirty movie that everyone wants you to go and see? Don’t misunderstand me, we ALL have struggled with something and we have all missed opportunities to demonstrate the fact that we are sanctified. However, it is never too late, not until you draw your last breath. This is a great day to take stock of the places that we need to submit to God and allow Him to sanctify us and set us apart from this world.