BY RON BARTANEN — Have you ever heard a Christian say, “I’m no saint””? Many say this out of humility, recognizing their own spiritual shortcomings. And yet, that is what every Christian is. In the eyes of the world, the word “saint” implies near-perfection and special accessibility to God. Some would confer sainthood only upon supposedly super-holy people who have died, and who have attained the status of mediator with God. The conferring of sainthood, however, is not in the hands of men, but in the hands of God. The word speaks of one who has been sanctified or made holy through the working of God in Jesus Christ. In other words, it is not an honor awarded one who has reached a certain high level of perfection, but a position obtained through the grace of God in Christ. Paul thus addressed the body of Christians in Philippi: “To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi…” (Phil. 1:1). Continue reading
This definition of sanctification looks good, might be helpful to someone.
I’ll translate it for some work I’m doing in Portuguese.
With its widespread influence through its practices, teachings, and traditions, Roman Catholicism has tainted the original idea of the word “saint” in the minds of many to the extent that very few in the world would ever think of calling what the Bible describes as a Christian a “saint.”
Notice the following concerning the process by which one may become a “saint” in the Catholic Church. “Canonization is an act or definitive sentence by which the Pope decrees that a servant of God, member of the Catholic Church and already declared blessed, be inscribed in the book of saints and be venerated in the universal Church with the cult given to all saints.” (New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, Pg. 55). In other words, a person could read and study his Bible, obey the gospel through faith, repentance, confession and baptism, and thus be saved from past sins (Mark 16:15,16; Acts 2:38; Romans 10:10), do all he could to please God, die a faithful Christian and go to heaven eternally, but never be recognized as a “saint” because the Pope did not declare it and he never belonged to the Catholic Church. Continue reading
“For he who makes holy and those who are made holy are all of one family; and for this reason it is no shame for him to give them the name of brothers,” (Hebrews 2:11 – BBE)
My spiritual imperfections, to say the least, bug me. There are times when I say, think, or do the wrong thing in a way that makes my own stomach, head and feelings hurt.
I hate to fail. I’m uber-competitive in many ways. Over the years I have learned to scale back on unnecessary comments, discussions and involvements that rile up the ole’ competitive side in an unneeded and negative way. But I still have a ways to go.
After a decade of striving to live in and according to the way that’s found in God’s word I have to remember that the one who started my journey for me will be the one who finishes it for me. It took God’s grace to create the opportunity and it’ll take God’s grace to seal it up.
This in no way negates the exhortation of personal responsibility in Hebrews 2:1-3, but that exhortation in no way negates a personal reliance upon Jesus from the beginning of our sanctification to the end of it. For if Jesus was unashamed enough to come and save us from our sin, then reason says that he’s patient and unashamed enough to help us find our way out of it.
“Because of this it was necessary for him to be made like his brothers in every way, so that he might be a high priest full of mercy and keeping faith in everything to do with God, making offerings for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17 – BBE)
As we have been emphasizing the JG characteristic, evangelism, this month, it will do us good to review a message or two gleaned from Romans 6. As we evangelize, we never need to lose sight of the thoughts implied in this passage.
§Folks are saved by the grace of God (v. 1). We do not save people, we prayerfully strive to lead them to salvation made available by God (Titus 2:11). Our work is but an extension of the blessings God has provided us. We are “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works (Ephesians 2:10).
§We are not just trying to baptize people. We are trying to lead them to newness of life (v. 4). It is not the number baptized that is important. It is the number saved and faithful to the end. Jesus taught us this in the great commission in Matthew 28:19-20. We are to “make disciples” (the proper translation where the KJV has “teach”) by baptizing souls and teaching them to continue in faithfulness by “observing all things” God has commanded.
§The new Christian (and the old) has renounced sin in order to become a new creature. We are “dead to sin” (v. 2). We should not serve sin (v. 6). We should consider ourselves to be “dead indeed to sin” (v. 11). We must not allow sin to “reign in your mortal body” (v. 12). We are not to obey the lustful desires of the flesh (v. 12). Sin must not have dominion over us (v. 14) because we are under grace.
§We and those we teach must have indelibly imprinted on our hearts that freedom from sin is the result of obedience from the heart (v. 16-17).
§Dear teacher, we must ever remind people that the wages of sin is death (v. 23), but there is eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Some believe the Holy Spirit works directly on the heart of sinners to save them, and then to sanctify them, without any effort on the part of the one being saved or sanctified.
If that’s so, why are there commands in the Bible? In fact, if the Holy Spirit does the work of saving or sanctifying apart from the knowledge of the truth found in the Bible, then why did God bother to write it at all?
—Rick Kelley, Prestonsburg KY bulletin
Satan has no interest in banishing Christianity. Read C.S. Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters.”
Satan is perfectly content with having a form of religion around to lull people to sleep. However, he must make some changes until it is leading people down the road he has prepared (1 Peter 5:8).
Satan changes our language, re-defines our words and alters our focus from Christ to ourselves. We become more worldly when Satan tells us that the world can’t be converted by holy people.
Satan discredits Scripture and destroys God’s meanings for words such as grace, holiness, preaching, faith and repentance, replacing them with secular definitions.
Satan creates a faux Christianity without God that focuses on slick promotions, incense, clothes, hairstyles, poetry, emotion and entertainment. His religion is empty and shallow, appealing to a worldly view of “spirituality.” Satan would rather us connect with a tree than with God.
The Christian Chronicle published an article about a “Christian” movie called “Blue Like Jazz.”
Today I begin a series of articles examining what it means to be in Christ. We need to talk about this more often because it clarifies so many doctrines. Being in Christ means that we are a partaker of “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
“The concept of being in Christ is one of the most powerful in all of Scripture. It will answer many questions about salvation, sanctification and unity. We will have a greater, more complete understanding of God’s plan of salvation if we understand what it means to be in Christ.”
What does being “In Christ” mean to you?
The inspired Apostle Paul wrote, “so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without blemish though you live in a crooked and perverse society, in which you shine as lights in the world by holding on to the word of life so that on the day of Christ I will have a reason to boast that I did not run in vain nor labor in vain, (Philippians 2:15-16 NET).
We need to remember we live in a “crooked and perverse society.” The reason why we need to remember is so we won’t become like it. If we’re not careful, the influence of the world will overcome us and we church members will become more worldly. Then, our lights will start going out.
We have a responsibility to create a difference within ourselves so people can see the contrast of us and the world. Without that contrast, many will never see the light, will they?
A road sign said, “If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Jesus said, “They do not belong to the world just as I do not belong to the world. Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth, (John 17:16-17 NET). Is there enough evidence of a difference?
There are many people who have heard lessons on what Christ has done for us, but none is clearer than the one in 1 Corinthians 1:30.
Paul wrote, “God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin, (1 Corinthians 1:30 NLT). Notice the component parts and how clear Paul’s lesson is.
“God has united you with Christ Jesus.” Through baptism, we have been united with Christ into his death (Romans 6:3). When the apostle uses the phrase, “in Christ,” as he does in most all of his writings, it is with this idea. The meaning “in” is “within the sphere of influence of.” United with Christ, we live within his sphere of his influence.
“For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself.” The Corinthians had based their idea of wisdom on something that was less than true. Christ is the true wisdom, not human thinking. It was Plato who taught that we have all the knowledge we need at birth; all we need do is “recollect” it. How foolish!
“Christ made us right with God;” Upon our obedience to the gospel of Christ, we became justified by faith, and reconciled to God. Nothing else could do that.
“he made us pure and holy…” Our sins were washed away in his blood (Revelation 7:14). Christ Jesus was the only perfect sacrifice that could do this. We were filthy in our sins. While ours may not have been a physical impurity, it was a spiritual one. Jesus made us clean.
“and he freed us from sin.” Again, this from Romans, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin,” (Romans 6:6, 7).
The Lord Christ has done much more for us, but it is wonderful to think of these wonderful things, isn’t it?
Greetings. I have not been active here lately. As you know, I have been working on getting my website and mission started helping people become better writers. That has taken a lot of my time. It is like trying to raise a baby. I am proud of the progress so far.
My question at the blog today is where your ideas for articles come from. Share your stories.
Today is three months since I began these health challenges. I am somewhat better and learning how to cope with everything. Overcoming self-reliance, so I can accept help from others was a challenge. I expect that is true of most men. My family has been extraordinary.
My article today is called Peace in His Pocket and looks at one man’s life and how he remains calm amidst chaos.
I had the privilege to vote today, which is always an extraordinary opportunity.
We plan to have Randal and his family with us in Georgia in September. It will be glorious to see them again and to hear him preach!
Daniel’s recent nudge turns our minds to sanctification, which is one of the most vital and overlooked topics in the New Testament. Thanks, Daniel, for reminding us.
On Wednesday, I plan to start a series on the Sermon on the Mount. That should be a lot of fun.
My new article, Preparing to Teach Salvation, is based on something that has been percolating in my mind for years. I don’t think that people are going deep enough in their studies of salvation. Many in the brotherhood seem to focus too much on baptism.
Of course, baptism for the remission of sins is essential. However, starting with baptism, is missing most of the story. I had an article years ago entitled, Is Baptism Always the Right Argument? In that article I wrote:
If the student perceives baptism as a violation of grace and constitutes salvation by works then we need to back up and address their misunderstanding. The debates that have occurred through the years on baptism have been useful but thousands have left unimpressed. If we can help them see the truth on grace and works then we can possibly reach more souls for Christ.
In my article today, I am returning to this theme. We need more study and discussion on justification, reconciliation and sanctification in the brotherhood. They frame baptism, rather than replace it.
Your thoughts on these articles will be much appreciated. I hoped they would provoke a discussion.
When we become a Christian, sanctified and holy, we no longer live as we once did. Our focus in a sanctified kingdom is completely changed from our old lives. Will we make the journey down the Highway of Holiness?
The word most often used of God’s people between Acts and Revelation is saints. Yet, we have allowed the world to redefine Biblical words so that we do not use saints and holy anymore. We must reclaim them! I begin a series of articles today called, Life in a Sanctified Kingdom (1).
I am involved in a study of sanctification. My article today examines the sanctified kingdom. As I persevere in this study, I can see how a better understanding of these concepts can give us a healthier perspective on several doctrines and concepts in the church. I hope you will share your thoughts on my article today. They will help me in my studies. Thank you in advance.