Thursday, May 20, 2010

What Does It Mean To Be Saved? ....Sanctified?

We like to use the term 'getting saved' to express the relationship Christ has made possible for us with him. Perhaps 'getting delivered' would be a better term. 'Saved' carries a connotation in our culture of accumulating, like putting money in a savings account. Perhaps the better question would be, "What have you been delivered from?" We believe salvation is a deliverance from sin. This deliverance is made possible by the sacrifice of Christ Jesus. When we are delivered from old habits, addictions and from ourselves a new life is inevitable. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17

We make no attempt to try to defend the sacrifice of Christ as being in any way fair. There is nothing fair about the sinless, pure, innocent and only Son of God making the trek to Calvary to die in our stead. We accept this anomaly as the great, incomprehensible mystery of God's grace.

Because God has gifted us with a free will he chooses not to save us against our own will. He is eager to respond when we admit we are sinners. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). When we admit our sin our heart is prepared by the Spirit of God to accept the sacrifice of Christ. (John 3:16) It is important to realize that this work comes from grace and not of works. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5). The marriage of our faith with his grace does produce within us a salvation, a renewal, a restoration of the soul to God.

Once a person is saved and begins to experience the scripture in a new light he will discover the wondrous and awful holiness of God. We react much like Isaiah did when he saw the holiness of God. He immediately began to confess his imperfections and his lack of holiness. "Woe is me! for I am undone: because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!" (Isa. 6: 5).

Those who experience the regenerating power of Christ's sacrifice will soon feel a strong desire for more or for all of Christ. This is a hunger to be sanctified or to belong totally to him. Paul prayed that the Thessalonians might experience this grace. "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" (I Thess. 5: 23).

Jesus prayed that his followers would be sanctified: "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth" (John 17: 17).

We can receive this blessing by consecrating our entire lives to Christ. Christ is no longer on the periphery of our lives but we choose to make him the very center of all. This consecration is without reservation. Once we present our bodies "a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God" (Romans 12:1-2) he then cleanses our soul of impurity and empowers us to serve by filling us with his Holy Spirit. He instructs us to demonstrate this infilling by fulfilling his basic command to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength…" and…"Love your neighbor as yourself." (Mark 12:30-31)

It is important that church members have such a profession lest the church be filled with false prophets and false Christians. Perhaps the greatest difficulty facing the church today is determining just who is and who is not a Christian. There are many in the pews professing and even pastors in the pulpit professing an experience they've never really known. This causes untold confusion and discouragement among true believers.

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