Oneness With Christ
From the convention invitation that went out I read, "The dominant note of the messages will be a call to holiness of life: "Ye shall be holy, for I am holy." Do you want to be holy? Perhaps some of us here are defeated; we want to be victorious. We are enslaved; we want to be delivered. We are spiritually tired; we want rest. We are discouraged; we want peace. We are sorrowful; we want joy. But do we have a sense of the utter uncleanness of our lives so that the deepest cry of our heart is for holiness?
Let us be honest. We must have come here for something. We must have come because we have a consciousness of some real need. But what is it that we want? Do we want to be holy? That is what God wants for us more than anything else. He wants us to be victorious, to be delivered, to be restful, to be joyous, and He has made provision for every one of these blessings for us in the Lord Jesus Christ. But above everything else in this world, He wants us to be holy. How do we share that desire of our Lord?
The twin word for holiness in Scripture is that precious word "sanctification." Let us listen to what God says regarding His will and His calling for us:
"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification" (1 Thess. 4:3).
"For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness" (1 Thess. 4:7).
Christ prayed for our sanctification:
"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth" (John 17:17, 19).
It was the provision that God made in the gift of the Holy Spirit as our Sanctifier.
"God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth" (2 Thess. 2:13).
In Ephesians, where we have the deepest truths given us in all the Word of God regarding the relationship of the Christian to Christ, the favorite word for the Christian is "saint." Do you like to be called that? Every one of us is either a sinner or a saint in the sight of God. Perhaps it would make some of us very angry if someone called us a sinner. But would we resent it almost as much to be called a saint? We must be one or the other. It makes a tremendous demand upon you and me to be called a saint. But that is what the Lord, the Head of the Church, calls those who have been united to Him and have become part of His Body.
Then, if we are saints, we certainly should live as saints. This was His purpose for us before there was ever a world or anyone in it.
"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy" (Ephesians 1:4).
Think of it! "Before the foundation of the world" you, if you are in Christ, were chosen to be holy, even as He is holy.
The truth of sanctification is as clearly taught in the Word of God as the truth of salvation. It is a glorious truth, and yet it is shunned. There are two or three reasons for this. One is our ignorance of the meaning of it as God reveals it in His Book, so we are filled with prejudice. Another is unscriptural teaching about this glorious truth, and so we are filled with fear. Nowhere in the Word are we taught that sanctification means the eradication of the old sinful nature so that we are rendered impossible of sinning and even delivered from the presence of sin. Another reason is that scriptural sanctification makes too great a demand upon us, and so we resist the truth. We want a little leeway to sin left us. We do not truly desire to be holy!
What is the scriptural meaning of the word? The primary meaning is "someone or something wholly set apart unto God." Is not that beautiful? If we are Christians at all, is not that what we want: to be wholly set apart unto God? To be separated unto the perfect possession, the complete control and the exclusive use of the Lord Jesus Christ is the primary meaning of the word "sanctified."
(continued with # 2)