Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-5
Sanctification is a topic that is not preached by most Pastors these days, even though it’s a Biblical commandment, as the Apostle Paul said “given to you by the Lord Jesus Christ”. Jesus said “Unless you are Born Again, you will not see the Kingdom of Heaven” (John 3:3) What did Jesus mean by this? Well he was talking about the regeneration of the Holy Spirit in our lives, a process called Sanctification
An old theologian named JC Ryle wrote alot on this topic, including probably his most popular book “Holiness”, I believe this is a book that should be in every Christians library. So why are Christians in general so offended by the mention of sanctification? Well because if your going to claim to be a Christian, then there needs to be “fruits” or evidence of your conversion (Matthew 7) You can’t claim to be a Christian and still be dead in your sins (Ephesian 2) You are either a slave to Christ or you are a slave to Sin (Romans 6)
The Apostle Paul says “Walk or Live to please God” Often when we talk about sanctification, people claim we are talking about a “works based salvation”, this is generally their argument to remain in their sin. However we know from the Bible, that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and any of our good deeds are like filthy rags compared to God (Isaiah 64:6) Jesus even said “Nobody is good (morally excellent) than God alone” (Mark 10:18)
So why do we care about sanctification or holiness? Well because the greatest commandment, according to Jesus is “To love the Lord God is all your heart, your soul, and your mind” (Matthew 22:37) So the question isn’t “Does God love me”? We know God loves us , because he demonstrated that on the cross (Romans 5:8) The real question is “Do you really love God”? Many will say Yes, however their actions don’t reflect that true love.
The Apostle Paul says “Everyone should know how to possess his vessel (body) in sanctification and honor”If your a true Born Again Christian, then your body is the temple of God filled with the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20) We shouldn’t pollute our bodies with sin. Think about a Church building, many of us act differently at Church than at our own homes. We respect the building, we wouldn’t start drinking alcohol at Church, or watch pornography, so then why is it appropriate to do these acts in the Temple of God, your own body?
Sanctification is a process of the Holy Spirit working in us to make us more like Christ. It doesn’t happen overnight, but we should strive to live to please God and honor him with our bodies, Amen!