“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified:…” 1 Thessalonians 4:3
Sanctification is a rough thing. What is sanctification? It is a big word that simply means “being made holy”. It means that after we have received salvation from God through Jesus Christ, we now continue to recognize that we continue to fail and fall short of God’s perfect standard for holiness. We come to Him with our failure, and He corrects in love, re-shaping us into a better condition than before. By this process, we are increasingly closer to being like Jesus than when we arrogantly claimed to be without sin.
Now this is a good thing. In Christian terms, we say that we are “growing”, and “maturing” in the spiritual life. As a parent disciplines their children to preserve their lives and encourage their development into happy, healthy lives intended for good purposes, so we also are being disciplined by God as His children.
This is not pleasant. One of the reasons we claim we are without sin (in any given argument, event, situation, heart-thought) is that we are ashamed of our failure. We should have known better. We are ashamed that though we may sometimes appear otherwise, we are really no better than anyone else–not wiser, not more spiritual, not all-knowing. Our cover is blown!
We don’t comprehend in a practical way that which we should. Our own goals or prejudices or hardness of heart has gotten in the way. We are often simply just momentarily ignorant or “mindless”, not by intellect necessarily, but by application.
We are not God! Our humanity slips up and knocks us in the back of the head and we are ashamed and we get defensive about that. Yes, God’s children. Me. You. Us.
But in reading a devotional recently, a phrase popped out as if I’d never heard it before. This entry happened to be centered around the idea of sanctification: It is God who sanctifies us.
But then I read Hebrews 2:11:
“Both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.”
One with the Father
Now the first part of that caught my attention. Both Christ and I are one!!
He has just said that I am one with Himself; Old Testament psalmists used to say “hid in Him”. That is important, because when I fail, I feel very separate from Christ. I feel alone, chastised, and guilty. I feel ASHAMED.
But the contrary is true! I am actually so hid in Christ that my shame is His opportunity. I am never separated from Him once I have placed my trust in Him for salvation.
And the writer of Hebrews further confirms this: “…for which reason He is not ashamed to call them His brothers and sisters.” In the middle of my need of correction, Christ calls me HIS family.
Now, it is well known that family members are not chosen by us, they are ordained by God. We didn’t pick them out, God placed us in those relationships, good or bad and all in between. These relationships are inescapable. Sometimes we as family members pull at the strings that hold us together–we want the escape. It is common to family life.
I can just imagine sometimes God shaking his head in exhaustion at me: “Oh, goodness!! This child!…..I’m soooo over this! I’m done!”
But that’s not the case. Christ deliberately said that He is not ashamed of me during my sanctification process.
And the reason for that is this: Jesus sanctified Himself by taking on the punishment of our sins, bearing them “outside the gate” of acceptance and fellowship. He did this so that we who truly need correction may have that in all truth.
Christ’s obedience on the cross proved His holiness. Christ didn’t go gloriously to the cross on my behalf, he went humbly. He was stripped, beaten, ridiculed, spat upon, reviled, and grieved. All for my sake.
And it is this Jesus who rose victoriously to show the way through and out of our bondage to shame and guilt. There is a way out of all shame, whether brought on my my own sin or heaped upon me by the sin of others. I am not held at arm’s length by God or Christ because He, too, in guiltless sacrifice suffered shame for my sake. He knows what it feels like and He has won my victory for me.
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He mgiht taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting for God, for whom and through whom all things exist, to make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. For both the One who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says,…’Here am I, and the children God has given Me.’… Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” — Hebrews 2:9-18
Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice on my behalf. Thank you that you took my shame and nailed it with your body, and reputation, and your very life to the cross for my sake, so that you could abolish my sentence of death forever. Thank you that in my continuing to fail you in my humanity, you love me precisely because of my humanity. You created me and you “know my frame, that it is but dust.” You made yourself holy in your humanity, and now seated at the right hand of God in your Divinity, you work in my life to make me holy too. Rather than turn from me, you welcome me back in with no censure. Your love alone drops my pride at your feet and I am restored. As I rise, Lord, let me proclaim your Name to all the peoples and let me never be ashamed to call you my Lord, nor any who follow you my family, not even if it cost life itself. In the Name of my Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
© 2019 by readpsalm119.com.
February 21 entry, Daily Light on the Daily Path, by Samuel Bagster, available daily at annegrahamlotz.org/category/daily-light/
John 17:19; 1 Peter 1:2
quoting Isaiah 8:17-18
Wonderful, Merciful Savior by Selah on You Raise Me Up: Greatest Hits (Curb Records), uploaded by Emilylang, Nov 2, 2011. [YouTube; 4:09 min.]. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! Romans 8:24-25
Wonderful, merciful Savior,
Precious Redeemer and Friend,
Who would’ve thought that the Lamb could rescue the souls of men?
Oh, you rescued the souls of men!
Counselor, Comforter, Keeper,
Spirit we long to embrace,
You offer hope when our hearts have hoplessly lost our way,
Oh, we’ve hoplessly lost the way.
You are the one that we praise,
You are the One we adore.
You give the healing and grace our hearts always hunger for.
Oh- our hearts always hunger for.
Almighty, infinite Father
Faithfully loving your own
Here in our weakness You find us
Falling before your throne.
Oh-We’re falling before Your throne.