Justification and sanctification are two big theological words we don’t typically use in every day conversation.
1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
When we are justified, we are no longer estranged from God. Being justified means that our relationship with God has been redeemed… we are part of God’s family. Sanctification is an ongoing process of maturity as the Holy Spirit continues to refine our lives to better honor Him. This lifelong process is necessary given our humanity. We are redeemed sinners… we are forgiven sinners… In this life we remain imperfect and in need of being sanctified. We are so blessed to be justified and sanctified.
Believers have been filled with the Holy Spirit and given the power to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
2 Timothy 1:8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,
Philippians 1:14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
1 Peter 3:15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
A witness can only testify to what that have seen or experienced. When the miracle of salvation occurs in our own lives, we have something of value to share with others. We can speak with authority and boldness about what Jesus has done in our lives. Jesus has entrusted His disciples to continue to spread the message of the gospel after He ascended to heaven. We have the blessing of being a witness by bearing the marks of Christ so that our life gives life to others.
The Body of Christ is to visibly love God and love others. The natural thing to do is to function in such a way as to assure that our own needs are first met and we receive what we deserve.
Ephesians 4:7,11–13 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift… And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
Romans 15:2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
God has placed each one of us within a local body of believers for a reason. We are empowered with spiritual gifts. We have natural abilities. We are given these gifts and abilities to build up those people God has placed around us. Rather than focusing on how to leverage those same abilities for our own benefit, God calls us to a life of sacrifice and self-denial… He calls us to give first to others for their benefit. When everyone does this, everyone receives far more than if they reserved it for themselves, and, as a result everyone receives an exponentially greater blessing!
To be anointed means that a person is assigned or appointed a task. The fact we are anointed by God means there is a supernatural blessing or endowment that accompanies the assignment.
2 Corinthians 1:21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us.
Hebrews 1:9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
1 John 2:20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
God anoints Jesus’ disciples only when He enables them to fulfil the assignment given. God never assigns a task that is impossible to be completed. It may be humanly impossible, but if the task is assigned, it can be fulfilled. When God calls us to something – often far bigger than we are capable of – we can always have the full confidence that He also empowers and enables the disciple to accomplish it. It requires a lot of faith at times, but what a blessing to be anointed by God!
Adoption is a beautiful picture of God’s diverse family.
Ephesians 1:5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…
Galatians 4:4–5 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
John 1:12 But to all who did receive him [Jesus], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…
God has adopted each and every believer into His own family! We were estranged from God, but through Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross, we have been reconciled… not only in relationship with God, but adopted and brought right into the family of God. What an amazing blessing to be called children of God – it is so easy to say those three words without thinking about the implications. We are not outsiders, we are not alienated, we are no longer estranged, but we have been adopted into – engrafted into, made a part of – God’s own family. Be blessed as you ponder that incredible reality!
In our modern global culture, terms like slaves and servants have a certain repulsive element – and rightfully so. As we see in various biblical passages, in the New Testament era, many servants or slaves were more like we would view employees – not identical, but similar.
Romans 6:17–18 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
Romans 6:22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
Most of us work for someone – even when we are self-employed, there is a sense in which we conduct ourselves to meet the expectations of those around us. In those terms, we are either employed by Satan and sin or we switch jobs and become employed by God for righteousness. We are employed by one or the other. Today, take a moment to consider the blessing of being a servant of God instead of servant of Satan.
As we were reminded on Sunday, believers have the promise that God will supply each and every need we will ever have. One of the biggest challenges is differentiating between our wants and our needs.
Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
This blessing is given in the context of the generosity of the Philippian believers. Their generous expressions of giving demonstrated an active faith in God to provide. When we believe we have accumulated the resources to take care of our own perceived needs, we limit God’s ability to supply for us from His limitless storehouse. We don’t know what we will face in the future, but we do know that God will give us what we need when the time comes! What a blessing!
The term ‘saints’ is one rarely heard or used in the 21st century outside the context of Roman Catholicism. As such, the common perception is drastically skewed from how it is used in Scripture.
1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
1 Thessalonians 3:13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
In early Christianity, saint was another term for believer or disciple of Jesus. The saints in Corinth were no super-Christians, but believers being sanctified. The saints are those “who in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Being called a saint does bring a sense of responsibility and privilege lacking from today’s label of believer or Christian. Let’s embrace the blessing of our calling to be saints in the Kingdom of God!
This is the season of fresh, juicy strawberries. Few things are as tasty as vine-ripened fresh fruit.
John 15:1–5 “I [Jesus] am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Jesus used the analogy of the vine, branches, and fruit (grapes) in describing what a life of following Christ is like. Several things are quite clear from this simple analogy. First, branches get their life from the vine. If unconnected to the vine, there is no life and no fruit. Second, the fruit is the natural result of the branch being connected to the vine – not because the branch is so amazing. The secret lies in being connected to the vine – the Source of life, Jesus Christ. When we stay connected to the Source of life, it flows through us and produces sweet fruit that will bless and be enjoyed by others.