Sanctification is, by some, considered to probably be one of the “old church words.”
While culture changes, not necessarily progressively, there is a language to Scripture. What a lot of pastors and christians call the “Christian Life,” Scriptures describes this process as sanctification.
If you’ve gone to church or know Christians, You may have asked or thought about the following questions: Why are they such an angry person? What’s with their obsession with food, success, or perception?
Honestly, You may have thought – If God’s Spirit lives inside of a Christian, Why am I more mature and seem to have my life intact?
With all of these underdeveloped hearts taking up residence in our churches, it begs to ask the question, does sanctification happen anymore?
Answer: It depends.
1. Do you want to know the truth about yourself?
If you are a Christian, the answer to this question is already yes. Isn’t that why we become Christian? We are trying to piece life together and have found that maybe we bought into some cultural lies that do not lead us to ultimate reality of life. If the cross is the work of Jesus, sanctification is work of the Holy Spirit.
This has nothing to do with your church attendance, financial giving, or knowledge of Scripture. It has everything do with John 16:13.
The Holy Spirit, when given permission, will guide us into the truth of who we are. It’s so much more than just “we are all sinners.”
The Holy Spirit will guide you into and through your family of origin, what happened to you during your childhood, why you were willing to drop your guard or sacrifice your temperament for the sake of having your way or being right.
2. Are you willing or are you willful?
This is really hard work. It takes a willing spirit. The older I get, the more willful I want to be. I’ve arrived. I know stuff. I have two degrees and debt to prove it. Jesus said the Holy Spirit will GUIDE us not FORCE us into truth.
Consider the following statement by Tim LaHaye in, Spirit-Controlled Temperament:
“Don’t offer excuses for your weaknesses as, “That’s my nature,” or, “I can’t help it. That’s the way I am.” Too many Christians are mental escape artists and refuse to face their shortcomings and weaknesses as sin . . . If you know Christ, you can face anything.””
Romans 8:12-17 | ESV
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
3. Would you go to a christian counselor who has equal gifting in counseling and Scripture discernment?
If sanctification happens, then the church must promote and encourage christian counseling. This may be a shot to a lot of preachers. It’s not meant to be. There is something a christian counselor can do that a preacher can not. Lastly, If sanctification happens this is a heavy weight upon the preacher’s shoulder. It should be. As you think through applications and how to write your sermon, don’t give applications that promote your church values, agenda, or preferences. Gives us insight as to why this truth should be given permission to develop us. The Holy Spirit is the guide of the Christian, not the preacher. If the preacher is being led by the Spirit, churches are going to experience incredible character development.
“True meat teaches people how to be transformed by the renewing of their minds so that they will live like Christ, love like Christ, and leave what Jesus left behind. But believers in church-focused ministries often think that it is more important to teach about controversial subjects rather than transformational truths.”
_ Breaking The Mission Code