Believers are sanctified through saving grace

After justification, comes sanctification. This is the area that ministers of God need to work hard, teach the truth to make believers walk with Christ. Having received the grace, grace in the lives of believers should not be stagnant, or else, there will be falling away and retrogression instead of progression. Believers must be rooted, built-up, established and abounding in the grace through the word of God as taught by Christ. This is what church is meant for –the pillar and ground of the truth (1Tim. 3:15).

God’s desire is not only in our conversion (justification), but also our growth in the truth (sanctification), so that we will not be led astray by false teacher whereby the one-believer now backslides.

The scripture says,

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14).

The ongoing process of faith, our initial salvation (justification) is empowered by grace which we received from the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ. As Christians, we need to understand grace and our liberty. Our liberty refers to freedom from the bondage of sin and its power which we get through the empowerment of the grace and knowing the word of God, the truth, believer’s growth in salvation (sanctification) through the help of the Holy Spirit. This makes us dead to sin. But if we continue in sin, we are no more under grace.

The scripture then declares,

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Rm. 6:12-14).

Grace and liberty is evident in “those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit” (Rm. 8:1-5). As good as grace is, ministers should teach believers the repercussion of not staying under grace. The fact that we are in age of grace means that believers are to live godly lives, ridding themselves of sinful habits.

Believers are supposed to be new people who are no longer enslaved to the old sinful nature before their conversion. The understanding of grace is that grace pardons us from the penalty of sin which we deserve; however, it also empowers us to resist sin. Believers under grace fulfill the law. Grace then empowers the believer

  • to resist temptation and do what is right;
  • obedience to the Lord which means, fellowship with Him;
  • this in turn gives protection from sin:
  • Finally, believers will experience the love of God.

Unfortunately, grace and liberty is being abused in our churches these days; even ministers found it difficult to correct church members who abuses this privilege. While Apostle Paul talks about the goodness in grace, he would later cautions believers not to handle grace with levity.

Keeping up with grace

Sanctification through saving grace is not accomplished or progressive without a renewed of the mind; accomplished through the word of God. The mind plays a key role; if it submits to the word of God, it puts off the old man and put on the new man (Jesus). As believers, we need empowerment of the Holy Spirit; the propeller and the divine driving force that pilots our way of righteousness.

Very often, Paul preaches grace then comes back to present a way to keep up (sanctification) with that grace. For example, after he had talked about grace through faith and the mystery of his gospel; then he mentioned the evil that may result in not keeping the teaching of Christ.

“This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;  who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Eph. 4:17-19).

Paul advised on what to do and what not to do. We need to be careful about what we think, read, watch, say or do. One of Paul’s emphases is for believer to walk in the spirit and be imitator of God’s action. However, many ministers in our churches today always avoided warning their congregation where Paul warned against this danger. The scripture declares,

“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know kingdom Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them” (Eph. 5:3-7).

Why this caution if our liberty is to do what we like as claimed by some? Shall we continue to say “walk accordingly” without also saying the repercussion of not doing so? This is one of the areas ministers need to improve their approach to teaching of grace; telling believers all what they need to know. They need to preach and touch every aspect of what the scripture teaches about godly living. Let the people know what is good and what is bad; what is acceptable and what is not.

For example, as good as electricity is, it gives light, it generates power, it makes possible for mass production and many other benefits.; however, consumers need to know also that they cannot touch life wire or touch a melting wire. Ignorance is not an excuse to disobey the word of God or not knowing what grace stands for.

Avoid distractions as you grow in grace

Believers should watch their steps and path to avoid contact with undesirable influences – cultism, fetish evil association, homosexuals, indecency and immoral practices. These and more are found inside and outside of the church.

There are so many flamboyances in the world today in which if a believer attempts to be imitator of those things, he/she plays around devil’s traps and territory. Believers must not lack to apply their minds to the scripture; this will help them to discern the will of God to their lives.

Sometimes one gets disturbed in some commentaries found in some Bibles. For example, the scripture says

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4)

One commentary says “Parents are to treat their children in such a way that the children will want to obey”. Is it the way they want to obey or they have to obey. This is erroneous; many nations promulgate laws to back this heresy; exuberantly spoil their children; an abuse of liberty and a misguided norm; putting the future lives of children at risk and unsafe.

This is evident in the series of massacres of innocent souls, ungodly and immoral behavior we see as these children grow old later in life. No child wants to obey the smallest command. As parents and even teachers in school, we have to teach children what must be taught and the way it must be taught.

However, a word of caution is this; parents must train, reproof, correct and instruct their children in righteousness; not brutal or unreasonably severe in correcting them.

Truth, nothing but truth

Teaching the truth and living the truth is what retains heavenly believers in a church; not lies or mingling of the word of God with philosophy. Ministers must guard the truth of God.

Continual growth should characterize the walk with Christ; this is the assignment of the ministers to believers. Moreover, believers must be aware of those combining worldly philosophies with the gospel.

Fortunately and unfortunately, Technology controls life in this end time; and the devil is taking advantage through mass media, brainstorming and brain washing the masses with ideologies that opposes the will of God; thus, winning over the mind of man.

It is generally accepted that salvation is not earned by our deeds; however, those who are saved ought to live worthy of that salvation. Many are justified but not translated. Translation ought to help keep faith into godly living; and as mentioned earlier, this is accomplished with a renewed mind. The Bible says,

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2).

As believers, our interest is not simply to be saved but that we should advance to maturity in Christ. This should always be the message of grace and not prosperity craving as many claimed grace to be. Every believer needs to seek the ongoing power that is the day-to-day experience of being in Christ.

Justification is like input in the production process. The process is the sanctification (knowing and doing the will of God); while the output/product is glorification (making heaven). Very often, most Christians stop their Christianity at the input (justification) rather than making it on to the output/product (heaven).

One who is under grace is more than exercising faith or believe; but also do works that can be seen as things done in union with or in the will of God.

We are sanctified through saving grace.

Lawrence

Christianedification.org

Related posts:

  1. Are Ministers not Misconstruing Christian Liberty and Grace in the Church? Part 3
  2. Are Ministers not Misconstruing Christian Liberty and Grace in the Church? Part 7 – conclusion
  3. Are Ministers not Misconstruing Christian Liberty and Grace in the Church? part 6 – Benefits of Grace
  4. Are Ministers not Misconstruing Christian Liberty and Grace in the Church? Part 1
  5. Are Ministers not Misconstruing Christian Liberty and Grace in the Church? Part 2

Category: teaching

About the Author

Lawrence B. Abitogun, called by the special grace of the Almighty God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by the empowerment of the Holy Ghost, witnessing and preaching the gospel to the world, was born to a Christian parents at Uso, Ondo state, Nigeria. He received his elementary and secondary education in Nigeria from 1959-1971. He obtained a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts and a Master of Science in Industrial Arts at North Texas State University, Denton TX USA in 1979 and 1982 respectively.

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