Sanctification is not imitating Christ; but Living by Christ’s Life.
Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
Sanctification is the setting ourselves aside to God.
Sanctification does not require us to fulfill the will of God as He makes it known to us, without the power to do so.
That would be like the Egyptian taskmasters which required Israel to make bricks without straw. (Exodus 5:9-11)
Instead, Sanctification is the growing life of Christ, in our life; whereby we experience by His Holy Spirit, the holiness, patience, love, peace, and power over the enemy of our souls; that is in Christ.
When Paul said:
Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life that I live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
This is what he meant. That the life he used to live as the self-righteous Pharisee was over. He saw himself dead in Christ’s death.
“Good riddance” was probably his thought, for the life he had before, did not bring him closer to God, though he worked hard at it.
He also saw that now he lived by Christ’s life. That the life of Christ was so powerful that, not only for himself; but everyone who trusted in Christ, could have His character formed in them.
For some time after being born again, I prayed about sanctification.
I had thought this must be some sort of holiness experience, which we have at some altar; or with some crisis experience in our lives.
Years ago, a man was teaching a Sunday School class about:
Matthew 16:24-25 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
And, if no one else got the message; I did.
This was the means of being sanctified.
I was to deny myself.
We think, that when we talk of denying ourself, we mean: just not doing what we want. We think it means denying things in our life.
When Jesus speaks of “denying ourself”, He means denying our intention to rule our life. And denying every way it shows up in our lives.
It is not just things we deny, but ourselves we deny.
If I wanted to follow the Lord, then I must co-operate with God, when He shows me His will. I must put aside my thoughts in the matter and do what He commands.
I must be honest about my attitude toward what He shows me, and ask for the power to change.
But again, Christ does not demand that we do His Will, without His enablement.
Christ has given us His Holy Spirit, not only to indwell us, but to give us the grace and power we need.
That power comes from our Risen and Glorified Christ. He has all spiritual blessings for me in Him, in Heaven.
Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”
Ephesians 2:6 “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”
They are there in Christ, for us.
But how do we get them down here into us, especially in these circumstances?
Matthew 6:10 “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”
Notice, it is “in earth”, in us.
This is the means whereby we receive into our lives what Christ has for us.
As we yield to His authority in our lives, we become ambassadors of His Kingdom, and authority, here.
Sanctification is the setting aside of ourselves to God, for sacred use.
It is the practical work of having Christ’s Kingdom come within our hearts, and lives.
Where He rules, there is peace, joy, patience, and all the characteristics of Christ, in our lives.