“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4).
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified.”
Wow. I love it when God’s will is crystal clear. We don’t have to second guess it or wonder about it. You don’t have to pray about it. This is about as clear as you can get.
This is God’s will…that you should be sanctified!
But this is not God’s will for everyone. This is God’s will for Christians. This assumes that we have received and accepted God’s gift of eternal life through his Son, Jesus Christ.
What does sanctification mean? Sanctification literally means to become holy. It is referring to the work of the Holy Spirit to make Christians more like Christ. Unlike justification, sanctification is partnership between the Holy Spirit and the believer.
Let me explain:
- Justification – the process by which God makes sinners into sons and daughters
- This is all God’s work
- We can’t earn it. We don’t deserve it. It’s all grace, all mercy, all God
- Sanctification – the process by which disciples become more like Jesus
- This is partnership between the Holy Spirit and the disciple
- When the Holy Spirit guides, it’s up to the disciples to obey
- This takes huge effort on the part of the disciple because the flesh will wage war against the Holy Spirit to make us more like Jesus
It is God’s will that disciples be sanctified. It is God’s will that disciples become more like Jesus.
Before we end, I want you to notice that the first thing that Paul mentions after talking about sanctification is how disciples practice sex and control their bodies. The starting place for sanctification is how disciples manage and steward their bodies as followers of Jesus Christ.
Use your bodies, not for your own pleasure, but for the glory and honor of Christ and his kingdom.
Christians, it is God’s will that you become more like Jesus today. And, tomorrow…you should be more like Jesus tomorrow than you were today. And the day after that, and the day after that, until Christ returns or until you die. It is God’s will that you work on your sanctification.
Let’s get to work!