When I had originally decided to write this post I had just finished my morning reading of The Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. It was February 8th and the title of the entry was “The Cost of Salvation”. Before I go much further, I will mention that if you click on the first link above, you will get to a homepage that has the original text and KJV scriptures. You can get “today’s reading” or you may browse whatever day you’d like. I did not know about this, so I purchased an “updated” version at my bookstore. It claims that it is “An Updated Edition in Today’s Language” and uses the NKJV; I didn’t think twice about purchasing it. Now I wished I had just purchased the original! Anyway, I wanted to quote what I had actually read, but I will just copy the original version (or what I should have read). Clear as mud?
INSTANTANEOUS AND INSISTENT SANCTIFICATION
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
When we pray to be sanctified, are we prepared to face the standard of these verses? We take the term sanctification much too lightly. Are we prepared for what sanctification will cost? It will cost an intense narrowing of all our interests on earth, and an immense broadening of all our interests in God. Sanctification means intense concentration on God’s point of view. It means every power of body, soul and spirit chained and kept for God’s purpose only. Are we prepared for God to do in us all that He separated us for? And then after His work is done in us, are we prepared to separate ourselves to God even as Jesus did? “For their sakes I sanctify Myself.”[John 17:19] The reason some of us have not entered into the experience of sanctification is that we have not realized the meaning of sanctification from God’s standpoint. Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the disposition that ruled Him will rule us. Are we prepared for what that will cost? It will cost everything that is not of God in us.
Are we prepared to be caught up into the swing of this prayer of the apostle Paul’s? Are we prepared to say – “Lord, make me as holy as You can make a sinner saved by grace”? Jesus has prayed that we might be one with Him as He is one with the Father. The one and only characteristic of the Holy Ghost in a man is a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, and freedom from everything that is unlike Him. Are we prepared to set ourselves apart for the Holy Spirit’s ministrations in us? [Emphasis added]
So there you have it. Need I even comment on it? When I read this the other day I just sat there, shocked. I want to go out on a limb and say that this process of sanctification is not taught anymore. I have been going to church all my life and though I hear rhetoric like, “become more like God” no one has really ever pointed me to a place where I can confront this issue. It is an unpopular one! Modern Christians are satisfied with grace by faith with the mistaken notion that we don’t have to do anything else! How else do we read Philippians 2:12, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
I have always been a little bit confused about what to do now that I am a Christian. I knew that I was supposed to do the right thing, but I have always heard it describes as something that just naturally happens, that now that you are saved, you suddenly begin to act like a Christian. I just could never understand why I didn’t. Am I not really saved? Did I get saved but not receive the Holy Spirit? Why can’t I do the right thing? I seriously tortured myself with these things thinking that I was a faulty Christian and that the process just didn’t work for me! Of course that’s not true!!! What has happened is that I’ve been sold a pack of lies, that the Christian life is a sudden, instant change and it’s not! Salvation might happen in an instant, but it is a constant struggle then to die to your flesh and actually become more like the God you now serve.
So what does this mean for me? It is so easy to become me-centered. People have this defense mechanism that they use to ward off sanctification. They call it legalism. That somehow having to improve yourself or follow the letter of the Word is somehow adding to the gospel. In my computer’s dictionary it defines legalism as, “excessive adherence to law or formula; THEOLOGY- dependence on moral law rather than on personal religious faith.” Hmm, very interesting. I depend on moral law to live my life, I don’t just have faith that I am doing it all right. If that were all that was required, why do have a Bible with 66 books worth of information? Obviously, God has a plan and a way of doing things. However, I can’t take that Bible and do all the right things without any faith, for faith without works is dead, James 2: 14-26.
This has lately become so important to me as I read about headcover, modesty, staying at home…without these commands being from God I am wasting my time. If these commands are from God, then I am wasting every minute that I am not obeying them! I can see that my path of sanctification is going here: to learn to be a woman of God; to dress the way that God wants me to dress (even when it doesn’t follow current trends), to submit where He wants me to (even though its unpopular), to live my life in a way that is, at its very heart, different. I want to call attention to God to glorify Him and His perfect order of things. My flesh gets in the way and needs to be removed. The question remains now, am I prepared for the cost?