By Tim Frank
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Carthage
Several lessons ago, we focused on the word “holy.” It is one of the chief descriptors of God. It is also an adjective of everything associated with God, such as the holy temple, the priest’s holy garments, and the Holy Bible. The word “holy” simply means to be set apart. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are to be holy people. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are forgiven and made just as if we had never sinned, justified.
Paul says in I Corinthians 6:11 that through Christ believers are washed, sanctified and justified. A person is washed clean through the blood of Jesus. A person is justified by grace through faith in Jesus (Romans 3:21-26; 5:1). These are completed at salvation.
Being sanctified, however, is both a finished work and an ongoing process of discipleship and obedience. A Christian is sanctified immediately upon his faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Sanctified is his position before God at the moment of salvation — the believer is holy, blameless and above reproach in His sight (Colossians 1:21-22).
Additionally, there is the process of being sanctified which is called sanctification. The life of a Christian is a journey of growing in holiness, following Jesus in discipleship, and becoming more like Christ in every area of one’s daily walk. Paul reflects on his personal ongoing sanctification in Philippians 3:12-14 as he states he has not yet arrived, he is still pressing on to the high calling of God in Christ.
In I Corinthians 6:9-20, Paul writes to the Christians in Corinth to continue in the process of sanctification. Part of this process is to put away the old man of sin that each one was before trusting in Jesus and to put on the new man in Jesus Christ. In verse 12, Paul may be quoting a saying which had arisen from a wrong understanding of what it means to be forgiven of sin and clean before God as he says, “All things are lawful for me.”
There were some Christians in that day that felt they were forgiven of all sin through Jesus, therefore they could continue in a sinful lifestyle without any consequence. That same erroneous mindset is present in some Christians today. Paul gives a more complete treatment of this heresy in Romans 6:1-23. Instead of being free to engage in sin, the Christian is free from the dominion and enslavement of sin.
Paul gives eight strong points for living a sanctified life, set apart for God and from sin, especially the sin of sexual immorality.
(1) Sin is not helpful nor beneficial. There is much pain and suffering connected to sexual immorality.
(2) Sin is not your master; the chains of sin are broken in Jesus.
(3) Your body is not set apart for sexual immorality but for the Lord.
(4) Just as Jesus was raised from the dead, one day your body will be raised and, therefore, should be kept pure for that day.
(5) You are in a love relationship with the Lord. Stay true and pure.
(6) You are instructed to run away from sexual immorality, just as Joseph fled from Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39:7-12).
(7) Sexual immorality is a sin against your body. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit; in other words, God lives in your body. Therefore, your body no longer belongs to you; it belongs to God. Jesus paid the price for your freedom from sin with His blood. You are His.
(8) You are set apart for a purpose greater than yourself. You are set apart to glorify God with all you have, and that includes your body.
Being sanctified is a finished work through Christ, and it is an ongoing choice in the life of a Christian. We are called to be wholly set apart for the glory of God. Be sanctified in your living this week.