"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification."--1 Thes. 4:3.
And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. And for Aaron's sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, for glory and for beauty. And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and thou shalt anoint them, and shalt consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office. Ex. 28.
Sanctify unto me all the first-born; they are mine.
The church of first-born (Heb. 12) the body of Christ, is sanctified --called out or separated from the world--through the truth, the word of God, and for a purpose.
Christ, praying to the Father, for the church, says: "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth." John 17:16,17. And Paul, in his letter to the Eph., 5chapter; "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water, by the word that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." 1 Thess. 5:23reads: "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul--life--and body be preserved blameless in the (parousia) presence of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Again in 2 Thess. 2:13, we read: "God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth, whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
A sanctified church is composed of sanctified individuals, who are not called for their own sakes alone, but for a glorious purpose in God's plan; and sanctified, not because of their own merit (Gal. 2:6,) but because of their relationship to Christ.
Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints...I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you; so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming--revelation--of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called; but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world, to confound [R69 : page 6] the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are; that no flesh should glory in his presence. "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto you wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption; that, according as it is written, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 1 Cor. 1.
This complete sanctification in Christ; constitutes the perfection and unity of the church.
"For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren." Heb. 2:10,11.
"For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified; whereof the Holy Ghost is also a witness to us." Heb. 10:14,15. And again; God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment--sentiment." 1 Cor. 1:9,10.
This entire sanctification, like all other spiritual blessings, is based upon a knowledge of truth, which can only be obtained by earnest, continual, and prayerful searching; and being led by the spirit into all truth. Thus it can be called a sanctification of the spirit, and belief of the truth. 2 Thess. 2:13. No one can believe the truth, unless he knows the truth.
As it is a fact that the scriptures develop or unfold gradually, and thus give light on the whole of the path of the just; and the spirit guides into all truth, then it is necessary to understand present truth. Faith comes by hearing; and hearing by the word of God, (Rom. 10:17) so faith is based upon the word of God. Paul says: "And now brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified." Acts 20:32.
When we learn what is revealed of the glorious position to which the sanctified will be elevated in the future, we can not wonder at the strict requirements given in the scriptures, for those who would attain to that position. They are to be elevated to a higher plane; changed from the image of the earthly--first man; into the image of the heavenly, or second man, the image of God, adopted into the family of God, and become, in the full sense "sons of God."
We who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves, groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption --sonship--to wit, "the redemption of our body--the body of Christ." Rom. 8:23.
"As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Rom. 8:14. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure." 1 John 3:2,3. Jesus Christ was sanctified, and sent into the world (Jno. 10:36.) for the good of the human race; and his body or bride are for the same purpose.
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the spirit, if any bowels and mercies; fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife--party spirit--or vain glory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, or interests; but every man also on the interests of others. Let this same mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name, which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow; of those in heaven, and those in earth, and those underneath the earth-- underground ones--and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil. 2:1,10.
And if we are the children of God, we are heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be glorified together. No wonder that Paul could say: What shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
B. W. K.