In my reading yesterday in My Utmost for His Highest, a question was posed in the title: “Is God’s will my will?” The Lord’s Word is clear what He wants from us.
To the Israelites He said, “For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth. For I am the Lord who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” (Lev 11:44-45)
The admonition is included throughout the Old and New Testaments. “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” (1 Thess 3:12-13)
He wants our love to overflow for others, not be stopped by worldliness and pride. In 1 Cor 13:13 Paul named love as the greatest quality of the Christian life. The apostle John cites love as a proof on one’s salvation (1 Jn 3:14), and He writes: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” (1 Jn 4:7)
The Holy Spirit gave Paul a strong desire that God would establish the Thessalonian believers’ hearts blameless in holiness at the return of Jesus with all His saints. Paul did not pray that they would be sinless but blameless — free of all valid accusations. No one can attain sinlessness in this life. “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.” (1 Jn 1:10)
Continuing on after asking God to establish our hearts blameless in holiness, Paul goes on: “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thess 4:1-3a).
Sanctification is not a question of whether God is willing to sanctify me— is it my will? Am I willing to let God do in me everything that has been made possible through the atonement of the Cross of Christ? Am I willing to let Jesus become sanctification to me, and to let His life be exhibited in my human flesh? “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor 1:30).
Receive Jesus Christ to become sanctification for you by absolute, unquestioning faith, and the great miracle of the atonement of Jesus will become real in you. All that Jesus made possible becomes mine through the free and loving gift of God on the basis of what Christ accomplished on the cross. And my attitude as a saved and sanctified soul is that of profound, humble holiness (there is no such thing as proud holiness).
It is a holiness based on agonizing repentance, a sense of inexpressible grieving over our sin because when we sin, it’s not a mistake, we aren’t to regret it, we are to understand that we have sinned against our Holy God. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt 5:4).
When we admit that we sin against God and then grieve over how it has grieved Him, realizing that the love of God demonstrated itself to me while I care nothing about Him (Rom 5:8), then we humble ourselves before the Lord. He completed everything for my salvation and sanctification. No wonder Paul said that nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:39). We ultimately are comforted by the One against whom we have sinned. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10)
Sanctification makes me one with Jesus Christ, and in Him one with God, and it is accomplished only through the magnificent atonement of Christ. Never confuse the effect with the cause. The effect in me is obedience, service, and prayer, and is the outcome of inexpressible thanks and adoration for the miraculous sanctification that has been brought about in me because of the atonement through the Cross of Christ. — Oswald Chambers