Hank Acephalous graduated near the top of his West Point class. As a newly commissioned second lieutenant, he continued to excel by earning the coveted ranger tab. He was set to join the elite Ranger battalion at his new post. Life was good.
On the first day of duty in Bravo Company, his commander Captain Sovereign, spent an hour with him explaining the conduct, attitude, commitment and example expected of him. The main point of the message was simple. “Acephalous, just because you wear a tab doesn’t make you are a ranger. If you want to be one of us you must look, act and think like a ranger. Our mission and methods are purposely distinct from other units. Affirm and espouse the ranger creed. I’ll help you grow. Follow me and do as I do.”
But what if Acephalous believed he was already “good to go?” He wore the rank of an officer and the badges that showed what he could do. He would follow Sovereign’s word only when it appealed to him. He would define what a ranger was by his own terms. Who would know better what was best for himself than himself! How long do you think this soldier would last before his unit found him unfit and sent him away?
Sanctification means to be set apart. But set apart from what? If the purpose of Jesus coming to earth was to save us from our sin, then at its core, sanctification implies holiness. Jesus’ liberation effort fulfilled God’s intent that we should become holy like He is holy. Therefore sanctification is a process that involves shedding our independence from God--characterized by feeding our selfish desires. It is the Holy Spirit washing us as we bathe in the tub of obedience. This washing renders us distinct from the sin-caked population that pridefully rejects the notion of submitting to Christ.
Sadly, today, countless people have identified themselves as Christians who have no intention of surrendering their own will to comply with God’s will. They assume they are Christians because of the country or family they were born in, the church they attend, the works they accomplish, the company they keep or the stadium in which they walked forward to receive Christ. It is impossible for sanctification to take place in a person unwilling to obey Christ’s leadership. In such a person, Jesus is not Lord but rather a Savior-icon to be run up the flagpole of a camp intent on accomplishing its own agenda. This very day, people are being slaughtered or forced to leave their homes brutally traumatized by fellow humans who claim to be Christians. It is God’s intent that when people hear our claims to be Christians they see godliness. When they don’t, is it hard to understand why they would want nothing to do with Christianity?
To be sanctified is to be thrilled by the invisible touch of a loving Lord who knows how to wean us from the fruitless deeds of darkness to become children of light. Do you feel like a flashlight dimmed by a dying battery? Perhaps it is time to ask the question, “Am I willing to let God do His work in me that I might be holy or have I falsely assumed that I could live the rest of my life on my own terms? To choose the latter is not to be sanctified but rather wrecktified. May the grace of God give you the courage to run the race for Christ—set apart for His glory!
1 Thessalonians 4:3,7--For this is God’s will, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality. . . For God has not called us to impurity but to sanctification.
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 . . . Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the disposition that ruled Him will rule us.—Oswald Chambers in My Utmost For His Highest
©1999 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)