"I now send you…that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me." Acts 26:17-18 (NKJV)
Towards the end of the Book of Acts, God gives the Apostle Paul a set of marching orders. The Lord tells Paul to go to the Gentiles (non-Jews) and to share the message of the gospel with them. And when they believed the gospel message, they would receive God's forgiveness for their sins, they would get an inheritance in Heaven, and they would be sanctified. And all of this would happen by faith.
It's that last part we want to focus on, "sanctified by faith." What does that mean exactly? The word sanctified literally means "to set apart, to separate something for a sacred purpose." That's what God desires to do with us as we make our way through life.
Christianity isn't just something that pertains to our past forgiveness and our future salvation. It also has an important connection with our present condition in the here and now. While we await our future in God's glorious presence, we are in the process of being sanctified. That is, God doesn't just leave us where He found us when we first come to Him. Rather, He separates us from the influences and characteristics of this fallen and sinful environment, and separates us unto Himself.
Sanctification is the process of getting further and further from the ways of this world and getting closer and closer to the heart of God. It's the continual act of our nature being improved and upgraded.
As we saw in Paul's marching orders, sanctification is both a benefit and by-product of faith. The more we trust God, the closer we get to Him and the more we become like Him. But if we trust Him less and less, the difficulty in letting go of the things of this world will increase more and more.
Think About It…
What does this passage reveal to me about God?
What does this passage reveal to me about myself?
Based on this, what changes do I need to make?
What is my prayer for today?
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17 (NKJV)
Consistency breeds security. If you're an employer, you take comfort in knowing that you have consistent employees working for you. If your car needs to be fixed, you're going to take it to a mechanic who has consistently performed well. And if you're a coach, you'll probably draw up a play at the end of a tight game that puts the ball in the hands of your best and most consistent player.