You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! Yes, and everyone who wants to live a ‘godly life’ in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. (2 Timothy 3:1, 5, 12-13 NLT)
Sanctification in the Greek language means ‘set apart’. Biblically, sanctification is ‘overcoming sin’. By the dictionary, sanctify means ‘to make holy’. It is the work of God making us holy. ‘Holiness’ is the state, while ‘sanctification’ is the process. ‘Living a godly life’ is the result. ‘Being preserved blameless’ until we meet the Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate outcome. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I wrote an article almost 8 years ago on sanctification, some of which I will glean from for this article. Since then there has been an alarming rate of deterioration concerning sanctification within Christian circles, especially here in the United States.
Even though sanctification is the all-important secondary work of the Holy Spirit after salvation, you won’t hear that much spoken about sanctification anymore. It is being blotted out of Christian vocabulary. Many Christian circles label it legalism. Many are afraid it will be considered offensive. 40 years ago it was common to hear Christians proclaim, “I am saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Spirit.” I still remember the old timers singing ‘Victory is Mine!’ and you could tell that it was with an inner joy that could not be taken away. They did not need to read books like ‘Becoming a Better You’ by Joel Osteen or ‘Purpose Driven Life’ by Rick Warren. They read their Bibles diligently and realized that the Holy Spirit offered ‘a better you’ and had ‘a purpose for their life’. They did not waste their money on books like that. The Bible was all sufficient and they put their extra money into the collection plate for Missionaries to spread the good news of the Gospel throughout the world.
I see a lack of contentment in many of today’s Christians. The proof of this is in their searching for their fulfillment outside the Bible. They read books and follow teachings of many of the wolves in sheep’s clothing. They chase after their favorite big name ministers and Christian bands.
Christian music is only supposed to loosen up the soil, it is not supposed to be the soil! In other words, music is only supposed to be the prelude to the all-important solid preaching and teaching of the Word. Yet, music has become center stage. Arenas now days are filled, just so people can be entertained and feel good listening to their favorite groups. It has become a hook to draw unsuspecting victims into dangerous teachings.
Jesus Culture/Bethel Music leads people into the blurred and twisted teachings of its mother church, Bethel Redding, and its false prophet leader, Bill Johnson. Then there is Hillsong United which leads people to Hillsong Church, which does not preach the full counsel of the Word of God for fear of offending many of the homosexuals who associate with it. The music itself is not the danger. It is the agenda behind the music where the danger lies. I name names because we are in a spiritual war where the consequences are spiritual life or death.
It may seem that I am going off on rabbit trails, but now I will bring it into perspective of why I am writing what I am writing.
My church is in deep prayer that God will send a revival. Our church is across the street from one of the most influential universities in the world. Because our church is heavily mission-minded and the Lord has burdened us with reaching the lost and hurting, we see this as a tremendous opportunity. The students go back to all different parts of the world. We see the students as missionaries that can go back to their own lands on fire for Jesus.
We do not want to be a circus like the Toronto Blessing that was nothing more than a demonstration of eastern mysticism. Nor do we want to be like the so-called Pensacola Revival that was nothing more than a drawing of gawkers from around the world to see what was going on. We want to have true revival where conviction of sin comes down so heavily that the area is completely changed and turned upside down for the Lord Jesus Christ. We know that to have true revival we must first be prepared within the church. We are asking God to humble us, to break us, and to make us desperate for lost souls. We know that sanctification is the key. We must be living a holy and set apart life in order for the Lord to lead lost souls to us.
I see people who wear WWJD bracelets, who talk all the latest Christian lingo, who go to Christian concerts, who go out of their way to go see the big name ministers, but have abandoned sanctification. These same people have no problem with partying with the rest of the world, yet they say they want revival. The Jesus I worship tells me this cannot be so. I must live my life set apart from the rest of the world if I want to see a genuine move of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8). I must join with other Christians who are on the same wavelength. We cannot live like the world if we want to see the world around us to be convicted of sin and have revival break out.
“Wash me clean oh Lord”, is my heart cry!
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. (2 Timothy 2:21 KJV)
As a side note, this past year I have walked away from the bombardment of technology in my personal life. There is no radio on while in my car. There is no TV or radio on in my home. There is no Facebook or social media on my cell phone. I go on long walks out in the countryside when I get home from work. All of this has allowed my intimate relationship with the LORD to soar by having more time for prayer, worshipping, and devouring the Word of God. Seeking ‘holiness’ without a thriving relationship with the LORD can turn into ‘hardness’ for lack of absorbing the love that eminates from Him.
Maybe what I have written in this article will cause you to examine your life a little closer. May God Bless!