Touching lives with the truth of God's Word.

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Friday, September 30, 2005

A Word on Sanctification

Most Bible students know that in both the Old and New Testament Scriptures the word holiness and sanctification, with scarcely any exceptions have the same meaning. In the Old Testament both words come from the same Hebrew root; likewise in the New Testament, both words come from the same Greek root. The Hebrew and Greek words for sanctification and holiness simply mean to set apart as sacred, to consecrate, to dedicate. May I say that both in our salvation and in our walk with the Lord, it has been God's purpose, not merely to set us apart from the world, but to set us apart as sacred to Himself. Sanctification speaks of God's love to us more than of our love to Him.
God wants us for Himself. He considers us His hallowed possession, much as a bridegroom considers his bride his very own, sacred to himself. This shows how precious the believer is to the heart of God and makes our separation from the world and sin the natural result of our consecration to Him. Paul says in 1Thessalonians 1:9, ...."you turned to God from idols...." notice he did not say you turned from idols to God. Child of God, true Scriptural sanctification, or holiness, does not consist in dos and don'ts, nor sinless perfection. It is rather a consecration to God which results in a closer walk with Him. You think about that.
...."from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth." (2Thes. 2:13)
"To God's elect,....who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by His blood:" (1Peter 1:1-2)

Thursday, September 15, 2005


If Jesus is the only way to God, what happens to those who’ve never heard the gospel, but follow their own religions? Can they be saved?“Isn’t it unfair for God to send people to hell even if they’ve never heard about Him or His Son, Jesus Christ?” Whether it’s asked with the utmost sincerity or used as a convenient excuse to reject God, we must realize that Christianity’s truthfulness depends not on how this question is answered, but upon the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:13-19).

While the Bible affirms that Christ is the only Savior (Acts 4;12), it also states that God is truly just (Gen. 18:25; Job 34;12; Acts 17:31) and he loves us with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3; John 3:16; cf. 2 Pet. 3:9). He continues to demonstrate this by making Himself known through His handiwork in creation (Rom. 1:19-20), but he also inscribes his knowledge on the very tablets of our hearts, or conscience (Rom. 2:14-15). Because no one has been kept in the dark about God, we’re all accountable to Him (Luke 12:47-48).

In spite of this, man has answered God’s love with rebellion, repeatedly rejecting what God has revealed (Rom. 3:10-18). All of us deserve to be sentenced to hell. But despite our depravity, God has mercifully chosen to provide a way to save us.

Although God is sovereign and he can deal with individuals in extraordinary ways, He tells us in the Bible that there’s no other way to reach Him except through His one provision — the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6). From this, we can only conclude that those who have never heard of Christ are indeed lost. They’re lost as a result of their own actions, and not because of God. People don’t end up in hell because of what they haven’t heard; they get there because of their failure to act responsibly on what God has already revealed to them — whether through creation in Romans 1, through their conscience in Romans 2, or through the light of Christ in Romans 3. Let us, therefore, labor all the more to bring God’s message to a world in desperate need of salvation (Rom. 1:16; 10:13-15). And remember that if those who’ve never heard the gospel are indeed going to go to heaven, why should we even be involved in foreign missions? Let’s just keep everyone in the dark. In fact if you really draw this argument out to its logical conclusion, Jesus Christ did not come to seek and save those who are lost, he would have come to seek and lose those who are saved. He would then not be the great savior of the world, he would become it’s great destroyer. You think about that.