Sanctification: How People Change

Westminster Shorter Catechism: What is sanctification? Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, where we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.

Sanctification is God transforming you into who you are created to be. The foundation of this big transformation is being united to Christ. It’s not about trying really hard to imitate Christ, but it is being spiritually united to Jesus Christ so that what is true of Him is true of you. So that you, of your own volition, conclude that imitation of Christ is the good life.

  • Sanctification is advantageous to you. Human beings don’t run on sin but on holiness, good works, and sacrificial service. Which means, you will feel most yourself as you learn to imitate Christ.

  • Imperatives are rooted in the indicatives in scriptures. Example: the first 3 chapters of Ephesians talk about who you are in Christ and the last 3 talk about the implications of that truth. “Because you are holy in Christ, now go be holy.”

Third vow in the membership: “Do you now resolve and promise, in humble reliance upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, that you will endeavor to live as becomes the followers of Christ?” What are you promising when you make this vow?

Romans 8:1-11: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

The Gospel frees you from the penalty but also the power of sin. How? The Holy Spirit. Three questions:

1) How does he?

The Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus (v. 9). The Holy Spirit indwells you so much so that you have access to the personal presence of Jesus. The Christian is in Christ, but Christ is also in you (v. 10).

In what particular way have you failed to believe that you have this power inside of you? If you tend to be glass half empty about life, how are you failing to recognize the Spirit’s power in you? If you tend to try and do everything on your own all the time, how are you failing to recognize the Spirit’s power in you?

2) What does he do?

He gives you life. You are not capable of functioning without the power source of the Holy Spirit. He enables you to live the life that you were created to live. If you’re in Christ, you have 24/7 access to the power of God.

If you feel lifeless, joyless, and exhausted right now, what might that have to do with not believing that the Spirit is your power source?

3) Why does it matter?

Why it matters: you can change!!! The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is the same Spirit in you. You can change, but you can’t change yourself.

Membership BasicsMatt Odum