Have You Received
The Holy Spirit does a work within the believer whereby He sanctifies
us. This is an experience within the Christian.
the First Blessing?
The apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, . . . you
were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus
Christ and in the Spirit of our God (1 Cor. 6:11).
The context tells us all the sins of these saints that were covered
by the blood of Jesus. God chose the believer unto salvation through sanctification
of the Spirit and belief in the truth (2 Thess. 2:13; cf. 4:7; 1 Pet. 1:2; Rom.
15:16). Paul has in mind the ultimate goal, our final salvation.
God chose us in the deep counsels of eternity on the basis of His
grace and love, and not because of any personal merit on our part. It is all of grace and
love. The means God uses to bring us to salvation is the work of the Holy Spirit who sets
aside chosen individuals to live holy lives. The Holy Spirit regenerates, indwells,
baptizes the believer into the body of Christ, etc. The individual believes in the truth
of the gospel of Jesus Christ because the Holy Spirit has done His work in our hearts.
Then throughout the life of the believer the Holy Spirit applies the Word of God to
progressively purify the Christians life.
Sanctification by the Holy Spirit is the first blessing of
Gods work in the heart of the believer. This first blessing leads to the full
knowledge of justification by faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ for our sins.
No one can be saved without this first work of the Holy Spirit in the
heart. The sanctification by the Spirit in the heart brings the believer unto obedience to
the sacrifice of Christ. We come to knowledge of our justification when the Holy Spirit
brings us to faith in the death of Christ for our sins. His precious blood cleanses the
soul of every sinful stain. The blood of Jesus alone makes you acceptable before God. The
Holy Spirit brings you to faith in Jesus Christ.
We have been chosen by the Father, purchased by the Son and set apart
by the Holy Spirit.
The apostle Paul in the opening chapter of
Ephesians lays great stress on what God in grace had done for us. The
Trinity is involved in our salvation. God the Father chose me in Christ before the foundation of the world.
The Son of God saved when He died for me on the cross. The effectual
calling of the Holy Spirit saved me one Sunday morning when my mother
and my pastor shared the Gospel and
I was born again. It took all three Persons of the Godhead to bring me
to salvation. If we separate these ministries, we will either deny
divine sovereignty or human responsibility; and that would lead to
I often hear people say, But I dont feel justified.
Our justification has nothing to do with our feelings. The critical question is, Do
you believe God is satisfied with the work of atonement Jesus Christ accomplished as your
substitute upon the cross? If you believe Jesus is your substitute who died for you
on the cross, then God has declared you are justified.
Dont play the doctrine of sanctification against the doctrine
of justification as if one is more important than the other. Both doctrines are vital to
our full salvation.
Sanctification is not justification. Justification is not something
the Holy Spirit does in your heart. Justification is the declaration by the
heavenly Judge acquitting you of your guilt. God justifies the believing sinner, based
upon the atonement of Christ on your behalf. God acquits you because you have taken Him at
His word regarding the death of Jesus Christ. Justification is based upon what Christ did
for you on the cross. It is your standing before a righteous and holy God.
Sanctification is not a second blessing; it is your first
blessing. It is what the Holy Spirit does at the beginning in your soul and continues
throughout your life until He presents you complete in your glorified sinless body in the
presence of God at the coming of Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 5:23-24; Phil. 1:6). He will have
completed His work in you on that glorious day, and not before then (cf. 1 Thess. 5:2, 4;
2 Thess. 1:10; 2:2; 1 Cor. 1:18; 3:13; 2 Cor. 1:14; Rom. 13:12).
Every born again person has received the Holy Spirit and has been set
apart to God. Because of His indwelling presence we long for the time when the Spirit will
have reached His goal in our lives and we shall become absolutely and forever sinless and
holy. When we see Jesus Christ in glory we will be forever wholly sanctified.
As we walk in the Spirit we live holy lives, and we will not fulfill
the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16, 17; Eph. 5:18). The only way to live the Christian
life is occupation with Christ. All He asks of us is to yield ourselves to Him. As we make
ourselves available to Him He lives His life in and through us.
You dont need a second blessing; you need to appropriate by
faith the first blessing of the Holy Spirit. You only need to walk in the Spirit. The
Christian life is not a sudden growth of spirituality, acquired through a special
blessing, but a steady, sincere, patient walk in the Spirit, in uninterrupted growth in
grace and knowledge of Christ.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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