LESSONS FOR THE FASTING DAYS
(Fasting is every Wednesday and Friday during Lent)
Fasting Day 12 April 12, 2019
THE REWARD OF SANCTIFICATION
Romans 15, “15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, 16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.”
Offerings unto GOD in the Old and New Testaments were materially of a different substance but their essence was the same. In both, the requirements were threefold: 1. Bring unto GOD a sacrifice He calls for 2. The sacrifice which He calls for must possess a certain quality to qualify as acceptable unto Him 3. The offering must be of one’s own free will. In the Old Testament, particular animals were required for certain religious ceremonies or offerings of YWH yet (no matter the offering), they were all to be sanctified— set apart and without spot or blemish.
GOD never accepted a sacrifice which was either less in quality than what He commanded or was foreign to what He prescribed. Everything offered unto GOD had to be perfect. For example, the offering of ‘the red heifer’—to cleanse one from touching a dead person— required (like all other offerings) the animal to be of a certain quality:
Numbers 19, “1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 2 “This is the statute of the law which the Lord has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you an unblemished red heifer in which is no defect and on which a yoke has never been placed.”
The Priests were charged to not only bring forth a quality offering but to follow CLEAR steps as to how to carry forth the ritual altogether.
Leviticus 10, “1 Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. 2 And fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.”
Sadly, these sons of Aaron did not perform the offering as GOD commanded, adding their own ‘flare’ to what YWH had commanded. Should we fear death? No, rather we should fear the LORD and do as He commands.
In like manner the New Testament rightly borrows the Hebrew Bible’s sacrifice motif as per the quality of offering those in Christ are to offer unto GOD. GOD called His people to lay down their lives and DAILY offer themselves unto Him, Holy and without blemish. The Apostle Paul captures this essence in Romans 12:1-2:
“1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Why would GOD call for our bodies to be offered as ‘living and holy’ sacrifices? Because the body is sacred in that it is the ‘temple of the living GOD’, where GOD’s presence dwells and the place from which we worship and serve the LORD. Whatever GOD uses or calls for must be prepared and maintained in a manner that’s ‘acceptable to GOD.’ The Scriptures consistently admonish GOD’s people to ‘be holy’ and remain ‘sanctified’ to be ‘fit for the master’s use.’ Listen to the exhortation of the Apostle Paul to his Spiritual son Timotheus:
2 Timothy 2:21, "21 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.”
Sanctification indeed is a daily purging and a conscientious outlook on living where the believer circumspectly and meticulously observes their thought, action, and behavior to ensure through the lens of Scripture to ensure it displays the image of GOD and remains free from contamination which pollutes the soul. If the Old Testament peoples of GOD understood that a blemish, spot, disease, or deformed animal disqualified it from being offered unto GOD acceptably how much more should the peoples of GOD in the New Testament be wiser than dumb animals? Sanctification is wisdom! It is the very ethic and discipline of a follower of Jesus Christ ‘to keep us from falling and present us faultless before His throne.’
Jude 1:24, “24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy…’
Herein lies (in the above verse and our title-text) the reward of sanctification: that we will be presented unto GOD by Jesus Christ as acceptable unto the Father which glorifies the Son! The Son is glorified when we diligently keep His Word, the eternal teachings which His Father has given Him to share with us. The question before us in the final judgment is whether the Father sees the Word He gave His Son formed in us? This can only happen in an acceptable way by GOD’s Grace wherein we are sanctified by the Word, the Blood, and the Holy Spirit. Pointedly, the work of sanctification is preparing us for an eternal rest and life with GOD in His Holy Kingdom where we will live unto His Glory FOREVER!
Revelation 14, "12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”
Sanctification’s reward indeed is life everlasting and it’s also abundant life, now. The abundant life which the believer enjoys is a partaking of the righteousness and Holiness of the true and living GOD. It’s a life of living free from sin’s dominance and controlling power. It’s a life of guiltless worship and condemnation-free fellowship with GOD because of His Grace (which is the sanctifying work of His Word, Blood, and Spirit). Rest assured, sanctification is a manifestation of GOD’s love in us and it is preparation for a life with GOD forever. It works maximally as we humbly submit to every Word that proceeds from GOD by yielding to EVERYTHING he calls us unto, calling us out of, and however His Spirit leads and guides. What is the reward? Christlikeness now and forever. Let us therefore be encouraged to offer unto GOD ourselves, not as Nadab and Abihu who added to their offering what GOD didn’t ask for but as a ‘royal Priesthood’ and a ‘Holy nation’ who offer unto GOD a peculiar life in a way that is pleasing unto Him. Amen.
What are some of the Old Testament requirements for a sacrifice unto GOD for a sin offering?
What did GOD’s Word say about offering unto Him an offering less than the standard He commanded?
What was the consequence of offering unto GOD something strange—other than what He required?
How do we present our bodies as living sacrifices unto GOD?
How does the Grace of GOD work in our lives to sanctify us?
What is the contemporary reward of sanctification?
What is the eternal reward of sanctification?