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"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible might not tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Friday, April 24, 2020

Colossians 3:8-10 (L 19)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
WWW. 2Tim215.Net

Established November 2008                                           Published: April 24, 2020

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
*********************************************************************************************** 
Welcome back to HBS.

Last week we looked at Paul’s teaching on positional and practical sanctification.  Positional sanctification speaks of our current standing with God.  We are called “saints” and “sanctified in Christ Jesus” (Romans 1:7) and this is how Paul addressed all Believers (Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 6:11; Hebrews 10:10; Jude 1).  Therefore, sainthood or positional sanctification is not something the Believer attains it is the state into which God, in grace, calls saved men and women, and in which they begin their “walk in newness of life with Christ” (Romans 6:4; Colossians 3:12; Hebrews 3:1).

Positional sanctification relates to the fact the Believer has been redeemed and cleansed by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  They have been forgiven of all of their sins and placed in a new relationship with God: “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10).

Positional sanctification is true of every Believer.  We have once and for all been set apart for God.  This is why we are called “saints” because that is what we are in God’s sight.  We have been sanctified and are holy (set apart) before God.  We are “accepted in the Beloved.”  Our positional sanctification is perfect just as Christ is perfect.  Furthermore, positional sanctification is as complete for the immature Believer as it is for those who are maturing in the faith.  Our positional sanctification depends only on our union and standing in Christ.  In this standing before the Father the Believer is declared righteous and accepted before Him forever.  An example of this teaching is found in 1 Corinthians 1:2.  This is where Paul speaks of their current standing even though they were carnal (earthly).  He wrote: “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth,  to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:”

Positional sanctification is unchanging; however, the same can’t be said for practical sanctification.  Practical sanctification does not refer to our position, but to our state or condition, which is flawed to say the least.  Believers yield their members to the temptations of the flesh continually, but we do not lose our standing before God and we do not lose our salvation, because these are based on our perfect position in Christ.  Our practical sanctification, plainly said, is living out our faith on a daily basis with the idea of conforming to the image of God’s Son always in mind:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Gentiles).   For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16-17).

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).

For we are his workmanship,  created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” (Colossians 3:10).

Positional sanctification becoming practical sanctification should be a reality in the Believers’ life to the extent that people notice the difference in the way you now live.   As we follow Paul, as he follows the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), our practical sanctification will be brought more and more in line with our positional sanctification, until the day of completion (Romans 8:19-23).

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Please open your Bible at Colossians 3:8-10.

Put Off; Put On

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.  Lie not one to another, see that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Since the vast majority of denominational churches do not teach positional and practical sanctification (a fundamental truth of the faith), I’ve decided to park on this topic for a while longer so that people might come to understand what the perfect will of God is regarding this matter and grow in knowledge and truth. 

In 3:8-9 Paul instructed the Colossians’ to do something; he said, “put off” (cease practicing) these vices: “anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication and lying (dishonesty) to another.”  Although it’s true their “old man” or their Adamic nature, was “put off” (destroyed) having been “crucified with him” (Christ), the moment they believed Paul’s gospel sin must be dealt with continually:

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  For he that is dead is freed from sin” (Romans 6:6-7).   

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Our “old man” or our old selves, as we were in and from Adam is contrasted with the “new man” (Colossians 3:9-10), which is what we currently are and have in Christ.  The word “our” indicates that what is said, is said of and to all those who are positioned in Christ.  This means the term “old man” is a federal one (pertaining to all because all have sinned), as also is the phrase the “new man:”

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Romans 5:12).

Paul’s not saying the “old man” is Adam any more than the “new man” is Christ.  Also, the “old man” must not be confused with “the flesh.”  Adam fathered a son in his own likeness.  This son of Adam possessed a natural (earthly) mind, feelings, tastes, and desires all apart from God (1 Corinthians 15:46).  Cain truly was his father’s son and is a picture of the meaning of the term “old man.”  Furthermore, since man’s activities were carried on in and through the body, he is now “after the flesh,” morally speaking. 

Therefore, when Paul told the Colossians they had to “put off” or “put to death” the “old man” (3:8), he was addressing them as “new creatures” in Christ, and that the “old man” represented all they were by nature, namely, their ambitions desires, hopes, judgements, lusts, federally speaking.  That’s who they used to be; but now they have put that off.   In like manner, Paul urged the saints in Ephesus to “put to death” their former lifestyle:  That ye put off concerning the former conversation (manner of living identified here as) the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;” 

The old man is to be “put to death” that is, our former manner of life; for we are now in Christ and are “new creatures; old things are passed away; behold they are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:8). 

The flesh has lusts and passions; it has a mind directly at enmity with God.  Paul teaches the flesh is a manifestation of sin in the as yet unredeemed body (Romans 7:14-25, 8:12-13).  Thus, the old man (our old self) is in accordance with the pagan mindset.  This is the pre-Christ reality of every individual.  The Believer must come to terms with the biblical teaching of the two natures that war within them; that of the flesh, which is dead and presents a problem to the “living out” of our new life in Christ, and the Spirit, which has sealed us to the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13) and which desires to live out the new life in Christ Jesus.  Remember, Paul is speaking with the Ephesians re: their thinking and that they must no longer walk as unbelieving pagans.  Such a walk is in the “futility of their minds” (Ephesians 4:17) and such thinking is “darkened,” “ignorant,” and “callous” (Ephesians 4:18).  Believers are to understand what they have been taught regarding Christ and are to appropriate such teaching to the extent that their lives are changed by it. 

Not every church denomination is in agreement with our apostle Paul’s affirmation that  two natures exist in every true Believer, but the majority of these don’t recognize him or his apostolic authority.  So, let’s be clear, the truth regarding the two natures that exist in the Believer is strictly a Pauline revelation and we are to accept it for what it is, truth. Plainly said, Paul’s saying the Colossians have the capacity for godly behavior because the Spirit of God lives within them, but they also have the capability to sin.  However, Paul truthfully declared all Believers are “made free from sin,” therefore sin has no power (dominion) over them (Romans 6:11-14); what’s more they are viewed as “the servants of righteousness:”

Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.  I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness  (Romans 6:18-19).

I reiterate, at the moment of their conversion the Colossians received a new nature.  But again, practical sanctification is the process by which God develops their “new man.” The Spirit of God enables them to say no to sin and yes to God’s expressed will.  In Romans 7 Paul explained the spiritual battle that rages continually in even the most spiritually-minded person, including himself.  He is on record stating he does what he doesn’t want to do, and, in fact, does the evil he loathes.  He said that is the result of “sin living in me” (Romans 7:20).  He goes on to say he delights in God’s law according to his “inner being,” but he sees another law at work in the members of (his) body, waging war against the law of (his) mind and making (him) a prisoner of the law of sin at work within (his) members” (7:23). 

Here, again, Paul affirms that two entities exist in every true Believer.  This is why Believers are strongly urged to “put to death” the deeds of the flesh (Romans 8:13), to put to death that which makes them sin (Colossians 3:5), and to put aside all earthly vices some of which are anger, wrath, malice, and so forth (Colossians 3:8).  

All this to say there’s no controversy regarding the Believer’s two natures, i.e., the old and the new; and there’s no mistaking Paul instruction on renewing the new nature continually (Ephesians 4:23-24; Colossians 3:10).  This renewing, once again, speaks of practical sanctification; an ongoing life-long process for the Believer, in Christ. 

Put the Old Man Away

Before we proceed I think we need to review Paul’ command in verse 3:5: “Mortify (put to death) therefore your members (those parts of the body that are earthly) which are upon the earth;”

Speaking practically, when someone dies in many cases they are placed in a coffin and buried, that is, put away.  And so it is for the “old man” and the earthly vices linked with it.  Paul’s said “ye also put off (all that which is earthly in you), “anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth, and lying (dishonesty) to one another…” (3:8-9).   Evidently, Epaphras informed Paul these earthly vices were being practiced in the Colossian assembly so he addressed this concern by commanding them to “put off (put to death) your members which are upon the earth” (3:5) or those sins that seek to express themselves through different body parts.

Just so you know this problem wasn’t unique to Colosse, a similar church concern existed in the assembly in Rome, which prompted Paul to pose the following rhetorical question:

What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid.  How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2) 

He followed that up with this declaration in verse 6:6, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

Our “old man” the person we were before we were “crucified with Christ” and made a “new creature” raised up with Christ “to walk in newness of life,” is reckoned  as dead “destroyed” which basically means the Believer is no longer enslaved to sin.

Once again this teaching is rarely heard in many of the so called Christian churches today, so I have no doubt this is new news for most of you.  Please know those churches that teach dispensational truths are ardent defenders of the “two natures” that exist within the Believer.  In other words, we stand with Paul because God revealed this revelation to him and he taught it to the grace churches he planted throughout the then known world, and we in turn teach it to y’all.  That being said, please know there are a growing number of churches today that believe and falsely teach the “old man” is utterly destroyed upon one’s conversion.  In plain language they teach Christians only possesses the new man, which is created in righteousness and holiness.  The following statement from John MacArthur, the pastor of Grace Community Church and the voice of “Grace to You,” radio ministry is one example of this errant viewpoint: 

I believe it is a serious misunderstanding to think of the believer as having both an old and new nature.  Believers do not have dual personalities…there is no such thing as an old nature in the believer.” (John MacArthur, Freedom from SinRomans 6-7, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, Pages 31,32.)

Let it be said I’m more interested in building people up vs tearing them down, so I don’t want to belabor the point.  I just want my readers to understand this wayward theological notion stands in opposition to one of the fundamental truths of the faith.  Permit me to go on record stating, “By reason of Christ’s victory over sin and death, and His indwelling Spirit, every saved saint should experience deliverance from the power of sin by obedience to Romans 6:11; but I deny man’s sin nature is ever removed during our lifetime.  It must be dealt with every single day ” (See Romans 6:6-14, 8:37; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 10:2-5; Galatians 5:16-25).

Summing up, the Scriptures clearly teach the Believer has two natures (See Romans 7);  so Paul is instructing the Colossians not to allow their “old man” to have dominion over them.  They are dead to sin, positionally, therefore they are not to obey the lusts of the flesh, and they are not to yield their members as instruments of unrighteousness (sin).  Rather, they are to yield themselves to God (put yourself at His disposal), bearing in mind they are alive from the dead by the resurrection of Christ.  They are instructed to yield their members as instruments of righteousness to the praise of His glory.  

Now, let’s look at verse 3:10.

And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:”

Paul had previously commanded these saints to “put off” the “old man” or “put to death” those earthly vices identified as sin.  Why?  Because (they) have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Verse 3:10 picks up in the middle of a thought begun in verse 3:9, re: the Believer “putting away” their old man, that is, their worldly, sinful behavior.  As stated earlier, in contrast with the old man, the Believer is a new creation (possesses a new nature) and should therefore live differently than before.  Paul said the new man is continuously “renewed’ or refreshed.  How?  In knowledge of the One who “created him,” that is, Christ Jesus.  Knowledge which is imparted from Christ is noted throughout this letter to the Colossians as being an important aspect of the Believer’s new life (1:9–10, 2:2–3).

The word “renewed” means:  to cause something to become new and different, with the underlying implication that it will be better than what had existed before.

 I remember back when the Coca-Cola company changed their soda recipe and declared it new and improved.  But the public tried it and didn’t like it to the extent that they demanded the old recipe be restored.  This was a major marketing mistake; one which continues to cause the company embarrassment to this day.  So then, not everything that is renewed can be declared better than before and the same goes for the Believer in Christ.  The church in Corinth, Greece stands as the ideal example of this teaching.  They had been taught by Paul and are noted as being “sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints“ (1 Corinthians 1:2); “behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: (verse 1:7).  However, although they considered themselves to be spiritually superior in reality they had one foot in the world and the other in heaven, spiritually speaking.  This serves to underscore Paul’s teaching re: the two natures that exist in every Believer and his teaching on practical sanctification.  The Corinthian’s new nature, like the Colossians, was a reality and is continually progressing until the day of its completion at the Rapture:

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, awaiting for the adoptionto wit, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Just as Christ is "the image of the invisible God" (1:15), Believers are being remade into the “image of him that created him:” which, again, speaks of practical sanctification.  The relatively new converts in Colosse are recognized as new creatures having a “new nature” and increasingly designed to grow more and more like Christ.

The Believer knows or ought to know the Lord Jesus Christ is the living Word; this book we call the Holy Bible is the written Word of God, and is absolutely true from Genesis to Revelation.  The “new man” is the person one becomes after their conversion; he or she now possesses a new nature, and consequently called to walk in newness of life.  This speaks of a new lifestyle, to wit, they now see things as God sees them.  Their values come more in line with God’s principles with each passing day and this is based on knowledge of the truth, which includes the truth about sin (iniquity) in its many forms.  Instead of conforming to this world and its ungodly ways, Believers are commanded to conform to the image of God’s Beloved Son, and the scriptures have a great deal to say about this:

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14).

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Ephesians 5:1-2).

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity (meaning: fleeting, empty, worthless or useless) of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:” (Ephesians 4:17-18).

In Ephesians 4:17-18 Paul speaks of the foolishness of the worldly.  Just so we’re all on the same page the biblical meaning of “foolishness” isn’t goofy; it means: “vain, lacking understanding or sound judgment.”  Those who are worldly by nature imagine themselves as being far more intelligent than those who believe and follow the apostle Paul who follows the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).  But the Bible says this is the opposite of the truth.  In the first chapter of 1 Corinthians with have this message from Paul:
 
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:17-18).

And:

Where is the wise?   where is the scribe?  where is the disputer of this world?  hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:20-21).

The unsaved people of the world can never know God by its wisdom because it considers the finished work of the cross to be foolishness.  Paul clearly said “the preaching of Christ crucified” is a “stumbling block” to some and “foolishness” to others:

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.  Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:23-25).

Then in 1 Corinthians 3:19 Paul wrote, “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.”  So then, in light of this truth, the Believer isn’t so foolish after all.  Although the unsaved individual goes on and on in their “vain” way of thinking that there’s no God, no after life, no heaven and no hell, no eternal judgment, believing death is final, let’s be clear, based on what God has said they are the foolish ones.  No matter their position in life, no matter what they scored on their SAT’s, and imagine to be true; they lack knowledge in the ABC’s of the most important thing they ought to have knowledge of, Paul’s gospel and the salvation of their precious soul from sin and it’s grim results.   

These folks may consider sin to be joking matter; nothing more than harmless fun.  However, Paul is clearly teaching the Colossians (and us) it is unwise to throw caution to the wind and deny what God has revealed about sinful behavior and it results.  So, “put off” those earthly vices that are deemed unrighteous, since you have “put off” the “old man and his deeds,” and “put on” the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. 

(To be continued)

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Friday, April 17, 2020

Colossians 3:5-9 (L 18)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
WWW. 2Tim215.Net

Established November 2008                                            Published: April 17, 2020

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
*********************************************************************************************** 
Welcome back to HBS.

Let’s review.

In Colossians chapter 1 Paul taught the Colossians who Christ is:  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature; by Him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in the earth, all things were created by Him and for Him, and all things are sustained by Him.  And He is the Head of the body, the Church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have preeminence.  For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness of deity dwell.

In chapters 1-2 Paul also sets forth what Christ has done:  He has reconciled all things to the Father through His death so that the Believer may be presented pure and blameless in Him.  He has spiritually circumcised and baptized (no water needed) the Believer in the likeness of His death, burial, and resurrection, granting them new life and the forgiveness of sins past, present and future.  He has blotted out the  Law that was against them having nailed it to His cross.  He has utterly defeated all of the enemies that held the Colossians captive, i.e., sin, death, and the devil himself are defeated foes.

Paul has presented a clear picture of who Christ is and what He has done not only for the church at Colosse but for all that believe, and as Believers we share in all that Christ is and has done.  Therefore, the Colossians are instructed not to live their lives as before:

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (2:6-7);

Set your affections on those things above, not on things on the earth” (3:2).

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Please open your Bible at Colossians 3:5-9.

Mortify (put to death) therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.  Lie not one to another, see that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

Here Paul goes from writing about the positional to the practical aspect of the Colossians’ daily walk with the Lord.  This speaks of the Believer’s positional sanctification and the lifelong process of practical sanctification.  It is with the Colossians’ present position and standing before God along with his declaration in verse 3:3 in mind, he mentioned some of the sins of the flesh commanding them to “Mortify (put to death) that which is earthly to you: fornication (sexual immorality in all its forms), uncleanness (morally impure thoughts), inordinate affection (desire; eagerness for), evil concupiscence (evil desire), and covetousness, which he said is idolatry.

The term “members” is used for the various sins that exist in, and seek to express themselves through different parts of the human body.  The word “therefore” looks back to verse 3:3 inasmuch as they are “dead to sin,” the Colossians are to make this death to their old lifestyle a reality in their daily lives.

Verse 3:6.

For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

Some people read this verse and assume it’s saying God’s wrath is coming on the Believers in Colosse because of their disobedience, but that’s not true.  Let’ compare scripture with scripture.  Here’s what Paul wrote to the Believers at Ephesus:

Among whom also we all had our conversation (manner of living) in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Ephesians 2:1-3).

Like the Ephesians the Colossians at one time “were the children of wrath,” but God has done something incredible for their sake.  He has given them new life in Christ; they’ve been “crucified with Christ,” therefore, the old man is dead, and they are raised “to walk in newness of life…,” “with Christ Jesus.” 

Paul does not mean to imply the Believer is immune to sin because y’all know that’s not true; we all commit sin and on a regular basis.  When was the last time you lied to someone, have you ever taken office supplies home from work for personal use, have you ever lived a day in which you didn’t covet someone or something, when was the last time you entertained an impure thought, and so on?  Exactly!  It is for these reasons, and others, that Paul said the Colossians are “obligated” to continually put to death (mortify) that which is earthly in them, that is, their “old man” who draws them back to sin in its many forms (Romans 6:6, 7).  It’s because of “these things (for which) the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.” (3:6-7).

First, Paul is not saying the wrath of God cometh upon the Colossian saints but upon the  unsaved whose standing is outside of Christ.  Before their conversion the Colossians were counted among them, but on this side of their expressed faith God has done great things for them.  They have been “accepted in the Beloved,” and God sees them as He sees His Son, perfect.  This being so, they are to behave as children of Light and not children of darkness (1 Thessalonians 5:5-8).  Secondly, in saying “put to death” the sins of the flesh Paul is talking about their practical sanctification and means to say do not practice them because the Believer has been delivered (freed) from sin:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” (Ephesians 4:31).

What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that dare dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1-2).

For if (since) we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  For he that is dead is freed from sin” (Romans 6:5-7).

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.  For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:12-17).

Paul’s message in Romans 8:12 is crystal clear the Colossians are “debtors,” i.e., obligated to mind their conduct because of what God has done for them through Christ Jesus.  Again this speaks of the lifelong process of practical sanctification.  This word means set apart or consecrated to God.  Please know both in our salvation and in our daily walk it has been God’s purpose not merely to set us apart from the world around us, but also to set us apart as consecrated to Himself.  In Romans chapter 6 Paul explained the power that exists within the Believer to live apart from the sins of the unbelieving world, which Paul recorded for us in Romans 1:18 – 3:32:

When sin entered the world through the man’s disobedient act, it brought death (spiritual separation from God) to mankind and resulted in man’s fear of God (Genesis 3:8).  But Paul said the Believer has not received a spirit of slavery which leads to fear.  On the contrary, they have received a new spirit: a spirit of adoption as sons.  As a result, those who are in Christ exclaim, “Abba! Father!”   The indwelling Holy Spirit agrees with our spirit we are children of God, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16-17).  This is an awesome revelation and worthy of acceptance.  The Believer is an heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ.  A joint-heir is one who shares everything with the heir.  A joint-heir or a joint-tenant on a bank account, stock, or bond has full rights to the financial asset.  Such is our position in Christ.  In layman’s terms everything He has, we have.

I believe most parents view their children as being precious, even if they don’t always behave.  Parents love their children and in similar fashion God loves those who are His,  therefore, He sees the Believer the same way He views His Son, as the apple of His eye.  This shows how precious the Believer is to God and makes our separation from the world and sin the natural result of our consecration to Him: “Ye turned to God from idols,” said Paul, not “from idols to God” (See 1 Thessalonians 1:9).  

True scriptural sanctification, or holiness, then, does not consist in “dos” and “don’ts,” nor is it to be confused with living a sinless life.  It is rather a consecration to God which results in a closer walk with Him.  Reminds me of the account in Genesis where the man once walked with the LORD God in the garden in sublime fellowship; they enjoyed one another’s company.  But that changed after he disobeyed the LORD’s commandment.  After that incident, the LORD came looking for the man and the woman in the garden but they hid from Him.  No more closer walk with Thee - their fellowship and their relationship had not only been tarnished it no longer existed.        

In reality, every true Believer has already been sanctified or consecrated to God.  This took place the moment they believed Paul’s gospel.  But in some religious circles sanctification is viewed as a second work of God’s grace, after salvation.  Actually it is the very first work of grace.  Sanctification begins with God as He saves us and sets us apart for Himself through the work of the Holy Spirit, who convicts us of sin and leads us to faith and obedience in Christ.  Thus we read:

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.  Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work” (2 Thessalonians 2:13-17; 1 Peter 1:2).

The lifelong process of practical sanctification is not affected by one’s conduct.  Paul speaks of this in Ephesians 5:1-5:

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.  But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.  For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”

Paul declared the Believer should “walk… as becometh saints (sanctified ones).”  As I read this the underlying implication is some of the Ephesians were not walking after God, or as they had been taught.  However, Paul addressed them “as dear children” not of the devil but of God.  The same is true for the carnal Corinthians, whom Paul addressed as, “saints; sanctified in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:2).  Even though their ill behavior marked them as carnal Christians, Paul addressed them as “saints sanctified in Christ Jesus.”  Paul then proceeds to name some of their carnal practices in chapters 5 thru 6:1-11. 

Thus, Believers, whatever their state, are called:

“…them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32, 26:18)

“…the elect of God, holy and beloved…” (Colossians 3:1-2).

Once again, all this pertains to the Believer’s present position and standing before God.  It is He who, in infinite grace and love, set us apart as His own, declaring us righteous in Christ.  None of this would be possible if it were not for the grace of God through Christ Jesus’ finished work of the Cross.  Said differently, the Believer’s present position  (sanctified) before God is based on their unwavering faith in the  glorious all sufficient work of Christ on their behalf:

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners,  Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.  And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:6-11).
 

By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10).

For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). 

Positionally speaking, every Believer has been sanctified (set apart), by God for Himself through the operation of God the Spirit and on the basis of their faith in the shed blood of Christ for all their sins.  Paul hammers this truth home in Romans 8:33-35:

Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect?   It is God that justifieth.  Who is he that condemneth?  It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”

If (since) God, in love, set us apart as His precious possession, shouldn’t the Believer’s  response to His matchless grace and love be one of undying gratitude, which is reflected in their daily choices and their ensuing conduct?  Shouldn’t they live their lives pleasing to God?  The answer to both questions is a resounding, “Yes.” Remember what Paul wrote in Colossians 1:

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:” (Colossians 1:9-12).

It is with the above questions in mind Paul writes:

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,” (Ephesians 1:4-5).

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honourNot in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).

Please know nowhere in Scripture is the Believer instructed to sanctify their carnal flesh.  The Scriptures teach the flesh (our old man/our Adamic nature) is totally corrupt.  The flesh cannot be improved, reformed, or converted to God’s way of thinking.  They that are fleshly (the self-indulgent) cannot please God (Romans 8:8).  It is for this reason God the Father sent His Son, “in the likeness of sinful flesh,” to condemn sin in the flesh at Calvary (Romans 8:3).  Therefore, the Believer is not instructed to improve their old man but to recognize it as being “dead,” that is, crucified with Christ Jesus:

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6).

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:11).

The flesh cannot be improved upon or sanctified to God, but the Believer’s body can and should be.  Here’s what Paul had to say about this:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy,  acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

What?  know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;” (1 Thessalonians 4:4).

For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness” (1 Thessalonians 4:7).

Thus Paul concludes:

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

In Paul’s second letter to Timothy he declared that while “the Lord knoweth them that are His,” all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ should “depart from iniquity,” (sin), and explained further in saying:  But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.  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 2:20-21).

Here Paul used the analogy of “a household vessel” in describing the Body of Christ, the Church, for it is “a great house.”  In a wealthy house, there would be found containers made of various materials, used for different purposes, and given different roles to fulfill.  Gold and silver are clearly the most expensive and desirable vessels.  Wood and clay were the everyday materials used in the making of cups, jars, plates, and pitchers in the 1st century. 

The containers meant for “honourable” use are the gold and silver vessels.  These items were not meant for everyday dining but were reserved for special meals and gatherings. Those vessels deemed “dishonourable” referred to the vessels made of wood and clay or those items meant for everyday use.  Paul wants Timothy to focus on “cleansing” himself from what was “dishonourable” (2 Timothy 2:21) so he could be a vessel for “honourable” use.  In layman’s terms this means those people God is able to use are those who pursue a consecrated (holy) life, abstaining from sin in its many forms, which Paul referred to as “iniquity” (verse 19) and “false teachings” (2 Timothy 2:16-18).

Therefore, the “wrath of God” does not come upon the Believer when they return to sin  for Christ Jesus paid our sin debt in full at Calvary.  Meaning, all our sins past, present, and future are covered by the shed blood of Christ.  Those who remain unsaved are by nature “the children of wrath” and are not counted among the “the children of God” for they remain outside of Christ.    

As we consider how to be sanctified to God in our daily walk and experiences, the emphasis is placed on what God has said and rightfully so.   No one will deny prayer is an important element in one’s practical sanctification, yet over and above that this book places the supreme emphasis upon itself, i.e., God’s Word.  Our Lord and Savior prayed the following prayer for His disciples:

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17).

Our apostle Paul declared:

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, ” (Ephesians 5:25-26).

Members of the  Body of Christ were cleansedby the word” at their conversion.  When I taught Sunday school much emphasis was placed upon Bible memorization.  Some of the children had no problem with this, while others experienced great difficulty trying to remember the weekly Bible verse.  Just so you know I’m not picking on the children I also urged my adult students to remember a significant verse week after week and its Bible address.  One of them told me they had a mind like a “sieve.”  You know that kitchen item used to strain pasta and vegetables.  I told them I use a sieve to wash residue off my brown rice, so the sieve has a “cleansing” effect.  The same is true for the Word of God it too has a cleansing effect upon those who prayerfully read it and deliberate on it.  It is the Word which its Author, the Holy Spirit, uses to cleanse and sanctify the Believer more and more to God.  There’s almost always a flip-side to consider, so we’ll do that here.  All those who rarely spend time with their Bible will never enjoy true practical sanctification no matter how often they pray.  Because they choose not to read/study the Bible, rightly divided, God’s truths are foreign to them. 

(To be continued)

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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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