Sanctification: the plan of God, the duty of man. . .
And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, (13) Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you. (KJV)
12 Then the LORD said to Moses, 13 "Say to the Israelites, 'You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy. (NIV)
Of the names we've looked at so far, this is by far the most complex and maybe the most significant name. This is a name that God gave to Himself, first mentioned when Moses was on the mountain receiving the Law.
When God sanctifies something, he separates it from all else like it and dedicates it to Himself:
(Leviticus 20:26) And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.
The first act of separation, sanctification of the Hebrew people was the call of Abram:
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee:
God chose the father of His people. He chose a man who would do what God asked. Abram was willing to be led by God. He wasn't perfect, but when God said to do something, Abraham did it.
The next act of sanctification was the circumcision of the Jewish males:
This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. (11) And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant between me and you.
Remember in Leviticus 20:26 God told the Israelites that He had severed them from other people. One of the ways in which they were severed from other peoples was by the knife of circumcision. God separated Abraham from his family, but more was needed in the creation of an identity for God's people. A sign of the promise, of the agreement between God and Abraham would be the cutting of the foreskin of the males. The wellspring of their reproductive seed would be permanently altered. Altered involuntarily as babies, as a sign of the separated people and one day sanctified nation into which they were born.
When one is sanctified by God and unto God, it is not something that you can turn away from easily. You carry the mark deep within you. The call is always there.
Sanctification is a process and the process continued with the removal of the circumcised, the marked people into Egypt. Molding, washing, sifting, for 400 years living as strangers in a strange land, again the time was ripe for a further removal, a further sanctification, the birth of the Jewish nation. Another sign, blood on the lintels and doorposts of their homes:
But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.
God put a difference between Israel and the world. This difference would bring them out from the world. This Exodus, this delivery, this birth of a nation from the womb of Egypt, the womb of the world was a culmination of hundreds of years of planning and planting by the Lord.
This is known as the Passover. The angel of the Lord passed over firstborn of the Jews and struck the firstborn of the world. Another deliverance, another act of sanctification. . . . seven weeks and a day from the Passover, is the day of Pentecost, the giving of the Law by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. This is a defining act of sanctification, separation for the Hebrews.
Now they have a codified standard by which to live in a way that is pleasing to God. Dietary commandments, ways in which to dress, judicial instructions, and on and on, all these are ways that give identity to the Israelites that separate them from the other peoples around them.
Up to this point, before the Law, men had no plan on how to live for God, how to live holy lives, now they have been molded into a sanctified nation and are ready to receive God's map of holy living.
From this point forward the meaning of sanctification is no longer mere separation from the world; it now takes on the added deeper substance of righteousness and holiness. Until the giving of the Law, men had no tool of sanctification, no definition of righteousness. Now men are told over and over to sanctify themselves, instructed over and over how to sanctify themselves:
And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes,
And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes.
And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them.
And Moses said unto the LORD, The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it.
The 613 rules of the Mosaic Law, 613 ways to separate yourself from the world, yet no matter how comprehensive, written rules are never enough. More effort and energy was spent figuring out ways to circumvent the Law than fulfilling it. Another way was needed . . . circumcision of the heart. . .
A womb of the world again gave birth, this time, not to a nation, but to a baby, the God Child Savior entered the world. All according to plan, God's chosen people would cut and cast away the flesh of God as a horribly personal attempt to circumcise His act of love.
The Passover Lamb is again sacrificed, undeservedly, again, as centuries before, resulting in another even greater act of sanctification fifty days later when the Spirit of God was given to men, a Law not written on tablets of stone, but directly upon our hearts. Now sanctification was available to the gentiles also by the power of holiness and righteousness available only through the Spirit of God:
1 Peter 1:2
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
No greater separation from the world is possible (while still being physically present) than that which we now have, being filled directly with God's spirit. We have the kingdom of God within us, the earnest of our inheritance. . . . The healing power, the cleansing power, the holy power of God. . . a divine separation from the world we are in. . . .
Thank you Lord. . .
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Sanctification: the plan of God, the duty of man. . .