Do you know the full plan of salvation? First, it means to be saved from sin. The person you once were has been cleansed and you are made new. This transformation is so amazing it is almost like having a new identity. Bad habits and vices have been forgiven and you no longer wish to do those wicked things. “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17) Yet, there is more to this wonderful plan! The second work of grace, called Sanctification, is the culmination of the Christian experience.
Sanctification (or sanctify) means to set apart as holy, to consecrate. Some will argue that people cannot be holy, that perfection is reserved only for God. Yet, the scripture says, “…be ye holy, for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:16) The Bible would not set forth an unattainable guideline for man to follow. That would be like dangling the proverbial carrot in front of the horse’s nose.
Being holy does not mean you no longer make mistakes or errors, but that your heart is made perfect. Sin is no longer a part of it; the Holy Spirit enables you to stay that way, if you choose. This is the true evidence of the Spirit of God in one’s life. It is not to speak in an unknown tongue, as some will claim; but to have the power to live pure in the sight of God.
Pastor Karns often reminds us, God does not find pleasure in supposed holy water, beads or statutes; He delights in hearts that are clean and holy! Men and women that love God supremely and are truly dedicated to following His will for their life. That reverent dedication does not hide one away in a monastery or a convent, but uses the opportunity to be a light to those around them. “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)
In a recent sermon, our pastor also likened the sanctified heart to clay in the potter’s hands. Physically, the potter molds the clay into the shape he needs. The clay does not demand to be made into a vase or bowl, but is submissive to the potter’s design. In like terms, God knows when, where and how you need to be used. He has a specific design that He needs you to become. The second work of grace brings a desire to “… be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (II Timothy 2:21) After experiencing the miracle of salvation, the least we can do is willingly give our lives back to God, to be used in whatever capacity He chooses. To be as clay in the Potter’s hand requires Sanctification.
So many today have twisted values, “… and worshipped the creature more than the Creator…” (Romans 1:25) For this second work of grace to be truly effective, God must be one’s chief joy and main priority in life. We live in a society with ever-changing opinions and trends. Many prefer to chase their own ambitions and goals but forget about God’s opinion.
The sanctified heart considers God with every move, asking for His guidance and desiring to stay in His will. The song “Consecration” by Mildred E. Howard beautifully details the sanctified life.
~ J. Shick