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847. Sanctification

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
October 27, 2020 7:00 pm

847. Sanctification

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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October 27, 2020 7:00 pm

Dr. Layton Talbert of the BJU seminary faculty continues a doctrinal series entitled, “What Is Man?” from 2 Peter 1.

The post 847. Sanctification appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. We're continuing the study series about the doctrine of man. Today's message will be preached by seminary professor Dr. Leighton Talbert, and his topic is sanctification.

This morning we're focusing on sanctification, becoming what you were meant to be and what you are destined to be. And in the New Testament, let me just cover this groundwork. I assume most of you are familiar with this data, datum, but I want to be sure we're all on the same page here to note that in the New Testament the words sanctification, sanctify, holiness, holy, saint are all members of the same word family. They are all essentially synonymous. They don't mean exactly the same thing.

They're obviously different nuances, but they are parts of the same family. So when you read about sanctification, you're reading about holiness. Saints are holy ones.

That's what the term literally means. And the New Testament teaches two kinds of sanctification. The first is positional sanctification, that is God's setting apart a sinner for a special, gracious drawing and ultimately saving work of regeneration and reconciliation back to himself. So for example, 2 Thessalonians 2, we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit. That's God setting you apart for special work and your consequent belief of the truth. 1 Corinthians 6, 9, Paul goes through all these things that disqualify one as lifestyle, disqualify one from being in the kingdom of God. And he mentions, you know, adulterers and fornicators and effeminate and abusers of themselves with mankind and thieves and covetous and drunkers and revilers and extortioners who shall not inherit the kingdom of God, and such were some of you. But you are washed, you are sanctified, you're justified.

All those verbs are aorist. You were washed. You were sanctified. You were justified in the name of Christ. That's why Paul can then address those same people as those who literally have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints. That's positional sanctification. But there's also what the New Testament describes as progressive sanctification. That is the process by which we become more like the God who created us in his image and sacrificed himself to reconcile us to himself. So 1 Thessalonians 5, 23, the very God of peace sanctify you wholly and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless under the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Clearly this is a process.

But it's a process in which we share a responsibility. Peter clarifies that, for example, in 1 Peter 1-14, as obedient children, as obedient children, we have a responsibility in this, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance, but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation, in every dimension of your life. Because it is written, be ye holy, for I am holy. And that passage makes it as clear as any that sanctification equals Godlikeness, equals Christlikeness, equals holiness. In essence, sanctification is becoming more like God, more like Christ specifically. You are predestined to be conformed to the image of God's Son, Romans 8, 29.

So our series focuses on the question of what is man, here's the reader's digest version. You were made in God's image to be like God, something that is not said even of the angels. You were made in God's image to be a reflection, to be an image of God, to reflect him, to represent him, to imitate him. Because of the fall, your inclinations, your affections, as the theologians have typically called them, were all twisted away from God and the image of God in you was distorted, defaced, not destroyed, but defaced. Like a penny I saw in our church offering a couple of weeks ago that had been so beaten and battered and looked like run over by trucks and I don't know what all, but if you squinted you could still barely make out the outline of Abraham Lincoln on it.

It was still there, though barely recognizable. Some sinners have gotten to that point where the image of God is barely recognizable. Not every penny, not every person is in that state of, but his whole being is still twisted away from God.

The image is distorted. Salvation then isn't just something that God does for you, it's something God does in you. He takes possession of you. He indwells you and he supplies the means for the restoration of his image in us and that is the indwelling spirit of God. Sanctification then is that process of restoring us back into the image of our Creator. In his book, Changed into His Image, Jim Berg defines it this way, very concise, functional definition. Sanctification is the process in which the Spirit of God takes the Word of God, uses the Word of God to make us more like the Son of God.

That is it in a pecan shell. It's really not that complicated. It's not easy, but it's not complicated. Which raises a question, why isn't it easy? Sinning is easy enough, that's kind of our default mode.

We'll talk about that in just a second, a little bit more. But sometimes it helps us to define and understand something by identifying its opposite. So what is the opposite of sanctification? In scripture, what's the opposite of sanctification, of holiness, of God-likeness?

The opposite of God-likeness must be Satan-likeness, or maybe Adamliness, being like Adam. Well scripture doesn't really use either of those terms to describe unsanctified believers, but it does use two other terms, two other concepts. One of those is fleshliness, or carnality, those two terms are related.

When you see carnal and flesh, it's the same basic term in Greek. And that's my natural, native, default state apart from the Spirit of God. My flesh, my fallen nature is always bent away from God. Dr. Minick of course spent a whole message on the concept of the flesh, so I won't dwell on that concept. Except to make the point that your flesh is the enemy of sanctification, the enemy of holiness, the enemy of God-likeness, Christ-likeness. But the other concept that the Bible presents as the opposite of sanctification is worldliness, worldlikeness. Worldliness is just a corporate collective expression of individual fleshliness. Fleshliness is just an individualized expression of worldliness. And again, that is my natural inclination, my default orientation when I'm not walking according to the Spirit and in obedience to God's word. I am by nature, by fallen nature, not only fleshly, but worldly. I was once part of the world, and my flesh is still and always oriented in that direction.

If I can venture into the uncertain waters of popular culture for the sake of illustration, your flesh is like a micro-bot, programmed to join with all other micro-bots, the world, under the control of the prince of the world, the god of this age identified in scripture as Satan. I can put it this way in terms of the two kinds of sanctification. The opposite of positional sanctification is still being in the world, still being part of the world, still being an unbeliever. The opposite of progressive sanctification is still being like the world. And to the degree that we are not like God, we are still like what we were.

We are still like the world out of which God called us and redeemed us and delivered us. Now let me give you an objection because you might say, you know, I don't remember ever seeing the word worldliness in any Bible I've ever read. I'm not aware that any Bible actually uses that word worldliness.

But neither have you ever read the word trinity or providence or Christ likeness for that matter in a Bible. It doesn't mean they're not biblical concepts because the words themselves don't appear in scripture. And the fact is the Bible has a great deal to say about the world and a great deal to say about being like the world. In other words, world likeness, worldliness, without ever even using that word. A biblical theological definition of worldliness has to be grounded in a biblical theological definition of what the scripture identifies as the world. Which the New Testament describes as fallen humanity alienated from God and all that it practices and produces that is contrary to the will of God.

It's about as concise as I can make it. It is in fact not just humanity scattered out there, it is a kingdom the New Testament teaches. Energized, Ephesians 2, and organized by Satan, again the god of this world, Saint Corinthians 4, over against the kingdom of God. That's the kingdom we were a part of. In fact, Paul talks in Colossians about our being taken out of the kingdom of darkness and becoming citizens of the kingdom of his dear son.

Transferring kingdom allegiance. And worldliness then is not an invention of Puritans and fundamentalists. For example, Everett Harrison in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, which is not published by Bob Jones University Press, says this, Worldliness, though not a scriptural term, is certainly a scriptural concept. It is an affection for that which is unlike God and contrary to His will. That's one definition of worldliness. And if sanctification is a process of becoming like God, and worldliness is an affection for that which is unlike God, then worldliness is the opposite of sanctification, of holiness, of God-likeness, of Christ-likeness. By the way, if you've not read our Dr. Randy Leedie's book on the world, Love Not the World, you really need to. It is as concise and careful an investigation of the concept of the world in scripture as you will find anywhere by any publisher. More so than most.

More so than any I'm aware of. I'm just trying to qualify myself to be careful. But as I said, worldliness is not the invention of Puritans and fundamentalists. It's the concern of God that runs throughout scripture. And rather than giving you my own definition of worldliness, I just want to put some of the biblical data out on the table for you. Because if you don't like somebody's definition of worldliness, if you don't like somebody's application of worldliness, okay, but here's the biblical data you have to do something with because God talks a lot about it. In the Old Testament, worldliness is expressed in terms of God's people courting and copying the surrounding nations.

That's the term that's used for the world in the Old Testament, the term ethne in the Greek Old Testament. For example, Leviticus 20-23, you shall not walk in the manners of the nation which I cast out before you. I am the Lord your God which have separated you from other people.

There's positional sanctification right there. And ye shall be holy unto me for I the Lord am holy and I have severed you from other people that you should be mine. Deuteronomy 18, when thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations, which is what they did. 1 Kings 14, Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which God cast out before the children of Israel. In the Old Testament, worldliness is expressed in terms of their being like the surrounding nations. And you still see remnants of that language in the New Testament, the term ethne, for nations or heathen or Gentiles.

For example, Matthew 6, therefore take no thought saying what shall we eat, what shall we drink, or wherewithal shall we be clothed. For after all these things do the Gentiles seek. He's not talking about Jewish people versus non-Jewish people.

He's using Gentiles like the Old Testament does with reference to the unbelievers out there. Did you know that anxious preoccupation with the temporal material things of life is a form of worldliness? That's how unbelievers live. They don't know what's happening next.

They don't have a Father who's providing for them and has promised to protect them and care for them. They're doing the only thing they know to do. They are obsessing over, anxiously over, the temporal material things of this life. Don't live like that, Jesus is saying. Don't be like the world.

That's a worldly... That's actually a kind of worldliness. 1 Peter 4, for the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles. In other words, we've spent enough of our past life living like Gentiles, living like unbelievers. When we walked in lasciviousness, that's sensuality, lust, excess of wines, revelings, banquets, abominable idolatries, wherein they think, these other Gentiles now, they think it's strange that you run not with them anymore. Ephesians 4, this I say therefore in testifying the Lord that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk. He's using ethne in the same way that the Old Testament did, referring to unbelievers. Don't walk anymore like unbelievers.

What does that look like? I think when it comes to worldliness, we are way too easy on ourselves. We're way too easy on everybody. I'm beginning to suspect that worldliness is not as specialized a sin as we sometimes seem to think. Because Paul proceeds in that passage, looks sometime at Ephesians 4, 17, all the way through chapter 5.

That was originally going to be the passage I was going to focus on for the message. But Paul goes on to contrast a Christian walk with a Gentile and unbelievers walk, and he mentions things like lying and theft, corrupt speech, bitterness, wrath, moral uncleanness, covetousness, dirty language. These aren't just sinful behaviors. These are worldly behaviors. When we do those things, we're acting like what we used to be. We're acting like the world around us.

We are being worldly. That's why I'm suggesting worldliness is maybe a lot broader than we seem to think sometimes. Work through that passage and see if that's not what Paul is saying. Paul usually describes the world in terms of this age, the term I own. For example, Ephesians 2, You have the quickened who are dead in trespasses and sins, wherein in times past you walked according to the course, the age of this world, this cosmos, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in, that energizes the children of disobedience, among whom also we all had our conversation, our manner of life in times past, in the lust of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and whereby nature the children of wrath even as others. Galatians 1, that's why Christ gave himself for our sins that he might deliver us from this present evil world. Age is the idea.

You know Romans 12 too. Be not conformed to this age is literally the term. The contemporary expression of the world because the world's expressions change with every generation.

More frequently than that, frankly. Don't be conformed to the contemporary expressions of your surrounding culture. But be transformed by the renewing of your mind. John, of course, uses the term cosmos the most, and most famously in 1 John 2. Love not the world, either the things that are in the world, you know this passage. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world, and the world is passing away and its lusts, but he that does the will of God abides forever.

James uses it the same way John does. James 1.27, pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. James 4, you know about this passage.

Somebody, I think, seems like has been preaching on this recently. You adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy, the enemy, the enemy of God.

Do you really want to be the enemy of God? The fact that the New Testament has to keep telling me not to love the world, not to live like the world, signifies that left to myself, that's the natural inclination of at least part of me, my flesh, the micro-bot inside me. Why does God care about worldliness? We tend to externalize this.

It's not just about what's on the outside. It affects the outside, of course, but worldliness is a profoundly internal sin, and God cares about it because it is an appeal to your flesh, your inner traitor that is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be, Paul says. It is an appeal to your flesh from those who are still enemies to Him, and enemies to His truth.

It's like standing by God on a battlefield next to the one, next to God, who loved you, who sacrificed himself to deliver you from His righteous wrath and condemnation, and then walking across the battlefield and pitching your tent to live with and live like the other side, who are the enemies of God. You're putting yourself at enmity with God through those kinds of choices. In fact, in God's estimation, in James 4 in this passage, it's nothing less or other than adultery. Adultery.

That's pretty serious. That's about as serious relationally as it gets, and that's the term God uses to describe not the world. The world can't be adulterers in a spiritual sense. The world is just the world. Only believers who embrace the world can become adulterers and adulteresses spiritually. That's a God-chosen metaphor with a long history of usage in the Scripture.

And that's a whole message for another time. So negatively, worldliness is the opposite of sanctification. Your flesh is the enemy of sanctification. How do we grow in the positive? We don't need help growing in worldliness.

That's our natural gravitational default mode. But how do we grow in the positive direction of sanctification? Holiness, Christ-likeness. Let's turn to 2 Peter 1, and some of this will be up on the screen as well. Ron Allen, on Monday, my classmate, we went all through four years together, he's actually a fellow Zeta Chi tornado, called our attention to this passage.

I want to come back to it from a slightly different angle. 2 Peter 1, I'm just going to jump into verse 4 for the sake of time, talks about God giving to us exceeding great and precious promises. That by these you might be, listen to this, partakers of the divine nature. Does that sound like God-likeness, Christ-likeness, holiness, sanctification? Having, here's the opposite, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. It juxtaposes those two right there. Now where do you suppose those promises are?

They're just kind of floating around in the air and every once in a while one pops in my head. He's talking about the scripture. In fact, if you read through 2 Peter, the scriptures is a major thematic emphasis of Peter in this epistle. And he goes on, verse 5, Beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue to virtue knowledge and temperance and patience and godliness and brotherly kindness and charity. How do you do that? How do you add these things, these virtues, these, in some cases, fruit of the Spirit that presumably only the Spirit of God can produce?

How do you just add these things? The word here doesn't describe somebody pushing a shopping cart down the aisle at the grocery store and just pulling stuff off the shelves and adding them to his cart. Not what the word means at all.

It doesn't work like that. There's a word that in the ancient world had reference to a wealthy patron who sponsored a theatrical production. He's not the one that got up on the stage, he didn't do the acting, he didn't do the singing, but he put the actors and the singers in a position to be able to stage the production by financing it. And in fact, the term actually conveys a patron who spared no expense but generously bankrolled the production. You don't have the capacity to just add these things to your life, but you can sponsor them. You can bankroll them. You can put God, the actor, God in a position where he, the only one who can perform these things in you, you can put God in a position where he can more easily produce these things in your life.

How? By expending your time and your resources to expose yourself to the means of grace by which God does these things in your life. Chiefly the scripture. But there are other things, other reading materials, other behaviors, other activities that you can expend your life and time in that become means of grace through which God can work these things in us. But I want to return to the scripture in closing.

Remember the functional definition. Sanctification is the process in which the Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make us more like the Son of God. So let me close by drawing your attention to the primary means of grace and transformation, and that's the scriptures. 2 Corinthians 3 verse 18, where Paul says, But we all, with open face, unveiled face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into that same image, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. In the context, Paul has been talking about specifically the glory of God revealed in the Old Covenant, what we call the Old Testament, and even more so in the New Covenant, what we now call the New Testament.

You read through the chapter and see how many times he uses this word glory or glorious. And contextually, the glass here is clearly the scripture. And you can use the scripture to look at yourself, and that's an appropriate use of the scripture. When you expose yourself believingly, worshipfully, thoughtfully to the scripture, it changes you.

The word in Greek is metamorphosis, which is an internal change with external manifestations. It changes you into the image of God, and that is what sanctification is all about. Father, we thank you that you are such a gracious God, that you didn't need to create us, but you wanted to share your glory and your beauty and your goodness and your kindness with us. And you didn't need to rescue us once we turned from you, but you have rescued us. You have sacrificed yourself to save us, to restore in us your image. And we pray that you would give us the grace to cooperate with your spirit, to immerse ourselves in your word that is your primary means for recreating the image of God in us. That you would grace us to recognize our flesh and to turn from all the manifestations of worldliness to which we are so innately drawn, and that you would be magnified in our bodies and in all that we do for your glory, we pray in Jesus' name. Amen. You've been listening to a sermon preached by Bob Jones University Seminary professor, Dr. Leighton Talbert. This has been part of the study series about the doctrine of man. Listen again tomorrow for the conclusion of this series here on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-01 06:13:59 / 2024-02-01 06:23:48 / 10

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