Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Certainty of Our Sanctification – Romans 8:28-39!
By Pastor Lee Hemen
January 28, 2007 AM

I remember the old comedy TV show Hee Haw where they would sing that uplifting song: “Gloom, despair, and agony on me! Deep dark depression, excessive misery! If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all. Gloom, despair, and agony on me!” Sadly, there are Christians that go through their lives in Christ with much the same view. They often see the light at the end of the tunnel as an oncoming train instead of a ray of hope. When being blessed by God they wonder when the other shoe of God will drop and He will use them for His own personal footstool. Paul relates that believers do not and should not live their lives in this manner. In fact he relates to us the certainty of our sanctification.

Our holy lives in Christ are not dependent upon how we feel, circumstances, or our status in life. Our salvation is something God has planned all along. Yes, predestination is alive and well whether we think about it or not. God predetermines or know who will be saved and those who will not be. Why? Because He has existed for all eternity -- past, present and future -- and He knows all things, is all powerful, and exists everywhere. The Bible clearly indicates that nothing a person does can earn himself a spot in heaven; Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the Gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast." God has always known about salvation. He foreordained that believers be brought into “moral conformity to the likeness of His Son.” Confused? Don’t be. Paul explains it quite well here in Romans for us. Let’s discover for ourselves the certainty of our sanctification.

READ: Romans 8:28-39

There are no mistakes in the kingdom of God. Including you. God has made salvation possible for anyone who wants it. He already knows who will accept His plan of salvation. This does not negate man's choice; rather it is confirmation of God's grace that some do choose salvation. Predestination means to mark out or determine before hand. Predestination may raise some intellectual problems for us, but that is because man tries to wrap his finite mind around an infinite God. However, those who accept the gift of salvation become the ‘elect’ of God. ( The wonderful truth concerning the certainty of our sanctification is that…

I. Christians are predetermined to be saved! (vv. 28-30)

1. Believers, Paul began, know of sanctification’s certainty, and that knowledge is gained by spiritual perception! Christians know intuitively -- though they may not always fully understand and experience it -- that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him (lit., “to the ones who love God He works all things together unto good”). The things themselves may not be good, but God harmonizes them together for believers’ ultimate good, because His goal is to bring them to perfection in His presence. Our relationship with God is not a static thing, but a growing continual affair. Paul makes it plain that God is at work for us in life to be “conformed to the likeness of His Son.” There are three steps to God’s plan: being called (Romans 8:28), being justified (Romans 3:24), and being glorified (Romans 8:17)! “Glorified” is in the past tense because this final step is so certain that in God’s eyes it is as good as done. To be glorified is another way of saying that God’s children will be “conformed” to His Son; and that is God’s ultimate ‘purpose.’ No longer will they ‘fall short of the glory of God’ (Rom. 3:23).” – (The Bible Knowledge Commentary.) So “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him!” Why? In the certainty of our sanctification, Christians are predetermined to be saved!

EXAMPLE: You can count on me, is not a term that is not as secure as it was decades ago. A handshake and the mutual understanding that the integrity of your name was at stake required you to make good on any promise you made. In our day and age we take lightly not only our word but the word of others. Why? Because we know there is little integrity in the world anymore without a signed contract and a coven of lawyers available to enforce it. Imagine the surprise of the clerk at Wal-Mart when I turned around and handed her back the five dollars too much she had given me in change. Or the surprise on the faces of the local teen when we allow them to play football I our field as long as they keep it cleaned up. We can rest assured in the certainty of our sanctification in Christ, because Christians are predetermined to be saved. How can I know that? Because of God’s promise. It is backed by who He is. It is certain. It is secure.

Knowing that God predetermined our salvation can and should bring us great comfort and peace. It teaches us about the tremendous nature of God’s grace extended toward us as sinful creatures. From the beginning of time, God knew He would save us! This should make each of us not only sit in stunned awe, but it should also help us to understand that in our certainty of sanctification…

II. Christians can be secure in their salvation! (vv. 31-34)

1. Paul taught that believers can be secure in sanctification’s certainty because of their salvation! Paul immediately asks a very pertinent question: “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” The answer is: No one can be against us, not even us! No one can condemn us! Yet, in our spiritual insecurity, we often try to do so ourselves. We often live such guilty lives it smacks of having spiritual neurosis. And the truth is, we do not have to at all. Paul emphatically states that “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Yes, He will! God’s plan for salvation “reaches from eternity past to eternity future which God will carry out perfectly!” Paul then continues by asking, “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?” Will Satan? Sure, but his accusations will be thrown out of court, so-to-speak. God will not even listen. Why? Because “It is God who justifies.” And it is only Jesus Christ who can truly condemn us, but it is He “who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us!” “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!” (Romans 8:1) In the certainty of our sanctification, Christians can be secure in their salvation!

EXAMPLE: My mother is not a believer. Yet one thing she used to tell us is that she honestly believed that God had given each of her children to her long before “time began.” In her motherly instinct she realized a spiritual truth: God knows us intimately and has known us long before we were born and long before time began. Predestination teaches us that God predetermined at the beginning to make us secure in our salvation. Jesus taught about His ability to keep those who trust Him. He related, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:28-30) In the certainty of their sanctification, Christians can be secure in their salvation.

Can you imagine the fact that you have God’s one and only Son, seated in the heavenly realm, at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for you -- right now!? WOW! You see Jesus is so much more than our “good buddy.” He is the reason we can even approach God in prayer. It is because of Him we can rest assured in our sanctification. It is Jesus who makes us holy, not ourselves. But more than that, we are victorious in Christ. In the certainty of our sanctification, Paul would tell us that…

III. Christians are more than conquerors in Jesus Christ! (vv. 35-39)

1. Sanctification’s certainty teaches the believer that they are victorious in life no matter what the outward circumstances! Paul asks his final question here: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” And of course the answer is nothing can and no one can! No disaster and no personage can separate us from the provisional presence of the love of Jesus Christ! God not only knows us ahead of time, but He provides for us in the here and now! In fact, so pervasive is God’s love for us through Jesus that Paul relates that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” We enjoy an overwhelming victory in Jesus! In fact there is nothing in all the universe, “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” God is at work in all circumstances of life for our good, to conform us into the likeness of His Son Jesus Christ. That is the certainty of our sanctification. Christians are more than conquerors in Jesus Christ!

EXAMPLE: Victory is not secure until your enemy is completely vanquished and defeated. How can you have a victory when the enemy still has captured land or resources to battle you? In our day there are those who may disagree with what or how the war in Iraq has gone. But no matter what you believe about how it has been handled or why it was started in the first place, one thing is certain: In order to defeat the enemy there we have to be completely victorious. Pulling out too soon or leaving an unsettled condition would be disastrous. It would be like after the Vietnam conflict, after we had pulled out, the Democratic controlled Congress stopped funding and sending arms to the Vietnamese people. Within 18 months their country was taken over by Communist forces. It was horrible for Vietnam and Cambodia where literally millions of people were slaughtered, imprisoned, and tortured. Praise God that He never leaves us in an unsettled state spiritually. In our certainty of sanctification, we know that Christians are more than conquerors in Jesus Christ!

Christians are predetermined to be saved; Christians can be secure in their salvation; and Christians are more than conquerors in Jesus Christ!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Our Goal for Sanctification! - Romans 8:18-27
by Pastor Lee Hemen
January 21, 2007

Most people in our day and age do not like to wait for anything patiently. If we do not get what we want, when we want, and in the way we think we should have gotten it all along, we will fuss, moan, and gripe about it until we do. We live in an age when adults act like children all their lives and are encouraged to. This convoluted thinking has infected the Christian church as well. Gone are the days of self-sacrifice. Gone is the call to placing others first. Gone is the teaching that we are to be working to establish the kingdom of God here on earth, before He returns. Gone is the call to live holy lives for the Lord. Rather, we live in an age where we seek first our kingdom, our way of living, and our a happiness and to heck with anything that gets in our way, even our faith! Christianity has become a self-serving concept, instead of a life-changing revolution. Christians have forgotten what they are to live for. Our goal is to live for Christ. A life of sanctification.

Believers want the good life fast and have accepted any theology that gives it to them the quickest way possible. This includes their future existence and their daily way of life now. Purpose driven drivel and an ABC way of living a holy life in the shortest possible way sells books and seminars. Sadly, this is not what Scripture teaches us. So, few read the Bible because when they do they are faced with the startling truth of what our real goal for sanctification is: Live it! Here in Romans, Paul relates for us our goal for sanctification. Let’s discover what it means for our lives now and for the future.

READ: Romans 8:18-27

When I was a kid I remember the old commercials that promised us, “Relief is just a swallow away!” We live in a day when people think that medicine and doctors should always cure us and never make mistakes. Major pharmaceutical companies ply their goods on national TV asking the consumer to get their doctor to prescribe the latest miracle cure. In fact, we are so afraid of suffering pain or discomfort, whether emotionally or physically, we will do just about anything to make sure we do not have to face it in our lives. So it comes as a shock to our sensitivities when we read the Apostle Paul telling us that our goal for sanctification is…

I. Christians suffer now, to be free later! (vv. 18-21)

1. What we go through in this life is nothing compared to what we will one day enjoy! Can you imagine that you have just suffered a tremendous personal tragedy and the person you want to talk to about it responds by saying, “I consider that your present suffering is not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in you one day.” Most of us would be personally hurt and indignant. Yet, this is exactly what Paul tells his fellow Christians in Rome! Why does he do this? Is he intentionally being cruel? NO! Paul reminded them that if they were indeed God’s children, then they would also share in His suffering. The same is true for us as well! We do not want to face this fact as believers, but let me remind you of something: We all will experience suffering in our life because we live in a “frustrated” (sin-fallen) world! Expect it! Bad things happen to good people! But what is more, we will “suffer” for our faith if we are actually living it for the Lord! Jesus related to His followers, “Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also…. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.” (John 15:20-21) However, Paul also tells his readers that Christians will one day have liberation along with all of creation from the bondage of suffering and death when we are “brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God!” WOW! Christians suffer now, to be free later!

EXAMPLE: Anyone who has gone through physical therapy knows that you have to suffer pain in order to regain what you have lost. We often forget that the same can be true for our spiritual lives as well. I remember when my little dog Lucky broke his rear leg. After it healed, the Vet told me to take him out everyday, stretch his leg, and play fetch with him. At first he would cry, whimper, and not really want to play. It was kind of like, he did, but he did not like the pain. After a few weeks however, he was running and jumping like before, the accident and pain forgotten. It can be tough for us to go through suffering either physically or spiritually, but when we do we can never forget that we suffer now, to be free later. It is true with all physical or spiritual therapy.

We have been sold to the concept that pain or suffering is bad, but it is not. Remember way back in Romans 5:3-5 when Paul related that we are to “rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us”? Was Paul insane or did he like to experience pain on a personal level? No, Paul was sure of his faith! He knew that this life is but a mere moment in time compared to eternity. A day is coming when all creation will be free of all corruption. A day of redemption and restoration awaits the believer. This is why Paul would continue by relating that our goal for sanctification means that…

II. Christians inwardly groan now for what they one day will outwardly experience! (vv. 22-25)

1. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. It has because it has been afflicted with an incurable condition: SIN! If you are sick, hurting, or in pain you often groan and wonder if there could ever be any relief. All of creation is the same, it is seeking relief from its sinful condition! Paul adds something interesting here though. He relates that not only does a sin-fallen creation groan about its condition, but “we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies!” An orphaned child can know they are adopted, but it is not real until their adopted parents come, take them into their arms, love them and take them home! The same is true for the Christian! It is one thing to know you have been redeemed spiritually, but it is a whole different thing to experience it physically! Paul is trying to give the Roman church encouragement. He is telling them that their hope in Jesus is sure and secure: “For in this hope we were saved.” Paul knew that “we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling” (2 Corinthians 5:2). “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal!” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) This is why Paul related “we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” (Romans. 8:25) Paul knew that that our goal for sanctification means that Christians inwardly groan now for what they one day will outwardly experience!

EXAMPLE: Have you ever hurt yourself, say like smacking your arm or hand and it hurts so much that all you can do is kind of jump around, rub your appendage, and moan a lot? We probably all have. It is kind of funny but usually those around us, when this occurs, try to talk with us to get us to tell them just how bad it really hurts! So there you are, pain gushing up your arm or hand, and someone is asking you, “Does it hurt?” “Where does it hurt?” “How bad does it hurt?” All you can think of at the time is that if God could only silence one of His lambs for just s few seconds so you could suffer in excruciating silence how wonderful it would be! Now, have you ever experienced a “good pain?” When you hit your funny bone, and the pain hurts but it feels good all at the same time? Now why in God’s green earth does that happen? I am not sure but what I am sure of is the fact that Christians inwardly groan now, for what they will one day outwardly experience!

Christians can be frustrated with what life brings their way. Often though, I have discovered that life is usually what we decide to make of it. For the believer prayer must be an intricate part of our lives. If we fail to pray, we will fail to discern God’s desire for our lives. We will miss what God is doing in the midst of our suffering and perhaps the reason why. Yet, Paul teaches us that in this there too is hope. In fact, we discover that our goal for sanctification means that …

III. In all of this, Christians are never alone! (vv. 26-27)

1. Just as we hope for what we do not see, we have someone who helps us -- that we do not see! Paul relates that “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.” What weakness would that be? During times of suffering, we may not understand why we are going through what we are. We may become confused as to how we should seek God during these times. Paul says that, often because of our sin condition and the suffering we face, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” Jesus promised that “He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:13b) We discover that this has nothing to do with praying in tongues, as some would like to suggest. The groaning is done totally by the Holy Spirit, not believers, and is not stated in words we would understand. It is with “with groans that words cannot express.” How is this possible? Paul teaches us that God, “who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” During times of trial we may become totally inadequate to the task set before us, but God has provided for us even during this time! He gives us one who can utter the right word for us at just the right time! The glorious truth is that in our goal for sanctification, in the midst of all this world of suffering, Christians are never alone!

EXAMPLE: A teenage girl told me one time that she was “never going to pray again for anything.” I asked her why. She related that God “never” answered her prayers. So I asked her to relate to me exactly how she prayed to God and perhaps this would give me a clue as to why God seemed like He was not listening. She began, “Oh God, I need You to do this for me…” and continued with “I need this done right away…” which was followed by “Lord, I love You and You know how much I love my boyfriend, so help him to love me more…” It was not hard to discover the focus of her prayer. Then there was the elderly lady who would softly grunt when we prayed together. Not a “yes, Lord” or “Amen,” but grunting. It went something like this: I would pray and she would respond with “Ugh!” “Oh!” “Ah!” “Argh!” I found this to be a little disconcerting until I asked her why. She responded by telling me that she felt it “unnecessary to clutter up God with a lot of words,” that in fact God could understand all her needs just fine even before she prayed them! Prayer may escape us, but God never does! And He listens well. In this life, in that our goal for sanctification, God has someone who already interprets our prayers for us.

Paul teaches us some wonderful truths concerning our goal for sanctification: Christians suffer now, to be free later; Christians inwardly groan now for what they one day will outwardly experience; and in all of this, Christians are never alone!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Dynamics of Sanctification! - Romans 8:1-17
by Pastor Lee Hemen
January 7, 2007

The question that logically arises when we as believers are faced with sin or temptations that overwhelm us is: “Must we as Christians spend our whole life frustrated by ongoing defeats to sin in our life?” We learned what Paul wrote on this issue last time when we looked at Romans 7 and came away with the answer that there is a power provided to achieve victory in the life of a believer – Jesus Christ! It is a fact that children always want to know if they are protected or not. In reality, if the physical or psychological protection a child receives is hindered in any way, they usually grow up emotionally stunted in some way. The same is true for the children of God when they do not grow in the Lord and remain spiritually stunted to their sin. In chapter 8, Paul describes for us the ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God who is the source of divine power for sanctification and the secret for spiritual victory in the Christian’s daily living.

In the movie King Kong the giant ape sits onstage lifeless and in chains. He is the picture of the believer, while having all the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives, sit around dejected and defeated because of habitual sin. Only when the great ape is finally motivated by anger and the search for the blond Ann Darrow does he break free. While Kong is ultimately betrayed and killed, the Christian has a greater hope and power in their lives. The believer has the power to ultimately break the bondage of sin in their lives for good and Paul teaches us how through the dynamics of sanctification. Let’s find out what he teaches us today…

READ: Romans 8:1-17

The believer can be saved eternally, but not live a victorious life. How so? Paul explains for us a marvelous truth that many do not understand concerning living a holy life. Paul teaches us that in the dynamics of sanctification…

I. Christians are not condemned for their daily sin (vv. 1-4)!

1. Christians are not condemned for their daily sin because of the law of grace. (Accountable yes.) Paul basically asks the question we all do, “If I am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin, what does this mean for me?” What can I do to “save” myself? The answer: NOTHING! Why? Because there is no condemnation, Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death! His grace covers us. However, only by daily living in unity with Jesus can believers break the power of sin in their lives that wants to overwhelm them. God has given us eternal grace and grace for daily living. Jesus taught that “Apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Legislation can only make something wrong, but it cannot make anyone lawful. Why? People have to decide to follow it or not! Paul relates that “For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” The first dynamic of sanctification is that Christians are not condemned for their daily sin because of Jesus Christ, but we can live for him daily and have victory over sin!

EXAMPLE: Not only did Jesus come in the “appearance as a man,” (Philippians 2:8) but he freed “those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Hebrews 2:15) This is where those who try to be “good enough,” will always fail. They misunderstand what Paul teaches us concerning the dynamics of sanctification. They think that they can become holy by doing good things, but it can never happen. Christianity is a contact sport. The believer must stay in contact with the one who paid the price for their sin. Just as a Tri-met Max Train must stay in contact with the electrical lines overhead, so too the believer with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. A Max train is just so much junk without power. We can be saved, but not moving for the Lord. Grace is not stored up, but it always flows through Jesus. He has given us all we need in Him. Christians are not condemned for their sin, they are covered by God’s grace. We need to walk in it.

Paul knew we would immediately have questions regarding the spiritual truth he was teaching concerning the dynamics of sanctification. So he uses a comparison of two contrasting ways of living. He teaches us concerning the dynamics of sanctification that…

II. Christians are not controlled spiritually as the world is (vv. 5-11)!

1. First, there are those “who live according to the sinful nature.” A person’s decision on how they are going to live determines how they think about things. Those who live according to their sinful nature, “have their minds set on what that nature desires.” These people are spiritually blinded because “death” controls their lives: “The mind of sinful man is death.” Their whole life is focused on sin! In fact, Paul tells us that “the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” Have you ever wondered about those who are ungodly, why they are so caught up in it? They focus continually on their emotions. What satisfies their “needs.” The things of the world dominate their lives. These people are spiritually dead in their sin. “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.”

2. Second, there are those who are controlled by the Spirit of God! The best way to live is to tenaciously place yourself under the control of the Spirit! Why? Because “those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” It is a deliberate act of will on the part of the Christian. In fact the Christian finds a different focus in life than the degenerate world does because “the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” Have you ever noticed how a dynamic believer does not allow money, personal gain, emotions, or other things influence their lives? They have found “peace” by walking with God! Jesus taught “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” (John 14:27) You cannot ever experience it if God does not live in you in the first place! You cannot “fake it.” Why? Paul writes that “if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” However, “if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” Christians are not controlled spiritually as the world is. It is a dynamic of sanctification.

EXAMPLE: I had a very good friend, a believer, who could not figure out why he continually had to fight anger in his life. Yet he loved to go to horror movies. Any horror movie. In fact, he was fascinated with them. I asked him why. He could not adequately explain it to me. So I related that perhaps there was a connection spiritually. Like all children we want to rebel. So he was rebelling by watching things he knew he should not because it encouraged in him a lifestyle that was not consistent with the “peace” of Christ. To his credit he immediately quit and his whole spiritual dynamic changed. Now, if he were a Pentecostal, he would have blamed it on a demon, but in reality it was his own rebellion. When he willingly gave that area of life over to the Lord it became controlled by the Spirit of Christ. Did he have to fight the urge once in a while? Yes. But in Christ he could. Christians are not controlled spiritually as the world is. We have the grace of God -- a dynamic of sanctification.

Paul knew that great privilege involves tremendous responsibility. Paul reminds his readers that the assurance of the resurrection by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit places them under a powerful obligation. Not that they could in anyway save themselves or gain any merit, but that they owed a priceless debt as believers! The final dynamic of sanctification Paul teaches us is that…

III. Christians are obligated to live as God’s children (vv. 12-17)!

1. What we once were has no claim on us in Jesus Christ! We are not obligated to obey the desires of our earthly nature. We know that the wages of sin is DEATH! Paul relates that the dynamic of sanctification teaches us that “if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live!” We are “sons of God” and we need to live like it! Paul boldly states “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.” If you continually allow sin to control you, whom do you belong to? The Christian, however, will continually want to live for Jesus: “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:15-16) It is our way of life! What we must understand is that it is not dependent upon us. If it were, we would fail a thousands times a day. But “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power…! (1 Peter 1:3-4) When we are convicted to live for God we know we are God’s children because “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” And “if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ!” We are God’s children in our struggle with sin and as his children we are obligated to live like it!

EXAMPLE: Children can be disobedient and sometimes even disrespectful, yet they are still our children. I can remember that after the “peanut butter” incident where I tricked my brother into a face full of creamy Skippy ™ I was confronted by my Dad. Of course I was punished for my misbehavior, but later Dad came into my room, sat down beside me, put his arms around me and said, “While I am right now disappointed in you, I still love you.” And that’s the way a loving father always treats his children. The same is true for God. While He may not like the sin we do, He still loves us and that can never change because we became His children not through physical birth, but spiritually. (John 1:12-13) When we are His, He expects more out of us. Not to gain more grace, but to live for His Son and our Savior: “if indeed we share in his sufferings” it is so “that we may also share in his glory.” Christians are obligated to live as God’s children.

The dynamics of sanctification Paul teaches us are simple: Christians are not condemned for their daily sin, Christians are not controlled spiritually as the world is, Christians are obligated to live as God’s children.