The Santifying Work of the Holy Spirit
by Danna Appleby
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Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. 2 Cor. 6:17-18
The monarch butterfly is one of God’s most elegant creations. It is not only delightful to look upon as it flutters from flower to flower, but is also unique in form. The monarch does not come by such splendid existence from its beginning, but is something that develops over time.
The monarch looks unsightly as it emerges from its cocoon, but as it continues to go through a series of changes, becomes all it’s destined to be. Later, what was unsightly becomes radiant and beautiful. Soon the monarch spreads its wings, ready for a life of graceful flight.
Several years ago, the Lord began teaching me a number of lessons through what I called “word lessons.” Lately, the word “change” seems to be springing up. I decided to do research and found synonyms of “change.” In this writing, you will see those synonyms which reflect the spiritual state of man and how God wants us to change to become more like Him.
It came to me that just as the monarch must go through changes, Christians must endure many modifications if we’re to become all God has called us to be.
We must allow God to mold, modify, transform, sanctify and purify this contrary flesh of ours. (Gal. 5:16-22) After all, the Word confirms that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matt. 26:41) We need a lot of help to get us through the process, and God will be faithful to make any transformations necessary if we’ll only allow Him to.
There must be a departure from the way we were when we first came to Christ. Many modifications of our character may be necessary along the way. In other words, the Father may have to make some adjustments. Some of those alterations may be uncomfortable when we go through the refining process, but will be for our good to develop us. (Rom. 5:4)
Many times the Master Potter may have to tweak something in us or make an adjustment just as a mechanic might fine-tune an automobile engine. We may even need a major overhaul. I’ve needed some of those over the years!
The great thing about the Father is that He is so patient, no matter how much reconstruction we may need. The Holy Spirit will give us a nudge at just the right time to show us when He sees us veering off the path. Other times, He may need to take a nip or tuck to enhance our overall appearance. But the sanctifying work of the Spirit continues in His faithfulness to help us. (1 Pet. 1:2)
Just as the monarch is not attractive in its formation stage, when we first come to Christ, our hearts are far from attractive, dark and unsightly. But when the Master Potter goes to work, we become as priceless jewels, glistening in the Father’s eyes.
One vital word that came out of my study was “sanctify.” As we change, the Holy Spirit continually sanctifies, purifies and sets us apart from the world. All of that is done only through the sanctifying work of the Spirit.
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. (2 Thess. 2:13)
Sanctification is the process of being made holy. How is that possible? As we seek the face of God and allow the Holy Spirit to reign in our hearts, it will be done. We can’t do it for ourselves, but only with God’s help.
Sanctification is an ongoing process and when we’re born again, that is the first step to start the sanctifying process. (1 Cor. 1:2) We can read about the Apostle Paul when he wrote a letter to the church at Corinth, which was a wicked city. The church continued to act like they did before they became Christians with their jealousy and quarreling. Paul told them they were worldly, even though they were supposed to be sanctified Christians. (1 Cor. 3:2-3)
Worldliness will not get us anywhere with God, because He is holy and desires us to be blameless and without spot or blemish just as He. (Col. 1:21-22) Some Christians believe they can have one foot in the world and God will close His eyes to their ways. They believe they can continue doing many of the things they did before they received Christ, but Scripture tells us we’re the temple of the Holy Spirit. If that be so, we cannot live our lives with one foot in the world and please God. (1 Cor. 3:16)
We must be careful where we go, how we talk, how we dress, what we allow ourselves to think. We’re to move away from the old desires, habits and customs and move toward Christ. As we move toward Him, He will move toward us and transform us into His holy people. (James 4:8) We must remember that we are Christ’s ambassadors, and people are watching to see what we do, where we go, and are listening to our every word. (2 Cor. 5:20)
Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is. (Rom. 12:2)
Father, I honor You because of Your divine holiness and purity. I pray that we will see more than ever that You want us to live sanctified, pure and holy lives, since You are indeed holy. Help us to walk in the Spirit every day and draw closer to You. We will be changed as we stay in Your presence. We seek Your face and ask You to renew, remake, change and mold us. Shape our lives into what You desire for us. We love You and want to please You in every way dear Father. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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