“We find hope and joy in knowing that one day we will be just like Him when we see him face to face and our sanctification will then be complete!”
“You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.”Exodus 31:13
Do you ever get sick and tired of being a sinner? I know I do. All too often, I find myself coveting, complaining, or stuck in a cycle of selfishness. Like Paul, in Romans 7 I say, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” When I am tempted to ask, “How can a holy God love such an unholy person?” I am reminded of the graciousness of our God, the God who sanctifies me.
In Exodus 31, God reveals himself to Moses and the Israelites as Yahweh Mekkodishkem, the Lord who sanctifies you. Sanctify means to consecrate by purification. The Israelites would soon be very familiar with the idea of purification because God was in the process of giving them the instructions for the building of the tabernacle. In these instructions, God set forth various rituals through which the priests, the tabernacle, and the vessels within the tabernacle were to be purified before being used. God gave these rules to show that he is the holy God, perfect in goodness and righteousness, and that the tabernacle was holy because it was his dwelling place. Therefore, God required that before any sinful man could approach his holy presence in his holy dwelling place, that man must first be made holy. In addition to the purification rituals, the priests who approached the presence of God always did so with the blood of atonement which was symbolic as a covering for their sin. All of these were pictures illustrating God’s holiness, man’s sinfulness, and man’s need for atoning blood to make them holy so they could approach God.
For Us Today
Many years later Jesus came as God’s perfect sacrifice for our sin. When Jesus’ atoning blood is applied to our lives and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us at the moment of salvation, we are declared holy before God. He sanctifies us! This sanctification happens when we accept Christ as Savior, yet its application continues throughout our lives. God is currently making us holy by transforming us into His image. This ongoing sanctification process is the Holy Spirit’s working in our lives. He sanctifies us in many ways, and we are called to participate in this work.
We are sanctified…
– by the study of God’s Word. J ohn 17:17; 1 Peter 2:2-3
– by our abiding in Christ and thereby bearing fruit. John 15:3-4
– by the confession and forgiveness of our sins and the pursuit of holiness. 1 John 1:9; 1 Peter 1:14-16 – by responding to the Holy Spirit’s conviction and leading in our lives. Galatians 5:22-25
– by the renewal of our minds. Ephesians 4:22-24
– by trials. James 1:2-4
Through this sanctifying process, the Spirit renews our minds and shapes our wills. He draws us closer to himself, purifies us, and transforms us so that we start to resemble him. He is making us Holy! Our participation in this process is not what makes us holy. No, the beautiful truth about this process is that although we participate in the works which sanctify us, the sanctifying work is done solely through the power of the One who sanctifies us. “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13) Even though we still sin, we can look back at our lives and note how the Holy Spirit has matured us, little by little. We can be encouraged that, as the children’s song goes, “He’s still working on me!”
Our Future Final Sanctification
Currently, as we behold the Lord in His Word, we become more like him. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18) Our sanctification is currently incomplete, but praise the Lord that one day, when we fully behold him, we will be fully transformed. “… we know that when he appears we shall be like him because we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2) We find hope and joy in knowing that one day we will be just like Him when we see him face to face and our sanctification will then be complete!
Yahweh Mekkodishkem, I am so needy before you. How refreshing to know that I don’t have to clean myself up before I come to you, but instead you have declared me holy through Jesus’ blood. Thank you, Lord, for not leaving me in my sinfulness and for patiently transforming me into your image by your Spirit. I can’t wait for the day that I see you in your glory and my transformation is complete! Thank you for being Yahweh Mekkodishkem, the Lord who Sanctifies!