Death is a touching subject, especially if someone experienced the death of a loved one, someone dear to them. Perhaps death is a subject you try to avoid, try not to think about, or imagine it to be something that is surreal, something that does not pertain to you. Perhaps you imagine it as a natural event occurring at an old age, after you have lived an eventful or ‘fruitful’ life.
How much more shall the blood of Christ… purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14)
What are these dead works that are in the conscience of man? They are the remnants of un-enlightenment, remnants of misunderstanding…
CLEANSING FROM DEAD DEEDS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE PERSON CONTINUES TO SIN
Let us use an example here. A man is drowning in a swamp, the dirty water is pulling him deeper and deeper in, and soon he will drown! Someone extends a hand and pulls him out, unto the dry ground and saves him. Does this person have a reason and a right to thank his savior? Of course he does, he almost drowned, died, but now is saved even though the dirty swamp still soaks his clothes and is dripping from him! This example is used to show a person who has come to faith: he was drowning in sinful slime, which penetrated to his flesh, covered his whole body, but by the grace of God, Jesus Christ’s hand was stretched out to him. The hand pulled him out from the swamp of untruth, false beliefs and he is now on the shore of salvation and can rejoice and glorify God. But there still remains the old habits from the swamp, the misunderstandings. And these need to be cleansed, washed, and sanctified until the whole body, soul, and spirit are fully filled with the Spirit of our God!
But this does not mean that the person continues to sin. He lives a life in faith, a renewed life in Jesus Christ in him, and whatever still manifests in him: untruth, deeds of darkness- these are residuals from the previous faith that have no root. They are not fruits of sin because sin itself, the root, the initial unbelief, is gone!
But here in the age of spiritual infancy, there is always a danger of turning away from the truth of which James in Chapter 5 speaks: “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” In the New Testament for someone to sin is to be in a lie, or to be deceived in their faith which can occur to a spiritual infant who is still weak in the Word of Truth. This situation is clearly written in the Epistle to the Galatians, where the message is that the Galatians had sinned because they had turned away from the truth.
“But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (1John 2:27) “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” (Ephesians 5:9)
SPIRITUAL GROWTH IS MEASURED BY SANCTIFICATION
How is infancy measured in God? If a physical baby is born then his growth is measured by days, months, and then years… when a spiritual babe is born and grows, days and months are not counted but rather the fullness of his sanctification, purifying the faith, and becoming free from dead works. James writes about this, “If any man offend (stumble) not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” (James 3:2) He begins like this, “My brethren, be not many masters (teachers), knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.” (James 3:1) “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.” (Hebrews 5:13) And if a young believer still not knowing the word fully makes himself a teacher (which happens often), then what will happen? Many problems may follow.
Being born from God, you are already justified and saved, there are still remnants of darkness left over that need sanctification, purification to the fullness of faith or the fullness of age in Christ (Ephesians 4:11). This is what 1 John in chapters 1, 2, and 3 speaks about. And the entire gospel speaks much about sanctification purification.
The Gospel teaches that our sanctification is Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30). He is our sanctification and growth. He sanctifies and purifies us Himself. We do not control growth and sanctification but rather the Lord does it Himself. We are just required to have faith and allow God to work in us.
SANCTIFICATION CAN ONLY OCCUR WITH NON-HYPOCRITICAL FATIH
In 1 John 1:7 it states that when we are sincere, without hypocrisy and partiality, we walk in good conscience, this means that we walk in the light just as He is in the light, that we are in Him. When there is no hypocrisy, no wickedness, nor partiality- then we have fellowship with one another and the Holy Spirit feeds, illuminates, and sanctifies us on the basis of the blood that Jesus Christ shed for us. If someone is pretending or calculating their moves and words to seem as if they are in faith then there will be no fellowship heart to heart, in which sanctification cannot take place and this kind of person will remain with their untruth.
Sanctification is when secrets become open and apparent, when the hidden is revealed, and it only works in non-hypocritical faith, in good conscience, and love from the heart! (Ephesians 5:12-17, 1 Timothy 1:5).
Therefore, whoever wants to grow and be sanctified needs to sincerely, without guile, cunning, and hypocrisy, reveal and expose their inner self exactly how he walks before God and in God. God will be faithful and He will fulfill his promise!