Romans 8:10-11 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
In this study we will focus on how we grow as the Holy Spirit guides us in the sanctification process. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 says do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
What we have learned so far about the Holy Spirit has helped us to understand so much of His role in Creation, in His work with the prophets and priests in the Old Testament, we have seen His work in the life and ministry of Jesus, His power in the resurrection of Jesus, His power in the work of redemption in every believer and the power given to every believer to be a witness. Now some may say that they just don’t feel this power or see the evidence of the Spirit in their life. They may not see how they could be used as a witness because their own life is such a mess. This is the part of knowing that we aren’t perfect yet and we are in the process of sanctification. This process is the ongoing, lifelong process of becoming holy. This is where the Holy Spirit works in you to rid the sin in your life and helps you to be more like Jesus. It’s as we see in this 1 Corinthians passage that says that we were once a person that followed our own passions and desires and now we are washed, justified and sanctified.
So in the overall picture of things when we started following Jesus we were justified, that is we now have the verdict of not guilty before God. Also in God’s perspective we are not only redeemed but we are seen as being sanctified or holy already. But as we all know we still have this lingering sinful, unredeemed body that has years and years of corruption within. Our minds have been taught by the world, our bodies have been once filled with our own desires and we live in a society that is bent towards sin. Even though God sees us as holy, we often can look and see the utter failure to be obedient. This is how Paul explained his battle with sin in Romans 7:15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
This should be the cry of every believer. We all will sin but it should be our desire to grow. This desire to grow happens because of the Holy Spirit that lives within us. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 says But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.. We see once again that the Spirit is the one that brings us through this sanctification process. So we might ask how does the Spirit do this?
What is the evidence of this in my life?
So we are going to look at some very important facts about how this sanctification process works but before getting to much into that let’s know that we need to follow the guidance that the Holy Spirit gives to us.
We must understand that our sanctification is Our responsibility. Yes I said it, we can’t just expect to get saved, go to church and everything is just going to be removed out of our life. It takes our effort to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading and to follow the commands given to us. Once again we turn to another word from one of Paul’s epistles in Philippians 2:12-13 that says Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
So we see it is God working in us but it is our command to work out our salvation. I just need to mention that this does not say to work for your salvation. The salvation we see that needs working out in each believer is the area of personal sanctification or holiness. How do we do this?
Is it by going to church?
Is it by saying a prayer wanting to be changed?
I’ll answer that those things can be important to sanctification but we must first follow the instructions given to us in the Scriptures. So for our first look at how the Holy Spirit works to sanctify us we need to know and follow His instructions in the Holy Spirit inspired Holy Bible(The Word of God).
1.Holy Bible(The Word of God).
John 17:17-19 says Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. Jesus came to this world to be the sacrifice for our sins. He came to testify to the world and show us the Father but now has left and that makes us to be witnesses for Him. We can’t be witnesses to something we don’t know anything about and we aren’t to be witnesses to just a movement. We are called to be witnesses to the world we live in and that witness is that Jesus came to die for our sins and has brought salvation to all that believe. As you know though if you’ve ever talked with anyone about religion or anything, people will ask questions. The Bible says it like this in 1 Peter 3:15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.
This verse is clear that we are to be prepared because as we live for Christ we will be questioned of the hope we have. People will see that even through the toughest trials and temptations we can keep our faith in the only true and living God. So we see the importance of knowing the Word of God and having this knowledge but how do we know the Word?
We can’t just read the Bible and think we are going to have the wisdom we need. We need the Holy Spirit to help us in every way to know the true meaning of the Scriptures. When we allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us it’s not by some voice in our head, some supernatural mystical feeling or some vision but we look into the authority of the Scriptures, the Word of God. We have seen that Jesus prayed that we would be sanctified through the Word which is the truth. The fact is really all we need for instruction on how to live or direction in any area of life is found within the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
So the point I really want to bring to our attention is that the Holy Spirit is the one that inspired the Scriptures and it is with the Scriptures that He first wants us to go to for instruction and direction. This means that we read and study the Scriptures on an every day basis. We don’t wait for some special word to come down from heaven, or some inner inspiration or some vision that helps us along, no we look into the Scriptures and find the truth within and allow God to then work in us. This helps us in every area of life, we will see our sin, we will see the answers to how to witness to that family member or co-worker, we will see the instructions on how to live a life away from our own selfish desires and we will learn how to grow so that we will be useful for every good work as it says in 2 Timothy 3. So if we first get into the Scriptures we know which direction to go, we then will see that there is a change within us as He produces Fruit or good values within us.
2.Fruit of the Spirit
What we will learn from this concept is that the Spirit which produces fruit within us produces fruit as we walk in the Spirit. This indicates the same thing that we have seen in reading and studying the Scriptures. This walk is a step by step, day by day, daily battle to walk as the Spirit leads us. Once again we can’t expect to rid sin out of our life if we are still living in it. We must choose to walk differently. Galatians 5:16 says But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
We are to walk along or in step with the Holy Spirit as He guides us. This is the work of the Spirit that Jesus told us about in John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
He will teach us, He will help us as we take the steps away from the fleshly desires but we must first listen to Him through the Word of God. What we need to see is that He desires to see us grow in every area of our life. Paul desired this for the Colossian church and God desires that we would be the witnesses He’s called each of us to be. Listen to Paul as he encourages the people at Colossae in Colossians 1:9-12 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
He desires to see us grow but we must take responsibility to get into the Word and decide each day to walk by the Spirit’s guidance as we are directed in the Word of God.
Where do you stand as you examine where you are before the Holy God?
Have you been justified?
Then you should be in the sanctification process that could be looked at as the pruning that God does to His children from John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. If He’s pruning you then you are His. If you’ve never felt this then maybe you are reading this because you need to be justified before God. This is only done by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are seen as holy already before God then I urge to to walk in the manner of the Lord as He guides you by His Spirit. In the next study we will see how the Spirit produces gifts in each of us to be used for His glory alone.