WE ARE SANCTIFIED BY OBEDIENCE TO THE WORD OF GOD
Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
Notice verse 16. Paul speaks of not being obedient to sin, but being obedient to righteousness. Paul speaks of men as servants, either to unrighteousness, i.e., sin, or righteousness. In verse 21, Paul says the reward for obeying unrighteousness is death, but the fruit of obeying righteousness is holiness, and holiness leads to the eternal life already won for us by Jesus Christ. The point which determines who we will serve is our obedience or disobedience. The goal or desire of obedience is to be holy and without blame before Him, which is His perfect will for us.
Notice, too, the phrase "fruit unto holiness." Paul is speaking here of the fruit of righteousness, which is the fruit of Holy Spirit. Growing in the fruit of the Spirit (the character of Christ) is the "fruit unto holiness" of which he was speaking. Yielding to the growing of this fruit in our lives is obedience to God's purpose for us, and Peter said that the very purpose of sanctification is "unto obedience":
1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
Obedience is to be end result of progressive sanctification before God, an obedience to the call of God, the fruit of our faith in His word:
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit . . .
Romans 1:5 . . . obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:
6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:
7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:
Notice here the call of God: "called to be saints." Do you wonder why God called you? It's rather simple, so simple, but I think every saint at one time or another has confused himself about what God's call is on his life. It is simply this: allow the word to sanctify you to obedience to the truth so you will be holy and blameless before Him. The Scriptures always come back to this, His purpose for calling us. He has called us as saints. What is a "Saint"? "Saints" is taken from a form of the word for sanctification, and W. E. Vine comments:
"a common NT designation of all believers is 'saints,' hagioi, i.e., 'sanctified' or 'holy ones.' Thus sainthood, or sanctification, is not an attainment, it is the state into which God, in grace, calls sinful men, and in which they begin their course as Christians."
We all know the song, "When The Saints Go Marching In." We could very well sing, "When The Holy Ones Go Marching In" or "When The Sanctified Ones Go Marching In" (but it would break the rhythm of the song (smile).
Paul used the phrase "God forbid" fourteen times in Scripture, and Romans 6:2 tells us why:
Romans 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Paul is basically saying, "You're CALLED as saints, the "holy ones," to be obedient to righteousness, to work righteousness out in your life in the fear of God so that one day you can stand holy and without blame before Him! God forbid; how shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"
The problem is we do have a problem with sin because we have not laid hold of the holy calling of a holy God on all our lives. Our flesh, we often find, is at enmity with that call to holiness. It will remain until we die or are changed at His coming at the end of Daniel's 70th week. Sanctification and a walk of holiness does not eradicate our old sin nature as though to make us some kind of unscriptural god-man on the earth that is perfect and never sins. But, sanctification does bring to us into a walk in the character of Christ where sin doesn't shove us around anymore so we do its will. That's why Paul said we have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling by sanctifying ourselves through obedience to the word. When we do, we can rejoice in the following verses:
Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
End of Part 3.
Introduction: Tribulation Preparation: Called To be Holy
Part 1: God Is Holy And His Purpose For Us Is Holiness
Part 2: God Works All Things To Make Us Holy
Part 3: God brings About Our Progressive Sanctification Through His Word
Part 4: The Holy Spirit Works For Our Sanctification
Part 5: God Chastens Us For Our Sanctification
Part 6: Our Working Out Sanctification In Christ Has An End
Part 7: Our Christian Life: It Begins And Ends With Holiness
Part 8: Being Made Holy (Like Him) When He Comes
Part 9: God Shall Judge The World In The Beauty Of His Holiness