20 Kasım 2012 Salı

What is Sanctification in the Book of Romans?

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This gorgeous fall tree is in our neighbor's yard.
    What is sanctification all about?  Don't let this long word make you think it's theological jargon that can't apply to you.  In the first chapters of Romans it's pretty clear that all God's got to work with on this earth are sinners.  But how does God after appearing to us  and causing us to believe in Him (Remember the account of Abraham in Romans 4 in the last blog?) change us inwardly? That's where the word sanctification comes in.  

     When we're regenerated, the life of God comes into us, right?  But is that it?  Through the enlightening ministry of Witness Lee  and Watchman Nee I have seen that this is just the beginning of a life long journey--a journey of sanctification.  Now in order to understand this word properly you have to know that there's both positional sanctification which occurs when we're regenerated--our position before God changes because we are now redeemed ones.  But there's also a dispositional sanctification which needs to take place and this relates to how God changes all the parts of our heart that have been corrupted, bent, and damaged because of man's fall that took place way back in Genesis 3.  

  I was reading message 11 last week that talks about sanctification, but it made me think back to Witness Lee's classic illustration of sanctification given in message 1.  I took some pictures to go along with the illustration.  I had some tea with a transparent bag so you can actually see the herbs: 
What does it mean to be sanctified?  Once again we may use the illustration of tea.  If we put tea into a glass of plain water, the water will be "teaified."  At best, we are plain water, although we are actually not plain, but dirty.  Even if we are plain water, we lack the tea flavor, the tea essence, and the tea color.  We need the tea to come into our very being.  Christ Himself is the heavenly tea.  Christ is in us.  Hallelujah!

I took this picture just seconds after putting in the tea bag.
     ... Christ is in us doing a transforming and sanctifying work, just as the tea, when put into the water, works the element of tea into it.  
Eventually the water will be wholly "teaified."  It will have the appearance, the flavor, and the taste of real tea.

 If I serve some of this beverage, I will be serving you tea, not plain water.   ... If I were to ask you whether or not you have been justified, you would all reply, "Hallelujah!  We have been justified because Christ has accomplished redemption. ... However, what about sanctification?  Have you been sanctified?   ... However, I am not talking about being improved, but being sanctified--that is to have Christ wrought into our very being, just as the essence, flavor, and color of the tea are wrought into the water.  This is sanctification" (Romans Life Study, Page 12-13).  

I have heard and read this illustration numerous times, and it's one of the best ways to explain what the Lord is doing within us day by day.  As I was taking these pictures, I thought about a verse in Ephesians that says:   That He might sanctify her (the church), cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word, (Ephesians 5:26).  Every day when we come prayerfully to the word of God more of the "tea" permeates our heart and cleanses us, and this sanctifies us!

Other Blogs on the Life Studies of Romans:

Life Study of Romans: Romans is the Gospel of God

How Did God Call Abraham?

What is Sanctification in the Book of Romans?

Last year I started re-reading the Life Studies of the New Testament. If you click on the Life Study tab, you can find other titles that may interest you.

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