A Scriptural Study Newsletter

edited by Elder Vernon Johnson

How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel  of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

 

Sanctification

With this essay we will begin a series of essays on the subject of "Sanctification." This is a very broad, yet needful, subject matter for us as God's children to understand.

The word, "sanctify," means to "separate or to set apart." There are several key words in this subject that have similar or the same meaning. These words are holy, sanctify, saint, separate, and consecrate. These English words are translated from the same or similar Hebrew and Greek words. For instance the words holy and saint are translated from the Greek word "hagios." Whereas the word, "sanctification," is translated from "hagiasmos" and the words, "sanctify," is translated from "hagiazo." A similar pattern is also found in the Hebrew words of the old testament. The Hebrew word, "qodesh," for instance is translated into the following English words:
consecrated thing, dedicated thing, hallowed thing, holiness, holy day, holy portion, holy thing, saint, sanctuary, consecrated, hallowed, holy, most holy place, most holy thing, and most holy.

We will divide our study of the subject of sanctification into three parts. We will first look at how God is separate or set apart. I will confess that I have neither the knowledge nor the time to completely cover all aspects and all details of such a broad subject. Thus our study of this first part will be limited to my knowledge and time I must of necessity limit to this undertaking.

The second part of this study will address the sanctification of God's children. This will be divided into two parts. We will first consider how that God has set us apart for a holy use and then we will consider how that we are to set ourselves apart for the worship and service of God. Again our consideration of this second part will be limited due to time and my limited knowledge.

The third part of this study will address those things that God has instituted such as the church, her service, and the ordinances of the church.

I believe a study of holiness or sanctification is a  worthy endeavor for any child of God to undertake. It is a quest for the knowledge of perfection and a desire to strive for perfection in our lives. Paul wrote in Phil. 3:12 15, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal
even this unto you." I would encourage every one who loves the Lord and loves His word to strive on for perfection, not that we can make ourselves righteous before God, but that we may "apprehend that for which we are apprehended of Christ."

May God add his richest blessings to our efforts as we strive to sanctify ourselves and as we praise Him for his holiness.


Prophet

Moses said in Deut. 18:15 19, "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; according to all that thou desirest of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him."

A prophet is someone who God has appointed, called, and sent to speak the words God has revealed unto him to the people. There were many old and new testament prophets including Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, the minor prophets, Luke, and Mark. The key to understand who Moses is referring to in the above quoted passage of scripture is found in the phrase, "like unto me." Jesus, the Son of God, is that Prophet, who is like unto Moses. The phrase, "like unto me," invites a comparison between "that Prophet" and Moses as a prophet. In John 1:17 we read, "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." God used his prophet, Moses, to deliver the law to the children of Israel. Jesus Christ, as the Prophet, delivered the principles of grace and truth unto us.

When reviewing the work of Moses as a prophet of God we discover some amazing parallels between the work of Moses and work of Jesus. First, Moses was sent of God to deliver the children of Israel out of the bondage of their enemies: Pharaoh and Egypt. Before deliverance came God manifest his miraculous wonders and power upon the Egyptians thru the ten plagues he sent when having Moses stretch forth his rod.  Finally God destroyed Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea as they
pursued after Israel. In similar fashion Jesus came to deliver his people from their enemies: sin, death, grave, hell, and the devil.

Before this deliverance was consummated Jesus manifested the great wonders and power of God thru the multitude of miracles of healing and raising the dead, and preaching the gospel. At the time appointed Jesus destroyed the enemies of his people at his death, burial and resurrection.

Second, Moses was charged of God to build a tabernacle in the wilderness according to the pattern shown unto him in the mount. This tabernacle would be the place of worship and where God would meet with the people. In comparison, Jesus said, "upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Paul in describing the church in Eph. 2:19 22 said, "Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." Whereas Moses and the children of Israel built the tabernacle as a place of worship, Jesus built the church where we worship God in Spirit and truth today.

Third, God delivered thru his prophet, Moses, the laws, ordinances, and precepts of the kingdom of Israel. A good part of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy deal with the order of that kingdom, and how the people were to conduct themselves towards their God and towards one another, as well as the ordinances of worship. In comparison, Jesus Christ came declaring that the Kingdom of God is at hand and setting forth the ordinances and precepts of worship, conduct, and service of his people in the kingdom of God. A great deal of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John deal with the statements of Jesus, "the kingdom of heaven is likened unto..."

Fourth, God used Moses as an instrument in providing for the needs of his people such as providing water by smiting the rock, providing quail, manna, etc. Similarly, we see Jesus feeding the multitude by taking 5 barley loaves and two small fishes and blessing them and breaking them and giving them to the disciples to distribute to the multitude. In like fashion Jesus continues to provide for his people thru the preaching of the gospel today as he calls and sends forth his ministry to preach the word and feed his sheep.

While many individual events could be compared such as Moses turning water into blood and Christ turning water into wine, yet we need to consider the admonition in Hebrews: Heb. 1:1, 2, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his son..."; Heb. 2:1, "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip." We are living in a very dark period of ignorance of God's word by most of the Lord's people.

One old testament passage says, "My people are destroyed because they have no knowledge" and another, "my people are gone into captivity for lack of knowledge." We need to take the attitude of Job who said, "I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food," and of David who said, "Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee."

The Prophet, like unto Moses, has spoken unto us and we need to take heed.
 

Primitive Baptist