God wants us to have a life of faith.
At times in our Christian walk, God may withdraw temporal things in our lives to help us learn deeper spiritual values. Faith, by necessity, must be tried and tested. Biblical faith is having faith when seemingly everything contradicts your decision. Daniel’s friends stood the test of having true faith when faced with certain death. They would rather die a horrible death holding on to their true faith than compromise and live.
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods . . . —Daniel 3:17-18
God may, or may not, reward us on this earth for our faith, but all circumstances He allows in a believer’s life will ultimately be used for good.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. —Romans 8:28)
I am confused about “sanctification.” (A well-known Bible teacher) is teaching that we might need sanctifying again in heaven if we don’t have enough good works here on earth and that we could be refused entrance into the Marriage Supper of the Lamb because we were naked/didn’t have wedding clothes (gained from our good works on earth) and instead be cast into “outer darkness” for 1000 years as sort of punishment and to sanctify us for not having enough righteous acts on earth. What do you think?
That’s ridiculous. The Bible teaches unequivocally that Believers are sanctified for eternity when they are “born again” (John 3:1-8). A “born again” Believer is complete because of what Jesus did on the cross, not because of anything we do while we are on this earth. We cannot add anything to what Jesus has already done 2000 years ago.
and in Him you have been made complete . . . —Colossians 2:10
A person has to be perfectly and permanently cleansed before the Holy Spirit can permanently indwell them. This happens when we are “born again” by the Spirit, made possible because Jesus paid for our sins. That’s why no one in the Old Testament could be born again—have the Holy Spirit permanently live in them—because Jesus had yet to die for their sins. It’s also why the Old Testament Believers couldn’t go to heaven until AFTER the cross—Jesus’ shed blood on the cross paid for their sins and therefore sanctified them and they were able to go to heaven only after the resurrection (Luke 16:19-31; Ephesians 4:9; Matthew 27:51-53).
All of our sins—past, present and FUTURE—were nailed to that cross.
And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. —Colossians 2:13-14
The Bible promises that the Holy Spirit will never leave us. His permanent indwelling is not based on what we do or don’t do, but rather what Jesus did on the cross, confirming that sanctification is permanent/forever.
I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you, —Hebrews 13:5
And we, as created beings, can never leave Him.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, NOR ANY OTHER CREATED THING, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 8:38-39 (CAPS added for emphasis)
Sanctification is discussed at length in the Bible. It’s interesting that a Believer can be both a full-blown sinner and totally sanctified at the same time.
. . . that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me. —Acts 26:18 (“sanctified” is past tense.)
. . . that my offering of the Gentiles might become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. —Romans 15:16 (“sanctified” is past tense.)
. . . those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus . . . —1 Corinthians 1:2 (“sanctified” is past tense.)
By this will [God’s] we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. —Hebrews 10:10 (“sanctified” is past tense.)
For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. —Hebrews 10:14 (“sanctified” is present tense.)
Therefore, Believers, cleansed by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, are already as sanctified as they’ll ever be on this earth. For God to permanently live in us, we have to be 100% sanctified forever. Yet at the same time Believers are dirty rotten sinners, living with the sin nature, until death or The Rapture.
That means we also don’t believe in “progressive sanctification,” whereby someone is getting more sanctified due to their “works” on the earth. We believe we are incapable of doing anything worthwhile on our own, but can do all things through Him (Philippians 4:13).
Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? —Galatians 3:3
Believers can mature in their knowledge of Him and what He desires in them. And Believers can sin and grieve the Holy Spirit.
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. —Ephesians 4:30
But Believers cannot do good works and have them count for squat because it is the Holy Spirit Who does the good, not the Believer.
In summary, there is nothing you can do, or not do, to make yourself more or less sanctified, more or less acceptable to God, or more or less close to God—in this life or the next.
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Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible, copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977. Used by permission.
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