Redeemed of God - They are: People who have met Christ Jesus face to face and desperately need the powers he gives and promises he proclaims. Those who have yielded in obedient response to the Savior's summons to discipleship and who have permitted him to be no less than King and Lord of life. Obedient children who have entered into a personal relationship with the Creator-Father and have found it possible to appropriate the fullness of life. Those who have discovered that in Christ, people can be what they were designed to be.|
Fullness of Life - The one who is to find life befitting a creature made in God's image must embrace Christ. And in that relationship they can find fullness of life.
Appropriation is Gradual - Growth toward the full stature of Christ and the consequent appropriation of the fullness of life, which he came to give, assumes a passage of time in the relationship with him. Be that relationship kept vital and intact by daily repentence and renewal, and the passage of hours, of months, and of years in it; and those things that deter the emergence of full life will be rooted out. Transformation will take place. Old things will pass away, and all things will become nes. Those "in Christ" will become new creatures.
The Process of Becoming New is Called Sanctification - Whereas justification changes the status of the sinner in the eyes of God, sanctification changes the person. And as those persons live and dwell in the household of faith, God seeks to share both his character and his nature with his believing children. In the process they are changed degree by degree into Christ's likeness. Such is the character and the intent of a life lived "in Christ."
A Work of the Holy Spirit - Though the power to effect sanctification belongs totally to the work of God's Holy Spirit in us, and though God can and will work the miracle of transformation in every human life that remains in vital relationship with him through Christ, believers cannot take lightly the need of daily repentence and renewal. Nor can they relax either vigilance or a constant warfare against those enemies that threaten the Christian's need to be sanctified, namely, the devil, the world, and the flesh. If the race is to be won and the fight consummated with a victory pleasing to God, then perseverance, a striving after godliness and a consuming dependence upon the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit to make these things possible must characterize the believer's life. When these things are found together, there new persons in Christ will emerge ready to serve him effectively here and to take their place in the eternal mansions which a holy and righteous God prepared for them at the beginning of time.
Growth Presupposes Birth - No adult has ever circumvented either birth or childhood on their way to maturity. Neither are people sanctified who not yet been "born into Christ." But let there be "birth into Christ" and a relationship established with Him that is vital and alive. What then?
Hunger Spurs Growth - People in that kind of relationship discover that the Creator who fashioned the world can create in the human heart the hunger to grow in grace and holiness. Tidbits will not appease those scurrying in search of food that will satisfy and prompts a deliberate effort to grow in the knowledge of God and his will.
Through Regular Worship - Those in whom God is doing sanctifying work come willingly and regularly to God's house to praise the heavenly Father and to hear the proclamation of his Word. Indeed, they consider each Lord's day to be an important appointment with God what must not be broken lest they cut themselves off from the mainstream of nourishment that is essential to growth. Here they receive direction for living and courage for dying, balm for their wounds and comfort in the face of their sorrows, strength that will overcome weakness, and assurance that overcomes doubt.
Through Study of God's Word - The study of God's Word is the banquet table filled with food that will satisfy. The Bible is authoritative, for in it and through it God speaks! The Bible is a fountainhead of power, of blessing, and of life, a wellspring of wisdom, of understanding, and of light, for in it we are confronted with the living Christ and the person of the Holy Spirit. Here the whole account of God's revelation in history and in the person of his Son is laid bare before our eyes, and we are permitted to survey with the saints of the ages the proclamations of people of God who were empowered and inspired to speak His Word on the vital issues that concern both living and dying.
Through Fellowship With Other Saints - Believers need one another and every child in the household has a gift to share. The community of saints are made strong in Christ. The weak are strengthened. The sorrowing are given comfort. The erring are restored. How? Through the lips and the arms of other saints used by God as his instruments for just such things as these. But let a person remain on an island, separated from kinfolk. There is danger that faith might falter and growth may ebb, for even the strong must see the fruits of God's spirit in the lives of other believers; and they must have the boldness that comes in unity lest they be endangered of losing their strenght and becoming weak. It is imperative! Those who desire to be sanctified must seek the fellowhip of other saints.
Through Prayer - "And they must seek, as well, a daily fellowship and communion with God through prayer." (Luke 18:1, Romans 8:26, Ephesians 6:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 1 Timothy 2:8, James 5:16)
Regular Worship, A Study of God's Word, Fellowship With Other Saints, and Prayer are a part of every sanctified life. Where each is practiced with vigilance and with sincerity, transformation is inevitable and sanctification is assured! Such feasting at God's banquet tables: creates new understanding in the human heart; changes a person's sense of values; heightens the believer's awareness of personal sinfulness; drives that believer closer and closer to Christ; increases an awareness of God's loving kindness; broadens a sense of gratitude to God; prompts a growing responsiveness to God's will; enlarges the believer's sense of responsibility in the use of time, talents, and possessions and for moral and spiritual integrity; produces a sacrificial involvement whereby life is lived in the role of a servant and ends in Christlikeness! Such is the nature of a sanctified life.
|Lesson 19 and its symbolism:|
The blooming flower - A right relationship between Christ and the believer issues in the fullness of life.
Flower stem on clock face - The fullness of life does not come suddenly to the believer but evolves gradually as time passes.
Clock's hands catch weeds - Time, in relationship with Christ, roots out those things which deter the emergence of a full life.