Daily Devotional with Dr. Charles Stanley @ InTouch.org
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Sanctification Isn’t Passive
Read | 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Did you know that God didn’t save you just to keep you from hell and get you into heaven? His top priority while you are here on earth is to shape you into the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). But at this stage of our sanctification, He doesn’t do it all for us. We have a responsibility to cooperate with Him and actively participate in the process. Yet many Christians have a passive attitude about the life of faith. They tolerate sin and smooth it over with the age-old excuse, “Nobody’s perfect!”
When you received Christ as your Savior, you took the first step in your walk with Him–a walk that will last the rest of your life. However, you also stepped into spiritual warfare with Satan. The Enemy may have lost your soul, but he’s going to do everything he can to hinder, sidetrack, and discourage you. The last thing he wants is a saint who’s on fire for the Lord and useful in the kingdom.
But many believers have abdicated their responsibility to live holy lives. In fact, some of them look and act just like the unbelieving world. Sexual immorality is one area of compromise that the apostle Paul addressed specifically, but in truth, we should abstain from anything that interferes with godliness.
Have you allowed something in your life that shouldn’t be there? If so, you need to drop it now. You don’t want a thread of sin to become a rope, then a chain, and finally a cable that traps you in a stronghold. Turn back to the Lord, and let your sanctification continue.
1 Thessalonians 4 (NKJV)
Plea for Purity
Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; 2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.
A Brotherly and Orderly Life
9 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10 and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; 11 that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.
The Comfort of Christ’s Coming
13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.