1 Peter 1:17-23
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Sanctification, it is the process of being made holy. It is the part of our Christian lives where we are made increasingly more Holy. It is the process where we become more and more like Christ, it is happening when we read our bibles and receive the sacraments, It's fruits are the fruits of the Spirit. Sanctification is seen when we become more loving, and joyful, where we are blessed with peace and patience, we become kinder, our goodness and gentleness overflows to those around us, our faithfulness is increased and we are blessed with self-control.
Sanctification the process which makes us more and more like Christ is where good works flow through us. As we are sanctified we become more selfless giving more of ourselves to God and other people. It is where we follow God's commands to a stricter and stricter sense. Where we hit the mark more often, our temptations are conquered more often and the sins which we commit are less.
Sanctification is what Peter is talking about in our reading, where he tells us to live in reverent fear of the one true God, who we call Father. Sanctification is where we have genuine mutual love, and love one another deeply from the heart. Sanctification is where the old evil Adam stays dead for longer and the new Adam, the holy child of God wins out.
Now in Lutheran theology Sanctification is the third part of the Law. First is the curb that stops us from murdering our sisters and brothers, next is the mirror which shows us how we have failed God, and failed to fear him, and third is the rule, the guide for how we should live our lives as Christians. The guide for how we should live our lives after we have repented of our sins and received forgiveness through Christ's sacrifice.
Sanctification is the answer to "what now?" after we have been convicted of our sins and forgiven, and for me sanctification creates some of my greatest struggles.
The second use of the Law is easy to hear. As I'm sure you do as well, I know many of the places where I have failed, not all, but many of them. The deceiver loves bringing up old faults and tempting us into new ones. He uses our weakness to breed more weakness, binds us with our sin and brings us to despair. The Holy Spirit working through God's Word also shows me my sin, but graciously the Holy Spirit brings me to the foot of the cross instead where I see all my sins paid for.
The Holy Spirit works through God's Word reminding me that though I was a slave to sin I have been ransomed from the futile way of life that I inherited. I have been ransomed from the bonds of sin that have been on mankind since the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden. Ransomed; not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.
This Gospel is preached by the Holy Spirit Through God's word, and received first at baptism and continually in the confession and absolution of sins and the body and blood of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner, you are all sinners. But Christ is stronger than your sin and has paid your dept, ransomed your souls, and brought you into the loving presence of your heavenly Father. By the gift of the Holy Spirit when you hear the good news preached I pray your souls are lifted up. that you are strengthened by the Holy Spirit. That you grow in confidence in God's mercy for you and the redemption now and for eternity that Christ earned for you, trusting that, Just as Peter through the Holy Spirit wrote, "You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God"
After this good news has been preached to us, even as this good news is being preached to us we are being sanctified. This good news makes us holy as it is proclaimed that by God's grace you have been made holy. A concept that I had drilled into me at SEM speaks wisdom to this. "now but not yet."
Now. but not yet.
this is our life as Christians, we are Holy now, but at the same time, not yet. we are sinless now, but at the same time not yet. Right now through the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the Ransom that Jesus paid in his blood in your body and soul the Law has been perfectly fulfilled. but also right now you are struggling to keep God's Law and fear God faithfully. We have been sanctified and we are being sanctified.
Each time we stumble and repent, receiving God's forgiveness we are being sanctified. Each time when through the grace of God we keep to his commandments it is not our work but the work of the Holy Spirit in us. We do not take credit for when God does good works through us and I encourage you to not turn to despair when your good works are lacking. Turn to God, cry out to God that you are not strong enough, and through the Spirit and his word he will remind you that he is. when you struggle to believe in God and his promises seek wise council, seek your brothers and sister in Christ who will aid you in your struggles, empowered by the Holy Spirit, that does live in you, to turn to God praying the lament psalms, psalms that more often than not end in praise.
and these psalms will be a mirror to your life. In life there will be times of struggle but there will also be many blessed times of Joy and peace times when you receive a foretaste of the blessings of heaven. and you have a sure hope in Jesus Christ that in the end after you have died, you will yet praise God, you will be raised from death, Justified, Sanctified, and raised to life eternal in God's joyful presence.
The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.