Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord, Hebrews 12:14.
From this verse we know the burden of peace and sanctification is on us, for it says we are to pursue it. How do we do this? We pursue peace and sanctification daily by submitting to, and obeying, our heavenly Father; for He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. We resist sin, trusting in Him to provide a way of escape from every temptation. We will never share His holiness unless we learn obedience through the things which we suffer, as did Jesus, our example! 1 Peter 2:21, For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.
Sanctification is no magic wand as some have taught. It is a hard path, a narrow path. It is not easy; it requires obedience to all authority. It means we cannot do whatever we want, whenever we want; we answer to a higher calling.
Having been crucified with Jesus and raised up with Him into newness of life, we must now consider ourselves dead to sin, and alive to God; for through Jesus He has set us free to live a life of righteousness before God, a life worthy of our calling.
There are many thorns along this narrow path, and they will scratch and tear at our flesh; at times they will draw blood. But it is a path of the most beautiful roses one can ever see, and, by God’s grace, their fragrance always overshadows their thorns.
We will never be rid of our tendency to sin as long as we are in our earthly bodies, because, since Adam, sin has dwelt in every human being. We are sinful creatures and will be until we leave our bodies of flesh. Nothing can change that, absolutely nothing, not even our works, nor our willing to do good.
Even our being born again does not change the fact that we are sinful. We will never escape the sin within us until we are released from our body of sin. That is why Jesus, as the last Adam, carried our sinful flesh to the cross, where we were crucified with Him, that our sinful flesh might be done away with. And it is done away with when we consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts,
13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
14For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!
16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,
18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness, Romans 6:12-18.
Colossians 3:5, Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.
As with all children, I believe the Lord provides a period for instructions and learning obedience. But there comes a point when one reaches the age of accountability.
“Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries,” 1 Peter 4:1-3.
I am speaking of those who have passed the age of accountability, and who have refused to learn obedience through suffering, and yet still live as though they are still unaccountable. In order to justify themselves and prevent suffering, they come up with false doctrines that are accepted by the masses, because they contain easy ways to dodge suffering, such as the doctrine that states that our past, present and future sins are forgiven; so we need not worry about it. But in the end, these hypocrites will be exposed for the liars they are. They are practitioners of lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
“But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed,” Romans 3:21-25.
No where does the word of God say present and future sins are forgiven.
“Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth,” Colossians 3:5-8.
“…having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead,” Colossians 2:12.
Our sinful bodies were crucified and buried with Jesus, and we were raised up with Him, and became a new creation, a spiritual creation, the body of Christ, the church.
When we were dead in our transgressions, He made us alive together with Him, having forgiven all our transgressions. There is no sin in this new creation, for there is no sin in the body of Christ. We live and move and have our being in this new creation by walking by the Spirit, and not by the flesh.
How is this accomplished? BY FAITH IN THE WORKING OF GOD, WHO RAISED US FROM THE DEAD WITH HIS SON. It is all by faith.
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me,”Galatians 2:20.
If we trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit will reveal a way to escape each temptation we come across. It is up to us to either take it, and overcome it; or ignore it, and give in to the temptation.
If we take those ways of escape, we are righteous; if we don’t take them, we are sinners. Jesus came to take away sin, and that is what He does. Whoever tells you otherwise is a liar.
“Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord,” Hebrews 12:14.
We are to pursue peace with all men, that is, we are to do our best to always be at peace with all people. We are to also pursue the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. That is, we are to do our best to stay consecrated to the Lord, and set apart to Him. The words ‘sanctification’ and ‘holy’ correspond.
Sanctification is a process only in the sense that it is an ongoing process, such as doing one’s job. One must get up and go to work on each work day. So also, one must pursue holiness or sanctification consistently. If one does not go to work every work day, one will be fired. If one does not consistently pursue sanctification daily, one will never see the Lord.
In summation: If one is walking by the flesh, he will sin, because the flesh is sinful. It is inevitable that one who walks by the flesh will sin.
If one is walking by the Spirit, one will not sin, because the Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, and in Him there is no sin.
I see cars with Christian bumper stickers on the highways and streets exceeding the speed limits on a regular basis. I immediately know they are hypocrites walking in the flesh. For if one is walking by the Spirit, the Spirit will convict you of sin the second you start to go over the speed limit; and He will show you a way of escape, because sin is lawlessness, and there is no lawlessness in the kingdom of God.
May our heavenly Father give you eyes to see and ears to hear the truths contained in this writing, so that you may live the rest of your time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant