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  • Writer's picturePastor Bowler


Declared Holy for God

“…sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ…” — Jude 1:1

The word “sanctified” also means “to be holy.” An Old Testament example of this is found in the book of Joshua. Moses, the servant of the Lord, had passed off the scene. Joshua, chosen as the leader of the people of Israel before the death of Moses, was leading the people into the Promised Land, across the Jordan into Canaan. Canaan is not a type or picture of heaven; it is a picture of the abundant Christian life. Unlike the time the Israelites walked through the Red Sea on dry ground, when the priest stepped up to the Jordan, they had to actually place their feet into the water, then the water opened and the people could walk through.

The Bible says in Joshua 3:1-5, “And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host; And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore. And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.”

“Sanctify yourselves.” What does this mean? It means to be holy. It means that not only are we declared holy, not only have we been set apart for the Lord, but that we are to be holy people. How is this possible? Joshua said to these people, “Sanctify yourselves.” There are some who ridicule the thought of living a holy life. They need to read the Bible. The Christian life is a holy life. The only way to exemplify Jesus Christ in this world is by living a holy life.

If you desire to know how Christians should live, ask those who are not Christians. They will tell you where a Christian should go and where he should not go. They will tell you what a Christian should put into his body and what he should not put into his body.

Let us determine to have Bible-based convictions, but let our convictions be bathed in compassion. Someone has said “find people where they are and lead them to where you want them to be. Don’t become disillusioned with where they are that you simply forget them.” The Lord Jesus found me where I was, and He is leading me to where He wants me to be. He desires to make me holy.

In John 17 we find the high priestly prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says in John 17:16-17, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” Here the Lord speaks of His own children. How are we sanctified? How are we made holy? The Bible says, “Sanctify the through thy truth: thy word is truth.” It is impossible to live a holy life apart from the Bible. We cannot be spiritual without being scriptural.

The blessed hope ought to make us live holy lives. The Bible says in 1 John 3:1-3, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

Another motive for separated living is the commandment of the Word. “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 20:7). Remember, “holy” does not mean sinless perfection which is a condition impossible in this life anyway. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-10). “Holy” means set apart, separated unto God. If we are God’s children, then we ought to be like our Father.

A third motive for holy living is the judgment of God. 1 Peter 1:17 tells us, “And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.” God chastens His children today and will test their works at the Judgment Seat of Christ. “Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.” (1 Corinthians 3:13). He has no “favourites” but treats all of His children alike.

1Peter 1:18-21 gives a fourth motive for dedicated living: the price Christ paid on the cross. Before we were saved, our lives were empty and meaningless; but now they are full and happy through Him. Our salvation was not purchased with money; it took the blood of Jesus Christ, the spotless Lamb of God (John 1:29). His death was planned by God ages before we ever were born; yet, God in His grace included us in that plan! How grateful we should be, and what better way is there for us to show our gratitude than to surrender our all to Him.

The easiest sins to name are the ones we do not commit, but God has made a way for His people to live holy life. When the Spirit of God moved Jude to write, he wrote, “…to them that are sanctified.” Let us praise the Lord for His wonderful work of sanctification in our lives and seek to live the holy lives He has called us to live.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service”

Romans 12:1

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