Sanctification and Discipline
In the last few posts, we began a discussion about the work of sanctification: The Holy Spirit given to us by God will initiate and carry out a process to sanctify our spirit, soul and body, making us perfect in the day of the Lord, and suitable to be His Bride. But there is another side of the coin: we are to be disciplined in the process. We must comply with the requirements of this work and be obedient. We’ll discuss this in the next few posts.
Sanctification is a work reserved solely for God Himself, so that none can claim credit that he or she has done anything by his or her own merit, whether for self or for others. However, just like anything God would do, He always uses agencies of His making to accomplish the work He intended. He does this through relationships and interactions preordained by Him. The work of sanctification by the Spirit is entrusted to a process of discipline – imposed or inspired.
By imposed, we mean that an external agency, consciously or unconsciously, will be used by God to impose discipline of various kinds to accomplish what God intended for us. However, this right to discipline can be abused or usurped to cause unbalanced and undue consequences in our lives, as in the case of an abused child being mistreated by adults.
By inspired, we mean that our consciousness will be convicted of improper intention, desire or action by the power of the Holy Spirit. We then will be able to repent from unrighteousness and disobedience.
Actually, God designs these two types of discipline to work together perfectly only if a man has not been marred by sin and entrapped by the evil one.
Discipleship and Discipline
Previously, we discussed that before the Fall, it was God’s intention that Man walk with Him and impart His wisdom and His nature to him, transforming him from His Image to His Likeness. This is the pattern which Jesus walked with His disciples while on earth. After He left, He also commissioned his disciples to do the same. He gave them all authority and power, and enabled them to overcome the Enemy, restoring everything God promised back to those who choose to believe in His Name.
Mt 28:18-20 [NIV] 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Sadly, somewhere along the way, the great commission was interpreted to mean merely making converts, which is far from the essence of discipleship. In this way, spiritual life is substituted with religious formula; God’s wisdom is replaced by intellectual education; Kingdom reality is comprised into mystical and pragmatic ends and needs; the hope and pursuit of the glory of God is changed into the competition and exaltation of the glory of man; the culture of the Family or the Household of God is lost among man-made traditions and religious duties and activities. Darkness yet again veils man’s mind and a life of abundance is stolen and cheated away. Without the Spirit of God, what is man? Are we not the dry bones as mentioned by Ezekiel? (Ezek. 37:1-14)
Yet this kind of spiritual teaching is not the casual sort that someone might receive in a normal family. It is uniquely tailored for us as sons of God. It is a righteous King training his heir. The prince is to be put into the best hands to be taught of all things concerning ruling his kingdom. Like his father, he is taught to love righteousness and hate evil, and have mercy and compassion on his subjects. In this light, the Son, Christ Jesus, would teach us about His Father. We call this kind of wisdom Kingly Wisdom. Jesus Christ is the lion of Judah, and as such, will rule His Kingdom with an iron scepter.
Heb 2:11-12 [NIV] 11Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. 12He says,
“I will declare your name to my brothers;
in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.”
John 16:25-28 [NIV] 25″Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
John 17:26 [NIV] 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
We’ll continue this discussion in the following post. So if you enjoyed this one, please share it with someone who might as well.
This is _Part 1_ in the series Disciplined by the Father and Self-Discipline. To continue with this series, click on Pt 2. To use this as a growth tool to better understand your own calling, you might start by reading the explanation of this series.