The world greatly honors self made men. To have prospered in a highly competitive environment without formal training and without monetary backing is truly a notable accomplishment. There are disciplines that had to be learned and practiced, banking and politics to master, manners and diplomacies to care for, the need to make all the correct decisions, and of course, knowledge of product itself. Beyond this is the requirement of maintaining a proper home life, raising the children and governing the ways of the house. Yes, hats off to the self-made man or woman.
However, self made men and women along with those who have “made it” with helps of others, often take with them a sleeves-rolled-up attitude, often running their personalities over the less “successful” around them. The “Anything you can do, I can do better” jingle you may have heard is their mode of operation. Here is where “success” must meet the judge. The judge being God’s Word. “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke 14:11 KJV). One might argue that this is a religious element and has no part in the world’s business. But, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.....”. If God is God, He is so over His whole creation, regardless of the arguments of the atheists and agnostics.
Knowing that God shall judge all mankind for their ways, the religious leaders of the churches try their best to warn their members and friends to correct their ways, to become humble, to be better friends one to another, and to forgive readily any offence. The leaders teach that we need to live a life toward sanctification with God’s help. That sounds very good, right? Well, according to God’s Word, this is quite wrong. Because this program is one of “SELF SANCTIFICATION”, an abomination to God.
My father used to tell me, “If you end up with a lowly job, try to be the best worker on the job”. Now that sounds like good advise, but he also had a saying that seemed to run contrary to the first, “You can’t win, but just keep trying”. What do you suppose he was trying to teach me? I think it was this same abomination of self sanctification he was bombarded with in churches he attended. There is absolutely no way a person can sanctify himself. If there were, we would need no savior, only roll up your sleeves and work it out. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (Titus 3:5 KJV) When God makes us holy to Him, we are holy (sanctified), and He has told us to acknowledge our holiness, even our perfection, because what Jesus has done for us is perfect. “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:9-10 KJV) Here we see how we are sanctified, not by our doings, but by Christ Himself unto perfection: “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14 KJV).
Having done a perfect work of atonement for those who have accepted Christ’s redeeming sacrifice for us, how shall we improve upon it? We cannot; we are called to maintain what has been freely given us by the master, not add to it: “That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.” (Titus 3:7-8 KJV) We must continue in the faith once given, affirming constantly who God is and who we are in Him through Christ. Also, we must maintain the good works unto which we were saved, not that this will increase our sanctification, but fulfill it. “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:14 KJV). He does the purifying.
How can we not rejoice in what God has done for us and instead be proud of our own accomplishments “But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:16-17 KJV) There is nothing we have that has not been given to us, so where is our basis of pride? “So, we are a self-made man? Really? Is there such a thing? Certainly not! “John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” (John 3:27 KJV) If a man refuses God’s sanctification, he will have to make due with his own, which is ordained to perish: “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.” (Colossians 2:20-23 KJV)
SELF SANCTIFICATION translates to eternal self destruction unless it is repented of. If you have fallen into this flesh trap, take heed to this message’s warning; sanctification is the work of God, and none other. Even if there was such a thing as progressive sanctification (there is no such), it would still be the work of God, not man. It is God who sets us apart for His purposes, not us who sets our selves apart for our own purposes, however holy it may seem.
So, what is the remedy? Know and confess your lost, sinful, self assured condition which leads to a burning Hell, forever; call upon the name of the Lord, Jesus and you shall be saved; accept Jesus Christ into your life; give Him your life; you are now sanctified by His blood (Hebr. 10:10). Then begin immediately to thank Him, praise Him, and serve Him through prayer, Bible reading, church fellowship and giving. Go with the good news of your salvation to others and tell them of God’s saving love. As you go, ask God for His Spirit to provide the power you need to do His work. Remember that God is now helping you to grow in obedience through the many trials, tribulations and burdens that you as with all God’s children toward spiritual maturity and perfection of the gift of faith which He has given you, for the completion of the work He has given you to do.
No longer do you need to struggle to make yourself accepted by the Lord. It is finished in Christ. Praise His name. 11/25/01