Are We Afraid of Sanctification? A Cry for the Spirit to Breath Life into the Church
Posted by justifiedandsinner
Devotional Thought of the Day:
1 The LORD took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the LORD to a valley filled with bones. 2 He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. 3 Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?” “O Sovereign LORD,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.” 4 Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! 6 I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’” 7 So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. 8 Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’” 10 So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army. 11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’ 12 Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the LORD. 14 I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live again and return home to your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken, and I have done what I said. Yes, the LORD has spoken!’” Ezekiel 37:1-14 (NLT)
683 When a person really lives charity, there is no time left for self-seeking. There is no room left for pride. We will not find occasion for anything but service!
Imagine you are there, in the presence of the LORD, given the right to not just call him Lord, but to call Him by name. You are the son of Man, in this vision, the one He takes to the valley of the fry bones.
As the muscles form, as the skin begins to cover their bodies, as the effects of sin are reversed, you look in amazement at the miracle and begin to praise God for the miracle. You write liturgies to celebrate it, songs to teach people about it, you go off and establish ways to tell people – God has justified His people.
Yet they are there, still sitting in their pews… err… standing in the valley.
Without breath, without life, but righteous none the less.
What happens when the church forgets that God not only justifies us, but breathes life into us, sanctifying us?
What happens if justification is the end of our theology, not just the core of it?
Will our churches be like the bones covered with muscles and skins, present, undecayed, righteous and yet…. not alive?
We need to remember the third article of the Creed, the work of the Spirit, who is to be called upon, to breath life into these bodies, to breath life into these souls, for He is the Lord and Giver of Life. Sanctification is not some minor doctrine, slinking about in the shadows of its big brother Justification.
Sanctification, the Spirit making us alive and Holy is part and parcel with Justification in the larger concept of Salvation. Which brings to mind Hebrews 2 – how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?
Sanctification, the Holy Spirit working is us, giving us life, repentance, revealing to us the height and depth, the breadth and width of the Father’s love, revealed in Christ. As He sets us aside and breathes life into us, that we would become God’s army, His family, As we begin to walk with God, as our lives begin to be described as St Josemaria mentions – lives lived in charity, where love prevails. Because we know His love, because we experience it, because our faith is alive…. there is the church – serving, ministering, loving… and as it does… growing and alive.
This is the church, this is the people of God, living in the presence of God. This is the baptized, sacrificed life….
LORD, you have given us your Holy Spirit in baptism, may that Spirit breath life into your people! May we never again be so focused on one part of salvation, that we neglect all of it. May your church be holy, set apart, brought to life and nourished by the Holy Spirit. AMEN1
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 2514-2516). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
About justifiedandsinnerI am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.
Posted on January 9, 2015, in Devotions, Poiema, The Forge and tagged baptism, Church, Churches dying, God's promise, Holy Spirit, Incarnation, revitalization, sanctification, St. Josemaria Escriva. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.