Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: Dedicated to Sanctification to God

Monday, September 10, 2018

Dedicated to Sanctification to God

Chapter three
Dedicated to Sanctification to God

   In the Old Testament books, a man’s dedication to live separated from paganism and the pornographic lifestyle of the fornication that defined idolatry was communicated by circumcision.  Circumcision was always connected to sanctification/separation for Israel and never to salvation.  Circumcision in the Old Testament, like baptism in the New Testament, had a physical representation that was merely typical of its spiritual expectation.  God took great offense when the outward ritual was not accompanied by the inward reality of which the outward ritual was intended to portray.  God hates mere ritualism.  God confronts the hypocrisy of externalistic ritualism that is unaccompanied with the inward realities expected as testified to by the ritual in Romans chapter two.  

          God’s first commands regarding circumcision was given to Abraham AFTER Abraham was given the Abrahamic Covenant.  Abraham was eighty-five in Genesis twelve when he was first given the Abrahamic Covenant.  Abraham was ninety-nine years old in Genesis seventeen when God added circumcision as a “token of the covenant” (Genesis 17:11) between God and Abraham.  Circumcision as a “token of the covenant” was extended to all the future generations of Abraham (Genesis 17:10-14). 

1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. 3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, 4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. 8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. 9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant” (Genesis 17:1-14).

          The Hebrew word translated “token” in Genesis 17:11 simply means a monument, landmark, or physical evidence.  The obvious intent is that circumcision of the flesh was intended to reflect an understanding of the need to purify the heart from all forms of unrighteousness, especially in the areas of human sexuality and reproduction.  Physical circumcision could not accomplish that to which it testified.  It was merely a promise or commitment to an understanding that began with personal repentance of worldliness.  Circumcision was not a testimony to something accomplished, but rather a testimony to personal involvement in something that needed to be accomplished beginning with a change of attitude/heart.  Therefore, circumcision was a sign or physical landmark to remind the saved believer of a commitment of the heart to unworldliness.  

          Why then was circumcision to be done on the eighth day after the birth of a male child?  This practice is connected to the responsibilities of the patriarchal priesthood of the home.  Prior to the Mosaic Covenant, every father was the high priest of his own household, including all servants/slaves in his household.  As the priest of his household, the father was morally responsible for maintaining the sanctity of his household before God.  This truth transcends all dispensations.  Physical circumcision was a teaching tool to ensure that every male child or adult in a household knew that God expected sanctity/separation extending from the circumcised.  To be circumcised physically but live unsanctified was essentially equal to being uncircumcised (Romans 2:25).  This was the substance of God’s warning to apostatized Israel through the prophecies given through Jeremiah.  Circumcision is sanctificationally connected to separation from the licentious practices of the fertility cultus of pagan idolatry. 

1 They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD. 2 Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with. In the ways hast thou sat for them, as the Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness. 3 Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed. 4 Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth? 5 Will he reserve his anger for ever? will he keep it to the end? Behold, thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest” (Jeremiah 3:1-5).

1 If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the LORD, return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not remove. 2 And thou shalt swear, The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory. 3 For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings” (Jeremiah 4:1-4).

          Circumcision was given more details in the Mosaic Covenant.  The Mosaic Covenant was a covenant of works and was purely sanctificational in its purposes.  As Galatians 3:19 says, the Mosaic Covent was “added” to the Abrahamic Covenant “because of transgressions.”  Circumcision was a “sign” that a person had entered the Mosaic Covenant with God and was committed to live a sanctified life before God and the world.  

Romans 2:17-29 teaches that God intended outward circumcision to merely reflect an already existing inward reality.  The difficulty was that circumcision took place on the 8th day after birth before the inward reality of circumcision could ever be a reality in a child’s heart.  A child could not make this commitment.  The commitment of circumcision was the father’s commitment, to ensure that it became a reality in the child’s life as he matured to adulthood.  This is where the failure took place in the patriarchal priesthood of the home.  Therefore, the ritual of circumcision evolved into mere externalism with little meaning to most Jews.

17 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, 18 And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; 19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, 20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. 21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? 22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? 23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? 24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written {Isaiah 52:5}. 25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. 26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? 27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? 28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Romans 2:17-29).

          God would constantly address the failure of Jews to understand the purpose of circumcision throughout the Old Testament history.  The responsibility of maintaining sanctity in every household through the patriarchal priesthood was never abrogated under the Mosaic Covenant.  It is not abrogated even during the Church Age.  This is a primary constant throughout all dispensations and all covenants.  No where is this more evident than in arrangement of Israel’s encampment around the wilderness Tabernacle in Numbers chapter two.  It is from Numbers 2:1 that we get the phraseology of of having Biblical standards. 

1 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 2 Every man {individual} of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father’s house {family}: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch” (Numbers 2:1-2).

          The Hebrew word for “standard” in Numbers 2:2 is masculine gender.  Every household had a banner, or flag, that was raised over their own tent of dwelling.  This banner was uniquely styled to represent each household and represent the individual testimony of that household.  Then that individual household banner (the testimony of the standards of that household) would be raised underneath another flag of that man’s father’s household.  Every brother would raise an individual flag of their own underneath the “ensign” of their father.  Above these two flags would fly their tribal flag (Numbers 2:3-34).  These three levels of flags were intended to represent levels of continuing testimony to a pure/sanctified genealogy back to Jacob and Abraham.  These flags represented a genealogy coming from Abraham committed to living sanctified before God all connected to the spiritual circumcision of the heart represented by their physical circumcision.  

          The Apostle Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, equates spiritual circumcision with spiritual baptism in Colossians 2:4-15.  The importance in the text is that the “circumcision of Christ” (Colossians 2:11) is a circumcision “made without hands.”  “Complete” in Colossians 2:10 is perfect tense connected to the phrase “in Him” or the baptism with the Spirit into the New Genesis of the “last Adam.”  What Christ did in fulfilling the Law was done perfectly and vicariously once for all.  If a person is baptized by the Spirit into the New Genesis “in Christ,” all that has happened to Jesus perfectly has positionally happened to the believer “in Him.”  Just as physical circumcision was merely an outward sign of spiritual circumcision, water baptism is merely and outward representation of Spirit baptism.  Neither physical representations had anything to do with salvation.  Both are connected to a representation of a spiritual understanding of obligation to sanctity. 

4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. 6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:4-15).

Do we have any Old Testament Scriptural representation that God intended and expected the Jews to have this understanding of circumcision?  God has been redundant with this explanation.  Physical circumcision was intended to represent a spiritual separation unto God in sanctified living so that God could bless the “fruit” in the fruition of children, animals, and crops.  We see this clearly in Deuteronomy 30:1-10.  The text is a prophecy regarding God’s foreknowledge that the nation of Israel will apostatize, and God will scatter them into all nations of the world (Deuteronomy 30:1).  This text is spoken to Moses while the children of Israel are still in the wilderness.  In this text, God speaks of spiritual circumcision as the circumcision of the heart.  The text is about the potential to produce spiritually sanctified fruit.  The putting away of physical flesh of the foreskin could not accomplish this unless it was connected to the spiritual reality of a consuming desire of the heart to live sanctified and dedicated to the righteousness of God. 

1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, 2 And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul {this is during the last three and a half years of the Tribulation}; 3 That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return {second coming of Christ} and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. 4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: 5 And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it {Kingdom Age}; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. 6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. 7 And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee {the judgment of the nations during the Tribulation}. 8 And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day. 9 And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers: 10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul {as a manifestation of the spiritual circumcision of the heart and genuine repentance}” (Deuteronomy 30:1-10).

Moses explains what God expects spiritually of a circumcised nation in Deuteronomy 10:12-22.  The spiritual principle portrayed within physical circumcision is that only spiritual people can produce spiritual children.  The intent of God in creating a nation of circumcised people was to create spiritual progenitors.  Understanding this purpose in God’s institution of circumcision is almost lost to most people today.  Those involved in the licentious fertility cultus of pagan idolatry just produced more corrupted and licentious children. 

12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, 13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? 14 Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. 15 Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day. 16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. 17 For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: 18 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. 19 Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. 20 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name. 21 He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen. 22 Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude” (Deuteronomy 10:12-22).

God often uses the metaphor of Israel being His wife.  Christ does the same with the Church by using the metaphor of His bride to describe her.  Any form or degree of unfaithfulness to the commands of God regarding separation from worldliness was viewed as spiritual adultery by God.  This is a sanctificational responsibility belonging to every believer and particularly to the local church.  

The Mosaic Covenant, the Law, defined what was immoral and unjust/unfair in the eyes of God.  The primary purpose of the giving of the Law was sanctificational.  The Law defined sin in no uncertain terms.  If a person understood that the Law was from God and understood what the Law taught, that person understood what was sinful.  This is also true of the epistles of the New Testament.  Most of the New Testament epistles have to do with doctrinal purity leading to personal sanctification before God.  

16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise” (Galatians 3:16-18).

The central point of Galatians 3:16-18 is that the Abrahamic Covenant was not made with Abraham.  The Abrahamic Covenant was made with Christ, the God-man who would become incarnate in human flesh.  The Abrahamic Covenant was an immutable promise from God that He would incarnate His eternal Son through Abraham’s generations.  Once the Promised One was born, He would vicariously die to fulfill Genesis 3:15.  His sacrificial death would once and for all propitiate the wrath of God (I John 2:2) for believing sinners and impart to those believers His righteousness (justification) in the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit of God.  Abraham, as do all believers, entered this “promise” of the Abrahamic Covenant “by grace” and “through faith.”  The Mosaic Covenant, the Law, was added to the Abrahamic Covent FOR BELIEVERS ONLY for sanctification.  

19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added {to the Abrahamic Covenant} because of transgressions {therefore, for sanctification}, till the seed {the Promised One, see vs. 16} should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise {of the propitiation of God and justification of believers} by faith {faithfulness} of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came {the promise was fulfilled}, we were kept {guarded to protect from the wrath of God} under the law {as a garrison or prison}, shut up unto the faith {imputation until impartation} which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster {a guardian}. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:19-29).

To understand the purpose of directions, always determine the destination to where those directions lead.  The Epistle to the Galatians begins with clarifying the Gospel (chapters one and two) and moves to clarifying how a person is perfected/matured sanctificationally (chapter three), and finally to the “fruit” of being “filled with the Spirit” (Galatians chapter five).  The destination of the Epistle to the Galatians is ultimately to our practical sanctification before God to serve/minister as His believer-priests. 

1O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law {Mosaic Covenant}, or by the hearing of faith {Abrahamic Covenant fulfilled}? 3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit {salvation through faith in the Promised One of the Abrahamic Covenant}, are ye now made perfect {sanctification} by the flesh {external keeping of the Law}? 4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit {sanctification through a cooperative effort with the indwelling Holy Spirit}, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith” (Galatians 3:1-5)?

These five verses are foundational for the context of the rest of the Epistle, which from this point forward deals with the spiritual potential of no longer needing to live under the Law as an external guardian to physically restrain believers in limited perimeters of external righteousness.  The indwelling Holy Spirit graduated believers into the realm of adulthood whereby they could be spiritual restrained from sin and spiritually empowered to righteousness by yielding to the Holy Spirit (being filled with, Ephesians 5:18).  This is the meaning of the word “adoption” in Galatians 4:5. 
The problem associated with the translation of huiothesía (hwee-oth-es-ee'-ah) as “adoption” in Galatians 4:5 is that we give a dictionary meaning to the English word that is not equal to the contextual meaning of the Greek word.  The context means the removal from the position of children under guardianship to a position of adulthood with all the capabilities of mature adults.  Adults should no longer require a guardian to externally restrain them and guide them in making moral choices.  This is referring to the transition from the sanctificational restraints provided by the guardianship of the Law to the internal self-restraints of the “Comforter” (paráklētos) in the indwelling Holy Spirit – childhood to adulthood.  “Adoption” is NOT referring to God choosing a foreign lost person to become His child.  “Adoption” is referring to a transition of BELIEVERS from spiritual childhood to spiritual adulthood; from LAW to GRACE

1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children {believing children of God under the Law}, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come {birth, death, burial, resurrection, and glorification of the Promised One of the Abrahamic Covenant}, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons {placement/transition into adulthood under Grace}. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant {child under the Mosaic Covenant; vs.1}, but a son {an adult now indwelt by the inwardly enabling Holy Spirit}; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Galatians 4:1-7).

The “if” of Galatians 4:7 contextually questions the reality of the salvation of believers considering returning to the elementary shadows of the Mosaic Covenant when the “fulness of time” (Galatians 4:4) has happened in the fulfillment of the salvation promises of God in the Abrahamic Covenant.  There is a perfect positional sanctification given in the New Covenant gift of salvation.  This is justification.  Therefore, to allow the shadows of completion of the sacrifices and practices of the Mosaic Covenant is in fact a denial of the finished propitiatory sacrifice of Christ and the gift of justification to a believing sinner.  Therefore, a misunderstanding of positional sanctification “in Christ” can reflect a misunderstanding of the Gospel thereby revealing a false faith.  Paul will explain this more thoroughly in Galatians 4:21-31.

21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory {has a double meaning; historical and spiritual}: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai (Mosaic Covenant}, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem {the heavenly city} which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise {the Abrahamic Covenant}. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh {Ishmael} persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now {those trusting in works persecute those trusting solely in faith in the Promise}. 30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free” (Galatians 4:21-31).

Misunderstanding of either the positional complete salvation or the positional perfect sanctification reveals a misunderstanding of the Abrahamic Covenants and the Mosaic Covenants.  The positional nature of the Abrahamic Covenant connects to the practical nature of the Abrahamic Covenant.  There is therefore a disconnect from the Mosaic Covenant sacrifices and types.  To fail to disconnect from the Mosaic Covenant sacrifices and types reveals a pseudo faith and its consequences.  Paul’s warning continues into Galatians chapter five becoming even more severe. 

1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty {of completion; spiritual adulthood} wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised {if you are trusting in your practical sanctification for salvation}, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law {Mosaic Covenant; belief that righteousness can be achieved rather than gifted}; ye are fallen from grace {Abrahamic Covenant where salvation/justification is a gift}. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith {referring to complete glorification}. 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. 7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? 8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. 9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump {the smallest amount of trust in one’s own ability to achieve a righteousness satisfactory to God meriting to us eternal life}. 10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye {plural} will be none {no one} otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. 11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision {justification through the sanctification of the Mosaic Covenant}, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. 12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you” (Galatians 5:1-12).

“Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing” (Galatians 5:3) is a critical statement to those that connect imperfect practical sanctification as part of the salvation gift of perfect positional sanctification (justification).  This is what the text is addressing.  If circumcision is necessary to justification, then works, or practical sanctification, is part of justification.  It is either perfect sanctification, which is justification in the gifting of God-kind righteousness to the believing sinner, or it is a man-kind righteousness achieved through human efforts.  The latter is impossible since every sinner begins in sin (Romans 3:23).  Practical righteousness is the moral responsibility of the “born again” believer, which can only be produced through the filling of the indwelling Spirit (II Corinthians 5:21 and Ephesians 5:18).  The filling is impossible without the indwelling.
Confusing the issues of perfect sanctification in the gift of justification with the imperfect issues of practical sanctification has caused theological problems for centuries, if not millennia.  Therefore, even though a person can be saved and positionally/perfectly sanctified in Christ, there will be a constant tension between the “flesh” and the Spirit until glorification in the redemption of the body.  The control of the “flesh” is accomplished through inwardly yielding to the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 6:11-13).  This is the ONLY practicum for producing the “fruit of the Spirit” and practical God-kind righteousness through any believer’s life.  The “flesh” cannot, and will never, produce God-kind righteousness in a believer’s life.  A poisoned well can only produce corrupted water.  This is the substance of what Paul says in Galatians 5:13-26.

13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty {from the external controls the Law as a child leader to the inward enabling of the indwelling Spirit of God}; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest {any of these make it apparent when the flesh is leading}, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:13-26).

The transitional verse in Galatians 5:13-26 is Galatians 5:16. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”  Paul is explaining in detail what he is speaking of in Galatians 3:1-5.  “The flesh” is the fallen sin nature that is still a part of every “born again” believer.  Practical sanctification will never happen apart from walking “in the Spirit.”  In the Spirit” means the supernatural enabling of the indwelling Holy Spirit by yielding the body, mind, and heart to Him and God’s revealed will in the Word of God (Romans 6:11-13).  Two radically different outcomes are detailed depending to what spirit we yield control; the “flesh” or God’s Spirit.  Practical sanctification is dependent upon walking and living “in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).  The Apostle John gives similar instructions in I John 1:5-7.  In that text. walking and living “in the Spirit” is what gives the believer entrance to what God calls “fellowship” (ministry partnership) with Him. 

5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:5-7).

The Apostle John’s second epistle is primarily intended to address the issue of separation from the world and walking in truth through the supernatural enabling of the indwelling Christ.  Although separation is always from worldliness and false doctrine (II John 1:7-11), the focus is primarily being separated unto walking/living in obedience to the truth of God’s Word enabled by God’s grace. 

1 The elder unto the elect lady {the local church and priesthood of all believers} and her children {‘born again’ believers}, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; 2 For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us {the incarnate Word in the Person of the Holy Spirit}, and shall be with us for ever. 3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. 4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. 5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it” (II John 1:1-6).

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). 

It is impossible to be in the world and not be touched externally by the filth of degradation.  We must live within the stench of sin in this world but should do all we can so as not to contribute to that stench with our own corruptions.  This is the warfare we fight in the struggle for our own sanctification BEFORE God.  This is the tension of the life described in I John 1:5-9.  The whole point of this text is that God understands the weakness of the flesh and the frailty of our own carnal desires.  

God understands and has made provision for our restoration to sanctification and fellowship with Him.  If these verses were not in the Bible, just one failure, just one bad choice, or just one sin would defile you from serving God and being used by Him again for the rest of your life on earth.  That means just one outburst of anger, one moment of unforgiveness, or one selfish act of sinful self-indulgence and you hope for impacting this world for Christ through your ministry would be over.  Praise God for I John 1:5-9. 

5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him {a working partnership with Him in ministry as His sanctified priests}, and walk in darkness {fellowship with God means we are walking in the light that He is, vs 5}, we lie {our living is a contradiction to what we profess} , and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (I John 1:5-10).

There is a presumption of repentance in I John 1:5-10.  This is apparent because of the context of the two realms of existence in which believers can choose to “walk” – DARKNESS and LIGHT.  Darkness is the worldly realm of satanic influences and corruption whereby worth-ship is given to the things of this world (this is the context of the statement in I John 2:15).  Light is the godly spiritual realm of righteousness and purity of worshiping God and God alone.  There must be a turning from the realm of existence in the darkness of worldliness before a person can walk in the realm of spirituality (light) in sanctified fellowship with God.  In other words, a person CANNOT walk in the darkness and in the Light at the same time.  These two realms of existence are contradistinctive to one another.  There MUST be a turning from one to walk in the other.  This is the first step into the realm of spirituality.  Salvation merely provides an open door of opportunity.  Although sin can no longer condemn the believer, it can still consume the believer’s life.  Salvation does not automatically make you a spiritual person in your walk.  

One of the great texts in the Bible reflecting the fact that certain priests among the faithful remnant understood the mercies and graciousness of God is Nehemiah chapter nine.  These were priests that returned to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem fourteen years after Ezra.  Nehemiah chapters eight through eleven describe a time of spiritual revival in Israel among the faithful remnant. The first twenty-five verses of Nehemiah chapter nine describe the history of God’s mercies and blessings to the constantly disobedient children of Israel.  The point is that God never abandoned them in their struggle for their own sanctification even when, in most part, they were not working very hard at obeying Him.  The testimony of understanding that God is merciful and gracious to sinners is the constant historical testimony about God recorded in Scripture.  That reality should humble redeemed sinners.  Therefore, should the redeemed simply take advantage of God’s mercy and grace to live in disregard of His will grieving Him with their disobedience?

26 Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations {their corruptions provoked blasphemies against God amongst the heathen in that righteousness was corrupted}. 27 Therefore thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies, who vexed them: and in the time of their trouble, when they cried unto thee {repentance}, thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours {the judges}, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies. 28 But after they had rest {from God’s chastisements}, they did evil again before thee: therefore leftest thou them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them: yet when they returned, and cried unto thee {repentance}, thou heardest them from heaven; and many times didst thou deliver them according to thy mercies; 29 And testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law {for sanctification}: yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;) and withdrew the shoulder {like an ox turning away from the yoke resisting its purpose}, and hardened their neck (adding increasing levels of resistance to doing God’s will}, and would not hear {like wild animals resisting domestication}. 30 Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands. 31 Nevertheless for thy great mercies’ sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them; for thou art a gracious and merciful God. 32 Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria unto this day. 33 Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly: 34 Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies, wherewith thou didst testify against them. 35 For they have not served thee in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness that thou gavest them, and in the large and fat land which thou gavest before them, neither turned they from their wicked works. 36 Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it: 37 And it yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins: also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress. 38 And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it” (Nehemiah 9:26-38).

If God has told you once, He should not have to tell you again! The problem is you’re not heeding what you're hearing!

10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. 11 If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: 12 Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: 13 We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: 14 Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: 15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: 16 For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. 17 Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. 18 And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. 19 So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof” (Proverbs 1:10-19).

The warning of Proverbs 1:10-19 is the warning of Solomon to his sons (Proverbs 1:1).  However, C.I. Scofield says, “That the Proverbs were Solomon’s (1.1) implies no more than that he gathered into orderly arrangement sayings already current amongst the people, the wisdom of the Spirit, perhaps through many centuries (Ec 12:9).”[1]  The reason this is important is because the testimony of Solomon’s life is a complete contradiction against the advice he gives in this proverb.  Solomon is recording by inspiration of the Spirit of God things that had been passed down orally through the centuries establishing that the truths originate with God.  Therefore, the warning is from God to His “born again” children – the redeemed of all ages.  Therefore, the first nine verse of this Proverbs are so important.

1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; 2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; 4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. 5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: 6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark {the things that puzzle, deep or hidden} sayings. 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge {To fear God’s judgment and chastisement is primary wisdom.  Teaching children to fear God’s judgment and chastisement is primary and elementary to a child’s education to be able to live in this evil world.}: but fools {unbelievers} despise wisdom and instruction. 8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 9 For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck” (Proverbs 1:1-9).

The point of this first Proverb from God is that evil is in the world and it is ingrained within the human populace.  This evil is a personality with characteristics.  This evil cultivates certain characteristics of personality and seeks to inculcate the people to which it becomes attached with the characteristics of evil.  This evil personality seeks to enjoin itself to others – it entices.  People are very naive if they do not understand this dynamic of evil in the world.  Parents are very foolish if they do not ensure their children’s understanding of this reality.  Often the most appealing people are the most dangerous people to our children, because they have a covert agenda of enticement to an evil worldly view of life.  Satan has a worldwide organization of social engineering intent upon shaping the thinking of people developing the idols of their hearts.  Neo-paganism is nothing more then the practices of old paganism absent of stone idols.  Today, the idols become movie stars, rock musicians, and progressive politicians.  These people are the devil’s evangelists enticing the world into worldliness.  This whole dynamic of enticement and the cultural acceptance of this social engineering of evil influence is to what God refers by the word “world” in I John 2:15.

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (I John 2:15-17).

The word “world” in I John 2:15 describes the enticements of evil that are intent upon corrupting the human nature into the depts of human degradation even they cannot imagine at the beginning of this slippery slope.  The point is that our fallen nature wants the enticements that the world offers.  The more people expose themselves to the enticements of Satanic influences in social engineering, the deeper the corruptions inculcate us and draw us into the depths of secret sins.  They are secret sins because they are done privately and are not known to our peers in the Christian community.  It is not that they are secret to God.  These secret sins are in fact a serious manifestation of unbelief.  

The person understanding this evil influence understands the necessity of replacing an evil desire with a righteous desire.  This redirects the pursuits of our fallen nature.  This is to where Colossians 3:1-7 leads the true believer in Christ.  The “world” is a visible reality of evil influence.  At the beginning of the Christian life, the believer has already become accustomed to the influences of the “world.”  Much of what the “world” uses to entice sinners has become a regular part of the sinner’s life.  This is where repentance begins.  Repentance is the change of mind that sees the inculcation of evil in one’s life and begins to take steps to eradicate it and replace that evil with righteous pursuits.  Repentance does not just turn from practices or ideas it sees as evil or sin.  Repentance turns to something righteous in the eyes of God.

1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them” (Colossians 3:1-7).

Having established the doctrine (completeness in Christ) in Colossians chapter two, God begins to establish the practical expectation of that doctrine.  Through preaching or personal study of the Word, God brings the believer to accept a Biblical truth (faith).  From that point on, He begins to test the believer to see if he has accepted that truth in his life (if faith is real).  Once practice corresponds with the truth, it becomes a conviction.  You cannot say you believe a truth until it changes your thinking, emotions and actions.

23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:23-25).

The admonition of belief or faith (Colossians 3:1-2)

“If ye,” the question is, if you believe the following, then here is what will take place in your life.   The point is this; if you have been spiritually resurrected out from among the spiritually dead to a state of spiritual life, then you will be constantly seeking spiritual things.  Now friends, that is quite a statement of expectation, but it is God’s expectation.  You see, when He says we are to “seek those things which are above,” it qualifies itself; “Where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.”  The idea is more than seeking spiritual things above the worldly things but seeking the exact same things that Christ is seeking.  

Bringing the body under subjection to its “head” (Colossians 3:2); “set your affection,” means to bring one’s mind into union with the mind of Christ.  This is a rare reality among believers. 

19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. 20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s” (Philippians 2:19-21). 

The Christ “life” in us keeps the ministry of Christ through us a priority by bringing glorification and praise to Christ through our actions.  Any inconsistency in our lives brings reproach on the Name of Christ and upon the ministry.  Paul’s statement regarding Timothy has been consistently true throughout church history.  Trustworthy people with the right priorities are a rare commodity.  A person who truly thinks with the mind of Christ puts other people first by an unwillingness to compromise truth. 

“Not on the things on earth” (Colossians 3:2); the things of this earth are not sinful in themselves; alcohol, tobacco, money, etc.  The Word does not say that “money is the root of all evil.”  What does it say?  “The love of money is the root of all evil” (I Timothy 6:10).  Therefore, the sin problem here is when we become preoccupied with these things and they become idols of the heart.  The things of this world are used of Satan to entice us away from serving God.  The answer is not to just correct our attitude towards things, but our attitude towards God.  Asceticism may help take our affection away from the things of the world, but it does not transfer that affection to God.

The reminder (Colossians 3:3), “Ye are dead;” the reminder is, as far as our being “risen with Christ” is concerned, we were separated from all the lusts and enticements of this evil world and we should be walking in the reality of that resurrected spiritual life.  In fact, that reality should be so vivid that the world should not be able to see our old life styles, but only the life of Christ in us and through us.  Our old life styles and affections should be “hidden with Christ.”  As Christ is hidden from the view of the lost world in the Godhead, so should our affections for the things of this world, be hidden “with Christ.”

          Christ our life (Colossians 3:4); many Christians only share their lives with Christ.  Christ expects much more than sharing our lives with Him.  The meaning of this verse is the heart of practical Christianity.  If you were to find some philosophy or formula for a perfect life in the eyes of God, anyone who believes in that reality would grab for it.  It is right here.  Stop trying to live your life and let Christ live His life through you.  He has given you a new life.  He expects you to yield that new life to Him.  This releases His life through your life.  He intends for you to give His life away through ministry.  That is the only way your life will not be wasted. 
If you are not experiencing the fulfillment of a resurrected life “in Christ,” let Christ have your life completely.  Everything else in this life will prove to be unfulfilling.  You can believe the Word of God and protect yourself from wasting more minutes of your precious life by simply determining to live every moment to the glory of God.

[1] Notes from the Scofield Reference Bible, 1917. C. I. Scofield, Module file location: C:\Program Files (x86) \SwordSearcher\Modules\Scofield.ss5cmty, Module file time: 7/31/2011 8:15:28 PM UTC.

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

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