Weekly Devotional 3-29-21 Regeneration & Sanctification
Many non-Christians have a misunderstanding of Christianity. They believe that when one becomes a Christian sin is a thing of the past, that a true Christian will not sin again. They have confused regeneration with sanctification. Regeneration is the work of God the Holy Spirit as He brings a person to spiritual life from the state of being spiritually dead and is a one-time work. Sanctification is also a work of the Holy Spirit as He commences in the life of the regenerated a march toward holiness, but it is an on-going work and is joined with the commitment of the regenerated. We find precedence of this in Paul’s letter to the Christian’s of Galatia. “16 Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:16-21).
Paul wrote that to experience separation from sin, from the lust of the flesh the Galatian Christian (and all Christians) must walk in the Holy Spirit, be under control of the Holy Spirit. The Christian’s old self, his old nature fights against this separation and will, from time to time, fall prey to some of those lusts, those sins. This is why the non-Christian will observe a Christian sin-ning from time to time. They do not understand that being a Christian does not mean that said person has reached a state of sinless perfection. Paul, in his letter to the Christians in and around Rome wrote that a Christian is being conformed to the image of Jesus, the Son of God (Romans 8:29). Being conformed is an ongoing process, a process that brings the Christian toward the state of holiness, but its completeness will only be realized when He escapes the clutches of his old nature. When he graduates from this life to the life that awaits him, when at the death of his body, he is brought into the presence of God and his old nature is no more.
If the non-Christian is honest and the Christian is living under the influence of the Holy Spirit, he will note that all though the Christian may sin from time to time his lifestyle is different than his own. His language is different, his thought process is different, and his conduct is different, the Christian does not make a practice of sin as does he.
This should cause each of us who are Christian to consider that we have been regenerated to new spiritual life and we are to live a life that reflects that regeneration. Perhaps living the regenerated life as we ought will cause the non-Christian to desire what the Holy Spirit has produced in our lives: “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22b-23a), things that he does not have.
Transforming Power; the Work of God on Behalf of man