June 18, 2016

The Holy Spirit Sanctifies Us

1 Peter 1:1-2

To God’s elect . . . chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood.

—  1 Peter 1:1-2

We don’t use the word sanctify very often in everyday conversation. Nevertheless, it refers to a crucial work of the Holy Spirit in our everyday lives. Very simply, to sanctify means “to make holy.”

In the opening of his letter to the churches in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), Peter speaks of sanctifying in the wider context of salvation. God loves us so much that even before we were born, he chose us to be his children. After we were born, despite our desire to reject him, God sprinkled us with the blood of his Son, Jesus, and redeemed us. Now he wants us to live for him. 

Helping us to live for God is what the Spirit’s “sanctifying work” is all about. As Peter in­di­cates, our participation in this can be described mainly as obe­dience. Sanctification is the moment-by-moment process by which we more and more submit our hearts, minds, and bodies to following Jesus.

Can we do this by ourselves? I know that my will is not strong enough to be perfectly obedient.

Thank God that the Holy Spirit sanctifies us by working in and through us! The Holy Spirit has not only set us free from sin but also lives in our hearts and reminds us to follow Jesus more closely. As we daily follow Jesus, we become holy, set apart for serving God.

Holy Spirit, sanctify our hearts today so that we will love what you love and do what you desire us to do. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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