GOD CLAIMS OWNERSHIP
You send your son to a university that has an excellent academic reputation. For
four years he is an exceptional student. He maintains a 3.9 grade point average. He is
involved in the leadership of several campus organizations. He graduates with honors.
His academic success presents him with an excellent job opportunity. But there
is an unusual requirement. As his father, you must write a cover letter for his job
application. The first thing the potential employer will see and read when he receives
your son's application is your cover letter. The cover letter is to answer one question:
"How do you want me to look at your son?"
What would you write in your cover letter? Would you write, "Look at him as the
success that he is. You can see his ability and potential by looking at his grade point
average, his course grades, and the honors he received. Consider him as the talented,
successful person that he is."
Or would you write, "Look at him as though he were a failure. Let him bear the
responsibility for every person who attended the university and failed, or dropped out, or
caused trouble. Consider him as though he were the worst student who ever attended
- The only person who did everything God wanted done exactly the way God
wanted it done was Jesus.
- I wonder if the full truth of that statement has registered with any of us.
- No other human ever did that--not Peter, not John, not Paul, not any
- Isn't that amazing!
- When we want to understand how God wants us to act, to think, and to
feel, who do we listen to?
- Are we not more likely to discuss what Peter, or John, or Paul said than
we are to consider what Jesus did or said?
- God accomplished something in Jesus that He accomplished in no one else.
- Speaking of Jesus, Peter wrote ". . . He Himself bore our sins in His body on the
cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, for by His wounds
you were healed" (I Peter 2:24).
- Our sins were placed on Jesus' body as he died.
- Only because our sins were placed on Jesus can we be healed spiritually.
- Paul wrote of Jesus, "He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin
on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2
- God made Jesus to be sin.
- We have the opportunity to become God's righteousness only because
God made Jesus sin.
- What ever does that mean? Our sins were placed on Jesus' body? God made
Jesus to be sin? What does that mean?
- As Jesus died on the cross, God placed all human evil on his body.
- Justice said, "Here are all the lies of liars and all the deceit of dishonest or
weak people," and God said, "Put them on Jesus."
- "Here are all the evils produced by rapists, spouse abusers, child molesters,
and murderers," and God said, "Put them on Jesus."
- "Here are all the evils associated with adultery, with fornication, with abortion,
and with homosexuality," and God said, "Put them on Jesus."
- "Here are all the evils associated with stealing, with violence, and with all
criminal acts," and God said, "Put them on Jesus."
- "Here are all the evils produced by hypocrisy, self-righteousness, pride,
judgmental attitudes, conceit, prejudice, and self-justification," and God said,
"Put them on Jesus."
- "Here are all the evils produced by mean spiritedness, gossip, selfishness,
self-centeredness, jealousy, wrath, hate, anger, and contempt," and God said,
"Put it on Jesus."
- "Here are all the evils created by promoting divisiveness, by being unloving,
by encouraging strife and conflict, by wounding hearts and souls and minds,"
and God said, "Put it on Jesus."
- And God said, "Put all human evil on Jesus; spare none of it; put it on Jesus
in full measure."
- And, as Jesus died, God made him to be sin.
- God looked at Jesus as he died, and God saw evil covering his innocent
- He saw all the evil of humanity covering His Son, and it was such a
repulsive sight that it repelled God, and God turned away from His own
- And Jesus cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
- God paid for the right to do incredible things for us because God allowed
Jesus to be sin.
- For example, because God made Jesus to be sin, God can sanctify you and me.
- The word sanctify means "to make holy."
- In making us holy, God sets us apart from that which is ungodly and evil.
- In making us holy, God also consecrates us to Himself; He claims us as
- In a very real way, being sanctified means a change of ownership.
- We belonged to Satan.
- But God took us from Satan and set us apart for Himself.
- The concept of sanctification was so clearly understood in the first century that
the common name for people who belonged to Christ was saints.
- The Bible writings called the gospels refer to people who followed Jesus as
- But the book of Acts and the epistles referred to baptized believers by the
- Fifty-six times those writings call baptized believers saints.
- It was the common name for people who belonged to Jesus Christ.
- Don't you think that the name saints was wonderfully appropriate--the people
God set apart for Himself?
- They were not called saints because they were morally perfect; they were
called saints because they had been sanctified--set apart for God in Christ.
- If we had a better understanding of sanctification, we would have a better
understanding of salvation.
- Sanctification never meant or indicated moral perfection.
- The sanctified, or saints, or Christians were not and are not morally perfect--or
perfect in any other way.
- Listen to the way that Paul addressed the troubled congregation at Corinth:
"To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified
in Christ Jesus, saints by calling . . ." (1 Corinthians 1:2).
- The church in Corinth, the Christians there, had been sanctified.
- They were saints.
- It certainly was not because they were morally perfect; it was because they
were in Christ.
- Later, Paul said to these saints, "I could not speak to you as spiritual men, but
as men of flesh, as to babes in Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).
- They were not capable of eating solid spiritual food.
- Among their many spiritual problems were jealousy and strife.
- Obviously, they were not morally perfect or spiritually mature, but they were
- God sanctified the Christians at Corinth when they were baptized into Christ.
- An act of God sanctified them.
- Still later Paul informed them that unrighteous people will not inherit God's
- He listed some unrighteous people who belonged to Satan, who had not
been sanctified--he named fornicators, adulterers, homosexuals, idol
worshippers, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, people who were verbal
abusers, and swindlers.
- Then he said, "Such were some of you."
- Why were they no longer unrighteous people? Because they had become
morally perfect? If you have read 1 Corinthians, you know that is not true.
- Then why were they no longer the unrighteous? This is Paul's
explanation: "but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were
justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God"
(1 Corinthians 6:11).
- They had been sanctified, they had been set apart for God, they had been
made holy, and they needed to learn and understand what that meant.
- They were people in transition.
- They had been ungodly people.
- God sanctified them.
- Now they needed to learn and understand what it meant to be set apart to
be God's people.
- They were not sanctified because they achieved perfection; they were
sanctified because they were in Christ.
- God did for them what they could not do for themselves.
- But they needed to understand what God did for them in Christ.
- And they needed to commit themselves to living like people who were set
apart for God.
- When we enter Christ, God sanctifies us--He sets us apart from evil for
- Because we are sanctified by God, we belong to God, not to Satan.
- Rarely does a person comprehend what God does for him when he is
baptized into Christ.
- Even though most people do not comprehend sanctification, it still happens
when the person is placed in Christ.
- At that point the learning and understanding should begin.
- At that point the life transition should begin.
- Wednesday morning when we learned of Lou Porter's accidental death, many of
us went into shock.
- Lou was a quiet, gentle spirit who touched more lives than we can imagine
with her faith and her service.
- I thank God that this congregation has been blessed from its beginning
through her life.
- Lou was an exceptionally kind, thoughtful person.
- If Lou could give us a message this morning, one of the things she would tell
us would be this: "Please learn this lesson now: we are not saved because
were are good; we are saved because we are in Christ.
- "We seek to be good people because we have been saved."
- "But we are saved because we are in Christ."
- "We are saved because God sanctified us."
Every single person in Christ is saved. Why? Because God sanctified every
person who enters Christ. By what right does God do that? By the right God gained
when he placed all sin on the body of Jesus and made Jesus to be sin.
Every one of us who accepts sanctification in Jesus must do something.
Every one of us must learn and accept the responsibility of being set apart for God.
Incredible, wonderful news, best in the history of the world:No matter what you have done, God can sanctify you.
There is no human evil that God cannot save you from if you understand that He made Jesus to be sin.
Share in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus through baptism.
If God sets you apart for Himself, He expects you to then live as if you belong to Him and not behave as if you are Satan's.
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 8 March 1998
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