John was an example of true sanctification. He yielded his resentful, ambitious temper to the molding power of Christ. Our sanctification is God’s object in all His dealings with us. He gave His son to die for us that we might be sanctified through obedience. True sanctification comes as a result of the operation of the principle of love, but this happens only as we learn the meaning of self-sacrifice. The cross of Christ is the central pillar on which hangs the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
John did not teach that salvation was to be earned by obedience; he taught that obedience is the natural fruit of faith and love. The sanctified heart is in complete harmony with the principles of God’s law.
Many who are striving to obey God’s commandments nevertheless have little peace or joy. This is because they have failed to exercise faith. The Lord wants all of His sons and daughters to be happy, peaceful, and obedient. And through faith in Him, every deficiency of character may be supplied, every sin cleansed, and every excellence developed.
Sanctification is God’s will for us. But it must be our desire, as well.
Key Thought: “Sanctification is not the work of a moment, an hour, a day, but of a lifetime. It is not gained by a happy flight of feeling, but is the result of constantly dying to sin, and constantly living for Christ. Wrongs cannot be righted nor reformations wrought in the character by feeble, intermittent efforts. It is only by long, persevering effort, sore discipline, and stern conflict, that we shall overcome. We know not one day how strong will be our conflict the next. So long as Satan reigns, we shall have self to subdue, besetting sins to overcome; so long as life shall last, there will be no stopping place, no point which we can reach and say, I have fully attained. Sanctification is the result of lifelong obedience” (The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 560, 561).
Lesson: If we are to grow in Christ, we must be serious about relying on Him to overcome sin in our lives.