Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July 20- Wisdom and Sanctification

July 20, 2011

Scripture Readings:
2 Chronicles 1:1-3:17; Romans 6:1-23;
Psalm 16:1-11; Proverbs 19-20-21

God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. 
 ~Max Lucado

2 Chronicels 1:1-3:17


I became a Christian when I was 15 years old.  I had started my freshman year at a new private Christian high school in a nice part of the city, where I spent my childhood.  The atmosphere of the school was electric with enthusiasm.  Each Wednesday, we had a school assembly/chapel service.  Evangelical speakers would come and talk about God.  This was a new experience for me.  Although I did not initially agree with what these preachers were saying, I was fascinated by their presentations and felt strangely drawn to their message.  Could what they were saying about God be true?

 They waved their Bibles in the air and claimed that it was the Word of God.  I thought they were insane.  They shouted that I could trust this book to show me the Way.  According to them, I was a sinner in need of a Savior.  These were new concepts. 

As I thought about what they were saying, the truth of my sin and my need of a Savior tugged at my heart.  Eventually, I timidly asked Christ in to my heart, secretly hoping that I was not being duped.  I am happy to say that these crazy shouting men were right.  I know from my subsequent experience that the words of the Bible are God's message to His creation.  God reached out to me through those dedicated servants and brought me into a relationship with Himself. Not long after privately admitting to myself that I needed Jesus' death to cover my sins and that I was succumbing to the idea that I wanted a relationship with this God who died for me, I found myself asking God to make me wise.  My burning desire was to know Him well and to be wise in the ways of God.  Today, as we read God's perspective on Israel's history, King Solomon asks for wisdom, too.  But the wisdom he asks for is the wisdom to rule the of Israel nation, wisely.

God wants us to know in the book of 1 Chronicles that David's desire was to build the Temple.  This highlights His emphasis on all things spiritual.  David was a God-focused individual.  The materials, plans, and preparations for this great work were all layed by the man whose heart was after God's own heart.  Today, King Solomon, who was chosen by God to be the next king of Israel, follows his father's desires and begins to build the Temple.  It should be noted that after David's death, Solomon consults the Lord at the Tabernacle.  This is the same Tabernacle that Moses constructed in the desert.  The Ark is not in the Tabernacle at this point, but the brazen altar is still there.  Remember from our studies that the brazen altar represents Christ's sacrifice for our sins on the cross.  As they approach God at the Tabernacle, they must first approach and go through the brazen altar of sacrifice.  This is a tremendous picture and lesson to us.  We cannot approach our Holy God without going through the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross.  His death and resurrection give us a position of righteousness that allows us to fellowship with God.

After sacrificing on the brazen altar (1000 sacrifices!), God comes to Solomon at night and asks what Solomon would request.  Solomon remembers the advice of his father David in 1 Chronicles 22, and asks for wisdom to rule the people of Israel, justly.  God is pleased with Solomon's request and grants him this kind of wisdom, and also promises to bless him with great wealth, fame, and honor on earth.

A majority of 2 Chronicles is God's focus on Solomon accomplishing the task of building the Temple.  Rather than focusing on Solomon's many wives or the disputes within the nation, God emphasizes the spiritual aspects of Solomon's reign.  The King was wise in utilizing Hiram of Tyre, who had been good friends with David, as an ally and resource.  Hiram provides materials and expert craftsmen for the task. 

We learn that the brilliant master craftsman named Huram-abi is half Jewish and half-Sidonian.  He will single-handedly run the whole project.  153,600 foreigners are used in the construction work of the Temple.  By the way, the use of Huranm-abi and the foreign Gentiles in the great work of building God's Temple is a beautiful physical picture of a spiritual reality.  It is the work of the Israelites to bring us the Word of God and the Messiah.  The Gentiles then spread the Word of God throughout the earth, after the coming of the Holy Spirit and the formation of the Church. Ulitmately, both Jews and Gentiles are used by God to build His Kingdom.

God highlights the details and beauty of the veil in the Temple, which separates the outer court from the Holy of Holies.  Remember that this veil was torn at Christ's death from top to bottom, symbolizing that Jesus' sacrificial death and the tearing of His body gives mankind access to God.  Although the Temple is not the largest worship site ever created on earth, it's richness and symbolic magnificence is impressive.  Solomon shows wisdom in claiming that he is not presuming to build the God of the universe a house.  He is simply providing a place in which the nation of Israel can offer sacrifices to God.  It is wise to focus on God's Temple.   Providing a place to worship God helps establish the correct focus for the nation of Israel.  God should be our focus, too.

The Bible teaches that if we trust in Christ, our bodies become the Temple of the Holy Spirit.  With this in mind, how do you offer sacrifices to God each day?  Do you have a spiritual focus in your life?  The Bible tells us that we are to be living sacrifices each day.  Do you offer the sacrifice of righteous living as your praise to God each day in your body, which is God's Temple?

Romans 6:1-23


We just discussed that if we are believers in Christ, our bodies become God's Temple, where His Holy Spirit lives.  Today, we read how this truth is possible. 

The Apostle Paul presents the ideas of positional and practical sanctification.  Sanctification is defined as the act of setting something apart for a holy purpose.  It is also defined as making something holy.  This is what we are reading about today in the book of Romans.

So how is it that as Christians we are now considered holy?  The explanation in Romans 6:2-10 is two-fold.  First, our position before God is one of holiness because when Christ died our sins were placed on Him and our sins died with Him on the cross.  Positionally, our sins are dead now.  This is what Paul is talking about in verses 3 and 4 when he says that when we become Christians we are baptized with Christ in death.  Baptized here means "identified with."  So, when we put our faith in Christ's death and believe in Him, we obtain a position in which our sins are considered dead.  Our sins no longer rule us or have power over us.  We have the option to defeat sin through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul encourages us, as believers, to recognize the new position that we are in.  As Christians, we are able to choose to not give into our lustful desires.  We are to use our bodies as tools to glorify God.  God's grace has set us free from the law.  Rather than following rules and regulations, we follow our love of God into obedience.

The concept of being a slave to whatever you choose to obey is part of practicing practical sanctification.  Our position is now that we are no longer slaves to sin.  Our sins were paid for and died on the cross with Christ.  It is possible for us to be slaves to sin, though, by choice.  Paul is saying that we must not allow sin to be our master now that we are positionally free from sin.

To experience practical sanctification, we are to become slaves to God.  We are to make God our master and obey Him, alone.  To begin to experience holiness in our lives, we must choose who we follow.  Are you going to follow your lusts or are you going to follow the example of Jesus?  Personal holiness will depend on your choices. 

Lessons: Positionally, if you have asked Christ into your life you are sanctified and set apart to God.  In order to experience practical sanctification you will need to make correct choices through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Does this make sense to you?  Are you positionally sanctified?  If so, are you practicing your sanctification and becoming more like Jesus each day?

I thank God for the Apostle Paul and his explanations of how to live the Christian life!

Psalm 16:1-11

In this psalm, David declares that God is his master.  That fits nicely with our sanctification discussion.
This psalm also prophetically describes Jesus' resurrection in Verses 10 and 11.  It is upon this truth that we are sanctified!

Proverbs 19:20-21

Get advice to get wise, but the Lords plans always prevail.  So true!

What did you learn today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

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