Pastor thoughts for November 21st
“Sanctification does not stop with being baptized and learning the doctrine of the Church through confirmation; it spans our entire lives”
When we hear the word “sanctification”, we immediately refer to the 3rd article of the Creed. For this part of the Creed answers the question, “how am I holy?”. Many people believe that holiness comes from within. Through diligent goodness, we somehow muster up enough to reach the level of holiness. But this is not the case. For if we tried to achieve this for ourselves, we would be left with more despair.
Third Article of the Creed [explanation] states, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called my me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith”
In the 2017 ed of Luther’s Small Catechism, the question is posed, “Which is harder to accept-that I choose to believe or that I am brought to saving faith apart from my own efforts?”
Yes, we are unable to choose.
Ephesians 2:1 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins”.
1 Corinthians 2:14, “the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him..”
Romans 8:7, “for the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot”.
Due to the fall in sin [Gen3], we cannot come to faith by our own choice or decision. And even more, we cannot make ourselves holy by our own works.
Ephesians 1:13, “In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promise of the Holy Spirit”
Yes, The Holy Spirit enlightens you by the very gift of His Word. This Word is Christ for you. This Word is His death and resurrection for the forgiveness of your sins. This Word is in the water of Holy Baptism and also in the Supper of our Lord. And through Word, the Lord creates and sustains faith in you.
Yes, there are many distractions, but remember what you need the most. “We may avoid the very things needed for sanctification-confession and absolution, the Word, Christ’s body and blood. Fortunately our sanctification is not dependent on our feelings. The God who washes us clean of sin also gifts us the Holy Spirit, feeds us with His body and blood, and continues His good work in us”.
You are sanctified by the Word.