|7 Sanctification: What Does the Lord Expect of Us?|
Prof. Johan Malan, Mossel Bay, South Africa (August 2010)
7. A wedding garment
Sanctification is often mentioned in association with the second coming. The Lord Jesus wants to prepare us for this meeting by sanctifying us: “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, that He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such things – that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27; Amplified Bible).
The Lord Jesus made provision for sanctification as a second work of grace by His sacrifice on the cross and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This promise is accomplished on the level of co-operative righteousness as we are called upon to be fellow-workers of God in Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 3:9). If we have the hope on Christ’s coming we must purify ourselves just as He is pure (1 John 3:3). That means that through the power of the Holy Spirit we should dedicate ourselves to the Lord and also in a disciplined manner do things that befit repentance. These works will be manifested as a wedding garment. John says:
“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints” (Rev. 19:7-8).
The righteous acts of the saints are the fruit of the Holy Spirit in a fully surrendered life. These works represent the fabric of the wedding garment. Because of their salvation all Christians have a garment of righteousness, which is the guarantee of our faith. But not all of them have a wedding garment as they did not build with gold, silver or precious stones on the foundation, Jesus Christ, but rather with wood, hay and straw. The high calling of God in Christ Jesus is to be a member of the bridal congregation of the Lord Jesus. To this end, sanctification is indispensable.
Will you appear before the heavenly Bridegroom without spot or wrinkle? Spots refer to contamination by sin in your life, of which you have not yet been cleansed. Wrinkles in your wedding garment are folds. Maybe you don’t work on this garment and stored it away in a chest of drawers where it will become creased. We must work on our relationship with the Lord Jesus and daily dedicate ourselves to become more holy and available for service. A life which is under the full control of the Holy Spirit will abundantly produce the righteous acts of the saints