Posted by: Rina | October 6, 2009

The Holy Spirit is the Sanctifying Agent

“If you are a new creation in Christ, have you ever wondered why you still think and feel at times the same way you did before?  Because everything you learned before you knew Christ is still programmed into your memory.  There is no mental delete button.”    -Neil T. Anderson

It is the role of the Holy Spirit to act as the sanctifying agent, once we are saved.  It is His job to mold us into the image of Jesus.  We should not attempt to take His job.  The Bible says that “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it.” (Philippians 1:6).  Basically, this text is telling us that we are not responsible for perfecting ourselves.  It is my experience that many Christians fall into a trap of self-sanctification.  Bill Johnson writes, “In my own pursuit of God, I often became preoccupied with ME!  It was easy to think that being constantly aware of my faults and weakness was humility. It’s not!…By being sold on my own unrighteousness, the enemy has disengaged me from effective service…It may sound strange, but I don’t examine my motives anymore.  That’s not my job.  I work hard to obey God in everything that I am and do.  If I am out to lunch on a matter, it is His job to point that out to me.  After many years of trying to do what only He could do, I discovered I was not the Holy Spirit.  I cannot convict and deliver myself of sin.  Does that mean that I never deal with impure motives?  No.  He has shown Himself to be very eager to point out my constant need for repentance and change.  But He’s the One with the spotlight, and He alone can give the grace to change.” (1)  Just like Pastor Johnson, many spend a tremendous amount of time focusing on themselves, their faults, and the areas they need to work on.  In so doing, they negate the role of the Holy Spirit attempting to accomplish what only He can do.  The Holy Spirit will convict me if I am continuing in an area of sin, and once I respond with confession and repentance, He provides the power to abandon that lifestyle.  It is crucial for the Christian to walk with a repentant heart.  We should constantly be willing to receive instruction from the Holy Spirit and not be resistant to His promptings and convicting.  We need to constantly be aware of the need for us to repent which ultimately leads to holiness.  The heart of the Christians should be sensitive to repentance.  This is a process of becoming holy with the Holy Spirit leading and directing us and us using our free will to respond with Him.  Thus, we co-labor with God, doing our part and Him doing His, to lead us into holiness and Christ-likeness. So, when we get a conviction about a matter, we need to respond to the Spirit’s move.

When conviction is present, believers must confess it (take responsibility for it and ownership of it) and repent. (to change my mind and thinking about the sin and turn away from it) Benny Hinn has this to say about repentance, “Repentance is a daily experience.  And it’s a supernatural experience, not something you can humanly accomplish by yourself.  It’s a gift of the Holy Spirit…That’s the true meaning-not only confessing but also forsaking.  Have nothing to do with it anymore.  You get on your knees and you say, ‘Lord, never again’, and you don’t walk out until the thing is dealt with.” (2) The importance of a repentant heart cannot be overemphasized.  It is the most important factor in sanctification and in growing in our Christian identity.  It’s an essential for kingdom growth.  Jesus says, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” (Matt. 4:17)  The degree to which we have a repentant heart, is the degree that we move into the deeper things of God.  Frank Bartleman of Azusa Street revival writes, “the depth of revival will be determined exactly by the depth of the sprit of repentance.” (3)  Christians will continue to go deeper into the kingdom so long as we are willing to have the Spirit show us and remove areas of sin from our character.  Any revival, either corporate or individual, will cease growth when the repentance of the heart ceases.

When sin is not confessed and repented, the individual has placed themselves under the authority of satan.  Then the enemy has a legal right to attack.  It is the natural consequence of the exercise of our own free will.  Che’ Ahn writes, “When we habitually sin, we come under satan’s authority, and he has legal rights over us until we repent.  That is why Jesus said, ‘The prince of the world has nothing in Me’ (see John 14:30).  Jesus was without sin and the devil could not get a foothold in His life.” (4) Our choice lies in our willingness to confess and repent.  God does not send calamity to fix us, He simply allows the devil to have his legal claim.  The enemy is allowed to torment us when we covenant with him in rebellion against God.  This point must be very clear,  God is not the author of disease, death, and sickness.  These are the work of the enemy and the source must be recognized.  Oftentimes, confession and repentance lead to healing.  In the book of James we read, “Confess your trespasses on to another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed…”  (James 5:16)

Endnotes

1.  Johnson, Bill, When Heaven Invades Earth A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles,  Destiny Image Publishers, Inc. 2003, page  147-148.

2.  Hinn, Benny, The Anointing, Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson Publishing, 1997, page    130.

3.  Bartlemann, Frank, “Azusa Street”, Whitaker House, New Kensington, PA, 1982,  page 19.

4.  Ahn, Che’, How to Pray for Healing, Understanding and Releasing the Healing Power Available to Every Christian,  Ventura, CA, Regal books, 2004, page 48.

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