Ephesians | time to consider the change of sanctification
We’re discussing the Christian household code in Ephesians 5. We’re spending a little extra time with the Husband and Wife. Jesus reveals truths about His love for His Church in this relationship.
Ephesians | church & the marital relationship CLICK
marital glory, sanctity & mystery CLICK
Spirit control in community CLICK
interpreting Paul on submission CLICK
now our focus is on sanctification
We talked a little about the household code. The household code is basically a list of ethics. Greek and Roman philosophers write household codes.
In the last article, we saw that mutual submission is distinctly Christian.
Another Christian concept is sanctification. The Greeks and Romans certainly are not talking about purity. In fact some household codes encourage too much freedom.
Christian household codes introduce sanctification to ethics. Fast forward to our time. We often try to dissect concepts like sanctification. Of course we believe in purity, but we think it probably happens in stages.
As Christians we usually start with the interior life. Somewhere inside a change takes place that works its way outward. We use words like transformation, formation, sanctification, etc.
some churches are very intentional about inner transformation
We offer catechesis, spiritual direction, discipleship, etc. This is not necessarily wrong, but where does that leave the whole body? When does our interior life become mature enough to affect the exterior life?
Change doesn’t always happen from the inside out. It can be backwards. I know good Christian leaders who are seeking a closer interior walk with God.
Does it have to be one way or another?
Are we thinking about it Scripturally?
Paul blends everything together in this beautiful Text
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5.25-27, ESV)
Paul makes it difficult for us to separate interior and exterior dimensions of purity. We may have to let go of our belief that we are sanctified from the inside out. Or we may have to let go of our belief that we are sanctified from the outside in.
Christ purifies the whole body in some mysterious way. Also, in a real way He uses the marital bond to do the same.
Take a look at the language of purity in this Text: “sanctify . . . cleansed . . . washing of water with the word . . . splendor, without spot or wrinkle . . . holy . . . without blemish.”
let’s consider a couple Scriptural stories
There are many stories in Scripture when someone is transformed. Sometimes they are changed inwardly and outwardly in a moment.
Did Zacchaeus or the woman caught in the adultery know Jesus very long?
Did either of them complete catechesis or the membership course?
Read the brief story of a traitor, a tax collector, Luke 19.1-10
After 1 dinner with Jesus Christ, Zacchaeus declares:
“Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” (Luke 19.8)
Jesus speaks a word over Zacchaeus:
“Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (verses 9-10)
Read the brief story of an adulteress, John 8.1-11
She could be executed for her crime, but her case is thrown out. Everyone leaves the makeshift court, all astonished by Jesus.
Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (John 8.10-11)
there is a possibility of a definitive change
In both these stories, there is a complete transformation.
Sin is removed, but neither one of these stories is about a one time sin. These people sin until sin defines them . . . It’s a lifestyle. Then they meet Jesus and they’re changed from that moment on. And there are others, like Paul himself, a miraculous conversion.
Does a transformation of the body and soul always happen in an instant? Sometimes we enter a progressive process of sanctification . . . but let’s not limit JC’s ability to do something definitively or in a moment. It may not happen definitively or instantaneously, but it’s possible.
Christ certainly can change the whole person, inside and out
Jesus can sanctify someone with the water of the Word.
Lord willing, next time we’ll look at the language of this Passage a little more.
But right now, know that Jesus Christ our Lord can change you in an instant or through a process.
Are we allowing Him to continually sanctify us?
Maybe it’s time to consider the change of sanctification.
pic credit: Hannah Busing | girl wearing floral dress reading bible alone in grass | 04.13.22 | unsplash