and I will be his God and he shall be My son


Book of ROMANS
A Study of Chapter 8
Part 4

Romans 8:3-4


“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
– Rom 8:3-4 NKJV

“it was weak through the flesh” or as Complete Jewish Bible says – “it lacked the power to make the old nature cooperate”

Reminds me of what Jesus told His disciples – “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt 26:41)

This was Paul’s struggle before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus, and even initially after his conversion. Wanting to do good and obey the Law, but finding he failed often.

“For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good.” – Rom 7:15-16 NASB

So the Law of Moses could not perfect even those who adhered to its requirements - and there were those who did. Both Testaments speak of several saints who “walked blameless” to the external ordinances, regulations & kosher requirements in the Law, including Job, Zacharias & Elizabeth, and Paul. But none could have been perfected and delivered from sin. Therefore, continual sacrifices were needed. Until Jesus.

“And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man (Jesus), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified (being made holy).” – Heb 10:11-14 NKJV (NIV)

“This Man”, “He condemned sin in the flesh

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…”
– John 1:14a

Jesus had to become a physical man, born of woman, subject to hunger, pain, and temptation.
Unless He experienced all that we go through as flesh & blood men, He could not have been that perfect sacrifice for sin that was required to satisfy God.

“Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood, He also Himself in the same way partook of the same, that through death He might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.”
– Heb 2:14 WEB

“when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman…”
 – Gal 4:4 NKJV

I remember thinking for years that Jesus had been born without a sin nature, and research showed me that many still hold to such a belief. Yet, that doctrine began to crumble in my understanding as I spent more time in the Scripture. The Bible does not say our Lord & Savior was born without a sin nature, or the ability to sin. What the Word does say is that
“Jesus, our high priest, is able to understand our weaknesses. When Jesus lived on earth, He was tempted in every way. He was tempted in the same ways we are tempted, but He never sinned.” – Heb 4:15 ERV

If Jesus had overcome temptation because He had Divine supernatural strength, then He wasn’t like natural man. If He has been unable to disobey God, then His sacrifice was a charade. If He had conquered sin and death by summoning angels, then such a victory would not have sufficed.

Jesus took “the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
– Phil 2:7-8 NKJV

Jesus had to become like us, to walk in our shoes, dare I say, to fully understand…

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”  - Heb 2:14-18 NKJV

And He has set us free from bondage to sin.

“But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.” – Rom 6:22 NASB

Sanctification αγιασμος hagiasmos (Strong’s Gk 38) - is thus the state predetermined by God for believers, into which in grace He calls them, and in which they begin their Christian course and so pursue it.

The root word from which αγιασμος comes is αγιαις hagios (Strong’s Gk 40) – holy, saints
‘This sainthood is not an attainment, it is a state into which God calls men; yet believers are called to constantly sanctify themselves consistently with their calling, cleansing themselves from all defilement, forsaking sin, living a holy manner of life, and experiencing fellowship with God in His holiness.’

In the Exodus, the Lord called His people to come before Him and receive instruction regarding how they must serve Him.

“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
– Exodus 19:5-6 NKJV

This privilege to be among His special treasured ones, through whom God could minister Life to the nations, came with a cost (the same cost for us today) – the death of our Adamic nature and complete surrender to Him. 

To this God has called some throughout the centuries. We like to think, especially as Americans, that everyone born in the world is born equal. Scripture doesn’t support that idea. Doesn’t mean God doesn’t love each one or want them to attain to the Kingdom. But as we see from God’s own Word, some He has called to be “a special treasure to Him above all people.” To the rest of mankind, these are to be the Light of Christ.

God never changed His desire or His plan. That charge to His people then, is the same today. As Peter writes to the Church -
“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” – 1Pet 2:9 ESV

Again, we see two different groups of people here… those “proclaiming” God’s excellencies, His mighty deeds, and those who hear and see the proclamation. The Father has “chosen” some to be His witness on the earth to the rest (I believe the bulk) of mankind and even creation itself.

Peter writes in this letter exhorting these (including us) who have been chosen, to submit to God and be obedient to His charge to be holy -
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. 15 But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.” – 1Pet 12:14-16 HCSB

The spiritual office of a ruling priest is not obtained by “being saved” or by a confession of faith.  It is God’s own choosing. These are the ones of whom Jesus’ speaks in John 6:44, the ones God has drawn unto Christ. These (of whom I pray are all reading this), HAVE been sanctified – set apart. But now these must also BE sanctified – live apart.

It is only fully realized by that surrender and obedience: enduring to the end through every trial and test of life. And it begins with the saint being sanctified to enter into that calling. Let us read what the Lord required of the Israelites after He had saved them from bondage in Egypt -

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. 11 And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.” – Ex 19:10-11 NKJV

The Israelites had been saved and set apart. Then the Lord called them to “consecrate” themselves before they came to meet with Him. The purpose of His meeting with them was to reveal His purpose for them and give them the covenant (Ex 20).
But although they had “washed” themselves externally, they still had need of inner sanctification. These had not been cleansed from sin, so they shrank back at the Presence of God and Moses went to meet with the Lord alone.

Yes, they had been called & set apart by God, but they had not sanctified, or consecrated, themselves actually, by separating themselves from sin, so “the Lord said to (Moses), “Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the Lord and many of them perish.22 Even the priests, who approach the Lord, must consecrate themselves, or the Lord will break out against them.” (Ex 19:21-22 NIV)

And, yes, we too may have been called and set apart by God – sanctified. Now we must live apart from the world and separate ourselves from sin, to make God’s calling a reality.

“Wash yourselves and make yourselves clean.
    Stop doing the evil things I see you do.
Stop doing wrong!
17     Learn to do good.”

- Isaiah 1:16-17a ICB

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – James 4:8 NKJV

A couple quotes I found on the subject, that agree that sanctification is a process, which results in us becoming actually holy, actually like Christ -

"Sanctification is the continuing work of God in the life of the Believer making him or her actually holy." – Erikson.

 "Sanctification is a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives." – Grudem.

Indeed, some of you may be thinking of this verse from Isaiah concerning us being the clay which God shapes - 

“O Lord,
You are our Father;
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all we are the work of Your hand.”

- Isaiah 64:8 NKJV

And to this we say Amen! Yet we must submit ourselves to the Potter, we must allow Him to mold us for His purpose. We see this in God's Word to Jeremiah concerning His chosen people. How He shapes us is in direct correlation to our behavior. 

“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Go down at once to the potter’s house; there I will reveal My words to you.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, working away at the wheel. 4 But the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter’s hand, so he made it into another jar, as it seemed right for him to do.

5 The word of the Lord came to me: 6 “House of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter treats his clay?”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “Just like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, house of Israel. 7 At one moment I might announce concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will uproot, tear down, and destroy it. 8 However, if that nation I have made an announcement about turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the disaster I had planned to do to it. 9 At another time I announce that I will build and plant a nation or a kingdom. 10 However, if it does what is evil in My sight by not listening to My voice, I will relent concerning the good I had said I would do to it. 11 So now, say to the men of Judah and to the residents of Jerusalem: This is what the Lord says: I am about to bring harm to you and make plans against you. Turn now, each from your evil way, and correct your ways and your deeds.”
- Jer 18:1-11 HCSB

Repentance is always a requirement. We must "turn from our evil way", our disobedience, if we would have the Lord God mold us into image of His Son. Does not the Word instruct us - 

“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
18 “I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.”

- 2Cor 6:17-18 NKJV


The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915) begins its study of Sanctification -
The concept of sanctification is a crucial element of the biblical doctrine concerning human life before God. At the very beginning of the history of God’s people, the divine word to Abraham is “I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be blameless.” (Gen 17:1). God demands human holiness and righteousness as essential in any right relationship with Him; therefore, some way of approach, some path of sanctifying or making us holy before a holy God ultimately becomes necessary if full fellowship with God is to be achieved. Yet this idea of sanctification, of human progress toward and final achievement of holiness and righteousness, was not fully developed in the OT. Instead the concept of human sanctification arose fully only in the ethical teaching of the NT and in the Church’s subsequent meditation on the NT view of the Christian life.

And have we not been called to ‘full fellowship with a holy God?’ Is not our desire as Christians to achieve complete, actual, holiness and righteousness?

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you His Holy Spirit.” – 1Thess 4:3-8 NIV

As we read last time, the Spotless Lamb came for this purpose, to both be “perfected” and to
perfect “forever those who are being sanctified”; that the plan of God might be accomplished. Speaking of the Elect, that remnant of overcomers who will inherit creation as co-heirs with Christ Jesus, the Word declares that God made “the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” (Heb 2:10-11)

These whom the Father set apart to become one with Christ: His brethren, His body, His co-heirs of all things for the purpose of setting Creation free into “glorious liberty”, Jesus prayed for on the night of His greatest test -

“I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 All Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your Name, which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are One.” – John 17:9-11 ESV

What an incredible calling. Not to be saved at the expense of all others, but called to be sanctified that these might bring deliverance and salvation to the world. What I believe to be the greatest promise in the Scripture - total and complete union with God - is what Jesus prayed for…“that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.” – John 17:21 ESV

Oh, there is so much more than we have known concerning God’s plan to redeem Creation. May we never settle for anything less than what He has ordained for us. “Let no man steal your crown.” If we’ve been called to be a member of that “royal priesthood”, one of those “predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son”, I pray we would know that “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the Word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” – Eph 5:25b-27 NKJV

May we walk worthy of His calling, His Name and His Kingdom.

Next… The Mind

Go Back


Blog Search