“…The will of God, your sanctification.” (1 The. 4:3) Realizing the will of God is our sanctification. It sets us apart to God so we become holy through Christ’s living within us, transforming us into the same image of Christ. But how do we follow the will of God? How do we become set apart to God? How do we “be holy”?
Realized today God himself is sanctifying us. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he who calls you, and he also will bring it to pass.” (1 The. 5:23-24} He is doing all the work. “Faithful is he who calls you, and he also will bring it to pass.” (1 The. 5:25) To follow the will of God, realize the only thing we need to do is rest in him.
As human beings, we don’t know how to rest in him. Our flesh is always expressing itself so we are not holy. We are not set apart to him because we are still working within our flesh. Realize all expression of our flesh is unclean. In order to be set apart to him, to be holy, realize we must cease from all our work. Even saying “I am surrendering my will to you Lord,” with a sense that we are capable of surrendering our wills to him, is work. We cannot rely on our flesh to do anything. Only Christ, who is living within us, can surrender our wills to him. That is why, “…He also will bring it to pass.” (1 The. 5:24) He will bring it to pass. Our sanctification, our separation from this world of affliction to the Christ of peace, our setting apart to be holy, is entirely through the God of peace Himself. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation (afflictions), but take courage, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 The. 5:23). He is sanctifying us completely. Our spirit, our soul and our body is being separated to him so we would be blameless in the day of Christ.
So what are we to do? Realize it is nothing. We are to do absolutely nothing but just to enjoy Christ. When we enjoy Him and do nothing, we have entered his Sabbath rest. When we enjoy Christ, feasting with Him, the God of peace Himself will sanctify us. That is why, in Leviticus, God tells us that all the expressions from our flesh is unclean. All that we do in our flesh is unclean. So do nothing. “The Lord spoke again to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations–My appointed times are these: For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a Sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is the Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwellings.” (Lev. 23:1-3) There were seven holy convocations or feasts that the children of Israel were to celebrate. (See “Life Study of Leviticus” for a full explanation of what they are and where we stand today.) In each one, the children of Israel were to do no work; God reminded them repeatedly in Lev. 23:7,8,21,24,28,30,31,32,35,36 and 39 that they were to do no work and rest. In fact, in the holy convocation concerning the day of atonement, the Lord tells them to humble themselves. “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the Lord. You shall not do any work on the same day, for it is the day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God. If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people. As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. It is to be a Sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening you shall keep your Sabbath.’” (Lev. 23:26-32) Realize the humbling of our souls allows us to rest in Him.
[This actually speaks of the future when Christ returns and the trumpets sound, calling the children of Israel to humble themselves and purify themselves with fire before the Lord. Anyone who fails to do so will be cut off from his people. “So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.” (Heb. 4:9) That is why the previous convocation is the blowing of trumpets, “a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.” (Lev. 23:24) “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 The. 4:16-17) When the Lord comes back, he will be hidden from our view, in the cloud. He is hidden from plain sight. Just like he was over the mercy seat. “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the holy place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, or he will die; for I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat.’” (Lev. 16:2) This is what it is like today. He is hidden from our plain sight, but those who love him see him in their spirits, the inner-most part of their being where the Spirit dwells. “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to the lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (2 Pet. 1:19) To those who love him, his second coming will be like his first, announced by the brightest star in the sky, a morning star, except it will now arise only in the hearts of those who love him. That is why “…we live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor. 5:7)]
Learning to rest in Christ is our greatest challenge. We like to exert our will. That is the problem given to us by the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We feel we need to work to do our Christian duties. Realize we cannot do Christian work first until we rest in Christ. In Genesis, God created the universe in six days, then he rested on the seventh day. “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” (Gen. 2:1-2) This seventh day was sanctified, set apart, by God to rest. Realize for man, who was created on the sixth day, his first day was God’s seventh day. His first day is a day of rest. Before we till the ground, we must rest in him. “For we who have believed enter that rest…Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.” (Heb. 4:3,11) When we rest in him, we don’t live according to our flesh, we live according to the Spirit so we are no longer disobedient. Why are we not disobedient, because we have been set apart by him as we rest in him. Christ sanctifies us and becomes our holiness. When we work throughout the week, we till the ground now yoked with Christ. “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Mat. 11:28-30) When we are yoked with Christ, realize who does all the pulling, and who does all the steering. Christ does everything. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.” (Rom. 11:36) Our yoke is easy and our burden becomes light as we rest in him. As we get old in Christ, we realize we do not use our own efforts. “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourselves and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” (John 21:18) As we grow old in Christ, we stop trying to be holy because we realize it is a distinctness that is of God alone and not of the flesh. We simply need to love Him. Christ becomes our holiness.
“Whom having not seen, you love; into whom though not seeing Him at present, yet believing, you exult with joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.” (1 Pet. 1:8 – Recovery Version) As we feast with Christ at his holy convocations, realize we are eating at his table with him. We are eating of him as the bread and the wine, the bread to supply us with his divine life that is distinctly separate from us, and the wine to deal with our sin by the blood he shed on the cross. Realize Christ is supplying us with his holiness, the bread, and dealing with our flesh with his blood. His holy convocations begin with the Passover, with the blood shed by the lamb of God, redeeming us so God’s judgment passes over us. The second convocation is the feast of the unleavened bread. Leaven is the added mixture of sin into our beings when Adam took from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Cor. 5:7-8) We are taking Christ as our unleavened bread each and everyday to supply us with his holiness. We cannot do it ourselves. We rest in Him.
When we rest in Him, we are at a feast, feeding with and on Christ as our unleavened bread. We stay within the Holy of Holies before Him and never go out anymore (Lev. 21:12; Rev. 3:12), we are his priests without blemish. We don’t shave off our hair anymore. “They shall not make any baldness on their heads, nor shave off the edges of their beards, nor make any cuts in their flesh.” (Lev. 21:5) “For no one who has a defect shall approach: a blind man, or a lame man, or he who has a disfigured face, or any deformed limb,” etc. (Lev. 21:18-20), they were not allowed to be priests though they were Aaron sons because of their defects in their flesh. As priests to God today, realize the Christ in you has made you holy and without blemish. We express his perfect humanity if we rest on him and not work ourselves. Instead, we have come into his enjoyment. We are feasting with our brothers and sisters enjoying Christ as our life and life-supply. “Whom having not seen you love; into whom though not seeing Him at present, yet believing, you exult with joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.” (1 Pet. 1:8 – Recovery Version) The Christian life is one of joy that is unspeakable and full of glory. This is the heart of the divine revelation.
By resting in and enjoying Christ, we are transformed into the same image.
On the Sabbath, when you gather together with your brothers and sisters in Christ, make sure it is a feast unto Him, that you exult with joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.