Day 39 with Oswald is wonderfully titled, The Cost of Sanctification. In a way, this is such an easy passage to read and think, right – that was easy enough to grasp. Sanctification is a rather long word bandied around a fair bit; but Oswald has chosen for the purposes of today’s writing to say that to be sanctified is to secure and keep all the strength of our body, soul and spirit for God’s purpose alone. We make ourselves available to God to perform in us everything for which He has separated us; and when His work in us is done, we make ourselves available to be separated to Him alone, in the same way that Jesus did. The cost of sanctification is therefore to relinquish everything in us that is not of God – for when we are entirely set apart for Him and to Him, there can be nothing left in us that is not of Him.
Oswald’s real challenge is, are you prepared for the cost of sanctification? On this note, I am so grateful that the devotional for today ends with this question: “Are we prepared to set ourselves apart for the Holy Spirit’s work in us?” I am just so grateful that there is this final reminder that as we are sanctified, it is not simply a matter of us doing the work to set ourselves apart for God. It is God’s work in us, that sets us apart for and to Himself.
I keep seeing how awful Christianity would seem, if we overlook the work of Jesus at the cross and the work of the Holy Spirit in us. It would not even be just a difficult moral code to abide by, or an inconvenient set of rules to follow. It would be a downright impossible standard. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” If the goal of sanctification is to be perfect as God is perfect, and if the way to get about to it is to work harder and muster up a bit more something, then I might as well not bother from the outset.
But it is wonderful that the Bible does not set us such a task. Even today, I have salvation only because of what Jesus has done at the cross, in perfect obedience to the Father; and even today, I press on to be sanctified only because of the continuing work of the Holy Spirit in my life. Oswald is right in suggesting that there is a great cost of sanctification – but we certainly have a great Helper who’s carrying us through such a cost. I am hopeful that there will come a day where this “great cost” will not seem so very great at all. In fact, I am hopeful that it will not seem a cost at all. That day will come when I have so great a desire to be one with Jesus and the Father, that I will be quite happy to be rid of all things in my life that are not of God. Unfortunately that wasn’t today – but who knows about each day to come?