We live in two realities.
- The earthly world we experience through touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste. Where worldly wisdom is commended and studied and practiced, dog-eat-dog, where the strong, powerful, and rich seem to have it all. Where the natural man, those without the Spirit, walks and the flesh rules
- And we also, all live, in the spiritual realm where what we do and how we act in the physical has eternal consequences. In this realm, you are in a battle for souls, on one side or the other, a part of the Kingdom of Light or lost in darkness and blind to the love of God found in Christ Jesus and Him crucified.
But when we (natural mean without the spirit) accept the forgiveness and grace found in the message of the Cross we are, “rescued from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (Colossians 1:13). When Paul received his marching orders from Jesus in Acts 26, He was sent to the Jews and the gentiles. Jesus said, “I am sending you to them to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (17-18).
At the moment of sanctification we receive the Holy Spirit. God’s Word tells us that believers are indwelled with the Spirit, that He moves into our hearts, that He enables us to live as believers and Christ followers.
In John 3:5 Jesus tells us that unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. And from 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free–and we were all given one Spirit to drink.” All believers have the same Spirit and Ephesians 1:13 is pretty specific as to when we fall under His influence, “In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed.” It is that simple, that easy… Salvation is not by works, but by grace through faith…
There are two definite works of Grace, works of the Spirit:
Sanctification takes place at salvation with the indwelling presence of the Spirit where He influences and guides you as a believer, helping you, as we are told in John 14:16 & 26. And Paul has already stated that the people in Corinth were sanctified in yet they were not fully sanctified as they were still also under the influence of the flesh. They had the Spirit, but their lives were inconsistent with who they were supposed to be in Christ.
We are plagued with denominational politics, doctrinal disputes, and liturgical preferences, that seem at times to overcome the Wisdom of God found in His word as well as the commands to love, bear with, and live in harmony with one another. The church has split into factions, denominations, movements, and so on. But by the grace of God, we are still connected; Christians all have the same Spirit and we are all influenced and enabled to live as Christ followers.
But we also have free will and can resist that influence and ignore the enabling power that is ours in Christ; just like those in Corinth were doing. They still had the Spirit, but the sin of pride had crept in and the flesh was exerting its influence. The Spirit did not yet fully have them.
You should not be surprised that Paul addresses the people of the Corinthian churches as spiritual babies (3:1-2).
We too can be babes in Christ, immature, walking in the flesh and following worldly wisdom while still having the indwelling presence of the Spirit. The Wisdom of Man is often taught and preached in many congregations as biblical doctrine. In Paul’s day, as in ours, the wisdom of the world tells us to debate the rival possibilities that God’s Word supposedly offers us, for instance women in ministry and end times. God’s Word plainly tells us in Galatians, “For those of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ. There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise” (3:27-29). Either we are all one in Christ or some are better than others…
As for End Times… Is there a thousand-year reign of Christ here on earth, is He coming back more than once? Is there 7 years of tribulation? Or is He coming back in Judgment and that’s it?
Why such division, why the worldly problems? Because we have not all completely surrendered to the Spirit. When you fall to sin, when you want your own way, when that attitude or pride rises to the surface, you can’t say, ‘I am only human,’ because you are not mere humans! Vs. 12 really hits it home, “Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God.”
We, as they, need that second work of grace: Entire Sanctification or to be Wholly Sanctified. We need to be the mature, the Spiritual person, then we can evaluate everything according to the mind of Christ. Complete sanctification is when you give yourself to the Spirits guidance and influence, when you walk in complete obedience to what you know of the Word and when you continue to be sanctified by the Truth, “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” (John 17:17).
Sanctification is when you have the Spirit—Complete sanctification is when the Spirit has you!
- Are you living for the world, fulfilling the desires of the flesh?
- Are you sanctified, Spirit filled, and Spirit led?
John 14:15-17, 26, John 15:26, John 16:7-15, Romans 8:9, Romans 12:2, Philippians 2:1-16 (vs.2), Ephesians 4:22-24, 2 Timothy 1:9, John 8:22, Ephesians 6:12, Colossians 1:13, 1 John 1:6-7, 1 Thessalonians 5:23