The Spirit: Saves, Sanctifies, Secures
But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
2 Thessalonians 2:13
The Spirit Saves, Sanctifies, and Secures Every True Believer
I am appreciating Pastor Hal's systematic walk through the core doctrines of the faith this summer. Last Sunday's sermon concerning the person and work of the Spirit was an important reminder of the presence and power of Christ's indwelling Spirit. In fact, the Spirit is so important to us that Jesus Himself said that it was to our advantage that He go away so that the Spirit could come to help us (John 16:7)!
This verse gives us insight into three of the things the Spirit does to help us. First, the Spirit is God's agent of salvation. Apart from God's gracious work we would easily dismiss the claims of Jesus, as so many do. Without God's work through the Spirit we would remain dead in our sins (Eph. 2:1).
Second, the Spirit is the agent of sanctification. That big word means that the Spirit works to set us apart for God. There are a variety of means that the Spirit uses to accomplish this task. One is by leading us to read and study the word of God. Did you know that your very presence in church on Sunday morning to hear the word preached is evidence of the sanctifying work of the Spirit? Another is prayer. The Spirit leads us to set ourselves apart for prayer. A third means the Spirit uses is fellowship. Fellowship in the Bible is face to face, intimate, and personal interaction with God's people. Twitter, Facebook, and blogs do not meet the criteria for the fellowship the Spirit uses to sanctify.
Lastly, the Spirit provides us with faith. Faith is simply strong confidence or reliance on something. The next words tell us that the reliance the Spirit gives is on the truth, which the next verse makes clear is the gospel. The interesting thing about this is that "faith" in this verse is not a verb but a noun. In other words this verse does not say that the Spirit gives us power to exercise faith, but rather that the Spirit gives us faith as a deposit. The deposit of faith by the Spirit is the down-payment that secures for us the fullness of grace we will receive in the future.
The saving, sanctifying, and securing work of the Spirit is for those whom God has chosen. So, let's join Paul in being thankful for all those in Mountain View Bible Fellowship who have been chosen by God and in whom the Spirit is at work to save, sanctify, and secure.