Following Jesus

“Following Jesus is more than nodding a head, raising a hand, or repeating a prayer – though someone coming to Christ can do any of those. Following Jesus is not returning to life as usual, the only difference being that we’re now going to Heaven. Following Jesus is abandoning trust in ourselves, surrendering all we are and have to Him. This, and nothing less, is discipleship.” – Randy Alcorn

What does following Jesus mean? Following Jesus sounds so simple, but is it that simple? Once we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are agreeing to submitting or surrendering ourselves to Him, to pattern our lives after Him, and to place our relationship with Him above our own will and desires. Following Jesus is a life-changing commitment to be taken seriously.

Matthew 4:21-22 says, “A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.”  They immediately followed Him. Today, we tend to resist a new direction if it means leaving the comfortable to embrace the great unknown. We weigh the potential sacrifice before we agree to serve. But James and John didn’t hesitate.

Jesus called them, and smack in the middle of relationships, responsibilities, and very real life, they left all that they had and followed Him. No deliberation, no dramatic persuasion, no obsession with personal agendas, and no holding onto the past.  They went immediately.  

This one thing that was true in Biblical times as it is in 2020 is this: the rate at which we are willing to follow Jesus is directly proportional to the proximity of our relationship with Him at that moment. James and John were instantly convinced to follow Jesus because they believed He was who He said He was. Yes, they had a lot to learn and sometimes learned slowly, but through it all, they trusted that following Jesus was greater than anything this world had to offer. Because they trusted they were transformed. They changed because they left everything that had the potential to come between them and an intimate life-altering relationship with Jesus.

Following Jesus is making a very personal, individual decision. It is a choice everybody is offered and must choose through faith. Following Jesus is not about religion. Following Jesus is to learn to live your real, present life with all its responsibilities, relationships, and roles as Jesus would live it if it were His. Then start to use every means available to learn more about Jesus and to understand His teaching. Reading the four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—is a good starting point to come to know Jesus and His ways more fully.

The final step is making a decision. We decide to follow Jesus. We commit to listening to Him, to obeying Him, and to allowing Him to shape our lives. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does following Jesus mean to you? 
  2. Why is it useful to know more about Him to effectively follow Him?  What can we do this week to increase our knowledge of Him? 

Seeing Jesus

That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” – Luke 24: 13-18.

I love the story about the Emmaus road found in Luke 24. It is such an impactful story because it is not about super-Christians; it is about Jesus traveling with normal people, meeting them where they were at, slowly showing Himself to them. It is a story that reveals to us not only something about who we are but how Jesus opens our eyes to see Him for who He is and about how we can come to know Him.

As Jesus walks with the two men, He does two things to reveal Himself to them. The first is that He takes them through the Scriptures. They basically have a Bible study on the road, a Bible study specifically about how the whole Old Testament pointed to Jesus. This brought them closer to knowing Jesus, they didn’t want Him to leave them after they reached their destination. Jesus joined them and then they participated in something important, the breaking of bread. Jesus took the bread, gave thanks, and broke it. It was at that point that the men recognized Jesus.`

 Unfortunately, we don’t yet get to see Jesus like they did so Luke wants us to go to the Scriptures to see Him. The more we understand God’s word the more our hearts will burn for God. You want to sense God’s presence? You want to know Jesus is alive? Dive into God’s word. When you can’t see Jesus, look to the Scriptures. Don’t forget to spend some time focusing on the resurrection—Jesus rising from the dead. The two men on the road to Emmaus did. 

Luke 24:33-35 says, “And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter.” Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread.” Jesus is the one and final sacrificial lamb that takes away the sins of the world. Of course the resurrection happened because that was the plan all along. When you can’t see Jesus, look to the Scriptures and to His resurrection.

We all have to take the road to Emmaus. The journey is longer for some of us than others. What matters is that we don’t take the journey alone. Jesus walks with us and one day we will see Jesus as He really is. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. How well do you know the attributes of God?
  2. What can you do this week to increase your knowledge of the attributes of God? 

Wanting More Of Jesus

 “After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.'” John 21:15. 

Love they say makes the world go round. More songs and poems have been written about love than just about any other subject. And yes – love is absolutely essential in our lives. From the moment we’re born until when we die. So why is it that so many people don’t experience love in their lives? Real love – the sort of unconditional love that Jesus was referring to when He and Peter had a heart to heart talk in John 21.  

There is a strong message contained in Jesus’ conversation with Peter. Each one of us can benefit from asking ourselves the same question that Jesus asked Peter: “…do you burn with love for me more than these.” What did Jesus mean when He said “more than these“? He could have meant, “Peter, do you love Me more than you love your friends, your family, or the other disciples?” Or Jesus could have meant, “Do you love Me more than you love these boats, these fishing nets, and this profession and lifestyle?” 

Peter had gone back to fishing for fish rather than for men. He and the other disciples had been out all night fishing, and they hadn’t caught anything. So Jesus could have meant, “Do you love Me enough to give up all this so you can follow Me and preach the gospel? Do you want more of Me than anything this world can offer? Do you want more of Me even in difficult circumstances?”

“Do you love me?” (John 21:15) That’s a very convicting question, a simple question we should ask ourselves: do you love Jesus? The answer would probably reflect Peter’s answer, “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” But a second question is needed. The additional question is “what are the ‘more than these’ in my life?'” The secret of service to the Lord Jesus Christ lies in the answer to the question, “Do you love Jesus more than anything else in the world?”  

If we really love Jesus, we will follow Him with all of our heart. If we really love Jesus, we will want to be like Him. And if we want to be like Him, that will change the way we think, speak, and act. It will change what we do and where we go. And still we will want more. And more.  

Your marching order as a follower of Christ is spelled out in Galatians 2:20: “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.“ This life is not your own. So if you’ve died to self, there’s no more of you – only Him living through you. With each choice that comes your way, you exercise more of Him and less of you when you ask “God, how would you decide this? What would You want? I’m Yours, so the choice is Yours, too.”

Discussion Question:

  1. How would you rate your desire to have more of Jesus? 
  2. What can we do this week to exercise more of Him and less of us? 

Is it Easy Or Hard To Follow Jesus?

“When we come to Christ, we’re no longer the most important person in the world to us; Christ is. Instead of living only for ourselves, we have a higher goal: to live for Jesus.” – Billy Graham

Do you remember that one time when Jesus said those famous words that have echoed throughout history and inspired countless followers, “Follow Me and life will be grand”? It’s in Matthew or is it in Luke. Actually, it is in neither because Jesus never said it. While we may wish Jesus did express that idea, He didn’t. Not even close. It can be difficult to try to apply all of Christ’s teachings to our lives. So is following Jesus easy or hard? The answer is yes.  

Jesus didn’t come to burden us with more rules. There was a time when there was an extensive  list of expectations and regulations that each person had to follow to be right with God. But Jesus offered us an alternative to that impossible mandate—one much easier to grasp: “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’No other commandment is greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)

We don’t have to perform to a certain standard to earn God’s love. We already have it. We don’t need to make life harder by doing tasks we think will make God love us more. In fact, loving God is simple. It’s not easy, but it’s simple. Loving God and loving people—all people, all the time—is where it gets hard. Because we live in a broken world, with broken people and broken systems and broken things, life is never going to be easy. Jesus promised us that. Life will be so hard, in fact, that we should take it one day at a time. But He also promised us something else, something no one else has ever promised. He told us that He’s never leaving us. “…I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

Love God; love people. But that doesn’t mean we’ll have a trouble-free life. In fact, quite the opposite. Your car will break down at inconvenient times. Your iPhone will get cracked. And despite all your precautions, you may catch COVID-19. The world is full of difficult circumstances and difficult people.  

So don’t be confused about life and all of the hard, weighty decisions it brings with it each day. Make it simple. Strip away everything that’s not you loving God and loving His people (that’s everybody). Start with Jesus, and then build up from there. Life won’t ever be easy, but when the burden gets too heavy, you’ll never have to carry it alone.

Jesus didn’t come to confuse us. He came to love us and to show us the way to peace. He’s our ultimate example, and what’s more, He told us that we would do even greater things than He did.  So, go do it. Four simple words: Love God, love people. Easy or hard? Yes, it is. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. In your opinion is it hard or easy to follow Jesus? 
  2. What can we do this week to love God and love others a little better?  

A Jealous God

 “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. — Exodus 20:4-5.

If we were asked to list God’s “traits” or “characteristics” or “qualities” that come to mind,  we would probably come up with: God is holy, ever-present, loving, just, faithful, righteous, merciful, sovereign and all-powerful to name a few.  But I doubt anybody would see the green eyed monster of jealously as a trait, or attribute of God. Yet in the Bible, God speaks repeatedly of His jealously. Exodus 34:15 says, “You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.” And Nahum 1:2 says “The Lord is a jealous God…” 

Hear the word jealous, and images of an insecure husband may come to mind. Or that new car in your neighbor’s driveway or that new diamond pendant she is wearing around her neck. Jealously does not seem productive or positive. So how could a perfect, loving, patient God call himself jealous?  Despite any confusion, we must not reject or neglect this important aspect of God’s character. The jealousy of God is an attribute that pervades the pages of Scripture and is an essential part of God’s love. 

But to appreciate God’s jealousy we first need to properly understand it. God’s jealousy is His righteous and loving demand for exclusive faithfulness from His covenant people. If He does not care when we love other things in our life more than Him, He would allow Himself to be dishonored and let us settle for so much less than He intends us to have from life. God’s jealous love demands the best of us and our relationships.

We should all find the fact that God is a jealous God encouraging. God is jealous of us because He loves us. We are not just casual acquaintances but people for whom He cares deeply.

In the Old Testament He declared, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: My love for Mount Zion is passionate and strong; I am consumed with passion for Jerusalem!”(Zechariah 8:2). This theme continues in the New Testament, where we read, “For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:2). It is the same attitude loving parents have toward their children, or a godly husband for his wife. It is an attitude of maximum compassion, maximum attachment, maximum commitment, with no room for compromise.

Remember that God is jealous toward you. That is how much He cares for you. But never forget to worship Him and Him alone.  

Discussion Questions:

  1. How would you describe the feeling of jealousy, and when have you experienced it?
  2. Why do you think God would use this word jealousy to reveal Himself to us? 
  3. How can we remove or minimize the allure of “idols” in our lives” and look for practical ways we can give our attention and focus to the things God is passionate about? 

Thanksgiving In 2020

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” – Psalm 100: 4-5.             

What emotions do you feel as you mull over the approaching holiday season? Peace, joy, and thankfulness? There is no doubt this has been a year unlike any other in recent history. We continue to suffer from the unrelenting Covid-19 pandemic that has ravaged our country and world since early 2020. We have seen riots and social unrest as our country tries to understand and address the racial and social issues that have divided us for so long. We have endured a long and tumultuous presidential election that has given rise to uncertainties and fears on both sides of the political perspective. It is no wonder that so many of us are carrying the stress and anxiety of these times like a heavy weight around our shoulders. Where does a person find hope when life at times seems so out of control? How can we, as a people of faith, give thanks even in times such as these?

When we give thanks, we bring to mind God’s gifts to us. This, in turn, reminds us of God’s gracious nature. We think, not just of what God has done, but also of who God is. Thus, giving thanks is a beginning, not an end in itself. In the language of Psalm 100, we enter God’s gates with thanksgiving so that we might go into His courts with praise. There’s no biblical rule that states that thanks must always come before praise. But, for many of us, thanksgiving for what God has done leads us to praise God for who He is.

Thanksgiving is a season of being grateful. Thanksgiving reminds us of all the things to be grateful for. One reason that we fail to thank God now for what we have is that we want more – we want the next step. We fool ourselves into thinking that when we get more or when we get to the next step that then we will stop to thank Him. But that suggests we should not be grateful for what God is doing in our lives as part of His plan for each of us. And that means being thankful even when we are facing setbacks.

We should be thankful because God is worthy of our thanksgiving. It is only right to credit Him because “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father,”  (James 1:17). Expressing thankfulness helps us remember that God is in control. Thankfulness, then, is not only appropriate; it is actually healthy and beneficial to us. It reminds us of the bigger picture, that we belong to God, and that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing. “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). 

All of us have a lot to be thankful for this time of year. But not only should we give thanks during the holidays, but we should also give thanks to God every day of the year.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How is it possible to give thanks even in 2020?
  2. For what are you most grateful today?

What Is God Like?

“I recommend to you Jesus Christ, the unchanging One. I recommend to you God’s answer to your questions, God’s solution to your problems, God’s life for your dying soul, God’s cleansing for your sin-cursed spirit, God’s rest for your restless mind, and God’s resurrection for your dying body. For advocate above, I recommend Him to you. You will find Him to be all He ever was–the very same Jesus.” ― A.W. Tozer, The Attributes of God: Deeper into the Father’s Heart

What is God like? What kind of God is He? How may we expect Him to act toward us and toward all created things? It is truly impossible to grasp what God is like. He is one of a kind, and there is nothing, really, to compare Him to as Isaiah 40:25 points out: “To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One.” But the Bible speaks of God’s many attributes; those characteristics that help us understand who God is – both eternally and for us personally. 

Worthwhile relationships are based on knowledge. When we meet someone for the first time, we do not consider that we really know that person until we have the opportunity to learn more about that person, such as his or her history, personality, likes, dislikes, and desires. In the same way, a vibrant relationship with God must be rooted in a firm understanding of who He reveals Himself to be in His Word.

Obviously, it is impossible to delve deeply into the attributes of God in a 500 word devotional. But it is important that we realize that how you view God and His involvement in your life touches every facet of who you are. Everything about your life — your desires, motives, attitudes, words, and actions — is influenced by your perception of who God is. And you’ll be changed when you realize the awesome greatness of God and the value He places on you. The more accurate your understanding of who God really is and how He is involved in your life, the more highly motivated you will become to excel to use your time, talents, and abilities for His glory.

What is God like? He is completely trustworthy. He has unlimited abilities, so He makes the impossible possible. He is all-powerful, ever-present, all-knowing, and sovereign. Nothing is too difficult for Him. God is morally perfect in every way, so He will always do the right thing. He is holy, absolutely truthful, righteous, and just. And God is totally committed to His relationship with you. He is loving, merciful, and faithful, and He never changes. He will always do what is best for you. And even in the tough times of 2020, God is with you, and He wants to help you.

Allow the truth about Him and His attributes and character to transform you. Only then will you experience God’s best and become all He wants you to be. I encourage you to learn more about Him and His nature and character by studying and understanding what the scriptures say about the attributes of God.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How well do you know the attributes of God?
  2. What can you do this week to increase your knowledge of the attributes of God? 

The Great Physician

 ” In the crowd that day was a woman who had suffered greatly for twelve years from slow bleeding. Even though she had spent all that she had on healers, she was still suffering. Pressing in through the crowd, she came up behind Jesus and touched the tassel[s] of his prayer shawl. Instantly her bleeding stopped and she was healed. Jesus suddenly stopped and said to his disciples, “Someone touched me. Who is it?”…When the woman realized she couldn’t hide any longer, she came and fell trembling at Jesus’ feet. Before the entire crowd she declared, “I was desperate to touch you, Jesus, for I knew if I could just touch even the fringe of your robe I would be healed.”Jesus responded, “Beloved daughter, your faith in me has released your healing. You may go with my peace.” – Luke 8:43-48. 

The “bleeding woman” represents both the power of the Great Physician and living a COVID-19 type of life. Here is why: when she first comes to Jesus, we’re told she’d “had a discharge of blood for twelve years”, and though she “spent all her living on physicians she could not be healed by anyone” (Luke 8:43 ESV). 

Israel had laws for contagious diseases, so this woman was socially distancing for 12 years. Like many of us, she was lonely, shut in her house without the benefit of the internet or Zoom to keep up with what was going on and keep in contact with others.  In addition, the bleeding woman is in economic distress. She’s spent “all her living” on doctors. The bank account is empty, her hope dried up along with her money. Many people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic as businesses strain to stay afloat. It will take time for the economy to fully recover. But most importantly, she is sick. Her life is in jeopardy if nothing changes. COVID-19 has confronted us with our mortality, bringing us face to face with the harsh truth that we’re not invincible. We’re all “in jeopardy” in one way or another as COVID cases continue to climb. So what can we do? What does she do? Where do we or she go? Is there any hope for her and our condition? The answer to those questions is Jesus. 

The woman reaches out to Jesus and finds out that Jesus is the one who is contagious: She doesn’t get Him dirty; He makes her clean. She doesn’t transfer her impurity to Him; He transfers His purity to her. She doesn’t give Him her sickness; the Great Physician gives her His wholeness. The same is true for us. Christ is the Great Physician who draws close to care for us—the sick and wounded. He knew how contagious our condition was, yet He came to earth. He came knowing that absorbing our sin affliction was the only cure. 

The bleeding woman gives us a glimpse of the final victory. The question is not “if I get healed” but “when I get healed.” Heaven is our final destination. Sickness and death don’t have the last word. But until then, we can experience the care and healing of the Great Physician today.  As the sick, broke, and lonely, we can reach out for comfort and help. The Great Physician is the One who can make us whole.

Discussion Question:

  1. Do you view Jesus as the Great Physician? Why or why not? 
  2. If Jesus is the Great Physician, how does that change how we look at sickness and healing? 

Prayer That Works

“Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” – James 5:13-16.

The book of James, which was written by James, Jesus’ half brother, contains a lot of teaching about prayer. In James 4:2, James says that one of the reasons we don’t receive what we desire is we don’t pray. In other parts of his letter, he tells us: “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” (James 1:5)  If we are suffering we should pray (5:13) and if we are sick, we should call for the elders to anoint us with oil and pray for us (5:14) In other words: If there’s something you want from God – you should pray, or have others pray for you.

We live in a fallen world. Disease and death entered the world after Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Our bodies endure sickness, pain, and decay. We don’t always know why we suffer from ailments and disease nor does God promise that we will understand why. That is not to say that healing cannot occur. God is the great physician. The Gospels overflow with stories of Jesus healing every kind of bodily affliction. God still works to heal people in ways that defy medical knowledge. The Bible tells us to pray for whatever we need, and that surely includes freedom from pain.

But healing does not always occur, even to the most loving, God-centered people. Why not? We don’t know. The Bible has a lot to say on the subject: “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” (3 John 1:2 ESV)  Matthew 9:35 says, “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.” Psalm 103:2-3 adds, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,”—Psalm 103:2-3

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) Exodus 15:26 says, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.”

DL Moody, in his book Prevailing Prayer, quoted Bishop Joseph Hall, saying, “It is not the arithmetic of our prayers, how many they are; nor the rhetoric of our prayers, how eloquent they be; nor the geometry of our prayers, how long they be; nor the music of our prayers, how sweet our voice may be; nor the method of our prayers, how orderly they may be; nor even the theology of our prayers, how good the doctrine may be – which God cares for. Fervency of spirit is that which avails much.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you experienced or know someone who has experienced miraculous healing? What was your reaction? 
  2. Does the fact that God doesn’t heal everybody make Him unloving in your mind? 
  3. What can we do this week to make prayer a bigger part of our daily life?   

What Is Sanctification?

“And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God….And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption…” – 1 Corinthians 1:30; 6:1.      

God’s saving grace in Christ is much bigger and more comprehensive than one can possibly imagine. God’s grace not only rescues but also renovates. It not only reconciles, but it also renews. It not only delivers, but it also matures, and it not only justifies, but it also sanctifies. Justification leads to sanctification. But what is sanctification and how does it matter to believers today? 

The Christian life begins with reconciliation. If we truly repent of past sins, God forgives us for Jesus’ sake. This is a wonderful experience, but we soon discover that we are still tempted to sin and that we must fight to overcome it. By the power of the Holy Spirit and through faithfulness in this battle, we can indeed come to a life of victory over all conscious sin—that is, the thoughts, attitudes, and actions we know in the moment of temptation are wrong.  

Sanctification is another term for holiness, and we certainly don’t become holy overnight. Actually, something drastic has to happen for us to change from being the way we are by nature into being holy, as He is holy. “But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”(1 Peter 1:15-16) A radical transformation is needed, and it involves a lifelong process of transforming an individual to be more Christlike. This process is called sanctification. Sanctification is accomplished through being “set apart” from the unholy things of this world—the things that are directly counter to who Jesus is and His goal for our lives.

One reason sanctification is important is that it represents who we are and who we are striving to be. That is the work that God began in us. Second, when Christ begins a work in you, He is going to carry it forward to completion. God has made you a new creation. Sanctification provides evidence and testimony of God’s work in us.

The Scriptures make it clear that sanctification is vital for a Christian’s growth and development life. There is little doubt that God wants us to be passive bystanders in the sanctification process.  2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 “As for us, we can’t help but thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are always thankful that God chose you to be among the first[a] to experience salvation—a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your belief in the truth. He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Sanctification is the path that God calls you to walk. Most Christians have memorized Romans 6:23 over their lives: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” But we seldom pay attention to Romans 6:22 which says, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does it mean to be sanctified? 
  2. What is God demonstrating to us in sanctification?
  3. Is God’s goal in sanctification just to make us better than we currently are?