Sanctified Living

“This is the will of God, even your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Sanctification! Now there’s a 50 cent word which will generate lots of “Amens” in church. Seems that everybody’s for it but not many know what it is. Only a few practice it; and for those who do, there’s always a preacher around who will condemn them for being Pharisees because they have standards. Sanctify means to consecrate; to dedicate; to keep holy; to set apart. Inherent in the idea is that of a difference.


It would be really difficult to read the Bible with any sense of objectivity and fail to see that God expects a practical, everyday difference between His people and world’s people who are lost. That difference is never to be ugly, mean, haughty, judgmental or prideful; but it is to be clearly observable, saturated with humility, love, selflessness, goodness and compassion. The thinking of God about His people is well seen in this statement about His priests. “And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean” (Ezekiel 44:23). An identifiable difference for the better because of a higher standard is the intent of God for His people, regardless of the age in which they live. To His New Testament people (including us) He said, “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light . . . Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:9, 11-12).


In any age it is never difficult to grasp the reality of a world whose ideas and practices are far from God. Place the world’s views and God’s views side by side; the differences form a chasm. Compare the two views point by point: God, origins, biological classifications, economic systems, the purpose of life, the sanctity of life, morality, greatness, values, worship, sexuality, marriage, child-rearing and the list goes on. The world’s positions constantly shift ever farther from God who never changes. In hopes of reaching the world’s people, many who claim to represent God move to the turf where the world just was; they don’t want to seem too pious, stiff and untouchable to the world. They thus try to be as much like the world as possible so no one will be offended and turn away. Together the lost world and those hoping to convert them unknowingly drift farther and farther from the holiness of God as revealed in His Word. However for those who face reality (on either side) it is never difficult to see the difference between the holy and the profane, the clean and the unclean, the sanctified and the worldly. Simply look around, and then compare what you observe to the standards of the Bible (not the church). The differences will be obvious. Through the centuries the chasm between the world and Christendom stays essentially the same as the two waltz ever farther to the left because both are moving in the same direction; but the chasm between the world and biblical Christianity grows ever wider and deeper.


Today and through the centuries, lack of sanctification (separation) has been one of the greatest hindrances to the cause of our great God. In church we sing with such enthusiasm and passion, “What a wonderful change in my heart has been wrought, since Jesus came into my heart.” We speak unequivocally of the transforming power of the blood of Christ and entice sinners with the claim that meeting Christ will change them for the better forever. Oh, could that really be true? Could He really change me? Show me, Christian friend, show me a changed person. And the look begins. They look for the difference in the moral lives and sexual habits of Christians and those who are not. They compare spending habits, language in the workplace, responses to adversity, fundamental honesty, moderation, dispositions, attitudes, values, where Christians are investing their lives and other everyday practices. With few exceptions the differences are almost non-existent: in divorce rates, credit scores, dress codes, humor, entertainment, temper control, response to evil treatment, consistency, child-rearing, work ethic, relationships with others or elsewhere.

How can it be that we talk so loud about a life-changing meeting with Jesus Christ while bystanders compare us to lost people and see almost no difference? How empty rings our claim that our life was changed when we got saved while those who knew us before can see almost no difference now! Oh, it’s easy to hide behind the positional sanctification we received by faith when we were forever set aside into the family of God. Every honest Christian knows that’s a defenseless defense. The truth is that rather than our position in Christ being a license to live unholy, profane lives with little or no difference from the world, our new position should commit us to a day-to-day life of holiness and service to God. As saved people, we are living letters “known and read of all men” (2 Corinthians 3:2-3). We are literally God’s “ambassadors” with the specific assignment of representing our King in this profane and godless world (2 Corinthians 5:20).


God expects His people to interface with the world and win lost sinners. In order to win the world, He does not allow His children to blend in and embrace the world’s standards of language, economics, dress, humor, response or other common (profane) ways of living. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:11-14). It’s hard to imagine language calling for holiness and sanctification being any more straightforward and clear.


By today’s social standards I am retired. For the vast majority of people retirement seems to be the ultimate goal. Kick back. Do nothing but goof off and play. A life of ease and no responsibility!

Few illusions are greater than retirement! It usually takes only weeks (sometimes days) for this bubble to burst. No point, no purpose, a steady diet of golf or fishing, babysitting the grandkids, constant sight-seeing and nothing-of-value-to-do get old in a hurry. In less than 12 months the vast majority of retirees are bored stiff; large numbers are already in a 6 foot hole. Heart attack, stroke, gave up!

No person was made to vegetate, fossilize, aimlessly wander, waste life in self-indulgence and laziness. Low or high class! Men were created by God for a purpose. We are not here to merely occupy real estate till we die; we are here to contribute, serve, give and work.

Yes, work! Because the years take an incessant toll on the body the approach to work may shift but it must not end. Never! As the tree matures and ages its fruit gets better and sweeter. What a lesson! May the goal for all of us be more and sweeter fruit; never barrenness!

Long before retired I had to come to grips with retirement. I looked in our manual for life, the Bible. I couldn’t find it. Jesus never retired. Neither did Moses, David, Daniel or Paul. It’s just not there. Hum! Maybe there’s a silent message. It does seem that wasted years by those who still have a mind and body sound enough to produce are inconsistent with everything taught in the Scriptures.

For me it is a no brainer. I belong to God. I do not belong to me, own myself. I’ve been bought with the blood of Jesus Christ. I’m a slave for life! I must serve Him till I die. I must! He owns me. He has given men enough sense and honesty to know I cannot do all of the things I once did but I can do many things I never did. And, I can do some things better than I ever did. Furthermore I intend to do all I can with all my might till my Master reassigns me to heaven.

On June 7, 2009 I stood in the pulpit of Berean Baptist Church which it was my privilege to occupy for 33 years. “Today I am resigning the pastorate of Berean Baptist Church; I am not resigning the gospel ministry. I shall never do that. Today my ministry is merely changing directions.” Has it ever! In the 24 months since, I have preached and represented the Christian Law Association in 135 churches in 12 states. That’s over 200 sermons and representations. I have also completed 18 chapters in my newest book. I am also making progress editing my History of Churches book. I am working on a number of other projects.

Retirement! What’s that? My goal and full intentions are to be effectively used of God until I see King Jesus face-to-face.

A Heart To Help

This is my first blog. Bear with me. My heart is to help. In the days ahead it will be my effort to say things and offer insight that will bless, encourage and help you. God has been so gracious in giving me a lifetime in His service. He saved me by His grace when I was 13. Before my 14th birthday He called me into the gospel ministry for which I thank Him.  My entire adult life has been in the service of the great God of this Universe – my God. He afforded me the privilege being a pastor for 52 years. I now represent the Christian Law Association nationwide. I also preach revivals, conduct seminars, write books and speak in many churches.


I do not claim to have arrived; I am still a work-in-progress – still a student. I will be a servant until the day I go to heaven, never a Master. I want love to be my strongest characteristic, real godly love, the Agape love of God. When people see and get to know me, my deepest desire is that they will see true, genuine humility and selflessness. I want bystanders to see the character of Jesus Christ in me. I do not want the true meaning of Christian to be lost on me. Yes! I want them to see it. God forbid that they would not know short of me telling them.


I have no experience at blogging; I do have something to say. I am a long, long way from knowing it all or from knowing all about anything. The years have taught me some things. Some of them will appear in these blogs. You may or may not agree. Whether you do or don’t, I will still love you and want true friendship with you. Your feedback will help me do a better job and that is my desire. For a long time my life’s motto has been Routine Excellence. I think God always deserves our best. In all things! At all times! I want these blogs to be good and honoring to God. I hope they will bless you too.


Sometimes they will be personal. Obviously this first attempt is quite personal. Some of them will be nostalgic. I suspect I will do lots of preaching here; it is in my system and I don’t think preaching is bad – even when it is preaching but it doesn’t seem like a sermon. Politics will doubtless make it into these blogs. After all I am an American and mighty proud and thankful that I am. As an individual I have every right to speak up and every one of God’s people ought to speak up! Our Christian silence is costing us dearly. I for one am not ashamed to be an American. I’m free and glad I am. I don’t intend to stand by in silence and let freedom die on my watch. Some of these blogs may provoke you. I hope they do. The issues addressed in these blogs will not all be political. Somebody needs to speak up for morality. God is still right – about sex, money, child-rearing, gambling, hard work, preaching, education and everything else.


I don’t mind telling you that I am committed to the Bible. I have a personal relationship with God through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone is my personal Savior. He governs my life; His Word is my guide. I am pro-God and pro-Bible. To the best of my ability I take His side on everything – hopefully with genuine love. These blogs will reflect my views but behind all of them will be the Bible. I am a preacher. I represent the Christian Law Association. Most of all I represent the God of heaven and earth – the only real God there is. I am first and foremost His representative, His ambassador.


Thank you for reading this blog. There are more to come, about one new one each week. I’d like to hear from you. Thank you too for visiting my website. I hope you find it to be a blessing.