Paul's Passing Thoughts

Maturing in Sanctification

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on January 11, 2016

“Prove all things;
 – hold fast that which is good.
 – Abstain from all appearance of evil.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22

The word translated “appearance” is the Greek word ειδος (ei-dos), and it refers to a view or a form. In this sense, “appearance” does not imply, “something that seems to be”, as if one might say, “that appears to be evil”, or, “that seems to be evil”, as if one were making a speculation. Rather it implies something that manifests itself as such.

We are commanded to test (prove) all things. As a result, we should be able to discern good from evil. Having properly discerned, we are further commanded to take action. Hold fast (seize onto, secure tightly) the good things, and hold off from (stay away, avoid) everything that proves to be evil.

God wants his people to exercise discernment. It is a skill that must be learned and perfected (matured).  This implies growth.  Spiritual growth – part of the sanctification process.

“And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.” ~ Leviticus 10:10-11

“And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy (distinct) and profane (common or ordinary), and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” ~ Ezekiel 44:23

Conversely, God strongly rebuked His people and their leaders when they at the very least failed to teach discernment, let alone practiced a laundry list of spiritual abuses against their own people. Consider the entire chapter of Ezekiel 22. Notice the parallels between Israel and its religious leaders and the contemporary religious establishment of Protestantism:

Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, “Now, thou son of man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody city? yea, thou shalt shew her all her abominations. Then say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD, The city sheddeth blood in the midst of it, that her time may come, and maketh idols against herself to defile herself. Thou art become guilty in thy blood that thou hast shed; and hast defiled thyself in thine idols which thou hast made; and thou hast caused thy days to draw near, and art come even unto thy years: therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries. Those that be near, and those that be far from thee, shall mock thee, which art infamous and much vexed. Behold, the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood. In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow. Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my sabbaths. In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood: and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit lewdness. In thee have they discovered their fathers’ nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution. And one hath committed abomination with his neighbour’s wife; and another hath lewdly defiled his daughter in law; and another in thee hahumbled th his sister, his father’s daughter. In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD.

“Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee. Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the LORD have spoken it, and will do it. And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee. And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thyself in the sight of the heathen, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.”

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, “Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I gather you in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you. Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof. As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the LORD have poured out my fury upon you. “

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, “Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation. There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain. And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD hath not spoken. The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

“Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.” ~ Ezekiel 22:1-31

This ought to be a stern warning to those in the institutional church – judgment begins at the house of God! (1 Peter 4:17)


One Response

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  1. Andy Young, PPT contributing editor said, on January 12, 2016 at 9:29 AM

    It’s a vicious cycle. Believers lack maturity so they lack discernment – which allows wolves to enter the flock – which allows them to devour/exploit the sheep for their own purpose – which requires them to keep the sheep ignorant – which results in believers who lack discernment – and round and round it goes. We need to break that cycle!


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