Sanctification is a big word. When we talk about Christian sanctification as it concerns our salvation, we mean the progressive maturing of a believer away from sin and towards Christ-likeness. Sanctification can also mean "to be set apart". Interestingly enough, one of the meanings of the word "holy" is also "set apart".
In the context of our passage today, both seem applicable and fitting. All of our Christian life should be colored by holiness, purity, and sanctification. We should be set apart for God's purposes and uses. We should be holy and "wholy absent" from the darkness and the night that Paul talk about. "Since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled".
At the same time, we are not expected to leave this world. We are not expected to remove ourselves from society. Indeed, we cannot "win the respect of outsiders" if we are wholly separated from them. So how do we be at the same time "set apart" and still "in the mix"?
We are set apart by our actions and motivations. Obviously Paul opens the chapter with a call to a change in behavior. But the motivations are there too:
- Obedience - "It is God's will"
- The joy of the master - "live in order to please God"
- Internal compulsion - "love all the brothers"
- Time on earth is temporary - "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven"
- Final reward - "we will be with the Lord forever"
So this week consider not only your actions (obedience in behavior) but your motivation (obedience in heart). Are you motivated by love for God and for others, or are you motivated by self? As Lee talked about this Sunday, are you motivated by what you can give and how you can serve, or are you motivated by what you can get and how you can be served? Both can be a motivation for obedience and good behavior, what's yours?