Life-Study of Romansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Before we come to the section on glorification, I have a burden to give an additional message on the matter of sanctification in life.
Paul was an excellent writer and his thought was very deep. In the book of Romans Paul firstly covers the subject of condemnation and then proceeds to cover justification, sanctification, and glorification. As God deals with us, He always cares for three of His divine attributes—His righteousness, holiness, and glory. God is righteous, God is holy, and God is a God of glory. Righteousness is related to God’s acts, to His ways, actions, and activities. Everything God does is righteous. Holiness is God’s nature. Holiness is not a matter of action, but of nature. As the nature of a table is wood and the nature of a book is paper, so the nature of God is holiness. God’s acts are righteous and His nature is holiness. What is glory? Glory is God Himself expressed. When God is expressed, that is glory. Therefore, in righteousness we see God’s ways, in holiness we see God’s nature, and in glory we see God expressed. Three of the sections in Romans—justification, sanctification, and glorification— were composed according to these three attributes of God: justification according to God’s righteousness, sanctification according to God’s holiness, and glorification according to God’s glory.
In the first stage of God’s salvation we participate in the righteousness of God. This is justification in which we gain God’s righteousness. In the second stage we are in the process of sanctification, a process in which God works His divine nature into us. God’s righteousness is reckoned to us in justification, but it is not wrought into us. However, in God’s sanctification His holiness is wrought into our being. Although we have obtained and participated in God’s righteousness outwardly, God’s holiness needs to be wrought into us inwardly. The second stage of God’s salvation is that He works His holy nature into our being.
In order to accomplish this God has been processed into the available Spirit of life (8:2). Before being processed He was not available to perform this subjective work of sanctification. Before He was processed He was able to create the world, but He was unable to enter into His creature. Although He could do many things outside of us, He could not come into us until He had passed through the complete process of incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection. Since being processed, He has become and still is the available Spirit of life. Now, like the air for breathing (John 20:22), it is so easy for Him to enter into us. As the available Spirit of life, God has come into our spirit, making it life. Since Christ, the life-giving Spirit, is in us, our spirit is life because of righteousness (8:10). The Lord has made our spirit life by regeneration. Now, as the Spirit of life in our spirit, He is spreading Himself from our spirit into our soul—into our mind, emotion, and will. Eventually, He will even expand into our mortal body. In such a way God saturates us with Himself. This saturation is called sanctification. Through this saturation God works Himself with His holy nature into our entire being, into our spirit, soul, and body (1 Thes. 5:23). Thus, our whole being will be fully permeated, sanctified, with His holy nature. We are presently undergoing this process of sanctification, the second stage of God’s salvation.
In the next stage we will be raptured and glorified. That will be the redemption of our body. Glorification means to transfigure our vile body into a glorious body (Phil. 3:21). At that time we will be completely and absolutely brought into God Himself as our glory. Then we will be fully glorified.
The first stage of God’s salvation, justification, takes care of our spirit; the second stage, sanctification, mainly deals with our soul, with a slight amount of saturation in our body; and the third stage, glorification, concerns our physical body. In Romans 8:10 Paul says that if Christ is in us, our spirit is life because of righteousness, meaning that in God’s justification we have gained righteousness. Through this righteousness our spirit has been made alive and actually becomes life. However, there is not yet the divine life in our soul. Therefore, we need to cooperate with the indwelling Christ by setting our mind upon the spirit, enabling the Spirit of life to saturate our mind with Himself. Then our mind will be life. If we continue to cooperate, this saturating and spreading One will spread Himself from our spirit even into our mortal body. Then we only need wait for the time when our body will be brought into His glory. That will be our glorification.
Now we can understand why Paul wrote Romans in the order that he did, with justification first, followed by sanctification and glorification. These three sections cover the three stages of complete salvation and correspond to the three parts of our being. In justification our spirit is made alive, in sanctification our soul is made life, and in glorification even our body will be full of life. When this process is completed, we will not only be justified and sanctified, but also glorified. Presently we are in the process of sanctification. Thus, I am burdened to give this message on sanctification in life. Although you may never have heard the term sanctification in life, it is nevertheless a fact.
From the beginning of the book of Romans through 8:13 two main things are covered, justification and sanctification. In justification God gives us His righteousness, which is Christ Himself. God has made Christ righteousness to us. However, this is objective, for righteousness is Christ as our covering. Hence, righteousness is objective, like a roof that covers us. However, in the second stage, sanctification, God is working Christ into us to make Him our sanctification subjectively. Our whole being will be permeated with the holy nature of God. This is sanctification in life.
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