To my brethren in the Lord;
May the grace and peace from our Father in heaven and from our Lord, Jesus-Christ, be with you. If my Lord Jesus will permit, it is my prayer that through these few words, you will be convicted to earnestly pursue holiness, for in it we find the pure joy that comes from living sanctified, freed from the power of sin.
The joy that we experience from living sanctified comes in great measure each time we get to see the extent to which sin has truly been rendered powerless in our personal lives. Here are two examples from the scriptures which illustrate this point.
2 Corinthians 8:1-3 – We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
How could the Macedonians be so joyful while being severely tested and extremely poor? Where did that joy comes from? It came from living sanctified. Normally, you would not expect joy in the midst of a severe test, let alone while also living in extreme poverty. In those circumstances, sin typically rages in our lives: envy, jealousy, greed, bitterness, hatred for those who have much, etc. all typically erupt and consume us in such circumstances. But look at the Macedonians! They were joyful! They were abundantly joyful! Sin truly had no power over them, to consume them. And the Macedonians were not unique, for we see for instance Peter speaking in similar ways of those he was writing to in 1 Peter 1:8.
In 2 Corinthians 7:4, Paul stated “In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy”. What was the source of that joy? It came from sin having lost its power in their lives, so that even in all their afflictions, sin, with all its temptations, could not overcome them. No, their minds were clear and focused on the big reward…the lives of the Corinthians. Sin could not convince them that the reward was not all that great after all, and that they should simply save themselves from all this unnecessary pain.
You, my friend, can experience the same joy today
The joy that comes from living sanctified is a tangible one. The things that you used to aspire to slowly lose their importance. The bitterness that you have been harboring, for whatever reasons and perhaps for years, starts fading. Those things that you could not resist in the past (extreme drinking, indecent behavior, fornication, pride, etc.), you find yourself conquering them time and time again. Ohhh the unspeakable joy that emanates from deep within when your very eyes see sin defeated in your life, lying flat on the floor rather than ruling your heart, mind and body as in the days of old. A new man you are becoming, a new woman, a new creature entirely indeed (2 Corinthians 5:17).
What we are talking about here is not to be confused with the old adage of becoming wiser as we grow older. Sin is age-agnostic. Nooooo my friend, what we are talking about is the tangible power of the Holy Spirit in your life. We are talking about Romans 6:22 becoming a vivid reality that you can see, touch, smell, taste and hear everyday.
Romans 6:22 – 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.
That joy my friend is the fragrance of freedom, the aroma of the true freedom that Jesus gave you, for He declared Himself… I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin…if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:34, 36).
No wonder even the gates of hell cannot prevail against those who continually pursue holiness. And no wonder their joy is an unshakable joy, for it is the joy of the victory of sin, the sweet aroma of pure freedom, permeating every aspect of their own lives, even in the deepest of afflictions.
Dear brethren, I pray that you will be provoked to grab hold of the true freedom that has been purchased for you, and experience the unparalleled joy of living sanctified.
Grace to you, from my Father in heaven and yours, in the name of Jesus. Amen.