After having focused on one (Justification) of the three key Christian doctrines in the background of the concept "Knowing about Knowing", today let's reflect on yet another paramount doctrine of sanctification within the same co-ordinates...

Sanctification

After receiving a new life from the Saviour, while we do our bit earnestly of praying, Bible-reading, Church fellowshipping and Witnessing in order to be transformed into Christ's image (2 Cor 3:18)--which is the basic purpose behind our being "justified"-- the good Lord does His bit too (a very important one at that) in moulding us into His image. We need to co-operate with Him in this matter. Over to Apostle Paul on this subject...

"...That I may know...the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings...." (Phillippians 3:10 KJV)

Ginosko has been employed again for the word Know in the above-captioned Scripture portion. Compared to this (in his sanctification process) Apostle Paul reasons every other thing like his rich spiritual Jewish heritage for instance is "dung" (strong words quoted verbatim. See Philippians 3:8, KJV). Now how's that for hitting the nail on its head, as it were!

What is a Christian's "sufferings" if it is not consistent Cross-bearing for God's Glory (Luke 9:23), much like what the Saviour (Heb 9:14) did. This Cross-bearing produces Christ-like virtues (Rom 5:3-4) in a Christian. Let's now try to "know" what exactly is Cross-bearing. Remember for a Cross (synonymous with pain) to be carried, it necessarily has to be in touch with your being. Therein lies the answer. The surrounding "unavoidable" irksome circumstances, which one cannot get away from...be it in a country where we live in (can we leave the Country and flee if communal persecutions break out?) or in the place of education/employment/business or in a relationship like marriage, parenthood or the perpetual pain in even one's own body due to some health disorder or the "pain" in resisting an urge to gratify a sexual desire in the unmarried lot or "pain" in resisting the temptation to get even with an enemy...All these constitute a cross. Enduring it without complaint is what earnest Christian cross-bearing is all about.

Now coming to the Resurrection power in a Child of God...What is it if it is not the presence of the same Life-giving Holy Spirit, which quickened his dead spirit at the point of re-generation (Rom 8:2/11) and who now manifests Himself in him by way of continual joy (Acts 9:31/Rom 5:5)?
 
It is in this rare "atmospheric" condition of pain outside and joy inside that a Christian's character gets built. Dwelling more on the subject of the Ethereal Joy which is ever present in a Christian's heart, let it be said that this immeasurable joy (Psa 16:11) not only increases one's spiritual "feel-good" factor exponentially, but also it is by this super-natural joy that one gets to experience fully the joy in other permissive joys like the one in enjoying a sumptuous meal or in the one of physical intimacy within the ambit of marriage ( to play it safe in the contemporary context, shall I qualify the word marriage with the word "heterosexual" 1 Tim 4:1-4 TLB? ), or be it in enjoying to the hilt a creatively–compiled Sports article...at once contributing to abundant life (John 10:10). Simply put, minus the Divine joy, joy would go out of other legitimate "joyous" activities!
 
Focusing on the work of the Spirit in tandem with the Cross in making a Christian grow, it has been said...

*Cross without the Spirit, you dry-up (Psa 106:15 TLB),
*Spirit without the Cross, you puff-up (2 Cor 12:7 TLB)
*With the Cross and the Spirit, you grow-up

While Christians are growing up, some out of the Lord's mercy (2 Cor 4:1) would further be consecrated by Him to be used in the Five-fold Ministry of the Church as Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers and Evangelists (2 Tim 2:21/Eph 4:8-15). It has to be noted here that while for experiencing Salvation the qualification is realization of one's sinfulness, for consecration into a God-ordained Ministry the qualification is consistent Cross-bearing with the power of His indwelling Spirit.

Also it is only by conjoining the Cross and the Spirit, that the ever-present (yes, it has to be there at all times) love equation in the Deity-Devotee relationship in the Christian realm can be established on this side of the Eternity. Without Cross-bearing 24*7 submissively can we ever underscore our claim that we love the Lord at all times. By the same token, without the placement of the life-giving waters (read Perpetual joy-John 7:37/1 Peter 1:8) in our spirit, can our Heavenly Father validate His claims that He loves us all times? Oh really, cross and the Spirit are made for each other in this Sanctification process!

Prayer: Father grant me more knowledge of Thy goodness, even as I co-operate with You in my sanctification process. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Suresh Manoharan,
Hyderabad, India
J and SM Ministries

(To access the entire "Knowing About Knowing" mini-series, please click here.)