Today we will discuss the means of sanctification, also known as the means of grace. These are the resources or tools God has provided for us for use in our daily path of spiritual growth. We will look at these means of sanctification under three broad headings: up-reach, in-reach, and outreach.
Up-reach is the worship and glorifying of God. It is more an attitude than a mere activity. The Westminster Shorter Catechism declares that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. 1 Cor. 10:31 commands us to do everything to the glory of God–our words, thoughts, and deeds. The Bible does not present a narrow compartmentalized view that sees true worship only in the corporate singing of praise songs on Sunday morning. The best approach to worship is to see it as a lifestyle. God is present in all of life, and evidence of His presence is evident all around us and in us through general revelation in creation and conscience. Growth is cultivated more readily through a life of worshipful recognition of God’s glory 24/7.
In-reach involves the up-building of ourselves and others. The Word of God, prayer, the indwelling Holy Spirit, fellowship, and the ordinances, are all means whereby we are strengthened and enabled to grow in conformity to the image of Christ. Many of these means are available for use in one’s private life, but the truth is that God has made His Church a primary custodian or steward of these forms of enabling. Therefore churches are under Divine obligation to offer sound Bible teaching and preaching, regular observance of the ordinances, and real opportunity for corporate prayer and small group fellowship. All must be Christ-centered; and to Christ-centered means to be Bible-centered (John 17:17).
Outreach involves sharing your life as well as the gospel message with those around you who do not know the Savior. It means living an honest and upright life in the community and workplace. It means being able to sincerely share the testimony of what Christ has done in your life. It also means knowing how to explain to an unbeliever the message of salvation. Some are more gifted in evangelism than others, of course. But to some degree we are all ambassadors for Christ. Seeing ourselves in this light and acting upon it can be a source of joy and growth in Christ.
So I suppose if I could offer one word of encouragement to anyone wanting to grow more in the process of sanctification it would be to plug into a church where the above means are available. In that context you will be blessed and be a blessing.