Believing Christians Ask God to Sanctify Their Hearts.
Strive for peace with everyone and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14
When believing Christians view themselves in their natural depravity, they remember (1) that they cannot make themselves holy, but that this is a work of God. And so, (2) they use the means appointed by God for their sanctification. They remember their Holy Baptism, in which the Holy Spirit was poured out on them and took up His abode in their heart; and they honestly ask themselves whether they’ve driven the Holy Spirit away since then with intentional sins. They know that the Lord’s Supper is a food for sanctification. When they receive it, they ask that through it God would sanctify their soul, body, and all its members. They listen reverently to the Word of God, and treasure up in their hearts what they’ve heard, so that they can grow in holiness. (3) For the sanctification of their body and soul to be accomplished they know that this can only happen by God’s power and the working of the Holy Spirit. If the soul is sanctified, their entire life will be spent in true sanctification: all their thoughts, words, and deeds are to be shaped by the rule of holiness.
(4) This sanctification must take place in the present; it must not be deferred to old age or to the hour of death. It must be begun while a person is still able to pray and to use the means of sanctification intelligently. (5) This sanctification, in addition, is to be manifested at all times, on all occasions, even when a person happens to be among those whose hearts are set on this age. We are to show by our conduct, words, and deeds, that we have a sanctified heart and that the Holy Spirit governs our lips and our entire life. Such a sanctified soul will one day be admitted to the place where the saints dwell in light.
O Holy Spirit, I am seized with fear whenever these divine words strike my ears: “You shall be holy, for I am holy” and again “Without holiness no one will see the Lord.” When I ponder these sayings and measure against them my unholy heart, my unholy thoughts, my unholy words, my unholy actions, I am often thrown into great anguish, and I become ashamed of the unbecoming and unholy life that I have led. For, sadly, obeying the promptings of my heart and the habits of the world, I have sinned and have offended You in word and action. Oh, if no one shall see Your face without holiness, how few will be saved and how many damned! Help, Lord! For the godly disappear!
And so, O holy God, make me understand all these things well that I may with sincere earnestness seek for true inward and outward holiness. O Jesus, sanctify me by Your righteousness, Your merit and Your blood. Give to me, who by nature am unholy, Your holiness, that clothed in it as my most beautiful robe, I may be able to appear and stand before Your heavenly Father. Sanctify my life by Your holy Word. Sanctify my heart that it may always be occupied with good thoughts. Sanctify my lips, that they may speak nothing that is unfitting, unchristian, and wicked. Sanctify my will that I may desire and do only what pleases You. O holy God, draw me away from the world and unite me to You, that through Your Holy Spirit I may have the witness in me that I am born again, that I am a child of God and in a state of grace.
But let this sanctification be real, that I may not be holy only outwardly, and seek holiness while at church, while attending the Lord’s Supper, or when I am engaged in other sacred actions; but let me be truly holy and follow after holiness in all places, at all times, on all occasions, even when I must live entirely in the company of godless people. Let me under such circumstances speak, live, and act as a child of God, and remain in such a blessed state until death, when You will bring me to the company of the saints and elect in the everlasting light of joy.
O Holy Spirit, grant us grace
That we our Lord and Savior
In faith and fervent love embrace
And truly serve Him ever.
The hour of death cannot bring loss
When we are sheltered by the cross
That cancelled our transgressions.
Help us that we Thy saving Word
In faithful hearts may treasure;
Let e’er that Bread of Life afford
New grace in richest measure.
O make us die to ev’ry sin,
Each day create new life within,
That fruits of faith may flourish.
And when our earthly race is run,
Death’s bitter hour impending,
Then let Thy work in us begun
Continue till life’s ending,
Until we gladly may commend
Our souls into our Savior’s hand,
The crown of life obtaining.