Part 2 - The Sanctifying Work of Christ
Consecrated to Sharing the Light
The account of the creation week continues with day five: "Then God said, 'Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.' So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good" (Gen. 1:20-21).
A witness in the world
The first purpose God creates is that involving the waters. Earlier, the seas came to represent the mass of the unsaved. The dry land, the earth, was separate from the sea, just as in the world God has separated the believers out from being of the world and placed them into the body of Christ, the church. However, into the waters God places an abundance of living creatures. This is a model of God's people, filled and gifted by the Holy Spirit, being placed into the world and called to witness of Jesus Christ and the good news of the gospel. This witness takes many forms, as each believer in the world has a unique place and lives in circumstances like no other.
Just as each believer has a unique place in being a witness, there are a myriad of forms of life put into the sea. Gifts are given to each believer by the Spirit to fulfill this calling, with the living Spirit of God enabling these gifts to be used. This consecration of the believer to witness is a ministry only fulfilled by and through the Spirit. Thus these creatures are created "according to their kind." This is a calling that is after the Spirit, not the flesh.
A corresponding consecration
The first aspect of separation, shown in day one, was the separation of light and darkness. Paul says, "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6). The light is the knowledge of God, and it separates God's people from those who do not know him. With this separation comes a corresponding consecration. The believer is consecrated to sharing the light with those in darkness. This is the call to witness to the unsaved of the world. It is the possession of the knowledge of God that forms the basis for this witness.
A witness by definition has to have witnessed something. God has made known to the believer who He is. The world does not know Him nor the works He has done. Therefore, God consecrates the believers in the world to share the light of the knowledge of Him.
Jesus tied together the light that the believer possesses with the witness that one has to the world. He said, "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matt. 5:14-16).
The ministry of reconciliation
Romans 10:13-15 states, "For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!' " The method that God has chosen in spreading the good news of salvation is to send those who know Him out to preach to the lost.
Paul says to the Corinthians: "Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation" (2 Cor. 5:18:19). God has "committed to us" the "word of reconciliation." This is also called the "ministry of reconciliation." As a ministry, this is the calling of God to "minister" that which He has given the believer. In this case it is the light of Christ. God is the source and the believer is the channel. God gives the light and then consecrates those who receive it to share it.
With consecration comes provision. Sanctification is the work of Christ. Christ sets apart, consecrates, and makes provision for that consecration. The provision He has made in the call to share the gospel is the Holy Spirit. After Jesus rose from the grave, He did not immediately send out His disciples to preach the good news. He told them to "tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). The ascension of Jesus to the Father was necessary before this commission began. Then the sanctifying work of Christ would be complete and the Holy Spirit would be given.
Therefore Jesus said, "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). At that point the church will have been created, for in Christ the believer will have been set apart, consecrated, and given the Holy Spirit. Then the commission of Christ could be fulfilled, the ability to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).
One further aspect of this consecration is shown in the next verse of the account of day five: "And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas . . ." (Gen 1:22). This is the call to "fill" the waters, to be fruitful and multiply in them. Accordingly, the call of Jesus to be witnesses extends to "the end of the earth." He says, "go into all the world." God's plan and purpose is for His people to be in every nation and every group of people in order that the good news of the gospel would be made known.
Consecrated to life in the Spirit
The portrayal of this part of one's sanctification in Jesus Christ is
accurately modeled in days one and five of creation: A separation by light
and a consecration to share that light. The living creatures put into the
waters and blessed to fill the waters give a picture of that part of life in
the Spirit having to do with the lost of the world. This first aspect of the
consecration of the believer is one of relationship between the believer and
the world. The next three aspects of consecration pertain to the
relationship of the believer to God, the Church, and the Redeemer.