Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. ~~ Exodus 31:13 [Emphasis mine]
Christians are both different and alike. We are like everyone else in that the same things that happen to others happen to us. We have illness, financial reverses, tragedy, death, loss, success, health and wealth by turns. Life is cyclic. We all know that old saw: what goes around comes around.
One of the things that makes us different, set apart, is how we go through the things that life hands us. When bad things happen, we are not destroyed. When good things happen, we don’t get all puffed up with self-importance.
Why is that? It is because the Lord is sanctifying us – setting us apart for His purposes.
Looking at the word “sanctify” we find this:
1 : to set apart to a sacred purpose or to religious use : consecrate
2 : to free from sin : purify
3 a : to impart or impute sacredness, inviolability, or respect to
b : to give moral or social sanction to
4 : to make productive of holiness or piety <observe the day of the sabbath, to sanctify it — Deuteronomy 5:12 (Douay Version)>
Today is the day we remember how God arranged to sanctify us. Our freedom from sin, our purification, was purchased at a price. The price was the death of Jesus. But not just His death.
Look at what God did. He voluntarily took a part of Himself, Jesus – the second person of the Trinity, and limited Himself to the shape and capabilities of any man. Then He offered that part of Himself as the sacrifice to clean up our sins.
He was reviled, rejected, scorned, spit upon, scourged, and finally crucified and buried. He allowed all this to bring us to Himself – to set us apart as His children. That’s how much God loves each and every one of us.
While we remember His sacrifice, let us set this day apart for humble gratitude for His generosity and His love.
Keep us ever mindful of Your love for us. Help us always to know that we’ve been set apart for Your purposes. Give us the grace to remain faithful in all things.
In Jesus’ most precious name.