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John 3:1-8

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him." Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." (ESV)
Who Makes Holy and How?
Polycarp of Smyrna, Pastor and Confessor
23 February 2016
The word "sanctification" comes from Latin and it means to make holy. Sanctification means someone is making holy and someone is being made holy. God has no need to be made holy. We only confess Him to be holy and honor Him for the holiness that He already possesses and is. If He is already holy, then He is the one who is making holy. Whom does He make holy? All Christians. Christians do not make themselves holy, nor do they make God holy. God alone is the one who makes holy. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is not particularly surprising that the work of the Holy Spirit is to make holy.
The Holy Spirit uses the means of grace to make holy the saints. The Christian Church and all the gifts which the Lord gives to her is the way in which forgiveness of sins is distributed and through which the Holy Spirit works holiness in the holy ones. Thus the Holy Spirit applies to us for our holiness the righteousness of Jesus Christ through the means of grace. There could be no holiness in us apart from the activity of the Holy Spirit. Christ cannot become our own except through the work of the Holy Spirit.


Martin Luther

"'How is sanctifying done?'
"Answer, 'the Son receives dominion, by which He wins us, through His birth, death, resurrection, and so on. In a similar way, the Holy Spirit causes our sanctification by the following: the communion of saints or the Christian Church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. That means He leads at first into His holy congregation and places us in the bosom of the Church. Through the Church He preaches to us and brings us to Christ.'
"Neither you nor I could ever know anything about Christ, or believe on Him, and have Him for our Lord, unless it were offered to us and granted to our hearts by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Gospel (1Co 12:3; Gal 4:6). The work of redemption is done and accomplished (Jn 19:30). Christ has acquired and gained the treasure for us by His suffering, death, resurrection and so on (Col 2:3). But if the work remained concealed so that no one knew about it, it would be useless and lost. So that this treasure might not stay buried, but be received and enjoyed, God has caused the Word to go forth and be proclaimed. In the Word He has the Holy Spirit bring this treasure home and make it our own. Therefore, sanctifying is just bringing us to Christ so we receive this good, which we could not get ourselves (1Pt 3:18)."
Martin Luther, Large Catechism, 2.37-39
O Holy Spirit, enter in, and in our hearts Your work begin, And make our hearts Your dwelling. Sun of the soul, O Light divine, Around and in us brightly shine, Your strength in us upwelling. In Your radiance Life from heaven now is given, Overflowing, Gift of gifts beyond all-knowing. Amen.
For those who suffer in the clutches of temptation, that God our heavenly Father would rescue them from besetting sin
For teacher, Rev. Richard Gaub, and all the faculty of Memorial Lutheran School, that Christ our Lord would send His Holy Spirit to them
For those in prison, that they might meditate day and night on the word of God

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias Isenheim Altarpiece (1515)

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