“But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts” (1 Peter 3:15)
Sanctification is the process of being made holy. The Lord is in the process of sanctifying us. He is making us holy as we journey through this life and prepare to be in His presence forever – His Holy presence. But what does it mean for us to sanctify Christ as Lord? Is He not already Lord?
Indeed He is! But does He reign as Lord in my life? Or do I allow something or someone else to occupy the place of Lord? Over the last several years you have no doubt heard of the “Occupy Movement” . Occupy is a grassroots protest movement that seeks to bring about social and economic reform through the abolishment of capitalism and a redistribution of the world’s wealth. Their slogan is “We are the 99%.” They are asking for the 99% to stand together against what they consider to be the financial tyrants of our world.
We need what I will call a reverse occupy movement of the heart. We need the 1% (the few willing to stand against spiritual tyranny) to allow Christ to solely occupy their heart. This is what it means to sanctify (or set apart) Christ as Lord. No longer is there any competition for who reigns and occupies the place of Lord in our lives. Money is dethroned. Success is dethroned. People are dethroned. Sex is dethroned. Whatever we have allowed to claim the throne of our hearts must abdicate in light of the Lord Jesus Christ’s coronation. He alone is Lord and we must sanctify Him alone as Lord.
Chuck Colson commented that in the early church, if a person stood up in a public arena and cried out, “Jesus is God!” no one would be offended because the Romans and Greeks believed in many gods. To call Jesus “God” would not have seemed revolutionary or even risky. But if a Christian stood up and shouted, “Jesus is Lord and there is no other,” he would be putting his own life at risk. The Roman Caesars claimed the title of Lord, and this was a central reason why Christians faced persecution. They were willing to obey Roman laws, but they were not willing to call Caesar “Lord.”
When Peter wrote what he wrote in verse 15 he knew that he was calling people to persecution and perhaps death. And yet he wrote this with a clear conscience because Christ is worthy of being Lord of our lives.
So here is the question for me and for you: What choices must we start making today to “sanctify Christ as Lord” in our lives?