The Demoniac, Part 5—Christ Sanctifies | Mark 5:14–15
14 The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.
Often, when we talk about salvation, we think about justification. That’s an essential and vital doctrine teaching believers that God declares sinners righteous because of the righteous work of Christ. There’s no salvation for our sinful souls unless we sinners are justified before the Judge of all the earth.
What we see with this man is another doctrine tied to the gospel—sanctification—whereby God delivers sinners away from their sin to Himself. Much of sanctification happens over time with us believing the gospel and obeying what God commands so we can grow. Even so, it happens primarily because of the work of God within us.
The sanctification of the demoniac puts the glory of God on display. The legion of demons may have destroyed the herd of pigs in a tantrum, but it also accentuated and announced to all the work God performed in this man. The spectacle attracted the people, even making them fearful. The work of Christ is nonetheless glorified for all to come and see this man.
The sanctification of the demoniac puts the peace of God on display. He who brought peace to the raging storm and sea (4:39) transformed this violent, irrational individual. The demoniac had no dignity before Jesus set him free, lacking the simple markers of humanity such as reason, modesty, and self-control. Everyone arriving on the scene recognized this man and took note of his astonishingly calm and collected demeanor.
All people without Christ live below their created worth, bearing the image of God while ultimately ignoring and rejecting Him. Even so, we see that Christ can completely transform even what, from a human perspective, we would call the hard cases. He can even justify and sanctify a person who’s under the control of a whole legion of demons, so He can do the same for you.