Sanctification is a great word to discuss. We get to talk about the work of the Spirit, and about how we can live a sanctified life, and how different people written about in the Bible experienced it. We can even exegete all the passages that talk about it! Intellectual ideas are one thing, but there’s this problem that comes with being able to engage with ideas intellectually – we can confuse our ability to intellectually engage with the idea of sanctification with our willingness to submit to God as he sanctifies us. I’m guilty of this so often.
I’m guilty of loving the idea of sanctification but resisting the action of it, and even when the action is something I love, it seems that I get caught up in what I can do instead of focusing on the One who actually does the sanctifying – that is, God! It makes very little sense.
And here’s what’s been bouncing around my mind – I’ve been thinking that if I’m to faithfully serve Jesus in ministry, and if you are too, then we need to become a whole lot better at submitting to the Spirit’s sanctifying work. We need to be a whole lot better at resisting the evil impulses of our proud hearts and sinful flesh and instead learn to obey the one who we are truly serving – the one who all Christians are called to serve.
That will mean heartbreak sometimes. It will mean that we have to let go of certain vices. It will mean that we have to learn new habits. It will mean that we have to learn to stop telling God what is best and let Him tell us what way is best – and then go that way!
That will mean tears when we realise how fallen we truly are.
It’s tough business, this sanctification…
But God is at work. This IS God’s work. And it is part of His grace. Even when it hurts.
Originally posted 16/8/11.