One of the first aspects of the Gospel of Christ that you hear about is, “Jesus saves!” Many churches have an altar call every week and provide people the opportunity to “get saved”. But Jesus is SO much more than just our Savior, as incomparable as that aspect of Christ is. Whereas salvation is the moment when our new life begins, sanctification is the lifelong journey of pursuing God and being transformed into His image.
Paul talks definitively about this in Romans 12:1-2. He writes to the church in Rome, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
The work of sanctification begins the moment we give our lives to the Lord. Unlike salvation, which is a one-time experience, the work of sanctification is a continual and ongoing process whereby we give ourselves to the Lord and His Holy Spirit accomplishes His transforming work and purposes in our lives.
What is the difference in being saved by Christ and being sanctified by Christ? When you are saved, you experience deliverance from the penalty of sin. When you are being sanctified, you experience deliverance from the power of sin. When you are saved, you experience freedom from death. When you are being sanctified, you experience freedom to truly live. When you are saved, you experience the release from the guilt of the past. When you are being sanctified, you experience being equipped to deal with temptations in the present and future. When you are saved, Christ’s righteousness is imputed to you. When you are being sanctified, Christ’s righteous is manifest in you. When you are saved, Jesus begins to live in you. When you are being sanctified, Jesus is constantly living through you.
The clearest evidence of sanctification is perhaps the expression of the fruits of the Spirit we find in Galatians 5. Does your life evidence joy, or peace? If you struggle with these issues, then yield those areas of your life to the Lord, your sanctifier, and ask Him to minister in those areas. Are you patient with others, and gentle and kind in your dealings with them? If not, then maybe it's time to ask the difficult question of just how much of your life have you given to Christ? Do you have areas of your life where you lack self-control? Give those areas to Him and ask Him to help you learn to surrender them to Him that those same areas might be used to glorify Him.
This is one gauge of where we are with the Lord in our process of sanctification. As you yield your life and body to the Lord, which is your spiritual act of worship, pray that the evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in your life would increase. The Lord is always seeking to transform us and all we have to do is yield ourselves to Him.
Each week this blog will be updated with a word for the week from my current studies.