Sanctification is a big word. But, it basically just means growing in the Spirit to maturity. We are a work in progress. This is not about being saved, but about maturing once we are saved. The Spirit continually works in us throughout our lives.
This will be a two-part series on what the scriptures say how God leads us to sanctification and what we need to do throughout this process. First, I will talk about what God does. Without Him, we can do nothing.
I want to start with a prayer, that I will pray for all my readers as well as friends and family (though I am not in chains as Paul was when He was praying this for the Philippian church!). I pray that we can all grow together and be “sanctified” through the Holy Spirit:
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.
Thank God for that grace and the work He has done and is doing and will continue to do in me. I have a long way to go and I thank the Lord for His guidance and strength, for giving me the Holy Spirit to lead me in the right direction and for never giving up on me or letting me go.
Jesus paid the price for our sins by taking our sins upon His shoulders and giving His life on the cross so that we may be saved. We can receive His grace if we believe in Him. Nothing we can do will save us, but through our salvation we may glorify God by the works He does in us. He gives us new life, we are a new creation, we are no longer under the bondage of sin; we now live for righteousness in Christ Jesus and He gives us abundant joy if we abide in Him. This is what it means to be “born again.”
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Since I have become a believer, I do have that joy. Though I have times of happiness and sadness, good times and bad, I still have joy; God gives me inner peace that no matter what the situation, I know that God will get me through it. This wasn’t all immediate; it was a process (and still is). I had the joy of knowing I was saved, but I still struggled within. But, as the Spirit worked in me, I began to see the fruit that He was talking about, which allowed me to know, really know that I am a child of God and nothing will take me away from that. One thing I always could hold on to was that God was always there and one day I will be with Him for all eternity. I have experienced God working in me as I spend time in God’s word and in prayer, being encouraged by other believers and learning from them, and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead me. God is faithful. He will never leave us or forsake us; He will give us strength to overcome anything this world, our flesh or the devil throws at us. He has a better way and will bring us to what He has planned for each of our lives.
2 Thessalonians 3:3-5
But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you.
Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.
1 Peter 2:1-6
Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
As the Spirit works in us, as we walk in the Spirit, our desire will be for God, not the flesh. Those things that kept us from growing will no longer hinder us. Let us seek to know God better, to have that intimate relationship with Him so that we can be used by God to help others and to share the blessings He has given us.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.
Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.