Section 7: Salvation – Part 2
Week 2: Sanctification
Day 3: Sanctification Is a Work God Himself Does within Us
Phil. 2:12-13, Heb. 13:20-21
We’ve described sanctification as the process by which we gradually become more like Christ. The question is: how does that process work? How do we go about becoming more like Christ? Take a look at Rom 12:1-2.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
According to Paul, the process starts with renewed minds. We need to see ourselves and the world in a radically different way. Ultimately those renewed thoughts will translate into actions, but it starts in the mind.
It’s important to realize, though, we can’t renew our own minds. That’s why Paul says “be transformed”. Had Paul believed we had the power to do it ourselves, he would have said, “Renew your minds” or “transform your minds”. The fact that he didn’t say it that way implies someone else is responsible for the renewal process. Who is that someone else? The Holy Spirit.
When we looked at the Holy Spirit’s ministry earlier, we noted that an essential aspect of his work is transforming the believer into Christ’s image. We’ll revisit our discussion on how he does that tomorrow. For the moment, we simply want to note that our reliance upon his work is essential to our sanctification. In order to be like Christ, we need to have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). That’s an impossible feat for sinful people like us. Our minds were corrupted by the Fall. The amount of renovation required to accomplish the kind of renewal God desires is too big for us. That’s why relying on our own abilities inevitably results in failure.
The project isn’t too big for the Holy Spirit though. Remembering that truth is the key to experiencing greater sanctification.
Have you ever been focused more on your efforts at growing spiritually rather than your dependence upon the Holy Spirit? If so, why do you think that happened?
We’ll talk more about the Spirit’s work over the next two days. For the moment, simply commit to letting him work in your life.