Section 7: Salvation – Part 2
Week 2: Sanctification
Day 1: Sanctification Is the Process of God Restoring His Image in Us
In the adoption section last week, we said that God’s discipline is a sign of his love. By disciplining us, God conforms us more and more into Christ’s image. We call that process as a whole – sanctification. That shows the interconnectedness of the various aspects of salvation. While we can talk about each aspect separately, they all fit together. In some ways, though, sanctification just doesn’t have the pizazz of the other doctrines. Justification, for example, deals with our dramatic rescue from eternal damnation. Adoption conjures up warm fuzzy feelings because it involves the restoration of our relationship with our heavenly Father. Sanctification, on the other hand, deals with the relatively slow process of gradual spiritual growth over the course of a lifetime. Slow? Gradual? Those aren’t words that create a lot of excitement.
In reality, though, sanctification ought to create a lot more excitement than it does. The Bible tells us that we are born in bondage to sin. Sin has corrupted us. As a result, we aren’t the people God intended us to be. That ought to make us sad. At the same time, the prospect of becoming the people God wants us to be ought to be a source of great joy.
Think about Alzheimer’s disease for a moment. It’s a terrible thing. It slowly (sometimes not so slowly) eats away at a person’s mind. Eventually it takes so much that the person is just a shell of their former self. At the end, the person we knew in a real sense is no longer there. That’s what makes it such a tragic disease, not just for the person afflicted with it, but for their whole family. We know the person they could be/should be. And it saddens us to realize they are no longer that person… and to realize there is absolutely nothing they (or we) can do about it. We are powerless to bring them back.
Now imagine you’ve been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and the disease is fairly advanced. Then one day scientists announce a new treatment. It doesn’t immediately restore all of a person’s mental capabilities, but it gradually reverses the effects of the disease. Would that be exciting news? Of course! The prospect of becoming yourself again, even if it would take time, would be huge.
That’s exactly why the doctrine of sanctification ought to be exciting news. The prospect of once again reflecting God’s image, even if it doesn’t happen instantaneously, is huge. We were born into bondage. The doctrine of sanctification reminds us that God doesn’t intend to leave us in that state though. Even now he is reversing the effects of sin within us.
Make a list of the ways you’ve grown spiritually since you first put your faith in Christ.
Does the fact that you’ve grow spiritually excite you? Why or why not? Do you think God will help you to grow even more in the future? Does that excite you? Why or why not?