Last week we talked about Jehovah M’Keddash, what this aspect of God means. M’Keddash deals with a Godly holiness. Make no mistake, He calls us to be holy: “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.'” 1Peter 1:15
In a nutshell, it means that He is making us holy. He does the work. Not us.
There are three main aspects of our life in Christ. Like a novel, we have a beginning, middle, and—well, for lack of a better word—end. Though it’s more of a new beginning.
First, there’s the positional aspect which is defined as “Justification.” This is where we are in Christ at the beginning of our walk with him. The positional change occurs the moment we trust Jesus Christ for our salvation.
“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” Titus 3:3-5
This is our standing with God from the moment we trust Christ.
Last, there’s the permanent aspect which is our Glorification. What we hope for as we anticipate eternity with our Savior.
“Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-53
How cool is that going to be. I can so imagine this, but I know the actual event will be so much better than my poor fantasy!
The Progressive Aspect
The progressive aspect in the middle is our Sanctification. (Yeah, the M’Kaddesh word.) In chronological time, it covers from the moment of salvation until the day we die and comprises everything God does that brings about our growth to become more like Christ. Our loving Father adores us too much to allow us to stay the way we are. Isn’t that so like a Dad?
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 I don’t know how time works in eternity, but the Bible clearly speaks that God called me to complete a purpose within His kingdom. And He’s given me passions and talents to match the tasks that He has set for me.
But He doesn’t leave me to fend for myself. He brings about my sanctification, steadfast and sure.
Through His word.
(John 17:17-19) Again, I fall on the father illustration from my own experience at the age of about four.
“Margaret, don’t pet that cat.”
“I won’t, Daddy. Go away cat.” *Chases cat.*
My dad explained his instruction. No confusion. I got it. Cat=bad. (Oh, and BTW, I still live by the rule, but that’s another story.) The fact that I started chasing said snarling cat brings me to the next step in the way God sanctifies us.
Funny how my dad didn’t let me keep chasing that cat. Nope a swift swat on the behind took care of that little miscommunication. God doesn’t swat us, but it still hurts.
“He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Hebrews 12: 10-11
No, our Abba will not leave us in our current state.
Through our personal discipline.
I don’t guess I need to tell you that messing with cats has never been a problem for me since then. Let’s just say that I’ll likely never be known as the crazy cat lady. (Dogs on the other hand, no promises!)
But even without chastisement, God can instruct me through my own discipline. Through the quiet time I spend with Him. Through the way I struggle to react as Christ would react in my various situations.
I love the way that Romans 12:1-2 puts it. “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 service of worship.”
This verse declares that we give up our cravings, our personal agendas, our comfort. Does that mean I get rid of my pillowtop bed? No. But it does mean that I climb out of it earlier than I want to so I can spend time with Him. And it means that I am willing to give up on my expectations if they don’t meet the plans He has for me. (Even to the point of giving up my blog, or my novel writing if He wishes.)
The less of me, the more of Him. Yeah, that’s the point of sanctification.
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
Your turn: In what ways has the Lord sanctified you?