The Process of Sanctification

Sanctification is the lifelong process of surrender, submission, and obedience to Christ. Our hearts must continually be refined through the Holy Spirit that Christ offers us so that we can become more like him, once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are invited to become more like Christ, for this to happen we must submit our lives to him (Hebrews 4:12, 1 Peter 1: 14-16). Every day we should strive to live as Jesus did, not only in ministry, but everywhere we step foot (1 John 2:6). Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that we may be sanctified through the blood that he shed on the cross (Hebrews 10:10, Hebrews 13:12). Once we are saved, Hebrews 12:10 calls us to be partakers in God’s holiness. Through personal fellowship with Christ and surrendering our lives to the one true king, we participate in the process of sanctification (2 Corinthians 5:17). One must grow to become more like Christ and to imitate his behavior in conviction and character (1 Corinthians 11:1). The attributes of Christ’s character that we intend to imitate include the fruits of the spirit, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22).

 After we receive the Lord into our hearts, there is a completed work of God’s grace. We are then called sons and daughters of the king, anointed by the blood of Christ, and set apart from the world (Hebrew 9:13-14). As believers, we must decide to turn away from sin and towards Christ, yet we are only able to do this through the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:4). The Holy Spirit enables us as Christ followers to have this desire to act and live as Jesus did (Romans 8:15-16). In addition, this is illustrated through living in community with other believers, spending time in silence and solitude, engagement of the sacraments, and growing in knowledge and truth. As disciples of Christ, we are called to exemplify him and his kingdom in this broken world (1 Peter 2:9-12).

Israel did not have direct access to the Holy Spirit as we do in the new covenant (Exodus 25:8).In Israel’s failure to illustrate and implement the laws and covenant reign, the church now succeeds and accomplishes this task by exemplifying the Holy Spirit in action and truth. As Christians apart of the church, every day we are able to turn towards Christ and strive to be like him (Ephesians 2:18). New covenant believers now withhold something that old covenant believers did not – the Holy Spirit indwelling within us (Jeremiah 31: 31-34). Christ has redeemed us, and through this lens we can change our behaviors and actions to align more like what God calls us to. This may impact us relationally, materialistically, economically, socially, professionally, morally and geographically. There should be an internal transformation in each of these areas and how we interact with the world, as we are being sanctified.

 The character formation of a believer is threefold and is first recognized through a public confession and announcement of your faith paired with commitment to the local and global body of Christ (John 1:12). The church community edifies and encourages the believers in the midst of trials and tribulations (Galatians 6:2). Through this, the Christian is being molded and shaped every day in obedience, trust, and surrender (Hebrews 2:10-11). The final and third step is to go out and serve the kingdom of God through our time, talent, and treasures, making disciples of all nations and baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and in the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20). Through the body of Christ, these formational character objectives are emulated.

 Living out sanctification in both a career and ministry can be difficult to unpack when they are intertwined together. Although I am not on staff personally at a church, my other half if which coincidentally means that even though I am not the employee much of the weight and expectation of being present is on high demand. That being said, the process of sanctification and living this out feels as if it is very much in my awareness all the time because I am keenly in tune with areas that I struggle with or that am lacking in. Similarly, living in community with other believers who truly want to see me grow in Christ’s likeness has pushed me to try and become more like him in mundane activities. Additionally, not only being in this program but seeing clients on a weekly basis raises my attention to emotional or spiritual aspects of my life that I need to continually work on. Being in ministry and being an aspiring therapist, both takes courage, perseverance, sacrifice, and commitment. These attributes are essential when thinking about the process of sanctification and remembering that it is a lifelong process to grow and be more like Christ, and at times to remind myself I don’t need to be perfect in order to grow in this attribute.

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