Foundational to our walk with Christ is our identity in Christ. Understanding who you are as a Christian will go a long way in helping you grow as a Christian.
In this Growing in Christ blog series I have been writing about the Biblical concept of being hidden in Christ and the benefits this brings to Christians. Today I want to write about another of the key benefits of being hidden in Christ and that is sanctification.
Sanctification is the technical word that simply means that you’re unfinished. You are not the perfect model of what it means to be a Christian. You are going to fall, you are going to fail, you are going to struggle. However, the Bible clearly tells us that God is not finished with you – you are a work in progress. Jesus has saved you, and has begun a relationship with you, and now you are slowly but very surely being transformed into His likeness. Jesus is committed to you and to your holiness. The Apostle Paul said this:
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
You are unfinished, but God himself is moving you towards completion. How does this happen? Again, the Apostle Paul tells us:
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:23
Did you notice the first phrase? It’s God Himself who sanctifies you. Whilst it is true that what we do is enlisted in this, it is actually the Holy Spirit who is doing the internal work. He will use the situations that we face and and the choices that we make in this process but it is ultimately His work. John Murray states:
While we are constantly dependent upon the supernatural agency of the Holy Spirit, we must also take account of the fact that sanctification is a process that draws within it’s scope the conscious life of the believer
Redemption Accomplished and Applied, John Murray, 1955, WM. B. Eernmass Publishing Group
This is why Paul says
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
We must rely on God to do it but because God IS working, we also are working. So when troubles come your way, frustrations rise, sin raises it’s ugly head remember that you are a child of the King, loved with an everlasting love, and that God is using all things to work His purposes in you.