Thursday, March 24, 2016

Tumbling on an Escalator: My Life with Christ

This GIF, shared by my son over on Facebook, is hysterical!

"Sanctification" is the process by which sinners like me, who have been made right with God (justified) by God's grace (His charity) through faith in Jesus Christ, are, often against our wills, often in surprising ways, often through pain, hardship, and our unwilling-yet-resigned-yielding resistance of sin, are made over by the Holy Spirit to conform to the image of the Holy Spirit.

Martin Luther described sanctification by saying that the Christian submits to being "the Holy Spirit's workshop." That probably gives a good idea of the process: To fit us for eternity, God starts here on earth by beginning a makeover on us. There's a lot of hammering, sawing, remodeling...along with falling, dropping, squirming, and ego-bruising...that has to happen.

The apostle Paul describes sanctification in eloquent terms in 2 Corinthians, using as a starting point the fact that, in Christ, believers are afforded a privilege not even Moses had: to be in intimate proximity to God's blazing glory without being burned out of existence. Christ died in order to give all who believe in Him what Chuck Swindoll has called "intimacy with the Almighty." Paul writes: "And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Sanctification most assuredly is a glorious process, a bit like a mouse being transformed into a steed for Cinderella's carriage by the supreme power of God's grace. And it is solely the work of the Holy Spirit done in the lives of those willing to welcome Jesus into the centers of their lives.

But given my sin, my resistance to authority (even God's authority), my shortsightedness, and the desire to "be like God" I inherited from Adam and Eve, I'm sure that, from the standpoint of God, the process of my sanctification often looks as awkward, plodding, painful, and silly as this man doing battle with an escalator. God help me.

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