Over the past 6 years, as I have been teaching and sharing the things on my heart, I have also been going through a process of maturing and sanctification. The fact is that while God receives us right where we are, He does not leave us there. As such He begins a process within us and He is faithful to complete the process. The sanctification journey is one that is necessary for maturity. In its essence, it is a process of giving up all that we once held dear in this world in the pursuit of holiness. Some may tell you that grace is a replacement for sanctification but that is not the case. Grace is the vehicle by which we are sanctified.
“And you shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.” Leviticus 20:26.
I know I do not have the ability to take these steps on my own and that this work will only be accomplished by the power of God. His grace gives me that ability and it covers up my imperfections. This is another area where many are led astray in regards to the teaching of grace. They want the covering of imperfection without receiving the heart of God to embrace sanctification. They want to wallow in the same pig sty with the same filth that they were covered in when they first came to Jesus.
As such, grace becomes a crutch to keep them limping rather than a vehicle to carry them forward. Such sage advice as, “Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” Romans 12:2. Is ignored. Rather, as they remain overwhelmed by the flesh they continue to pursue the very same things that led them to the foot of the cross in the first place.
Salvation and growth should lead us to desire sanctification [ ἁγιασμός, hagiasmos, hag-ee-as-mos’ ]. Note the word “desire” because this is not a perfect process. The old sin nature continues to claw away at us trying to lead us back to that, “broad road which leads to destruction,” Matthew 7:13. Yet if Jesus did not die save us from our sins, what was the purpose? If He did not die to free us from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2) then why was He nailed to that tree? He did not give His all in death so that we could learn proper compartmentalization and how to receive a smattering of Jesus. No, He gave His all to get our all and do you know what? He deserves it.
Over the past few years, I have written numerous times about the new season we are entering. In this season we will see the coming of the LORD and yet many will sleep on. These continue living in the same ways with the same selfish desires ruling their hearts.
I’m not immune from a single word written here. I have my own battles. The lust of the flesh seeks to destroy me and it is relentless. I don’t relish the battle but I know it must be fought. The alternative is simply unacceptable.
While the struggles we face are different, they have much in common. We battle against the flesh and the old sin nature which literally fights us from the grave. Those who do not enter this battle are like the ones who are floating along with the current in a seemingly lazy river. This current seems gentle as long as we succumb to it but until we fight we don’t realize how powerful its pull on us is. What’s more, this seemingly lazy current is gathering momentum as we approach the falls. The longer we allow it to carry us along, the harder the fight when we finally choose to oppose it… and for those who do not oppose it there is only destruction.
My choice is made. I have chosen to forsake the old, dead ways and embrace the new. I choose to trust Jesus to strip away these things as continues the process of forming a new heart within me. I choose to trust and to follow Him. I pray I will not be like the horse or the mule which must be led by bit and bridle. Rather, that I will joyfully and earnestly follow in my freewill.
Sanctification is about surrender. Are you ready?
~ Mitch Salmon