The Grace of Holiness
Coffee With God: 4/26/2023 | 2 Thessalonians 2:13
“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.”
Sanctification (hagiasmos; ἁγιασμός) – “holiness, consecration” (from hagios – “dedicated to God, holy, sacred”).
Do you struggle with the idea of holiness? I did for a long time. In fact, the process of sanctification is a topic I have found myself mulling over with the Lord often through the years.
Many folks believe that salvation happens in a moment. That the whole process starts and is finished the moment one decides to make a heart commitment to the Lord.
While it is true that something does happen the moment we trust in the Lord and choose to follow him (we become justified – call it Phase One, if you will), the truth is that the journey has just begun. We should be just as excited about what comes after we are justified as we are by what we receive at that moment.
Sanctification is a work of grace, just like faith is. As we learn to draw near to God and receive his ever-abounding love and favor toward us, our lives begin to transform from the inside out. As we learn to walk in step with the Holy Spirit, He begins to change our actions, hearts, intentions, and desires.
I used to think that holiness sounded boring (I say that it sounded boring because I did not yet have a grid for participating in God’s holiness). Now, it is something that I long to experience.
And according to 2 Thessalonians 2:13, this desire is from God, whose plans for me did not end when I believed in the eternal Son; rather, they were kicked into action.
The Father’s heart in bringing salvation to the world was never to give people a free life insurance policy. It was and is to transform us into the image he always intended us to carry. People who are just like His Son; set apart, sanctified, and walking in God’s joy, peace, and love. This is the ultimate work of grace and something we need to run toward, not from.
Are you struggling with the fact that sanctification doesn’t seem appealing? That holiness doesn’t appear to be a growing part of your life?
The key is remembering that sanctification is a part of the process God wants to walk you through in this life. God wants to walk you through it.
When a hiker follows a trail into the woods, it is assumed that they will pick up dust, dirt, and maybe a few sneaky insects along the way. The longer they’re on the trail, the dirtier they will become.
When a disciple chooses to follow Jesus down the narrow path, they should expect to pick up his holiness along the way. The farther they walk, the more of it they will pick up.
Just like believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, sanctification is a work of grace. It’s something that happens automatically as we learn to draw near and follow.
But if it doesn’t seem like it is, turn to the Lord and ask Him to continue his sanctifying work in you. He surely will. The Father longs for children who seek to know Him and be transformed into His image.
One day, you might wake up and be amazed at the person you’ve become.
The Grace of Holiness.