We are told in 1 Peter 1:13-16 to prepare our minds for action and to be holy in all of our behavior;
So, we are to be mentally prepared and we are to be holy. We can get a rough idea what it means to be prepared, but how does one get to be holy? We get that way through sanctification. Sanctification means to be different from other people — to become like Christ. Sanctification works in three steps:
- We receive initial sanctification (aka “regeneration”)the moment we accept Christ and determine to follow Him. Everything changes at that point. Our personal spirit is revitalized and we become different. So different, in fact, that Jesus Himself referred to it as being “born again”. Also, at that point, the Holy Spirit becomes our comforter and guide. That guidance is necessary for the next step.
- The next step is progressive sanctification. That is a process that continues for the rest of our lives. Through that process, we become more and more sanctified or holy. We can never become as holy as Christ. We lack the perfection to be able to do so. But our continual striving honors Christ and pleases God. We are blessed by doing it — it’s a very satisfying thing to do and it brings with it a peace that passes all understanding.
- The last step is final sanctification (aka “glorification”). When we enter eternity, God completes our quest for holiness. That is a gift that fulfills God’s command to “be holy, because I am holy” and allows us to actually be in God’s presence.
Each of us, then, spends a time in the process of progressive sanctification — becoming more like Christ. That does not mean an end to sin. We are sinners (our animal nature dictates it) and will continue to be sinners until we receive the gift of final sanctification. What does it mean, this progressive sanctification? It means we have a lot of work to do. It’s good work though — not drudgery or tedium. But it is constant work and the pay is out of this world. Plus we have the wonderful assistance and guidance of the Holy Spirit to help us through it.
So let’s get on with it …
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