Sam Allberry defines “sanctification” and addresses how and why Christians fight sin daily.
Below is a lightly edited transcript of the video above. Before quoting, please check the video to ensure accuracy.
Sanctification is the process by which we become more and more like Jesus. Another way of putting it is to say that sanctification is how God affects in our lives what he’s already declared us to be.
Sanctification is how God affects in our lives what he’s already declared us to be.
When God justifies us, we are declared righteous. He sees us through the righteousness of Jesus. What God declares us to be, he then makes us to be in our nature. And so, as we come to faith, we’re given a new self. We’re born again. God’s Spirit indwells us. And that new nature begins to change the kind of people we are. Amazingly, as we become more like Jesus, we don’t become less like ourselves, we become more the people God always intended us to be.
It’s a funny way of putting it, perhaps just to say that I become more the real me as I become more like Jesus. And I don’t know how God pulls that off because if a group of Christians begins to be sanctified together, they’ll all become more like Jesus without necessarily becoming more like each other. That’s just the way God is able to do these things. So, it’s a lifelong process.
We don’t ever finish it this side of glory which means that at any point any Christian can say, with regard to sanctification, “I’m not nowhere. God has already brought change in my life. I’m not who I used to be, but I’m also not fully there, either. I still have a long way to go.” And so, we find ourselves constantly caught between the person God is making us into, and the person we used to be; the person we were, and the person that we are becoming.
Christians still sin, though, because not every presence of our old nature has been removed yet. We’ve been given a new self, but the old self is still kicking about. He hasn’t fully left the building yet. And, although our deepest allegiance is to Jesus now, although our deepest desire is for Jesus, we still feel the effects of the old self.
We still feel those old temptations. We still slide into those old habits of behavior, those old patterns of thinking. And so, the fact that we continue to sin reminds us of our ongoing need for God’s grace and forgiveness; it reminds us of our daily call to be repentant, and it reminds that one day we won’t sin again.
One day we will be fully made like Jesus. We will be like him. And, actually, that hope is a wonderful motivation to stop sinning because we want to live more and more now in the light of who we will be. We want to reduce the culture shock that will occur when get to heaven.