For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. – Romans 8:29-30
Not only does the Father adopt us into His forever family and rescue us from sin’s power and penalty, but He also gives us a new birth that completely changes our identity. Sanctification is simply the process by which God is transforming His children into the image of our older brother, Jesus Christ.
Just like a refiner uses fire to test and purify metal, God uses the difficult circumstances in our life to test our faith and purify us. Trials are a precious gift from God (although they may not feel so precious at the time). They expose the sinfulness in our hearts and cut away pride and self-reliance. Listen to how Peter and Paul describe their usefulness in the verses below.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter 1:3-9
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. – Romans 8:18
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
Though hardships here on earth are difficult to endure, they will be of no comparison to the incredible glory we will experience throughout eternity. This is the joy and ultimate hope that we cling to.
Of course, just going through difficult situations don’t change us on their own. It is the reshaping of our thinking through the transformation of the Word in our lives. Just as Paul talks about us beholding God’s glory and being changed because of it in the passage above.
God reveals wrong thinking and sinfulness through trials but offers up truth and correct thinking through His Word. As we get to know Him more, He transforms us “from one degree of glory to another.”
This also is a sweet gift of the Holy Spirit and not a product of self-effort. We cooperate with the Spirit by the grace of God, but it is God who affects the change in us. We abide in Jesus Christ, our true vine, and allow His Word to make its home inside of us. He empowers us to bear fruit. The God who justified and adopted us will sanctify and glorify us. We can depend on it!
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THANKSGIVING: Thank God for sanctifying you daily through His Word and His Holy Spirit.
CONFESSION: Ask God to help you fix your mind on the glory He is restoring in you rather than the painfulness of the sanctification process. Thank God for His loving discipline and correction in your life.
FURTHER STUDY: Take time to breathe in the truth of God’s Word about the process of sanctification, and respond to Him in prayer about what His Spirit reveals to you.
John 15:1-8; John 17:17-21; Hebrews 13:8-16; Colossians 3:1-10; Philippians 1:6; Psalm 138:8
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