The proof that we are neglecting sanctification is the lack of holiness present in so many Christians. For many of us who claim to follow Jesus, we aren’t that close in proximity to him.
An honest review over the last few years would reveal how much progress you have actually made. Sure, you will have moments of failures along the way, but are you trending towards more holiness or complacently settled into further unholiness?
We cannot blame this lack of sanctification on inability but neglect. God would not call you to a task in which he would not provide you the tools. If we aren’t gravitating towards further development, it is because we don’t prioritize discipleship enough. Each of us progresses in that which we prioritize. We put the utmost efforts into workout regimens, home renovation, graduate degrees, extracurricular activities, and any glittering pursuit that this world provides. People know how to put in work, but are we working on the most important things?
If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe (1 Tim. 4:6-10).
While you thank God for justification and wait for glorification, you should be partnering with him for your and others’ sanctification. Like Paul instructed Timothy, are you presently toiling and striving towards this end? While there is plenty of training that provides value, we must prioritize training ourselves for godliness, which provides the most significant benefit. Without a doubt, God is committed to that end, but sometimes we are lagging in our personal responsibility.
In the verses above, Paul gave a great example to his disciple, Timothy. He raised many questions for us to consider:
- How devoted are you to study the task at hand?
- Are you sitting under those you would consider experts and learning from them?
- How active are you fighting against the sin areas in your life?
- Can you see an improvement in your level of Kingdom activity?
- Are you pouring out what you are learning into another?
- Do you have a yearning to know Jesus more than you do right now?
- Does your schedule reflect that your sanctification is a priority?
We are saved by grace, and that grace changes us to do good works.
When we become saved, we experience justification (we are seen as guiltless in the eyes of the Judge). When we go to heaven, we experience glorification (we don’t sin anymore). The middle process of sanctification is laborious and often neglected. It reminds us that we won’t be perfect until we get to heaven, but we should be getting there. Progress should be evident. We need to be improving.
Throughout our lives, there should be some evidence of our growth to becoming more like Jesus.