Everyday Encounter with God

Pastor Sylvia's Encounters with God in the Midst of Everyday Life


Sanctification and Grace

After salvation the hard work doesn’t end. It is just beginning. One of the realities that shocked me personally was that my spiritual rebirth didn’t fix me. I still had the same character flaws, bad habits, temptations, and short-comings. I’ve had a week where I was forced to look at some of my more serious flaws, repent, and seek spiritual guidance on what to do about them. 

There is a special kind of sanctifying grace that is God’s unique gift to each one of us as we become perfected. I receive it in equal measure to my willingness to see my own imperfections.

God sees our righteousness through Jesus on the cross. If we think we do, we’re dangerously deceived.   

In Romans 8:12-17 Paul describes sanctification like this:

So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent?  There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who He is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him! (The Message)

I thought once I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, everything would get easier. No more sin, no backsliding, and no more blundering around in my own life. It’s one thing to say that hypothetically I was made new and perfected in my salvation moment. But it’s really just the beginning of a life-long process that matures us into authentic Christians. 

We cannot ride on Jesus’ coat tails. We must learn to walk in His footsteps. We cannot just gaze lovingly at his face; we must change to be like him.

To live a life infused with Sanctifying Grace is an amazing experience. It doesn't happen all at once; it grows over time and with practice.

I am currently learning that love is both the place where grace begins and ends. When I want to give up because someone isn’t loving me back, lies about me, or hurts me over and over and over, and I am forced to forgive them over and over and over, grace whispers in my ear, "Keep going. I kept going for you." 

There are still times when I completely miss the mark, like this week. That’s when the Holy Spirit reaches over and holds my hand (usually in the form of my husband) and says, "I love you.  I see your imperfections and they do not lessen my love even a little. Nothing you do or say will change my love for you. Now let’s talk about how you can use this uncomfortable experience to grow in the likeness of Jesus."  

As the years go by, it has become clearer and clearer to me that the work of sanctification is never over, it just goes deeper, always searching for new places that need to be matured.  My part, our part in the process is to humbly kneel before Him, confess our imperfections, and let the Holy Spirit reveal what to do next.