This past week I was at the Desiring God Conference which was focused on the process of sanctification.
Sanctification is one of those churchy words. It sounds weird and sterile, and we could throw it out and replace it with something more cuddly, but there’s really no other word that means the same thing.
John Piper kicked off the Conference by unpacking the word sanctification in a way that left my head spinning. Basically, if we want to be sanctified, it literally means, we want to be ‘holier -fied”;we want to be made more holy.
I’m scared of the word holy. I’m fine with God being holy, but I get nervous about someone asking or expecting me to be holy. I guess, in my head holiness makes me think of nuns washing my mouth out with soap.
But holiness is so much more than an outward conformity to a moral law.
God is not common place. He is one of a kind. And His holiness is the fact that his actions, thoughts and feelings line up with the value and worth that is His alone. He invites us to share in His holiness by calling us to use all our faculties to display how crazy precious He is because He’s God.
In Piper’s words:
Sanctification is the action by which we bring our thoughts, feelings and actions into conformity with the infinite value of God’s transcendent fullness.
Or, in my words:
God isn’t like us. He’s God. And that means He’s worth more than anything in the world.
As we are sanctified, our feelings and thoughts and actions will reflect that reality more and more each moment until finally we’ll be perfectly holy. And we’ll spend eternity using our minds and hearts and hands to display how infinitely valuable God is because He’s the only uncreated being; He alone is God.
Holiness is when all your thoughts and feelings and actions line up to accurately reflect the value and worth that God has because He is God.
I love that.
It means that my process of sanctification is not about ‘sinning less’. Sanctification doesn’t mean I wake up every day thinking: ‘don’t be angry today! don’t lust today!‘ Sanctification is about echoing more and more who God really is; reflecting Him more clearly: hollowing out your soul to make room to display to the universe the truth of His worth.
And for those of us who are in Christ, sanctification is not just a word, it’s a promise. It’s a promise that God will spend every ounce of His fierce power on us, pouring a refining fire over us and melting us its heat. Sanctification is a promise of His gentle modeling, as He patiently softens us like water washing over a stone. It is the obsessive and painstakingly loving promise that God will not rest until He has finished what He started. He will remake us in the glorious image of His Son who spent every thought and feeling and action displaying the Father’s unique value.
I’m going to try to summarize all I learned into the following posts, (but this is defo subject to change)…