There have been a few times I felt like I was in danger. Sometimes the danger was imagined, sometimes it was quite real. One of my earliest rescues from (real) danger happened when my family was on vacation in Florida.
I was only about six-years-old and the raft I was floating on had drifted pretty far out with the afternoon undertow. The rhythmic sway of the raft almost put me to sleep and I really hadn’t noticed how far from the beach I’d floated. I was semi-snoozing in the waves when my father surprised me by grabbing on to my raft and explaining that he needed me to lie very still while he pulled me into the shore.
My father didn’t let me know until we were safe on the beach that two sharks were swimming my direction. When I turned around to look where he was pointing, I saw that people had already cleared the water, and the life-guard was firing shots at the shark’s exposed fins.
My knees went a little weak when I thought about what could’ve happened if my dad hadn’t rescued me! That’s kind of how I feel when I think about where I’d be if God hadn’t rescued me.
Shark-infested waters are nothing compared to eternal separation from God.
Aren’t you glad that God has a rescue plan?
Not only does He “rescue us” and bring us to new life—eternal life (read more about that by clicking here), but God also gives us the opportunity to live an abundant and joy-filled, victorious life here and now.
Jesus describes it this way:
[box]“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)[/box]
Once you enter into a relationship with God, He begins His restoration process. God is restoring His children to their pre-fallen condition through a process called: sanctification. In other words, God is able to take the difficulties of our lives, the struggles and also the blessings, and use them in the process of “growing us up” and conforming us into the image of Christ:
[box]“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son . . .” (Romans 8:28–29)[/box]
Mankind was created in the image of God, but sin marred that holy, pure state. Man “fell short of the glory of God” when he transgressed. This restorative work (sanctification) is designed to display the power of the gospel through transforming fallen men and women (this includes you and me!) into individuals whose lives bring glory to God.
Sanctification is a redemptive work of God that is occurring as we submit to the authority of God’s Word and apply His truth to our lives through the grace and power of His Holy Spirit.
If you’ve received new life in Christ, according to 2 Corinthians 5:17, you are a “new creation” the old has “passed away.” But, like me, you may still struggle with old habits of the flesh and issues of sin like: anger, covetousness, or ingratitude.
Anger was a huge one for me. I would get angry and then I would vent that anger on a loved one, leaving them feeling hurt and rejected. God delights in giving us victory over that tendency.
When I first became really serious about eradicating anger from my life, I was a young bride (several years ago!) and it was a huge challenge. Someone suggested that if I was serious about overcoming my anger, I should memorize or at least meditate seriously on Romans chapters 6–8.
The process of diligently pouring the truths from these verses into my heart and mind began to affect my behavior.
Memorizing Scripture is not sufficient to insure victory however; it must also be an act of your will to literally apply the truth you are memorizing. And that can’t be done through sheer “will-power” Scripture can only be applied in a life-changing way by accessing the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 8:13 gives us a key to overcoming sin:
“If by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body . . .”
We are to put to death our fleshly, sinful actions—by the power of the Holy Spirit.
How do we do that?
When you are tempted to give into rage, self-pity, jealously, greed—cry out to God for His grace to overcome that temptation. Ask His Holy Spirit for the power to say “no” to sin and “yes” to God. And the most important part of this process is to ask God to give you greater love for Him.
When we love God more than our sin, we will have victory over that sin!
You must make the hard choice to submit your temptation to God and then humble yourself to obey His will. He will not force your obedience, but when you ask Him, He will give you the grace and power to obey.
Finally, God’s work of redemption will one day be complete as we reach a state of glorification. Even the present heavens and earth will one day be completely redeemed (2 Peter 3:10-13).
You might think of it this way:
- Salvation is the deliverance from the penalty of sin.
- Sanctification is the process of overcoming the power of sin.
- Glorification is the complete and final deliverance from the presence of sin.
This is the comprehensive work of redemption throughout the life of a believer.
Spend some time meditating on Ephesians 1:7-14 and ask God to give you a fuller understanding of His complete work of redemption. Ask Him to open your eyes to your spiritual need and His provision.
Let’s pray for each other today:
Father, would you allow us to see You at work in our lives, bringing the transformation we so desperately need? Please grant us Your grace to apply ourselves to the hard work of dying to sinful desires and embracing Your will for our lives. Give us sensitivity to Your Holy Spirit’s conviction of sin and remind us to cry out for Your grace to overcome the temptation. Grant us the hope found in the surpassing greatness of Your power toward us who believe.
I pray that we will showcase the beauty of Your transforming power in our lives in a way that will cause others to see You in us!
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