For an introduction to the series, read this.
We come now to the next article under the doctrine of salvation in my church’s statement of faith, based on the Baptist Faith and Message:
Statement of Faith Article for the Week
Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.
Thoughts for Discussion with Children
We have talked about how we are justified, which means we are declared righteous, because of Jesus alone and not because what we have done. We cannot trust in our own works at all to make us right with God so that we can live with him forever.
But does that mean that if we sin, it doesn’t matter? Can we sin as much as we want and think we’re okay because God forgives us? No, of course not! When God saves us, he doesn’t just forgive us. He also transforms us so that we become more and more like Jesus, until the day when all sin is totally gone from us. If God didn’t do that, we would never really be saved, because part of what it means to be saved from our sins is not only to be saved from judgment, but to be saved from ever sinning again. Only a heart that loves God perfectly, and so never wants to sin again, is a heart that can be truly joyful forever. And since God has saved us to be joyful in his presence forever, he must get rid of all the sin in us.
But that doesn’t happen all at once. “Sanctification” is the word we use that means God leads us, day-by-day, so that we become more and more holy, like his Son. As we go through life in this world, God shows us more and more how sinful our hearts are, and we bring that sinfulness more and more to Christ so that it can be healed and overcome. We are never perfect in this life, and we always depend on the grace of God, but God’s grace really does make a difference in the way that we live.
So how should we run after sanctification? By giving attention to all the ways God has given us to help us grow: the church, hearing God’s Word, reading it, prayer, etc. Just as a baby needs milk, and then solid food, to grow into an adult, so do we need all of the blessings of spiritual food that God has given us. That is what will make us grow in Christ.
Suggested reading for the week: Philippians 3; Romans 8.