The third movement of God’s grace in our lives is called Sanctifying Grace. God has been at work in our lives with Prevenient Grace. When we heard the Gospel and believed we were born again as God applied Justifying Grace. Now the question becomes what will God do next? God has an amazing plan and desire for our lives.
Peter answers a question that many of us have asked: What is God’s will for my life? Now, the response that we make to the answer Peter gives should not be, “Is that all?” That would not be correct. The fact that God, in his wisdom and purpose, has decided to tell us what He will do should create in us joy and peace; patience and passion. So what is God’s will? Listen to what Peter says is 1 Peter 4:3:
For this is the will of God, your sanctification (ESV)
The New International Version says it this way: “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified.” Do you see that. The implication here is not that this is an option we can opt into or out of. God’s will, what he has determined will happen is that you become like Jesus. That is what it means to be sanctified. To look so much like Jesus that the world sees Jesus and not us.
Could that be why we don’t want to be sanctified? We don’t want to have our identity replaced with Christ’s? I cannot think of anything I want more than to have my weaknesses replaced by his strengths; my sorrows by his joy; my pain by his healing; my sin by his grace. That is what God has offered. That is what Jesus has purchased through his death and resurrection. That is what the Holy Spirit has applied to our lives. Be sanctified. God desires that for you.
Have you ever had one of those experiences where you don’t know what is about to happen, and you can’t shake the feeling that it is going to be something, not just good, but indescribable? Right now, right where I am, I know–in that way of knowing that can’t be explained, but you’re confident in–that God is up to something that only he can do. I am not trying to explain it. I am not even trying to describe it. I am just waiting. Waiting for a faithful and good God to do whatever he wants to do. Waiting to see a return to an unshakable, unquenchable faith in a God that can and will do things that simply don’t make sense. I am waiting. Waiting. Waiting for a promise to be fulfilled; a hope to be renewed; a joy to be restored; a faith to be made sight in spite of the dark night of a self-centered heart.
O God, your life is what infuses every other life with meaning. Even that life that has failed to comply to your sovereign grace is brought into proper submission to your purposes. There is nothing that escapes your sight. Nothing that is beyond your insight. Nothing that can be undone due to your foresight. You are majestic, not merely because of some attribution of the human tongue. No, your very being is majesty. It is worthy of all that can be ascribed to it. And when we frail image bearers have reached the end of our ingenuity, it is in your uniqueness that our plain-ness is seen against the relief of your unchanging beauty.
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, only in you will all eyes agree!
Father, may my soul and faith; joy and life; passion and prayer; sorrows and pains reach the peaceful shores of your kingdom.