If you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ- 2nd Peter 1:10b-11 NIV

One of the fundamental spiritual misunderstandings of our time is centered around salvation. Many believe salvation is a one and done, an event where a person crosses a threshold and goes from hell-bound-heathen to saintly-and-saved to in the blink of an eye.

 Truth-be-told there is an “event” aspect to salvation (Romans 10:9-10). When a person places their faith and trust in Jesus to save them from the consequences of their sin they are very much saved from ALL the consequences of their sin, including eternal damnation (Luke 23:32:43). 


For those who do not die immediately following their confession of faith there is a process aspect to salvation. The fancy-pants-theological word for this process is “sanctification”. The Apostle Paul called it “working out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). Whatever you choose to call it, it’s essentially just the act of being transformed into the image of Jesus (Romans 1:1-2, 2nd Corinthians 3:18). There is no shortage of biblical teaching on the “how” of sanctification. All of Romans 12, 1st Thessalonians 4:1-12, 2nd Peter 1:3-9, Colossians 3 and Ephesians chapters 4, 5 and 6 all give detailed instructions concerning what a Christian should and shouldn’t do in order to work out their salvation. 


Sanctification can be difficult to pull off. I suspect this is because there are beliefs and behaviors a person must embrace before the sanctification process can work. These are perquisites to holiness, if you will. In order for the sanctification process to work we must be willing to:

Think deeply about the things that matter-

In a recent sermon our pastor pointed out that our generation is literally besieged with an endless array of information on all sorts of different topics. We listen to podcasts, watch the news, scroll through endless social media feeds and read a lot of articles on a vast array of diverse subjects. There is nothing wrong or sinful about pursuing knowledge. However, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. The net effect of this information overkill is that we tend to think superficially about whole bunch of different issues, but deeply about almost nothing. If we want to become holy we must train ourselves to think deeply about important issues. Profound things like the meaning of life, what it really means to be holy, our role in the universe, how we become righteous and how all that works itself out in our day-to-day lives. The only way we will ever have the bandwidth to think deeply about anything is to cull some of the information we are receiving. Once that’s done, we must set aside chunks of time to think through the information we are receiving and then seek the Lord for wisdom on how to implement what we’ve learned. Holiness requires godly wisdom. No one has ever attained wisdom apart from thinking deeply about life, God and eternity (2nd Timothy 3:15, Proverbs 9:10, Psalm 1:1-3)

Adopt a right view of God-

God is not simply a bigger, wiser, smarter version of humanity. God is as different from human beings as teapots are from tacos. How we understand God matters. A lot. Our most critical task in this life is to acquire a right view of Him. We do this by developing a healthy fear of God (Deuteronomy 6:13, Exodus 1:17-21, Proverbs 1:7, Psalm 33:8-18). Fearing God isn’t being afraid of God. When we fear God, we believe deep in our heart-of-hearts God is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do. In turn this gut-level conviction trickles down into every aspect of life. People who fear God understand God knows their most innermost thoughts and feelings (Hebrews 4:13). When a person fears God, they do what He says. Fearing God is THE key to closeness with God (James 2:23, Psalm 25:14, Psalm 147:11)

Embrace a proper view of the human heart-  

The world encourages people to “follow their heart”.  The Bible tells us the human heart is wicked and easily deceived (Jeremiah 17:9, Consequently, a heart not submitted to Jesus and firmly rooted in the truth of Scripture will lead a person to hell (literally and figuratively). Every. Single Time. Furthermore, unless a person is redeemed by Jesus their most authentic self is their sin nature. Even people who know and love Jesus are still capable of great foolishness and evil. Therefore, holiness requires we obey God not our hearts (Proverbs 3:5, Proverbs 10:8, Ephesians 5:1). 

Align our internal motivations and intentions with God’s word- 

In his excellent book The Awe of God John Bevere says every person has three images. There is our “projected image” (the carefully crafted persona we want the world to see), our “perceived image” (how others see us) and our “actual image” (the us God sees). At the core of what God sees in us is the “why” of what we do. Do we serve out of a desire to please God or people? Do we love others so we will be loved by them or because we want to honor and please God? It is the intentions and motivations of our hearts that will be judged by God (1st Corinthians 5:10, 1st Corinthians 3:10-15, Revelation 20:11-13). This makes getting our internal motivations aligned with God’s will of critical importance. 

Sanctification (holiness) is the end-all be-all goal of the Christian faith (Romans 6:18-23, 1st Corinthians 1:3, Ephesians 1:3-5, 1st Peter 1”15-16, Hebrews 12:14). The end result of holiness is joy, peace of mind, spiritual usefulness and the knowledge that the Maker of All Things is pleased with our actions and attitudes. Those things are worth doing whatever it takes to get there.