I don’t think any Christian would argue with the fact that all true Christians undergo sanctification. All believers should be growing and becoming more like Christ as time goes on. While reading J.C. Ryle’s Thoughts for Young Men, I was confronted with something that’s plagued my mind for a few years now.
For another thing, what young men will be, in all probability depends on what they are now, and yet they seem so easy to forget this…Young man do not be deceived. Do not think you can willfully serve yourself and your pleasures in the beginning of life, and then go and serve God with ease at the end. Do not think you can live with Esau, and then die with Jacob. It is a mockery to deal with God and your soul in such a fashion. It is an awful mockery to suppose you can give the flower of your strength to the world and the devil, and then put off the King of kings with the scraps and left-overs of your hearts, the wreck and remnant of your powers. It is an awful mockery, and you may find to your horror that the thing, in fact, cannot be done.
This is exactly what I’ve believed for so long and exactly what I’ve needed to read. Yes, sanctification is an ongoing process and even the most devout Christian cannot attain complete righteousness here on earth (unless you count imputed righteousness but work with me people). However, we are never to see this as an opportunity to slack off. To quote Paul, “What shall we say, then? Are we to go on sinning so that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2).
The thought of being the same boy that I am now once I’m a man is both terrifying and detestable. I can’t imagine how distasteful a life without sanctification seems to God. Thankfully, I won’t have to find out. As much as I hate these unnerving ruts that never go away long enough, I have complete faith that I’m in the Master’s hands and that he’s not through with me yet. The most disheartening part in all this is that I don’t see these ruts coming until they’ve completely saturated my way of life. Priorities shift and eventually, the part that usually gets my attention first, nothing makes me happy. It’s in times like these that I seem to appreciate God’s word the most. Why? Because it’s during these times that I neglect it the most. There’s no escaping the facts that Christianity is a relationship with God and that a huge method of Him communicating to us is the Bible. When I go without it, it’s like being homesick. Nothing quite does it for me. I’m happily addicted to my relationship with Jesus Christ. So this blog has barely followed the thesis but eh, I write what I want right?
Lord, help me to remain submissive to your will and follow the path that you have for me. Keep me from the temptations that seem to me more persistent than me. Thank you for your sufficient grace that I don’t acknowledge nearly enough and help me to flee to it in weakness because it’s been made all to clear to me that alone, I’m never strong enough. Amen.