Sanctification often times feels like dying. Dying, because the old man is in fact being put to death by the Spirit. Part of growing in holiness is mortification. A grace-induced mortification of the flesh. Deep within my regenerate soul is the cunning old man, cowering as he is dealt lethal blows. This is a gracious work of the Holy Spirit. While it feels like God is killing me, He is actually saving me. The resulting pain is a reminder of the love of God. For in love, He set me apart to be holy and blameless like Him. He is actively working in my life to restore in me the 'Imago Dei' - the image of God that was marred by Adam’s sin and mine. The life I now in the flesh I live by faith in Jesus Christ, who loved me gave Himself for me.
I am the disciple whom Jesus loved. He set his affection on me before the ages began - not because I am worthy, but precisely because I am unworthy. His love for me is from everlasting to everlasting. His love awakened me from the rotten deadness of my soul and continues to sustain me through the indwelling work of the Comforter. Therefore, my identity is not found in my profession of faith or my accomplishments. Rather, it is found in the fact that I am loved in Christ, and by Christ. Because I am the disciple Jesus loves, He will break and bend me until He makes me who I am. He who began a good work in me will bring me home safe. So I rejoice as the Refiner’s fire renews me. Vivification.
I am constantly learning to look at the world through the right end of the telescope. God mercifully reminds me that I am a sojourner, a stranger, and an alien. I groan for eternity because the renewed man awaits adoption, the redemption of this broken and battered body. I groan because nothing in this world satisfies the deepest longings of my heart. He deals with me so intimately that my longing for eternity grows exponentially every day. Therefore, I will join John Owen and resolve to "fix all my thoughts and desires on Christ's glory" because, "the more I see of the glory of Christ, the more the painted beauties of this world will wither in my eyes and I will be more and more crucified to this world. It will become to me like something dead and putrid, impossible for me to enjoy."
Our hearts are indeed restless until we find our rest in Him. While we long to be with Jesus, we rejoice because it is indeed better that the Holy Spirit lives in us and purifies us. We long for a future without sin and its ramifications. Meanwhile, we find our solace in the fact that we are indeed the disciples whom Jesus loves. He loved us and gave Himself up for us, so that He might sanctify and present us to Himself in splendour, without spots or wrinkle, so that we might be Holy and without blemish.
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