Perfect or Pretend?

Sanctification has been the focus of this week’s devotions. Sanctification is the process of growth in holiness; it is how God is making us more like Jesus. Chambers says on July 23, “The one marvellous secret of a holy life lies not in imitating Jesus, but in letting the perfections of Jesus manifest themselves in my mortal flesh… Sanctification is not drawing from Jesus the power to be holy; it is drawing from Jesus the holiness that was manifested in Him… Sanctification is an impartation, not an imitation.”

Once in 1 Peter 1:16 and five times in Leviticus God’s people are called to “be holy as I (God) am holy.” What’s the difference between acting holy and being holy? Holiness is our identity in Christ. Holiness is not simply being sinless; it’s the character of God, demonstrated through Jesus. Holiness is relational. Holiness is not avoiding sin and doing good. It is being like God. What is God like? He is love. He is just and merciful. He is gracious, longsuffering, and kind. God created us in His image, and He is re-shaping us back into the image of Christ. Holiness is what we are in Christ, not just what we do. When I try to act holy, I end up having to cover up a lot of what isn’t holy in my life. I used to cringe at the idea of “holiness” because I knew, as good as I tried to be, it wasn’t going to be enough. I was trying to imitate Jesus, to act holy, instead of resting in the holiness that Jesus wants to (and does!) produce in me.

If Christ Jesus became to us wisdom from God, righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30), He is not just a model of what God expects; Jesus is the means by which God will give us the power to become what He desires us to be. That’s refreshing. My life in Christ is not based on my performance. My life comes from Him, and He gives me what I can never be. What is my role in the sanctification process? It really isn’t any different than it was when I first began following Christ: I need to trust Him. I need to give up my rights to what I want to do and submit myself to Him. Ask Him to produce in you what you don’t want to be on your own. Ask Him to love others through you, to be patient, kind, and self-controlled. Ask Him to let His character be reflected through you.


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