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Onward and Upward

Friday, February 2, 2018

To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:14, esv).

Do you remember when you were saved? If so, I hope you never forget it. The story of your conversion—how you came to the cross and laid down all those things that were so desperate and troubling and burdensome for you to carry—should always mean a great deal to you. It’s good to share this story often with others, especially those who don’t yet have one.

But do you understand that coming to the cross wasn’t only so God could forgive you and save you from hell? He also wanted to change you. The One who “chose us in him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4), who forgave us completely when we turned from our sin and embraced Jesus Christ by faith, is not done with us yet. He is still at work in us—far from finished, far from settled. “We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Start thinking of your Christian life as something that began before the universe, commenced officially in you at justification, but continues increasingly through sanctification, and will be completed someday ultimately in glorification.

It’s happening right now. And it’ll keep on happening till Christ returns or we go to heaven, whichever happens first.

Salvation, biblically speaking, means four things, starting with (1) election—He chose you; followed by (2) justification—He called you, forgave you, and caused you to be born again. Yet many people stall out there, barely halfway in. They don’t think of being saved as also including (3) sanctification—the process by which God takes forgiven sinners and gradually, continually makes them more like Jesus Christ, even while we’re here on earth, until (4) glorification—when we see Him face to face and are made totally like Jesus forever in heaven.

The gospel was given to you (election and justification) so that these things (sanctification and glorification) could happen.

So stop thinking of your Christian life as an event that took place at a single point in time. Start thinking of it as something that began before the universe, commenced officially in you at justification, but continues increasingly through sanctification, and will be completed someday ultimately in glorification. “To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Yes, “obtain” it! The original word there means to get it. Go after it. See the value. Secure the treasure­. It means to get busy—deeply, intently involved—in the daily work of sanctification God is doing to take the sin out of your life, because it’s leading you toward glorification, where “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

That’s where the treasure of your salvation is, right there! And now that you see it, go after it. Give it everything you have! Since the treasure is Jesus Christ—the living reality of being more like Him every day—pull out all of the stops in pursuit of it.

Go get Christlikeness, believer!

It’s true that more Christians (new numbers of justified Christians) bring glory to God. But here’s what else is true: better Christians (increasingly sanctified Christians) bring more glory to God, as each day we experience Him who loves us as we are, but doesn’t leave us as we are.

Not just forgiven, but changed. Today.

Not just forgiven, but changed. Forever.

Journal

  • What are the greatest losses and dangers that persist in your life when you view salvation as mainly a past event?
  • Think of one or two specific ways you could participate with God today in truly going after your sanctification.

Pray
Lord, the awesomeness and completeness of Your salvation amaze me. I’ve received it; I’m in the middle of it; I still anticipate even more of it. How incredible! Stir me again, not only at what You’ve already done, but at what You’re faithfully doing this moment, and what you will never stop doing to express Your power and love in my life. Draw me back into the adventure of my salvation today, through the eternally saving name of Jesus, amen.


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