Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2Corinthians 7:1
As we heard last Sunday, the call to be holy in life because the Lord who called us is holy, needs be taken more seriously than it often is. As believers we tend to glory in God’s sovereign work of grace in bringing us to faith in Christ (which we should). But then there is a tendency to pay less heed to His sovereign work of sanctifying us through His Word, through life’s circumstance, by the Holy Spirit. Why is that? Surely, His everyday sanctifying work in the lives of those He has “begun a good work in” (Phil. 1:6), is not less important to the Lord, than our coming to faith is it?
Sometimes we can get so caught up in worldly business and even the business of ministry, that we loose sight of the most important business - that is our own personal holiness, our everyday holy walk, where we are to image Christ.
Henry Martyn was on to the same idea when he once wrote in his personal journal: Let me be taught that the first great business on earth is the sanctification of my own soul.
We should not see our salvation as merely an event that happened in our past. It is what God has begun in us and also what God, in union with us, works at for all our earthly days. We are called to be holy through working "out our salvation in fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12)
J.C. Ryle once wrote, are we prepared to be sanctified by any process that God in His wisdom may call on us to pass through? Are we ready to be purified by affliction, weaned from the world by bereavements, drawn nearer to God by losses, sicknesses, and sorrow?