I was in pastoral ministry when the phrase progressive sanctification first registered with me. The word sanctification means to set-apart. I knew about that. Knew that the Holy Spirit was working in me presently to sanctify me – causing me to recognize sin, to confess it; prompting me to become more and more like Christ. I just hadn’t heard it called progressive sanctification.
Are you more like Christ today than you were a year ago? Please don’t dismiss that question as irrelevant. It is sad when believers are saved for years and yet never mature. Are you more patient, kind, loving and forgiving than you were a year ago? Five years ago? Do you have an eagerness to know Christ – to know Him more deeply than you did before? The question isn’t how many times you’ve read the Bible or how regular you are in church or how much money you put in the offering (though these are important matters). It’s also not a question about how long you’ve been a Christian. It’s one thing to know the Lord – it’s another to grow up in Him. The question is – are you progressing in your sanctification?
Paul admonishes us to train ourselves to be godly. Yes, the Holy Spirit is involved but he cannot do what God’s Word has told us to do. So there is a measure of obedience involved with our faith. Again, God works in us what we work out. That’s one of our aims in our small group ministry. I trust you will be involved!