Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Acceleration and Sanctification

I was walking down the street, pushing our dual stroller with the kids, when the blanket wrapped around my daughter’s legs came loose. I saw no need to do the sensible thing and stop, but rather assumed I could fix this problem while on the move. So I shifted the stroller-pushing responsibility to one hand, swung my body out wide left, and then quickened my pace to overtake the stroller and arrive at the front, where my left hand could hypothetically fix the blanket while we walked. A problem I did not foresee was that as my pace quickened, so would that of the stroller, which was attached to my right hand. So when the stroller sped up too, I naturally picked up the pace with my feet a bit more. Surely I could make it to the front of this thing! But soon I was running alongside the stroller, my right hand reached back and pushing, my left hand reaching to the front grasping for a corner of the blanket now flailing in the wind.

Is this a little bit of what sanctification is like? Sanctification is one of those words that I don’t know I’ve ever fully grasped. It’s abstract, not simple, and there’s really not a lot of agreement on how it’s played out in the world. But isn’t it a bit like me running faster and faster down the street alongside my stroller? Or like that cartoon donkey with the carrot dangled in front of him, trotting quickly ahead with increasing velocity? Physics taught me that acceleration is the rate of change in velocity over time. Isn’t that sort of what sanctification should be like, a perpetual state of acceleration toward Godliness?

God said, “Be holy because I am holy,” (take your pick between 1 Peter 1:16, Leviticus 11:44,45, or 19:2). Sanctification is described as the process of being conformed to God’s image, of becoming holy on this earth.

God said “Be holy.” He’s right, we need to be. And I strive to be. But to be honest, I’m not too sure I’ll reach perfect holiness on this earth. I do believe firmly that I am fully justified, changed from within. The day I handed my life over to Christ and prayed that he take away that intimately personal and sinful spirit I’d long held onto, replacing it instead with his own, something changed entirely. I became right with God. I am now his, and will forever be. But back to this side, can I really be holy?

I have friends - brothers and sisters in Christ - who say yes. They sin no more. Not so sure I really buy that. I have other friends that wallow in a depleted state of their sinful selves, proclaiming that they are nothing but horrible, awful, no-good sinners but by the grace of God. Well, yeah, without his grace, that’s accurate. But I can’t proclaim that I’m a worthless sinner. My God lives within me, and that’s not who he is, so that’s not who I am either.

But what, where am I? I’m not perfect. I’m not a wretch. I’m in process. Sanctification.

In the words of David Crowder, “You are Holy... I am wholly Yours.”

I also learned in physics that inertia is a term referring to the property of a body which resists change in motion. Sort of a resistance to acceleration. That’s what I seek to avoid - stagnation. And because of the justifying work that God did in me, I can move into a constant state of acceleration - sanctification.

I did finally get that blanket fixed.

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