I’ll be the first to admit that I am a continued work in progress. Salvation transpires in an instant, but the work of sanctification takes a lifetime to complete. The good news is that when I mess up, I can rest in the truth that God is not finished with us yet.
Though I struggle, I do find strength, vision, and motivation in what Paul said in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
I am learning that God’s pleasing and perfect will is not a mystery. In fact, it’s rather quite simple. God wants you and me to become more and more like His Son everyday!
Most people, Christian or not, consider themselves to be morally good. They try to follow their internal moral compass, helping those around them, perhaps even knowing that they have failings, but trying to balance them out with good. The truth is that the Bible says we’re all sinners (see Romans 3 or Isaiah 64:4), that we never would have sought God without His help, and that even the good things we do are motivated by selfish or sinful desires.
At the core of our faith is the life-altering truth that we are far worse sinners than we could ever know, yet Jesus still loves us. Yes, we are being sanctified but when we fail, and inevitably we will, we know that our identity, or our standing before God, is not wrapped up in our “success” as a Christian, but drenched in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
The message of the cross is the realization that frees us to share about our failures and to be thankful to be a Christian. It’s what allows us to accept rebukes, criticism and advice with humility. It is also what allows the church to welcome and accept all who would seek to know God, as we who were once far off have been brought near ourselves.
So, if you are work in progress, I want to encourage you to keep on keeping on and always remember that what God starts, He also brings to perfect completion (Phil 1:6).