Galatians 2:20—“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
To be sanctified is to be holy, or set apart. It means that we have accepted to follow Christ, and we are choosing to pursue his will for our lives. Frederick Buechner describes sanctification like this:
In “Beauty and the Beast,” it is only when the Beast discovers that Beauty really loves him in all his ugliness that he himself becomes beautiful.
In the experience of Saint Paul, it is only when we discover that God really loves us in all our unloveliness that we ourselves start to become godlike.
Paul’s word for this gradual transformation of a sow’s ear into a silk purse is sanctification, and he sees it as the second stage in the process of salvation.
Being sanctified is a long and painful stage because with part of themselves sinners prefer their sins, just as with part of himself the Beast prefers his glistening snout and curved tusks. Many drop out with the job hardly more than begun, and among those who stay with it there are few is any who don’t drag their feet most of the way.
But little by little—less by taking pains than by taking it easy—the forgiven person starts to become a forgiving person, the healed person starts to become a healing person, the loved person starts to become a loving person. God does most of it. The end of the process, Paul says, is eternal life.
This is a great image of what it truly means to be sanctified by God. Now read Romans 6 to get the full picture that Paul paints of sanctification. Read through this chapter a few times and reflect on the words that Paul says here.
- What must you do to be sanctified?
- How does this look from day to day?
- What changes do you need to make today in order to better follow after Christ?
Take some time to pray and ask God to guide you in this challenging process.