Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that when a person is united to Christ, there is a new creation.
This doesn’t mean we become “saints” in practice overnight. It does mean a new creation — a new principle of life — has been planted within us by the Holy Spirit, and we can never be the same again.
- JERRY BRIDGES, The Discipline of Grace
Sometimes it’s at the beginning of the day, sometimes at the end. But at some moment, instead of praying only out of of immediate need, I need to pray purposely—praise, confess, request, and thank.
But this morning, I get hung up at confession and have to pause.
I think through the past twenty-four hours. What unkind things did I do? What good things did I leave undone? Did I hurt someone with my words? Did I withhold healing words when I could have soothed?
I have examples of offenses in every category, things I confess to God, and maybe need to confess to others.
So I question whether I’m truly being transformed into Christlikeness. Or not. I know I’ve been justified, but what happened to being sanctified?
It’s a process. A long one.
But a real one nonetheless. I mustn’t forget. Because the truth is I have been made holy!—and as I choose to believe, it leads to other good choices.
In regeneration we become ‘new-born babes;’ in sanctification we attain the stature of full-grown men in Christ Jesus.
- WILLIAM PLUMER
Because I’ve been reborn, I’ve been forgiven; I’m being enabled; I continue to be transformed.
And those sins that I commit . . . daily . . . hopefully I’ll keep hating them more and more and keep repeating them less and less. Because even though I’ve been changed, I still continue to change—both through the Holy Spirit’s work in ways I can’t understand, and through his empowering me to initiate behavioral and attitudinal changes in conscious ways I can understand.
In justification we rely on what Christ did for us on the cross. In sanctification we rely on Christ to work in us by His Holy Spirit. In justification, as well as regeneration, God acts alone. In sanctification He works in us but elicits our response to cooperate with Him.
- JERRY BRIDGES
So tonight, as I work through my thoughts and actions of this day, I’ll still have things to confess. But I’ll also have victories to report. I’ll push through to requests and to thanks as well.
Because every day I’m being changed—in ways I can sometimes see, and in invisible ways that lie beneath the surface.
Either way, I’ll never be the same again, thank God.
* * *
What are you learning about your faith when you pray?
More on Chapter Six, “Transformed into His Likeness,”
in The Discipline of Grace, at Challie’s reading group