If you live in Polvadera, New Mexico, or in Nikolai or Perryville, Alaska, you don’t have any neighbors who registered with Ashley Madison. However, Polvadera (population 269) has no Internet access, and Nikolai (population 94) and Perryville (population 113) are tiny. That’s 476 people out of more than 321,000,000 Americans. The rest of us are left to wonder about our neighbors’ marriages.
Consider this analogy: a house in our neighborhood had a red brick exterior. Now it is covered in white stone. Masons cut the stone, piece by piece, and fitted it over the brick walls. Gradually the red became white. The owner could have had the bricks removed, but why go to such an expense? His goal was to change the appearance of his house, not its underlying character.
My goal is the same, more often than I would like to admit. Hidden beneath the white veneer, there are bricks stained red by sin. Here’s the problem: I cannot remove them. I can cover them up, but I can’t replace them.
But God can. “Sanctification” literally means “to be made holy.” We are sanctified positionally when we make Christ our Lord: “You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). By trusting in Jesus, we position ourselves to be transformed as the children of God (2 Corinthians 5:17).
However, we are also sanctified progressively as we walk with Jesus: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). How does progressive sanctification work?
When Michelangelo was asked how he created his magnificent statue of David, he explained that he saw David in the marble, then cut away everything that didn’t look like him. Will you look more like Jesus today?