Sunday, June 21, 2009

Truly ‘Saved’? – Two Sides to Sanctification

Something happens to the newly ‘saved’ person via the indwelling, enlivened, and enabled Holy Spirit--the Spirit that was always there--but dormant--foregoing the acceptance of God on the psyche of the person housing the Spirit. The Spirit kick-starts real spiritual growth for the very first time.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines sanctification as, “the state of growing in divine grace as a result of Christian commitment after baptism or conversion.”[1]

So, the newly ‘saved’ person undergoes a sudden or gradual very personal transformation, in grace, commencing from the very present time of their salvation experience. There are two sides to this transaction immediately apparent to me:

My new view of God

The first time I was ‘saved’ I’m not sure I really was, now. I felt different somehow and some of my experience was strange, and I naturally attributed it as the newfound life ‘in Christ.’ But this new experience did nothing much really to transform me toward growth in grace. Sure, I grew in knowledge and said and did all (or mostly all!) of the right things. But, I didn’t truly know why it was important. It had reached my head but not my heart.

I believe many Christians have had experiences like my first one. They simply joined ‘the club.’ They prayed the believer’s prayer and meant it (sort of) at the time. Perhaps they were swept up in the emotion of the moment? Either way, they weren’t disciple properly afterward or they didn’t have the true salvation experience in the first place.[2]

Sanctification is truly the best indication that a newly saved Christian is truly, actually in right relationship with God i.e. they have truly come to appreciate, via a divinely spiritual experience, the void in their life without God. They have come to the very end of themselves. I don’t believe anyone can be truly ‘saved’ without knowing the ruin of life without God.

My second salvation experience was a divinely designed and pre-destined event (and perhaps the first was too). Suddenly I desired God to be first. He had to be first. I could not live any longer without a burning desire after the heart of God. And whenever I forgot this fact, the heart of God burdened me; I would feel Satan pressing me, pushing me to decide. To not obey was torture, and I’ll be forever thankful for that change God brought about in me.[3]

God’s new view of me

It’s as if God says upon the divine transaction, ‘Okay, you’re serious now about living how I’ve always desired for you and all my Creation to live. Find no excuse now in doing it.’

And for it, there are blessings given in advance. There are benefits:

There is freedom. Some things that seemed impossible beforehand are now miraculously lifted from us. We can achieve them easily. We suddenly have the desire to relate with people where before we might have despised interaction with life. We suddenly have a thirst to serve God and get busy for him. The list goes on.

When we experience some of the first fruits of divine salvation we fall in love... truly, madly, deeply. And perhaps for the very first time, we know what it means to love ourselves rightly in relation to God’s love for us, and therefore we can actually love others in a selfless sort of way. We learn to love how God loves. We see love from his perspective.

God shows us in this situation that he is first. “We love Him, because He first loved us” –1 John 4:19 (Amplified). And when he is truly first in our lives, all things can then be ordered in correct priority by us. It doesn’t mean this is ‘a given’ for the remainder of our lives, for we must still choose it so; but we do have the revelation, the gentle pressing of the Spirit i.e. awareness, and the power of the Spirit i.e. the conviction to act, to achieve such.

We can never quite understand the enormity of love in God’s grace. The fact that he sent his Son to the cross; the fact that we transgress him over and over; the fact of his forgiveness; the fact of our little though not insignificant part in his glorious Creation... all amongst many, many facts of grace... all these go toward us being blown away that God truly loves us and seeks us to be in fellowship with him.

It is the purpose of us being here.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.
[1] Sanctification. (2009). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved June 21, 2009, from
[2] It has been known that people who said they were saved and actually didn’t have the experience the way they should have, have subsequently known the true salvation experience through ‘augmentation’ created in some part by the loving and skilled discipleship from more mature servants of God, who simply cared enough to ensure Christ really was known to/by them.
[3] It must be stated that the ploys of the Enemy are subtle, powerful and insidious. No one who is truly saved doesn’t know Satan, and his altogether deviously-wise methods. I am sure that there are now, and forever will be (whilst I live in this tent) temptations, both obvious and subtle, to turn from God. Not all of these are easy to detect and we’re destined to disappoint ourselves and God; this is all the more reason why God’s grace is so perfect; whilst we are still sinners, he saves us!

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