January 28, 2008

The Mystery of Time and Three Big Church Words

Sharon Jaynes

 

 

Today’s Truth

For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by…” (Psalm 90:4 NIV).

 

Friend to Friend

Have you ever gone to a foreign country and been the only one to speak English? OK, let me bring this home a little bit. Have you ever walked the aisle at Wal-Mart and been frustrated because the label on the back of the laundry detergent is in Spanish and you can’t understand a word of it? Sometimes going to church can be a bit confusing when you don’t understand some of the lingo that is tossed about so easily. Sometimes, in our “churchiness” we forget that some of the words we use are foreign to most. I wonder, if a visitor asked what some of those “church” words mean, would I be able to explain them easily and clearly?

 

Not too long ago, I tackled some of these “church” words to make sure I understood what they meant. In doing so, I was over-whelmed once again because of all that God has done for me. Let me share just three of those words with you today: justification, sanctification, and glorification.

 

Before creation, there was no time. Can you imagine that? I can’t. Our brains were wired for time. God created time when He made the sun and the moon. “There was evening and there was morning,” one day. Then He created man and woman and placed them in the time-space continuum. For God, there is still no time. God see it all at once. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). A thousand years are like a day in His sight (Psalm 90:4). He sees the entire span of time, from beginning to the end, all at once. But we are time creatures.

 

When we use the words, “I have been saved,” we think time dimensionally. Salvation for us time creatures involves the past, present, and future.

 

In the past, we were saved from the penalty of sin at the moment of salvation – the moment we say, “I believe.” Theologians call this justification. We are declared not guilty - just as though we had never sinned. It is not due to anything that we do on our own, but a gift of grace and mercy from God. We are not saved by how we behave but by what we believe.

 

In the present, we are being saved from the power of sin as we become conformed to the image of Christ. Theologians call this sanctification. While justification is an act, sanctification is a process. Justification is the declaration of “not guilty” by a judge about us while sanctification is the process of a physician operating in us.

 

In the future, we will be saved from the presence of sin. One day we will leave this earth and join Jesus in heaven for all eternity. There will be no more sickness, death, mourning, tears, or pain. Hallelujah, there will be no more sin (Revelation 21:1-5). This is when we will experience glorification.

 

From beginning to end, salvation is a work of God. At the same time, the Bible teaches that we have a responsibility in the continuing process of being conformed to the image of Christ. We are told: “put off the old self (Ephesians 4:22),” “renew your mind,” “clothe yourself with Christ” (Galatians 3:27), “continue to work out your salvation” (Philippians 2:12),”press on toward the goal” (Philippians 3:13). It is all about God, but He has sovereignly chosen to allow us to participate in His work.

 

Let’s Pray

Dear Father, once again I am over-whelmed by all that You have done for me. Help me to participate in the process as You conform me to the image of Christ. Thank You that I am justified, that I am being sanctified, and one day will be glorified. Thank You that in Your eyes, it is already done!

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

 

Now It’s Your Turn

Today, let’s delve into God’s Word and see some of the ways He describes this process of being conformed to the image of Christ. What’s it called? You got it! Sanctification. Look up the following verses and note our part in the process.

 

Put off the old self (Ephesians 4:22)

 

Renew your mind (Romans 12:1-2)

 

Clothe yourself with Christ (Galatians 3:27)

 

Continue to work out your salvation (Philippians 2:12)

 

Press on toward the goal (Philippians 3:13).

 

More from the Girlfriends

I don’t know about you, but I want to be more and more like Jesus every day. But how do we do that? That’s what Experience the Ultimate Makeover is all about – discovering God’s transforming power in our lives to become all that He intends for us to be! The book also has a Bible Study guide in the back that makes it a perfect resource for Bible study groups or a guide for your own personal study.

 

 

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