“We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.”
-EFCA Statement of Faith
I know God’s will for your life. That’s right, I know Gods will for your life. It really isn’t as mysterious as we think. It isn’t as complicated as we sometimes make it. What is God’s will for your life? “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). What does it mean to be sanctified or “holy” as some translate it?
Simply put, to be holy or to be sanctified is to be set apart or to be put to proper use. It is to set something apart for its intended purpose. What is our intended purpose? I touched on this in the sermon this past Sunday. We were made in the image of God. We were made to reflect God’s glory. Due to sin, that image has been corrupted. We all fall short of the glory of God because of sin, Romans 3:23 tells us. We do not reflect perfectly what God intended when he created man and woman in his image.
This is where the gospel comes in. When we think of the gospel, we should think of it in two parts. We are saved from something and saved to something. Part one is that we have been saved from the penalty of sin and the wrath of God. Part two is that we have been saved to a holy life (see 2 Timothy 1:8-9). It is what we have been saved to that is often underemphasized.
Jesus being the full expression of the perfection God intended when he created us in His image, came to restore that image in God’s creatures. We are being renewed to better reflect the glory of God (see Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10; 2 Corinthians 4:16; Romans 8:29). Whatever sin has done to distort the image of God in human beings, God restores through the work of salvation in Christ. In Christ that image tainted by sin is being renewed to be like Christ. We can be like Christ. How?
We are not called to be like Jesus in his divinity. We can never be God. So, how can we be like Jesus? Think with me on this. When Jesus came to this earth, we saw for the first time since Adam a fully functioning human being. Jesus showed us perfectly what God intended when He created man and woman in His image. Jesus in his humanity lived in dependence upon God the Father in everything. Jesus said of Himself that he did nothing on his own and that he came to do his Father’s will.
In this way, we can be like Jesus in living in dependence upon God in everything. You and I are human beings designed to work best when we live dependent on God for everything. At the moment of salvation, the process of sanctification, of setting us apart for God’s intended purpose for us is being restored.
Our belief of the human condition not only speaks to what we have been saved from but also what we have been saved to being renewed into a new humanity from one stage of glory to the next. Our great hope is that when Jesus appears we shall be like him, fully renewed in the image of Jesus Christ (1 John 3:2).
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified, holy, set apart for God’s intended purpose. To be human is to be something wonderful! To be a functioning Christian is even more wonderful!