First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy for I am holy.” What an overwhelming command! But that is exactly what the Lord is committed to do in our lives–make us holy. His grand plan can be summed up in one word: sanctification. This is the three-stage process by which He sets us apart for His purposes.
Stage one occurs at the moment of our salvation. When God declares us righteous, we are positionally holy. The second stage is a progression of growth as we become more and more in practice what we already are in position. This process will continue for as long as we are alive on this earth.
The Father has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son, and He is continually working to shape our conduct, character, and conversation. Although God is the one who accomplishes the transformation, we have some responsibility in the process. If we don’t cooperate with Him, the world will squeeze us into its mold, and we will miss the great plans He has for us.
The third stage of sanctification is our ultimate perfection when we will possess absolute holiness. Upon our physical death, the soul and spirit are freed from sin, and in the resurrection, our bodies will be made perfect. We will stand faultless and spotless before Christ.
If we could just get a glimpse of what the third stage is like, we would never moan and groan about the difficult sanctification process we endure now. Our eyes would be fixed on the goal, and our greatest motivation would be to glorify God by submitting to Him as He transforms us.
Dr. Charles Stanley