Can I Just Be Holy Now, Please?

Progressive sanctification.

I have a hard time with it. Not because I disagree with it, but because I’m incredibly impatient. Slow, hard growth is painful and uncomfortable and I’d really rather be holy now (and not just positionally), thank you very much.

You can imagine the problems that this can bring. It’s easy to despair over the presence of sin, to grow weary in the fight to put it to death. To sometimes feel a little hopeless.

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that “Changed, Changing, to Be Changed,” a chapter from Dug Down Deep, was a much-needed kick in the pants. Here’s why:

[W]e live between two moments in salvation history—between the arrival of salvation through Jesus’s first coming and the ultimate fulfillment of our salvation when Jesus returns and establishes his eternal kingdom. Theologians call this in-between reality the “already” and the “not yet” aspects of our salvation.

Jesus has already brought salvation by his substitutionary death on the cross and his resurrection. Jesus has already made us new creatures with new desires and the power to obey (2 Corinthians 5:17). He has already freed us from slavery to sin (Romans 6:6).

But we’ve not  yet arrived. He has not yet fully vanquished sin and Satan. Jesus has not yet freed us from the presence and consequences of sin. He has not yet banished death, wiped away every tear, punished all injustice, and established everlasting peace (Revelation 21:1-8).

The already and not yet reality of our salvation helps keep things in perspective. We shouldn’t be surprised that even though we’ve been changed, we still have to struggle with weaknesses and imperfections. We still have to deal with the ugliness of life in a fallen world where people let us down and disappoint us and where sickness and death break our hearts. So we shouldn’t despair over ongoing struggles with sin. This is part of the deal. Jesus has already brought salvation. But he’s not yet taken us home (pp. 146-147).

I have some sins that I really struggle with. I hate that even when I’m trying to be careful with my language and tone, I still come across as arrogant. I hate that something as vital and powerful as prayer—especially intercessory prayer—isn’t my first reaction.

But I don’t need to despair. There will be a day when I won’t be seen as arrogant. There will be a day when prayer will be as natural as breathing. I’m working toward it, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

It’s coming.

But not yet.

  • Kaaryn

    Not much of a comment, but all I can say is AMEN! (If it helps–which I know it doesn’t particularly–know that you’re not alone in your struggles…if we could ALL just be holy NOW, but then I guess that patience fruit of the Spirit wouldn’t get fully developed in us…here’s to remembering and trusting He knows what He’s doing in all those times we can’t see it!)

  • Keystone

    “While God does not tempt us, He does, in his sovereignty, permit us to be tempted.

    This is to grow us in holiness.”
    ~~~Aaron Armstrong

    http://hardwords.wordpress.com/2009/07/20/everyday-theology-god-wont-give-you-more-than-you-can-handle/

    Have Cake, ……meet Eat It Too!

    And Kaaryn, I liked your comment. You dimish yourself too much there.
    Fruit of the Spirit, especially Patience, was my first thought here too.

    A review of that Fruit in Galatians will show a specific order, a cadence if you will, to obtaining the Fruit. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

    I suspect there is a reason self-control comes last. But here is a tip.
    Never ask for Patience unless you are truly prepared to receive it
    …..eons from now. It comes packaged in halves.
    You travel half way, then half of what is left, then half of that…..always drawing closer, but always “half” an increment away. Thus, patience.

  • Keystone

    ~diminish~
    sorry Kaaryn

    I flunked Keyboarding 101

  • http://hardwords.wordpress.com Aaron Armstrong

    Kaaryn and Keystone, thanks for the encouragement (and Keystone for reminding me of something I’ve written). It’s always a struggle when God decides to move my theoretical knowledge into experiential.

    Thanks again :)