“May God himself . . . sanctify you through and through.” What does Paul’s prayer mean? Is this an idle dream, the fantasy of a religious fanatic? I don’t think so. Paul had a profound understanding of human nature. He had no illusions about our foibles, incapacities, bad choices and persistent inclination to rebel.
At times God moves among believers to stir them up to higher expectations. Church historians write about awakenings and holiness movements. Pentecostal churches speak of revivals of piety and religion. These movements are characterized by a solemn return to the standards of the Bible, especially the New Testament, and to holiness. I believe God is thorough and powerful in the way he affects human nature. The Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, performs unique and transforming acts in the lives of fallen humans. His restoring work is not just a shabby patch-up job.
Each of us must ask, “Lord, what does it mean for me to be thoroughly holy? I am ready to listen to you. I am not afraid of the emotion and turbulence your words may create in me. I am ready to accept your standards for holiness. Even though both the church and the world compromise, may I embrace your holy will for my life.”
Lord, I am ready for an upgrade your way. Amen.