The three stages in Christian life. Justification, Sanctification, Glorification. The day a person trusts Jesus Christ as her personal Savior, that person was declared just in God’s eyes. From then on until death, that person experience Sanctification, this is the work by the Holy Spirit to bring Christlikeness in that person life. The final stage is called Glorification, that will occur only after death. Today meditation concern the second stage called sanctification. The author of today devotion is called Hannah; she is saved, but she still struggles with sin in her life. How does God want us to deal with our temptations?
The Lord has been teaching me in many ways lately about my utter weakness in the presence of temptation. I have grown significantly in knowledge, but I have not grown in grace and feel that I actually don’t have any more power over sin than when I was first converted. This hasn’t made me doubt that I am a child of God, justified and forgiven and a possessor of eternal life and an heir of a heavenly inheritance, but even while I have this assurance and never lose it, I have found that when my heart condemns me I cannot be happy. And lately, I have been led to long for more holiness, for more power over sin, for more uninterrupted communion with God.
But how to get at it I could not tell. Resolutions have proved utterly useless. My own efforts have been worse than useless. My prayers have been in vain, and I have been ready to give up in despair and to conclude that it was not the will of God that I ever should have a complete victory over sin. And yet the Bible presents such a different picture of the Christian life—blameless—harmless—without rebuke—without reproof—with every temptation a way of escape—purified—conformed to the image of Christ—holy as He is holy!
There are some Christians who say that by receiving Christ by faith for our sanctification, just as we received Him by faith for our justification all this work is accomplished—that is, the way of accomplishing it is discovered. The soul sees that Jesus delivered from the power of sin as well as from its guilt, and learns to trust to Him this whole work of keeping from evil, and delivering from the power of temptation. We cease making resolutions or relying on our own efforts after holiness in the slightest degree and we give ourselves up unreservedly to Christ to be dealt with according to His will, believing that He is able and willing to keep us from falling.
And he will do it. Like a week and helpless child we fall back exhausted into His arms and leave all our work and all our cares in His hands. Those who experience this say further that He really does cleanse their hearts from inbred sin, or at least that a work of grace is accomplished in their souls to such a degree that their Christian life thereafter is a triumphant and exalted one.
—Journal, October 18, 1866
Hannah Whitall Smith and Melvin Easterday Dieter, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).