The Second Half of the Gospel
Salvation is only half of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is a hugely important half, of course. To Know Christ - to put one's faith in Jesus Christ and trust Him for the forgiveness of our own personal sins, and to invite Him to enter our lives and live in our hearts and make us all that God wants us to be begins a life-changing personal relationship with God. Jesus died in my place to pay the price for my sin. As a gift of grace through my faith in Jesus, God forgives all sin and claims me as His own son. It still boggles my mind!
Still, salvation is only half of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sanctification is the second half of the Gospel.
To be sanctified is to be set apart for God's purposes. To be sanctified is to be made holy by the working of God's Holy Spirit. To be sanctified is to change. To be sanctified is to become more and more like Jesus in character (the fruit of the Spirit) and in ministry (the gifts of the Spirit). The second half of the Gospel is the transformation of my life from convert to disciple. From living for my glory to living for God's glory.
At the moment of salvation, righteousness (right standing with God) is imputed to me. It is given to me as a free gift. Nothing I have done makes the change from sinner to saint (forgiven one). What Jesus did on the Cross is credited to my account so that I am justified before Holy God. In sanctification, righteousness (right living for the glory of God) is imparted to me. The Holy Spirit grows the life of Jesus into the life of an image-bearer of the living God (you - me - us).
Sanctification is the second half of the Gospel. It is a life-long process of becoming holy as God is holy. Desires change. Priorities change. I change. Fact is, I am no longer the man I was. Jesus has changed my life. Jesus is still changing my life. I am still growing in sanctification.
If I were to urge every person reading these thoughts to avoid one thing, it would be this: do not settle for half of the Gospel. Keep growing in Christ. Keep moving forward in sanctification. Keep practicing the spiritual disciplines that make for growth in sanctification. Read the scriptures. Pray. Worship. Serve others. Participate in a small group with other Christians for growth and accountability. Don't fall away from it. Don't be discouraged. Keep growing in Christ!
Because salvation is only half of the Gospel. And Jesus has more to do in your life than He has already done.