By placing faith in Jesus Christ, a person becomes a new believer and is sanctified—that is, set apart for God’s purposes. Unlike salvation, which takes place in a single moment, sanctification is a lifelong process. We who are followers of the Savior should be letting the Holy Spirit control our lives. If that’s the case, we are currently being sanctified, regardless of what we may feel or how our actions appear to those around us. In other words, we are progressively maturing in our faith.
And if we are progressing, we must be working our way toward something. The apostle Paul explained the Christian’s mission: “For those whom [God] foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). A believer’s character, conduct, and conversation should be reflections of Jesus, who lives within. On our own, we might place too much emphasis on behavior and get caught up in following rules and rituals that look Christian without truly reflecting Christ. But God has given each believer His Holy Spirit as a teacher and guide. The Spirit works to transform our minds and hearts so that we are markedly different from our unsaved peers. When we allow the Spirit to control us, we speak and act in accordance with our true identity: God’s sons and daughters.
Our Father wants His children to be living examples of who He is. He doesn’t expect perfection—He knows we can’t be totally sinless in our human body. But He shows us how to think and act so we may “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which [we] have been called” (Eph. 4:1).