Key Text: Philippians 2:1-13

There are several acts of God that occur at the beginning of our Christian lives:
The gospel call (which God addresses to us)
Regeneration (by which God imparts new life to us), Justification (by which God gives us right legal standing before Him) and
Adoption (by which God makes us members of His family).

There is also conversion (in which we repent of our sins and trust in Christ Jesus for salvation) all of these events occur at the beginning of our Christian lives.

But there is a part of our redemption that is progressive and continues throughout our earthly lives. It is also a work, in which we cooperate with God, each of us having distinct roles. Sanctification is the progressive work of God in us, that makes us more and more free from sin and more like Christ Jesus in our daily living.

It is something we need to grasp, if we are to follow Paul’s instruction to work out our salvation. There are differences between Justification (having a right standing before God) and Sanctification (being transformed into the likeness of Jesus)

The working out of our salvation to become more like Jesus is something that continues throughout the course of Christian life. Our continued growth in becoming more like Jesus, is something that the N.T encourages us to give effort and attention to.

Our becoming more like Jesus has it’s start at our regeneration, at point of being made new …therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Titus 3:4-5 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.

Holy Spirit makes us new and once we have been born again, we cannot continue to sin as a habit or pattern of life. We cannot continue in iniquity because the power of new spiritual life within us keeps us from constantly submitting to a life of sin.

The first step toward becoming more like Jesus involves a definite break from the ruling power and love of sin, and a move toward a love for Jesus so that as disciples we are no longer ruled or dominated by sin.

Paul again says Romans 6:11 & 14 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus… For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

To be dead to the ruling power of sin means that we as disciples, by virtue of the power of Holy Spirit and the resurrection life of Jesus working in us, have power to overcome the temptations of sin. Sin is no longer our master as it once was before we came to Jesus.

How does this play out in practical terms? It means we must affirm in our lives, two things to be true:

Firstly, we will never be able to say ‘I am completely free from sin’ because our sanctification will never be completed. 1 John 1:8 tells us we deceive ourselves if we say that we are without sin.

Secondly, the disciple of Christ should never say ‘This sin has defeated me’ I give up, I have had this bad temper for thirty seven years and will have one until the day I die and people are just going to have to put up with me (accept me) the way I am.’

When we make statements like this, we are saying that sin has gained dominion. It is to allow sin to reign in our bodies. It is to admit defeat. It is to deny the truth of scripture which tells us ‘You also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.’ Romans 6:11

It is to deny the truth of scripture that tells us that sin will have no dominion over you. Our task as disciples of Jesus is to grow more and more to be like Him. Just as we previously grew more and more in sin.

Again Paul puts it like this… For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. Romans 6:19  Throughout our Christian life we are all being changed into His likeness 2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Therefore Paul is able to say to the Philippians: I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

Paul was not perfect but is determined to achieve all of the purposes for which Christ Jesus had saved him.

Likewise we too being prepared to work out our salvation, must be determined to come into all that Christ Jesus has secured for us through His life, death and resurrection.