This January I’ve been reading books that I choose. It’s been awesome. The first book I read was the story of the Seminary I attend, Asbury Theological Seminary. It was written by one of our professors, Dr. Ken Kinghorn, and it chronicles the first 87 years of the Seminary, as well as a number of years prior to the formal formation of the Seminary. The book is The Story of Asbury Theological Seminary, and it was simply wonderful in its history and stories, but was worth so much more for my spiritual formation.
As I read the book, I was constantly impressed with the emphasis that the presidents of our institution put on their personal sanctification. Sanctification is the term used to describe the act of becoming completely holy. Something that is sanctified is holy and pure in every aspect of its being. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, what eventually became its own denomination, believed that sanctification was a real act of the Holy Spirit, and that it was a gift that could be, should be, and is given to every believer at some point in their lives.
I’ve read many accounts now of people relating their own experience with sanctification, and what stands out to me is their emphasis that it was a gift from God, a second Grace of the Holy Spirit. Sanctification isn’t something that we can strive for by human standards, by human means, because frankly humanity is imperfect. You cannot achieve perfection starting from imperfection. Perfection needs to be given or bestowed upon the imperfect. There needs to be a change from the very core of the imperfects being in order to become perfect.
I must admit that I don’t yet understand all the ins and outs of sanctification, but I want to. I pray that the Lord will work in my life and transform me from the inside out and make me completely perfect, as my Father in Heaven is perfect. This is one of my resolutions, but it is also my resolution for MHUMC, Threads by MHUMC, and ultimately for the church as a whole.
There was something powerful about mortal men walking around who were in constant conversation with the Father, who saw the world as the Father saw the world, and who communicated the truths found in the Bible as though they were hearing them spoken directly from the throne room of God. It is this passion and this attitude that will revive the church, and through the church will revive America, and will ultimately revive the world.
We can either sit in our white churches with the doors closed and talk about how frustrated we are with the world around us, or we can actually start to live differently. We can actually start to live as though we are redeemed beings, working towards the faith that receives sanctification (because we have already receieved purification at Salvation). We can actually start to interact with the world as Jesus would interact with the world, because we have the same Spirit that was in Him. This is a challenge. It is a challenge for me, but it is the challenge I feel all of us being called to in 2015, and always.