Yesterday was a very interesting day in the life of Grace J. Kim.
Work has been interesting. Lots of things going on in my mind. That’s beside the point.
Lifepoint’s Friday service was graced with the presence and message spoken by Pastor Sam Song from Hong Kong. He spoke about the difference between justification and sanctification.
Here’s what I learned.
Justification: being seen and accepted “just as if I had never sinned”, making me perfect in the eyes of God. Nothing else needs to be done.
This has been the story of my life for some time now. Drinking, clubbing, cussing, etc. Not a problem. I knew I was justified. No one could say anything about it, no one could take away the faith I had been gifted with. People can say I’m taking advantage of grace, and truthfully, I wanted to feel like I was, so I could be changed by it and live more like all the other Christians. Yes, I thought even that thought. I realized though, at least to me, there is no such thing as taking advantage of grace… it would contradict the definition of grace. It’s grace because he just never… ever… stops giving. It just keeps pouring out like there’s no tomorrow. The one instance I think he might respond with wrath or judgment is when we mock or insult his name. Anyway.
So there I am, living in the crazyness of grace, the impossibility of being justified when I have nothing in me worth being justified. And even in that midst, I was hungry to offer something to God other than my whimsical, fluttery love. I couldn’t understand why sacrifice of love was not really a part of my life and I was hungry for it. But it just… wasn’t something I could implement in my life, not for me, not for him, not unless I didn’t mind it feeling fake. I wanted to offer the best, to strive, to even hurt for him. All of me was for him, everyday the only thing I could say to him was the same: you have all of me, do what you want. And really, he did, he had. He had justified me, had saved me from myself, reserved my heart for his kingdom. That’s what he wanted to do, and he did it.
Sanctification: the process of becoming a vessel designed by the heavens, while on this earth, living in this decaying body.
PSam spoke in a way that I understood so clearly… justification and sanctification are two different animals. They are mutually exclusive, they cannot occur at the same time. Justification will always come before true sanctification, because sanctification is something that is worked out within as a result of the perfection that is justification. Justification results in pure joy, hope, ability to love, etc. In its wholeness, out of its overflow comes sanctification, the conscious, willed desire and movement to pursue Jesus on this path of suffering, perseverance, persecution. This sounds very unattractive, which explains why justification must. come. first. Always.
Anyway. What does this mean for me? I learned sanctification was the answer to my groaning, my deep, deep, deep hunger. It answered my question, am I just going to keep on doing what I’m doing because I know God is cool with it? Where was the conviction? Where was the staunch pursuit of the one I was ready to die for?
I know where I stand. I know the perfection I am, the love I have been worthy of receiving. And now, I want to make the choice that God won’t make for me. I want. to. be. holy. I want to take a stand for this love. I honestly had a grudge against Apostle Paul. I thought he was so lame, always harping on people for sucking, always pushing people to seek holiness and blahblahblah. I realized I was just not in the place to hear it. Call it weakness, selective hearing, whatever. But right now, this moment, I get him. I get why he talks about beating his body to serve- no, slave for Christ. Isn’t it crazy now, that is exactly what I want.
I choose sanctification. I choose the narrow road. And the amazing thing, something I once saw on my friend’s folder cover: Do, or not do, there is no try. Or something like that. If the road of sanctification is available to me and I choose pursue my Jesus on it, then the only thing left is fulfillment of it by the grace that overflows from justification. Haha! I choose to wrestle with my choices, I choose to submit to a higher command, I choose to surrender the depth of my heart and all it contains to him who, in one move, in one heart, in one purpose, justified me – not so I can be sanctified, but simply to be with me.
How can I resist?!?! Hahaha. I don’t really know what it’s going to take but, if this is what justification looks like, I’m in.
Jesus, do it your way. I’m completely surrendered. You are my answer every time.
So yeah. That was my yesterday, subtle-y being rocked. And the song of the day: