Editors Note: This is a new series on spiritual growth designed to help our readers understand how to grow in Christ.


There is much discussion today on the power of the gospel in our sanctification and our role in our sanctification. The fact that people are discussing and debating on this topic thrills my heart. It is crazy important.

The Means Matters

Growing up in the church, I heard a lot about obedience, but I hardly ever heard anything about Jesus. And you can’t separate the two. When we do, we are swimming in legalism. And it wasn’t until grace jack-slapped me across the kisser that I realized how I was living. I was living a flesh-filled life that was trying to imitate the power of the Spirit. And that is a horrific substitute.

When it comes to sanctification (growing in Christ-likeness), it is shamefully astounding how we can try to become like Jesus…without Jesus. We need Jesus if we want to be like Jesus. While we this seems incredibly elementary, how many of use practically live this way? Jesus is our means of sanctification (John 15:5, Galatians 2:20).

The reality is…we cannot do it! I have never seen a packet of seeds grow on it’s own. We need the divine planter, the water of the word, the tender care of the gardener, the warming glory of the Son…we need God if we are going to grow.

We also need the right motivation.

The Right Motivation in our Sanctification

Growing in the gospel requires the proper motivation. What is driving us to become more like Jesus?

  • Do we simply want to keep the rules? Or is it because we love Jesus, therefore we want to obey Him.
  • Are we trying to earn and keep God’s love? Or are we obeying because of God’s love already shed on the Cross for us? (See Galatians 2:20…again!)

I am not against putting effort into our sanctification. I am against the wrong motives in our sanctification.

The Apostle Paul puts all of this in the right perspective. This is pure gospel-sweetness.

Philippians 3:12…but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.

  • “I press on…BECAUSE Jesus made me His.”
  • “I want grow because Jesus is my savior.”
  • “I want to honor Him because He loves me.”

The root of Paul’s ‘pressing on’ is none other than the person and work of Christ. Anything else will not last. Anything else ultimately will not work. Everything else will produce fake fruit that withers in no time. Trust me – I know.

Christian, press on! For Jesus has made you his own. You already belong to Jesus. Now live like what you already are in Christ. “Now only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel…” – Philippians 1:27