In airports you find those long moving walkway conveyor belts that look like a flat escalator propelling you forward. Some passengers step onto the belt and remain static, allowing the rubber to deliver them to their destination. Others prefer to keep up a steady gait while on the belt, causing a unique sensation of warp-speed walking. Still others eschew the mechanism altogether and, like Amish conscientious objectors, choose to plod on resolutely next to the belt.
We all end up where we’re going but let’s face it: those who are serious about arriving sooner rather than later tend to be the businessmen who jog on the belt outpacing their fellow travellers by leaps and bounds.
Sanctification is not passive. We can’t sit sprawled on an assembly line as the Spirit fits us with the next Christian virtue. Yes, God is overseeing every tweak and turn of the process, but the more we cooperate the quicker (and less painful) the progress.
It may seem like a paradox to minds that prefer dichotomies, but Scripture has no compunction about presenting both our responsibility to pursue holiness and God’s role in accomplishing the work in us.
Philippians 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Any system of sanctification that emphasizes grace over discipline runs the risk of licentiousness (Rom 6:1). Likewise a framework where man’s effort is the secret of success leads to legalism, moralism, and spiritual pride.
We need to keep up the pace of our walk with the Lord, and simultaneously enjoy the boost we get from the Spirit’s power propelling us toward Christlikeness in a type of warp-speed walk to holiness.