Since the spring semester, I Thessalonians 4:3a has been one of my favorite verses. In fact, I wrote this post out of sheer excitement from finding the verse. “For this is the will of God,” it states, “even your sanctification.” Throughout the summer, I often quoted this verse to myself as a reminder that God is using circumstances in my life to make me more like His Son. After listening to class lectures on Romans 6, however, I have a slightly different perspective. I had been relying solely on God to conform me, but I must put forth some effort as well. Paul gives at least two actions the believer must perform in the act of sanctification.
Paul uses the term “reckon” in Romans 6:11 to mean “consider true.” As new creatures, we must consider it to be true that we are “dead to the power of sin and alive with God through Jesus Christ” (Rom. 6:11). If we continue living in bondage to sin, we will never know true freedom in Christ. Paul writes in Romans 6:17a, “In the past, you were slaves to sin—sin controlled you.” If we do not change our mindset and consider it true that we are alive in Christ, we will continue to let sin control us.
After “reckoning,” the believer should “yield.” Romans 6:13 says, “…offer the parts of your body to God to be used in doing good.” In the past, we followed sin and did evil deeds. When we offer ourselves to Christ, we can “live only for God” (Rom. 6:19).
God does desire to conform us to the image of His Son. However, we must first change our mindset and freely offer ourselves to Him. Paul brings all these thoughts together in Romans 12:1-2 when he says, “I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to Him…Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you.”