“elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit” (1 Pet. 1.2)
We can endure suffering much better when we know there is a purpose behind it. We actually make appointments with suffering when we schedule a visit to the dentist for a radical procedure that will involve needles, drilling, and general manhandling of our mouths.
That is what Peter is telling us when he speaks of sanctification of the Spirit. He is reminding us that God is at work in us as His children through the hardships of life to grow us in holiness.
Holiness lies at the heart of sanctification. We are holy and called to be holy. We are distinct from the world that walks to the beat of its own drum and are called by God to live in a manner that reflects our belonging to Him. As Peter will later say, we are to be holy in all our conduct, living lives that honor God and demonstrate that we are His children.
Our holiness, however, is not a self-help project. It is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is He who unites us to Christ, He who brings us from spiritual death to spiritual life, He who forms Christ in us.
We are God’s project and the suffering we experience is one of the building exercises. The Spirit empowers us and gives us the grace and wisdom necessary for the conduct of our lives in keeping with the word of God. The efforts we make show results by God’s workmanship.
Peter reminds us that whatever adversity we are experiencing, whatever hardship we are enduring, whatever suffering we undergo, God has not lost sight of the plot. It’s all part of His plan, just as it was for His Son in His mission as Messiah.
In his sermon to throngs gathered for Pentecost, Peter framed the suffering of Jesus in terms of being given delivered to death “by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23). The suffering of our lives also carries the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God for us to the accomplishment of His goals, in this case, our sanctification.
REFLECTION: All things in our lives serve the purpose of our God. Trust Him and ask for grace to trust Him more.
Unless noted otherwise, Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.