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  • Daniel Klassen

Daily Renewal for Christian Living



Sanctification is daily renewal. As Christians, we are declared righteous and set apart for God, and from sin the moment we are saved. Then, at conversion, we also receive the hope of glorification. All that is found directly in the well-known verse of John 3:16, "…that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." But what happens between the moment we are saved, and the day we are glorified in heaven? What does this look like on a day-to-day basis? And, maybe we should add, why does it need to happen?


The word we use for what happens during the Christian life is sanctification. At bare bones, it is the same word as holy or holiness. Both words mean a separation from sin and evil and, in some cases, refer to the immediate act of being justified or declared righteous. Still, it often means a continual or progressive separation from sin.


To understand sanctification better, we must first make a significant distinction about sin's relation to a Christian. When we are saved, we are saved from sin. The atonement for sin Jesus paid on the cross is applied to us. Yet, we still struggle with sin. Some say we shouldn’t struggle with sin; they say we must become perfect and sinless Christians. But the Bible doesn’t teach us that specifically. It teaches us that Christ frees us from the power (eternal death) and guilt (condemnation from the Law) of sin but not from the presence of sin (see Romans 7). That freedom is the one we await in the resurrection when we receive our perfected bodies. But it is also the freedom we fight for while in our mortal bodies.


We do not become progressively free from the power of sin or the guilt of sin. Though death and guilt still plague us throughout this life, they do not have any say before the throne of God. That is the freedom of the cross. Instead, we become progressively free from the presence of sin, which is a battle we fight for with all our might to glorify God in our bodies and display the fruit of salvation.


How To Become Progressively Free From Sin

If you go to your local Christian bookstore, you will find countless books on how to live a more abundant life, reach your potential, and make all your wildest dreams come true. Christian influencers on social media also take this approach to gain a greater following. Usually, they require just a few quick steps to achieve these goals, but few will dive into the depths of the often mundane, laborious work of daily renewal.


Daily renewal is a term from a random Puritan quote I came across. I forgot to save it or remember who said it, but the phrase stuck with me. Daily renewal is what sanctification looks like on a practical level since it describes the actions in a most basic sense of one who is progressively separated from the presence of sin. Each day, Christians turn from sin in repentance, remind themselves of the promises in the gospel, fellowship with God, and intentionally live for His glory. The ordinary means of this grace, such as bible reading, prayer, devotionals, fellowship with other believers, hearing sound and biblical preaching, memorizing Scripture, and catechism recital, can be included in this daily process.


Sometimes we like a 12-step program over the daily grind, but a program cannot achieve the compounded success the day-in, day-out use these ordinary means of grace achieves. That's because a 12-step program doesn't care about your heart. It only cares if you complete the program. The ordinary means of grace, however, care about your heart. You can use it like a to-do checklist, to be sure, but even then, they target your heart.


When you read your Bible, pray, or fellowship with other believers, the essence of who you are (i.e. your heart) is laid bare, challenged, encouraged, reproved, and healed, sometimes only to one degree, other times to a greater extent. And that is all you need for sanctification. So Paul tells the Corinthian church, "And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another…" (2 Cor. 3:18). It is step by step, day by day renewal through the ordinary means of grace that truly produce in us a progressive separation from the presence of sin.





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