Living a Transformed Life:

What does sanctification look like?

The Westminster Shorter Catechism once said:

Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness. (WSC 35)

When we commit to follow Jesus, we enter into a lifelong process.

And this process, referred to in Scripture as sanctification, is one designed to make us more like Jesus. To be daily transformed into His image. To be continually formed to live and look like Jesus.

Sanctification is a powerful process.

And it’s a process that we can’t separate from our salvation.

Both salvation and sanctification are integral parts of our lives as followers of Jesus.

To say “yes” to following Jesus is simultaneously to say “yes” to the process of becoming more like Him. And the process of becoming more like Jesus will require a “death.”

Jesus’ invitation to His disciples was:

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

To follow Jesus is, at its core, to die.

To die to yourself. To die to your ways. To die to your preferences and opinions and who you were, in order to become like Jesus.

This death of ourselves is what leads to our transformation.

And this is the process of sanctification that Jesus invites us into.

It’s the death of our old life and the resurrection of life in the Kingdom of God.

And it’s this lifelong, daily process of sanctification that leads us to live a transformed life.

3 Truths About Sanctification

It’s a Process

Sanctification is an ongoing process of growth and transformation.

It’s a journey where we are gradually and continually conformed to the image of Christ. It’s a process where we become more like Jesus in speech and conduct and practice, over the course of a lifetime.

The writer of Hebrews stated:

For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

In sanctification, we are being made holy.

And being made holy is a process.

It’s Empowered by the Spirit

Sanctification is not based solely on our own willpower.

We do have a role to play in the process of sanctification. And it’s to daily and continually open ourselves up to the work of the Spirit in our lives.

The process of sanctification is empowered by the Spirit.

It’s the Spirit who works in us to heal and restore and transform us.

Paul wrote it this way:

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
God is the one who works in us and through us to transform us and sanctify us, making us more like Him.

It Renews All Things

Sanctification is the transformation of our entire lives.

To be sanctified means our minds, our bodies, and our souls are being renewed and shaped and molded after the likeness of Jesus.

God desires to transform our hearts, our minds, our speech, and our actions. He doesn’t just want to change our destination in the future. He wants to transform us in the here-and-now.

He wants to purify our hearts and transform our lives so that we become His ambassadors on the earth.

This is the power of sanctification in our lives as followers of Jesus.

And sanctification doesn’t just lead to our transformation. It leads to the transformation and renewal of the world around us.

This is the promise of sanctification for us and to all of creation.

As John wrote in Revelation 21:

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

Surrender to the Process of Sanctification

So, how do we surrender to the process of sanctification?

How do we daily commit to the process of being shaped and formed into the image of Jesus?

A great place to start is through the spiritual disciplines.

Spiritual disciplines are practices that we do for the purpose of opening ourselves to the work of the Spirit in our lives. These practices are ways we place ourselves before Jesus to be shaped and formed into His image.

Here are some core spiritual disciplines we can practice to open ourselves daily to the process of sanctification.


Prayer at its core is communion and communication with God.

It’s the way we engage in conversation with our Father.

Prayer is also a key way we open ourselves to the process of sanctification. Because in prayer, we sit at the feet of Jesus. We listen. We cry. We heal. We meet our fears, and we see His face.

Prayer is a beautiful practice in the lifelong process of sanctification.


When we read God’s Word, we don’t just read for information.

We read God’s Word for transformation.

Hebrews 4 tells us:

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

The Scriptures are alive and active.

Piercing our hearts and healing our souls.

In God’s Word, we see what aligns with His Kingdom and what doesn’t.

It’s the truth of God’s Word that works in us to continue the process of sanctification.


On Christian community, Dietrich Bonhoeffer shared:
Christian community is like the Christian’s sanctification. It is a gift of God which we cannot claim.

When we gather with other followers of Jesus, we open ourselves to the power of sanctification.

We surrender to the process of being shaped and formed into the image of Jesus, alongside others in the same process.

Through the Body of Christ, God provides us with the community and relationships we need to spur us on toward the life He created us to live.

To neglect community is to neglect a valuable part of our formation into the image of Christ.

When we commit to the practice of gathering with other followers of Jesus, we submit ourselves to the deep work God desires to do in us and through us.

Practices such as prayer, scripture reading, and gathering with other followers of Jesus are essential to the process of sanctification in our lives. These practices are how we surrender to the process of being formed into the image of Jesus, empowering us to live a transformed life.

The Life-long Process of Sanctification

It’s important to remember that sanctification is a process.

And it’s a process that continues throughout our entire lives.

There’s not a 10 year timeline where we arrive as sanctified.

The team at Cru writes:

It doesn’t happen all at once. Christians don’t immediately become loving, kind, humble and self-controlled. As a process, sanctification means becoming more holy through time. Like a child growing up into adulthood, Christians become more sanctified over time.

Sanctification is continual. It takes place daily. It’s long and beautiful and founded on the truth that God loves us and desires to make us like Jesus.

As Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians:

For this is the will of God, your sanctification…

Sanctification is God’s will for us.

Through sanctification, we are being made holy and pure and new.

Formed and fashioned into the image of our Savior.

For His glory and the good of the world.


If you’d like to dive deeper into the topic of sanctification, check out our new course The Doctrine of Sanctification.

In this course, Dr. Joel Muddamalle explores the sanctification process of becoming more like Jesus and being conformed to His image. He emphasizes the sanctification journey as a transformative process that aligns our lives with the heart of Jesus, empowered by the Spirit, and unto the glory of the Father.

The Doctrine of Sanctification course releases June 3!

To sign up, click here.

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