The are three steps to the believer’s salvation experience — becoming a Christian... living the Christian life... and going to heaven. Theologians refer to these three steps as Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification. The first and third steps are instantaneous experiences, but the second step (sanctification) is a life long process whereby the Holy Spirit works in the believer’s life to bring about practical holiness and transform his character into the likeness of Christ.
It is the second step of salvation with which the believer struggles, because it requires putting to death the deeds of the body (saying “no” to one’s sin nature), and obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit (saying “yes” to God) — this is the essence of spiritual warfare. Sadly, most churches in the West today pretty much ignore the issue of Sanc-tification, and just focus on Justification; either out of ignorance about what Scripture teaches, or out of fear that living a holy life is essentially “legalism.” But living a life of obedience to Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with legalism – legalists think they “gain favor with God” through their behavior, but believers obey Christ out of gratitude because they already “have favor with God!” The “key” to sanctified living is gratitude!
The Bible emphatically describes God as being both loving and holy, yet western Christ-ianity primarily focuses on God’s love, and says very little about His holiness. As such, the central message of most churches is one of love and forgiveness, with scarcely a word being said about holiness and death to sin and self. Satan is thrilled with our one dimensional Christianity, because it essentially leaves believers lukewarm, impotent and ineffectual.
This book describes God’s blueprint for spiritual development and the “transformational experiences” every believer goes through in life – they include ups and downs, highs and lows, peaks and valleys, joy and suffering, victory and defeat – these experiences are the “norm” for every believer; none of us get a painless, trouble-free road to glory. Incidentally, the material presented in this book reflects the teachings of the most respected Christian theologians since the reformation – individuals the evangelical community has long recog-nized as being “pillars of the faith.” To our lamentable regret, however, these teachings no longer have a prominent place in the vast majority of churches in the West. It is time for believers in America today to reconsider the fullness of God’s call upon their lives.