2 Corinthians 3:18:
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. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
This is sanctification. This is the life of a Christ follower. As we live in the Spirit facets are cut, scales fall, veils are removed, and we begin to look more and more like Jesus. We produce gospel fruit. We read the word. We pray. We preach the word. We love people. We serve people. We love the church and its mission. We make disciples. We pursue holiness. We despise our sin. We forgive. We repent. “…we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people…” (1Timothy 4:10)
When I think of sanctification all of those things above flood through my head. And all of those things are actions and postures of the heart. The discipline to live this way flows from the Spirit’s work in us. These are the embodiment of the command in chapter 6 of Deuteronomy – loving God with all our heart, soul, and might.
That passage in Deuteronomy is the shema v’ahavta, the daily prayer of the jews, their foremost commandment. Those words were the foundation of their lives. They were the foundation of Jesus’ life and were on his lips from birth.
The synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) all record a scene where a scribe asks Jesus what the most important commandment is, and Jesus responds predictably with the shema, but with his signature gospel flare. Jesus says to love God with all of our heart, soul, MIND, and strength. Obviously, the words of Jesus should never be overlooked – but maybe especially here. This verse is the jew’s John 3:16, and Jesus doesn’t just add this word on to the end as an afterthought, he places it in the middle. For anyone but God himself this is outrageous (but, of course, Jesus is God). And this is the type of thing that put Jesus on the cross.
I want to expand on the implications of the word “mind” in a series of posts throughout the Lenten season. I hope to cover topics such as sanctification, knowledge, wisdom, logic, legalism, obedience, holiness, and love. Part 2 coming soon.