First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” What an overwhelming command! But that is exactly what the Lord is committed to do in our lives—make us holy. His grand plan can be summed up in one word: sanctification. This is the three-stage process by which He sets us apart for His purposes.
Stage one occurs at the moment of our salvation. When God declares us righteous, we are positionally holy. The second stage is a progression of growth as we become more and more in practice what we already are in position. This process will continue for as long as we are alive on this earth.
The Father has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29), and He is continually working to shape our character, conduct, and conversation. Although God is the one who accomplishes the transformation, we have some responsibility in the process. If we don’t cooperate with Him, the world will squeeze us into its mold, and we will miss the great plans He has for us.