For Believers, sanctification is a lifelong process that leads to spiritual maturity. However, because it’s a work of God, they don't comprehend the process. Nevertheless, God sheds light on sanctification through another miracle; a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly.
Sanctification refers to holiness, setting apart, and consecration, while metamorphosis refers to a change in physical appearance from one stage of development to another. Though different, sanctification and metamorphosis are similar:
Through metamorphosis, God transforms plain caterpillars into beautiful butterflies that glorify Him. Through sanctification, God transforms sinful humans into people who glorify Him.
In the beginning of the caterpillar-butterfly metamorphosis, butterflies lay eggs that hatch into baby caterpillars. The tiny caterpillars are voracious eaters and rapidly grow inside their skin. However, their skin doesn't grow with them.
In a process called molting, caterpillars break open their skin and shed it. They molt five times, but, in the fifth and final molt, they don't shed their skin. Instead, it forms a shell around them. For approximately two weeks, plain caterpillars remain in the shell and become brilliant butterflies.
When the transformation is complete, they crack open the shell and struggle for hours to break free. The struggle strengthens their wings so they can fly and pollinate flowers. After butterflies pollinate flowers, the plant produces seeds that perpetuate its species.
As part of God's plan of redemption, He called to Himself sinful humans enclosed in personal "skins of sin." Through prayer, church, and studying the Bible, these new Believers satisfy their voracious appetite for the Word of God. They grow spiritually, and their “skin of sin” begins to crack open.
They struggle to break out and, as they get stronger, they find the strength to resist doing wrong. As their spiritual strength increases, the crack in their “skin of sin” widens until they escape from the sin that surrounds them. When they break free, they use spiritual strength to spread the good news of the gospel to others. Thus, through Believers, God perpetuates His community of Christians.
That is a Believer's life cycle, or metamorphosis. God chose them to fertilize the world with the good news about Him. Through sanctification they do.