Sanctification is the lifelong process of spiritual transformation that results in spiritual maturity, for a Believer. However, because it’s spiritual, a Believer does not regulate or comprehend the process of sanctification; it’s unseen and accomplished through the Trinity. Nevertheless, I believe that in His sovereignty and grace, and for our edification, God sheds light on sanctification through another miracle; a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly. (Bear with me)
Sanctification means to make holy, to set apart as sacred, or to consecrate, while metamorphosis refers to various changes in shape from one phase of development to the next, in the life of an organism. Through metamorphosis, God takes a plain caterpillar and transforms it into a new creature; a butterfly that glorifies Him. Similarly, through sanctification, He takes a sinful human and transforms that person into a new creature that glorifies Him.
Metamorphosis is the life cycle of a butterfly that begins when a female butterfly lays an egg that hatches into a baby caterpillar. The tiny caterpillar is a voracious eater that causes it to grow inside its skin, but the caterpillar’s skin does not grow with it. Nonetheless, as the caterpillar grows it cracks and sheds its outgrown skin, in a process called molting. The caterpillar molts five times, but in the fifth and final molt does not shed its old skin; instead, the old skin forms a shell around the now dormant caterpillar, called a chrysalis. For approximately two weeks the plain caterpillar remains enclosed in the chrysalis, while being transformed into a butterfly.
When the transformation is complete, the butterfly will crack open the chrysalis and struggle for hours to free itself. The struggle serves to strengthen the butterfly and its wings, so after it’s free, it can fly in order to pollinate flowers, called fertilization. Fertilization is necessary for plants to perpetuate their species because it enables them to produce seeds.
In a manner similar to metamorphosis, and as part of His plan of redemption, God sanctifies a Believer. The process of sanctification begins when He draws to Himself a plain and sinful human enclosed in her personal “chrysalis of sin.” Through various types of Bible study the new Believer satisfies her voracious appetite for the Word of God, and begins to grow spiritually, which causes her “chrysalis of sin” to crack.
Although a Believer struggles to break out of the bonds of sin, with each successful encounter he finds more strength to stand up against sin. As the Believer’s spiritual strength increases, the crack in his “chrysalis of sin” widens until he escapes from the sin that surrounds him. When the Believer is free, he uses his new spiritual strength to fertilize those God brings into his life, with the good news of the gospel. In this manner God chooses to spread the gospel and perpetuate His Believing community.
This follows the pattern Jesus laid out in Gethsemane, in His prayer to the Father shortly before His crucifixion. In the prayer He says He will make the Fathers name known to those the Father gave Him. Jesus will accomplish this through the great commission, in which Jesus commands Believers to fertilize those God chooses to send into their lives.
That, fellow Believer, is our life cycle, or metamorphosis. He chose us to fertilize the world with the good news about Him. If you are a Believer, have you cracked and freed yourself from your chrysalis?
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