God’s New Math: Addition Through Subtraction
This morning our Pastor’s sermon was on sanctification and his title was the same as this post. He preached from two texts, which I quote:
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness andworldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessedhope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. – Titus 2:11-14
23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. – 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
The best part of the sermon though was the illustration, which was about the purifying of silver.
Silver is mined from the ground in the form of silver ore. The ore is pulverized into powder and then put into a pot or cauldron where it is heated to over 900 degrees Celsius. As the silver melts, it sinks to the bottom, being heavier than the surrounding ore. Once all of the silver is melted, the slag, or dross, is left on the top where it is scooped off and disposed of. When the process is almost complete, the refiner will stir the molten silver to make sure that there are no pockets of slag remaining under the surface. As these pockets are loosened, they too float to the top, where they can be disposed of.
The refiner knows the process of purification (or in human terms, sanctification) is complete when he looks into the surface of the silver and sees his own image reflected without blemish.
The analogy of God purifying His saints is perfect. As God subtracts the sin from our lives, He replaces it with His holiness. His work in us is complete when He looks into our being, and the reflection He sees is His own, perfect in holiness.