When you were first connected to Jesus Christ and received the amazing outpouring of his gifts to you, the gifts of love, forgiveness, hope, and promise of immortality, it was the best thing that ever happened to you. But that isn’t the end. You are not merely existing here on earth. This planet is not a huge station where you are just killing time waiting for the train to take you to heaven.
You were saved for a purpose now, not just for your later passage into heaven. The day you became a believer the Holy Spirit took up residence in your brain and heart and the personal transformation began. The Spirit has a double agenda: 1) to change your thoughts, words, and behaviors to be more like Christ, and 2) to make you useful to God’s agenda to help and convert other people. This process is called sanctification, saint-making. St. Paul knew that he had been converted, not just for himself but so that he could in turn become a blessing to many others: God “gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:16).
The sanctification process (i.e., transforming you to act like a saint instead of a sinner) is gradual and incomplete. Not until heaven will you be 100 percent free from sin. But in the meantime, you can enjoy the Spirit’s power, renewing you constantly and giving you the dignity of usefulness.