When I am most tired to fight my most difficult sinful desires, I often ask God to drop an atomic bomb on them. The heat and force of the explosion would evaporate everything; and as the knockout blow, the radiation from the bomb would seep into the soil and prevent anything from ever growing there again.

I’ve asked that prayer a lot, excited about all its implications; unfortunately, they never seemed to work. Those desires always came back. It’s a humiliating defeat when out of nowhere I am overcome by new weeds which have sprouted up out of the ground, right where the bomb detonated!

Sanctification, the process of becoming like Jesus, by way of atomic bomb ever happens, guys. (I’m still trying to accept that.) The moment you said yes to becoming a disciple of Jesus, you were saved, forgiven of all your debts and transgressions against God; and you were made righteous in His eyes, because in you He sees Jesus. But salvation and sanctification are not the same thing: the former does in a moment; the latter–the process of becoming like Jesus–takes place the rest of your life.

To better understand what sanctification actually is, Sorge uses a substitutionary metaphor inspired by Psalm 84: “The LORD God is a sun”. Our Sun is the most important member of the Solar System, obviously. It’s big and powerful, and it provides us light. The Sun is good, and it’s also dangerous. If we ourselves got too close, say in a rocket ship, the solar radiation would spontaneously combust us; and on earth, if we are outside in its light too long, we will get a sunburn. The Sun, therefore, is like God: He is good, and sometimes His goodness–or to use a better word, His holiness–is dangerous, because He’s so good!

Furthermore Sorge explains what was so wrong with the First Covenant made with the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai. “[The Covenant] required the people to keep their distance because of God’s holiness. If they crossed the line, they would die.” There’s a reason why Psalms and Proverbs say “God is my strength” and “God is my light” and “God gives life”, and why Jesus says “I am the vine; you are branches.” Since God could not be in Israel’s presence without destroying them on account of their individual and communal sins as a result of Adam and Eve’s paramount decision, He could not heal their pain; to use Sorge’s words, God’s radiation could not kill the cancerous sin without killing also the patients.

But God! But God took on the form of a human being and offered Himself as the sacrifice to atone for you and me and the whole world. And to us who believe in the Name that is above every name, we are now a walking Temple, filled with the Holy Spirit. In other words, by Jesus’ blood we are now in the holy presence of the Most High, that He may sanctify us.

Indeed, we know that one sitting in the sun will never give us the tan we want; and though we hate to admit, we know saying no to masturbating or induced vomitting once will not disentangle the deeper problems. The heart of this “radiation therapy” is extended periods. “When you’re in His presence for extended periods...You start to think differently, and you don’t even know why God is changing you on the inside in ways you can’t cognitively analyze.”

To further your assistance on this matter, I recommend to watch this video about God’s holiness.


Sam Darby, connect