The other day, I was getting a little desperate with the children and caved – I pulled up an episode of “This Old House” for them to watch (far less annoying than “Bob the Builder”) while I regained my sanity. While going about my work, I could hear what was happening to the 300 year-old home: they fixed the foundation, removed clapboards that were covered in lead paint, sent broken windows to a specialty repair shop, drilled out rotten wood that they found while replacing thresholds, fixed the heating and central air systems, etc., etc. The further they went in renovations, the more they found that needed help.
It struck me what a picture of sanctification this is. Christ has bought us, but boy, do we need to be cleaned up. We’re owned by the Saviour, but not fit for service until He works in us by His Spirit. And it’s a life-long process. Even when we look “livable” – when our lead paint is gone – we still have all sorts of issues. And because sin, as the Westminster Shorter Catechism says, has corrupted our whole nature, we will have the spiritual equivalent of rotten corners and leaking pipes until we are transported to glory and made instantly perfect.
Thankfully, the Lord doesn’t give up working on us while we’re still on earth! The means of grace are our construction crew, chipping away at sin, conforming us to the image of Christ, slowly making us more fruitful to God’s glory. He who has begun a good work in us will bring it to completion. We’re still the same old house; God doesn’t level us and rebuild something else! But instead of being an ugly and dangerous place to live, we become a monument to His grace.