My favorite chocolate candies are M & M’s named after Mr. Mars and Murray the businessmen and chocolatiers. Coincidentally my favorite weekly medical conference at work is M & M conference. Different medical specialties gather to present complex patient cases and discuss medical options, considering both the Morbidity & Mortality of their patients. The goal is to find the best possible treatment. I love to see the medical team come together for the good of the patient. It’s a powerful ministry that has saved thousands of lives.
Mortality is fairly easy to define but morbidity is a bit harder, as it focuses on quality of life. (The expectations of an eighty-year-old are very different from the expectations of an eighteen-year-old.) When it comes to morbidity, unlike M & M candies, less is better.
Today after attending M & M conference it struck me that while earthly physicians focus on improving mortality and morbidity, the Great Physician focuses on salvation and sanctification. As Christians we’re familiar with salvation, understanding when we openly profess that Jesus is Lord, believing in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved (Romans 10:9). Salvation brings us immortality, as we are born into God’s family. Just as our parents wrote our name on our birth certificate, our heavenly Father writes our name in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:15).
So while salvation is easy to define, sanctification can be a bit more difficult. There are many descriptions of sanctification; all involve spiritual maturity. In order to grow in maturity, we are told in 1 Peter 2:2: “Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation.”
I like the way Peter speaks of “the full experience of salvation.” This is what sanctification is all about! Fully living. Living abundantly and living our best lives. In high school my youth group was called New Creations. Its name was based on 2 Corinthians 5:17 where St. Paul speaks about sanctification, telling us that those who know Christ are made new. The old things are erased. As we grow older the results of aging can’t be physically erased, but spiritually we can be made new. Paul encourages sanctification, explaining that every day is an opportunity for a fresh start!
To me, sanctification is the process of putting one foot in front of the other and–with the help of the Holy Spirit–walking toward Christ daily reading His Word, praying and learning how to love others through His example. As our physical vitality diminishes, each decade brings increasing morbidity. But quite the opposite is true on our spiritual journey. With each step we take towards God, becoming more like His Son and maturing in our faith, the quality of our life increases. Even the mortality of our bodies marks a new, better beginning in heaven!