Hebrews 2:10-11 NKJV
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.
Salvation is more than just a ticket to heaven. The Lord Jesus became like us, a human being, suffering everything that we might suffer. He suffered being alone, being rejected by His earthly family (and by His heavenly Father), being hungry, being thirsty, being tired, being poor. And He became the perfect “captain” of our salvation through these sufferings because He can now relate to everything in our lives. He has been there and overcome. And because He has overcome, we can too through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Lord Jesus experienced all that He went through so that we might be saved, sanctified and glorified with Him.
John 17:19 NKJV: And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
Ephesians 5:25b-27 NKJ: Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
What does it mean to be “sanctified?” It means that the Lord Jesus freed us from sin for the purpose of our being set apart for God. Our lives are no longer our own, but belong to Father God. Everything that we do must be for His purposes. We become one with Him and in that oneness, our life purpose changes. We now exist to serve Him, to do His will and His will alone.
Often that means that we will do things that are contrary to what the world thinks is wise or what we believe is logical or common sense. The Lord’s ways are not our ways. For example, we may need to eat something that we don’t like (or something that isn’t healthy) if it means in doing so we are ministering to someone else with whom we are sharing that food. It may mean giving away what we have saved in order to help the poor, hungry, or hurting. It may mean giving up a new job or turning down a promotion so that someone else can be blessed. But in all these things, we can trust that the Lord will take care of us. I know that I am also comforted when I remember that this life is simply a hiccup in eternity; the sufferings I bear here are small and won’t matter at all when I reach heaven.
The apostle Paul wrote:
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 1 Cor. 15:20 NKJ
Our hope is always in the resurrection and in our home in heaven. What we do here should always be done with the mind that we bring glory to the Father. Our reward is already guaranteed.