A Foreshadow of Progressive Sanctification
I will send my terror before you and will throw into confusion all the people against whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites from before you. I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land. – Exodus 23:27-30
As Israel began to take possession of the land promised to them of God, they were promised that the Lord Himself would drive their enemies from them, and yet, not all at once, but rather, little by little.
Have you ever wondered why God just would not speed up our sanctification, to give us what has been promised to us all at once and just get it over with?
Because we could not handle it. Imagine, all your besetting sins suddenly vanished. Could you handle it while still here on earth? If suddenly your enemies were no more, you were without moral blemish of any kind, and your struggles were vanished from your life, would you still be dependent upon God day to day? Would you still be alert and on guard against all temptations and bad company? Would accurate, biblical doctrine remain important for you? Would you still desire the grace of God to keep you safe until He has completed His work – or would Christian humility, among other things regarding our sanctification, suddenly become undesirable?
I do not think so. Yet little by little, God is keeping His promise, keeping us dependent upon His work of grace in our lives, and will faithfully bring us home in His good time, to His glory and for our salvation as His particular people.