It needs to be said that true restoration of relationships involves more than choices to forgive and be forgiven and a great deal more than fleshly striving to be kind and loving.
Holiness is not achieved merely by working to order our behavior according to the laws of God. Holiness is a matter of giving ourselves so completely to the Lordship of Jesus Christ that by the power of His Holy Spirit living in us we are transformed into His likeness. His purposes, motivations, and responses become ours. Our behavior is then the outward manifestation of what He has been allowed to accomplish in our innermost being.
Many in the church have not understood that a deep transformation of the inner man needs to happen for everyone in the process of sanctification. The Apostle Paul put it this way, “I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted: but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:4, 5.
Hidden things in the heart (hardened heart, bitterness) often block us in our Christian walk and keep us from becoming one with each other and with God. When born-again Spirit-filled Christians cannot walk in Christ, often what is involved is one must minister through counseling to the evangelization of unbelieving hearts of believers. Hebrews 3:12.
Many Christians resist the very idea of sanctification as a process. Rather, they see it in terms of a single happening, an experience. They celebrate the fact that their sins are forgiven and they are new creatures in Christ, which indeed they are (2 Cor. 5:17) However, many fail to see that the new creation has yet to put off the practices of the old man (habitual ways of seeing, thinking, feeling, and acting) and to put on the new self who is “being renewed” (Col.3:3-15).
Many do not seem to understand that they must be renewed in the spirit of their minds (Eph. 4:23) so that they may learn, for example, how to “be angry” but “sin not,” Eph. 4:26.
Our renewed mind must be trained to take authority over the emotions of our heart so that choices to act are not directed by emotions but by the mind of Christ in us. We are crucified with Him (Gal.5:24 and 2:20) but Paul also says that we “die daily” (1 Cor. 15:31) as we reckon ourselves dead to sin and present ourselves as alive to Christ as instruments of righteousness (Rom. 6:11-14).
“By one offering He has perfected for all times those who are (being) sanctified” Heb. 10:14; this passage speaks of a process. In Hebrews 12:14 Christians are told to “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man will see the Lord.”
We are commanded to: “see to it that no one come short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” (Heb. 12:15) we are to do as Paul did, “…I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12). We are to “grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2) and “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12).
Christians who do not understand that our positional perfection in Jesus must become experiential in this life have counted their born-again experience as the end accomplishment rather than the beginning of a new life empowered by the risen Lord, supported, and nurtured by life in the family of God. (The Church).