"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is true worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:1-2
Holiness happens through sanctification. After you consecrate yourself unto God, repent of your sin, and renounce your sinfulness, God cleanses away your sin nature by the blood of Jesus. Once you have been made clean you can receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit. When that happens, as Romans 12:1-2 tells you, a fundamental transformation takes place.
God is in the transformation business. You and I may settle for reformation but He doesn't. Perhaps that is because reformation is the best we can do - sometimes, for brief periods. But He transforms because He can and because we need it and because we can't.
Consider some of the transformational work He does in you:
SANCTIFICATION CHANGES YOUR HEART
"this is true worship" At the heart of your sin problem is your heart - corrupted and degenerate. It is "deceitful above all things and desparately wicked, who can know it?" The heart of the deceit is the desire to be God and that desire makes it tough to worship the true One. That is a problem. A big problem that needs to be changed. Not reformation change but transformation change. Sanctification does that fundamental transformation of your nature.
SANCTIFICATION CHANGES YOUR HEAD
"tranformed by the renewing of your mind" It is hard to do right when you are thinking wrong. It is hard to honor God when your thoughts are ungodly. Trying to reform what you think about only causes you to think about it more. What you need is a renewed mind, a mind transformed by the power of God - a sanctified mind.
SANCTIFICATION CHANGES YOUR HABITS
"do not conform to the pattern of this world" When your heart is transformed and how you think is transformed it positively affects your habits. Behavior is the product of desires and decisions so when both of those are fundamentally changed by the power of God's Spirit, old habits are replaced by new disciplines. Those unproductive and counterproductive behaviors no longer control you. You are sanctified.
SANCTIFICATION CHANGES YOUR HOPES
In your own strength with a sinful heart, corrupted mind, and harmful habits what is there to hope for? Reformation? Maybe. But that is more hoping than hope. However, if you were to allow God to sanctify you wholly, heart, head and habits then you would have true hope for the future! And your future can be filled with hope not hoping!
Holiness is wholeness! It transforms you spiritually, mentally, emotionally and behaviorally! As St. Paul declares, "the old is passed away and all things became new".
So, how about you? Will you settle for trying to make yourself into a more tolerable sinner or will you consecrate yourself to God for His sanctification? In view of God's mercies, it is your reasonable service!