The kingdom of God, His rule and reign in every part of our lives, doesn’t happen all at once, in the subjective sense. To be sure, He reigns, but what we are speaking of is the life of Christ being “completely and permanently formed (molded) within you” (Galatians 4:19 – AMP). It is Christ in us, after all, who is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).
The Bible is not to be read just to gain knowledge. It is, indeed, to be obeyed and practically applied in our daily lives. As James says, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves" (James 1:22). However, the Bible is far more than a simple rulebook. It is primarily the message of God's saving grace through Jesus Christ, with everything in Scripture pointing to God's redemptive work and everything, including our sanctification, flowing from that work. Applying the Gospel to all of life IS sanctification.
Being one with Christ (1 Corinthians 6:17) means the death to the dominion of sin over us, which is known theologically as definitive sanctification. This definitive break with the dominion of sin occurs in the life of everyone who trusts in Christ as Savior (Romans 6). The question becomes why, then, do we still have to struggle with sin?
The answer is that while it is true that there is a moment of definitive sanctification, there is also progressive sanctification. The kingdom of God within you comes slowly but surely, the blade, the ear, and then the full corn in the ear. It is a progression, you see. And this progress is a process, one where we have a part to play. The farmer doesn’t know how the crop of corn grows but he does plant the seed, water it and cultivate the soil itself. Which type of ground are you?
There is a process, a molding of our character and will into the image of God. “Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity” (Romans 12:2 – JBP).
We start the progress in the process by being willing and intentional (Romans 12:1-2). It involves time and commitment (Mark 4:24ff), and it will happen (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). There is also the process and progress of Corporate molding, molding on the building of the Body (Ephesians 4). We are all in process, and hopefully all making progress.