Posts Tagged ‘Sanctification’

THE TRANSFORMING POWER OF THE GOSPEL

       “The gospel not only furnishes transforming power to remold the human heart; it provides also a model after which the new life is to be fashioned, and that model is Christ Himself…. The beginnings of that transformation, which is to change the believing man’s nature from the image of sin to the image of God, are found in conversion when the man is made a partaker of the divine nature. By regeneration and sanctification, by faith and prayer, by suffering and discipline, by the Word and the Spirit, the work goes on till the dream of God has been realized in the Christian heart. Everything that God does in His ransomed children has as its long-range purpose the final restoration of the divine image in human nature. Everything looks forward to the consummation of creation.

 From The Root of the Righteous, by A. W. Tozer

THE NEW BIRTH

“So the new birth, as Jesus describes it, is the impartation of a new life – the dynamic, ultimately irrepressible seed of spiritual life – and this continually draws the believer to Christ, in pursuit of holiness, and ever on to fulfill Christ’s commission on the earth. This dynamic new life will finally bring the believer home to Christ in eternity.” Leo Loizides, quoted in Raised with Christ by Adrian Warnock

IF A HOLY GOD IS DEALING WITH OUR SIN WE SHALL BE HOLY

Thanks to Against Heresies for this post.

I have the privilege this evening of speaking at Aberystwyth University Christian Union. They have asked me to speak on “Knowing God: Holy One.”

In my preparation I came across this helpful comment by R. A. Finlayson:

The great implication of holiness in the personal life is sin-consciousness, and where there is little sin-consciousness there is little conception of the holiness of God. The holiness of God becomes significant to us only when it reveals our own sinfulness in relation to God.

Sin is a wilful act of trespass on a holy God, and penitence results in self-loathing before God and a desire, not to escape from the holiness of God, but to accept it, to open up the life to its scrutiny, and receive its just judgment. Thus comes the repentance that leads, not to despair and death, but to hope and life.

If God is holy, there is still hope that the sinner may be holy; if a holy God is dealing with our sin we shall be holy.

Putting Sin to Death

Paul’s exposition [Colossians] provides us with practical guidance for mortifying sin… .

1. Learn to admit sin for what it really is. Call a spade a spade-call it “fornication” (v.5), not “I’m being tempted a little”; call it “uncleanness” (v. 5), not “I’m struggling with my thought life”; call it “covetousness, which is idolatry” (v. 5), not “I think I need to order my priorities a bit better.” …

2. See sin for what it really is in God’s presence. “Because of these the wrath of God is coming” (3:6)… See the true nature of sin in light of its punishment… Take a heaven’s-eye view of sin and feel the shame of that in which you once walked (3:7; cf. 6:21).

3. Recognize the inconsistency of your sin. You have put off the “old man,” and have put on the “new man” (3:9-10)… New people live new lives. Anything less is a contradiction of who we are “in Christ.”

4. Put sin to death (v. 5). It is as “simple” as that. You cannot “mortify” sin without the pain of the kill. There is no other way!

But notice that Paul sets this in a very important broader context. The negative task of putting sin to death will not be accomplished in isolation from the positive call of the gospel to “put on” the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 13:14).

Paul spells this out in Colossians 3:12-17. Sweeping the house clean simply leaves us open to further invasion of sin. But when we understand the “glorious exchange” principle of the gospel of grace, then we begin to make some real advances in holiness. Sinful desires and habits not only must be rejected but exchanged for Christ-like graces (3:12) and actions (3:13). As we are clothed in Christ’s character and His graces are held together by love (v. 14), not only in our private lives but also in the church fellowship (vv. 12-16), Christ’s name and glory will be manifested and exalted among us (3:17).
– Sinclair Ferguson, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life

God’s Fatherly Pity

“Though he knows your trials will work for your good, yet he pities you. Though he knows that there is sin in you, which, perhaps, may require this rough discipline ere you be sanctified, yet he pities you. Though he can hear the music of heaven, the songs of glee that will ultimately come of your present sighs and griefs, yet still he pities those groans and wails of yours; for ‘He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.’ In all our distresses and present griefs he takes his share; he pities us as a father pities his children.”

– Charles Spurgeon, “God’s Fatherly Pity”

Set Apart for Holiness

Now, dear reader, the children of God are sanctified people, sanctified to offer spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ, and we have no right to do anything but serve God. “What,” you say, “am I not to attend to my business?” Yes, and you are to serve God in your business. “Am I not to look after my family?” Assuredly, you are, and you are to serve God in looking after your family, but still you are to be set apart.

You are not to wear the white robe nor the breastplate (see Exodus 28:4), but still you are to think of yourself as being as much a priest as if the breastplate were on your breast, and the white robe about your loins; for you are “priests unto God and his Father” (Rev. 1:6). He has made you a peculiar generation and a royal priesthood (see 1 Peter 2:9), and He has set you apart for Himself (Ps. 4:3).
– Charles Spurgeon, The Key to Holiness

Standing On A High Rock Next to the Devil

from Douglas Wilson:

Struggling with temptations of the flesh can certainly keep us busy. When we finally feel like we are getting mastery over them, and we are starting to feel that secure feeling of superiority over others, we think it is because we have been making real progress in our sanctification. But in reality, we are moving from a set of temptations that would drag us down into our more animal nature, and have progressed to those temptations that would drag us up to the pinnacle of rock where the devil wants to tempt us to become like him.

Pride is the most insidious of sins. So long as you have self consciousness, the raw material is there. And by “there,” I mean right there. This means that you might be attending church that meets all your specifications—where there are no immodest dresses, no open containers of alcohol, no off-color stories after the service, or anything else you think important. And I am not saying that it isn’t, but that is not my point here. There might be nothing outside of you that is morally objectionable, at least as far as your eye can see.

And yet, in that perfect environment, you have all you need for sin. And not just sin—you have all you need for the really big ones. This is because you are comparing yourself to your brother or sister, because your Bible is more underlined, or because you made it to psalm sing and they didn’t, or because you know the tenor part to the psalm and he doesn’t, or . . . take your pick. This is why the Bible is so insistent that as we worship we must come together with these others—considering them all better than ourselves.