Posts Tagged ‘Sanctification’

Holiness is good for you, but it’s not for me?

Just read this excellent insight on holiness and the doctrine of sanctification from Josh Harris in his book Dug Down Deep;

‘I used to think that sanctification was a matter of personal style. Like some sort of spiritual hobby that certain Christians were really into. Some Christians are into holiness, while others might make evangelism or Scripture memory or potlucks their thing.

But that’s not how the Bible talks about sanctification. God’s Word teaches that sanctification isn’t optional for believers. Hebrews 12:14 says, “Strive for… holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” That verse always sobers me. It says that if there isn’t some degree of holiness in our lives, there’s a real question of whether we’ve truly experienced God’s saving work. If we don’t love what Jesus loves, if we don’t want to be like him, then maybe we’ve never really met him.

This isn’t to say that our good works earn salvation – we are saved only by grace (Ephesians 2:8). But the way we live proves the reality of our salvation. If a person has truly been saved, truly been justified by grace, it shows in a new lifestyle. Every genuine Christian is being sanctified. The process might be slow, it might move ahead in fits and starts, but if we’ve been justified, we will also begin to be sanctified.’

Destined for Glory

The Discipline of Grace. What a book! I’ve just finished it, and recommend it to all my blog readers out there (all 3 or 4 of you!). It has challenged me to my core on looking at my pursuit of holiness. What are our motivations for holiness? How do we stay motivated? What happens when I sin? Where does God’s grace come into it all? Is discipline just another word for legalism? (No it isn’t by the way). All these, and many more important questions, are answered thoroughly, biblically and practically by Bridges, as he shows us God’s sovereign plan to conform the believer into the likeness of His Son, the living Lord Jesus Christ.

Here’s an extract that has warmed my heart and given me great confidence as I neared the end of the book. The chapter is a great exposition of Hebrews 12:4-11;

‘It is not clear whether the author of Hebrews was writing of the peace that comes with maturity in this life, as Bruce interpreted him, or the rest that comes ultimately to the believer in eternity, as Hughes understood him. The truth is, both are taught in Scripture. Concerning this life, Paul wrote that our sufferings produce perseverance, which in turn produces character (Romans 5:3-4), and James said that the testing of your faith develops perseverance, which leads to maturity (James 1:2-5).

Our ultimate hope, though, is not in maturity of character in this life, as valuable as that is, but in the perfection of character in eternity. The apostle John wrote, “When he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). The often-painful process of being transformed into His likeness will be over. We shall be completely conformed to the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Looking forward to that time, Paul wrote, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). As I think on what Paul said, I visualize in my mind a pair of old-fashioned balance scales. Paul first puts all our sufferings, all our heartaches and disappointments, all our adversities of whatever kind from whatever source onto one side of the balance scales. Of course, the scales bottom out on that side. But then he puts on the other side the glory that will be revealed in us. As we watch, the scales do not balance or even come into some degree of unbalanced equilibrium as we might expect. Instead they now completely bottom out on the side of the glory that will be revealed in us. Paul said our sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory we will experience in eternity.

In his second letter to the Corinthians Paul wrote,

‘Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.’ (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Here again we see the bottoming out of the scales on the side of our eternal glory that far outweighs our sufferings of this life.

This is not to say that that our present hardships are not painful. We have already seen from Hebrews 12:11 that they are indeed painful, and we all know this to some degree from experience. Nothing I say in this chapter is intended to minimize the pain and perplexity of adversity. But we need to learn to look by faith beyond the present pain to the eternal glory that will be revealed in us. Remember, the God who disciplines us will also glorify us.

So the discipline of adversity is given to us by God as a means of our sanctification. Our role in this discipline is to respond to it, and to acquiesce to whatever God may be doing, even though a particular instance of adversity makes no sense to us. As we do this we will see in due time the fruit of the Spirit produced in our lives.

Buy the Discipline of Grace at 10ofthose.com or amazon.co.uk