Knowing vs. Feeling in Worship – Alistair Begg talks about how we should approach God in worship.
The Distinction Between Justification and Sanctification – J. C. Ryle speaks to the similarities and differences between these two doctrines.
The Results Depend on God – Remember the parable about the sower? Did he use his left hand, right hand, throw high, low, or a curve ball?
How Good is God – He’s very good!
We Cannot Manipulate God, But We Can Trust Him – It frustrates me to no end when I hear people talk about miracles in the Bible and then say something like, “So if you want your miracle, just . . .”
The Kalam Cosmological Argument
This past weekend I attended a local church and ended up in a Sunday School class that was new to me, but had been recommended as one I might find interesting because, I was told, the teacher was extremely knowledgeable and knew his doctrine and theology. To say that I was disappointed is an understatement. I was mortified at the doctrine he was teaching. While I agree that we live under the covenant of grace and not the covenant of law, I had to disagree that all we have to do is “let go and let God” in our Christian walk. While justification is a one time pronouncement upon the truly regenerate heart, sanctification is an on going process whereby we learn to strive for holiness by the help and leading of the Holy Spirit. This particular teacher did not agree with that assessment and basically taught the class that all one needed to do was “ask Jesus into their heart” and they were good to go. Basically, without saying it, he was teaching and encouraging a 3rd class of people, the carnal Christian. Yet, he said that there were only two classes, the lost and the saved. The following quote by Walter Marshall makes it clear that there is a work of sanctification that we are involved with. Read on and let me know what you think.
“What a strange salvation it is, if people who are saved do not care about holiness! In this case, people want to be saved, but they want to stay dead in sin, alien from the life of God, without the image of God, deformed by the image of satan, and in slavery to satan and to their own filthy lusts. They seem to prefer to stay totally unfit to enjoy God in glory. Christ never purchased such a salvation as this by His own blood. Those who think they have received a salvation such as this abuse the grace of God in Christ, and turn it into license for sin. They want to be saved by Christ, but apart from Christ, so to speak. They want to be saved, but they also want to remain in a fleshly state, with a fleshly lifestyle. This is simply not how salvation works! The only people Christ frees from condemnation are those who are ‘in Christ’ who do not walk according to the flesh but according the Spirit’ (Rom. 8:1-4). If this were not the case, people would divide Christ. They would take one part of his salvation, and leave out the rest. However, ‘Christ is not divided’ (1 Corinthians 1:13). You cannot have half a Christ!”
Walter Marshall, The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification (1692)
The original can be found here.
Many times when sanctification in the lives of believers is discussed the emphasis is on doing what we should and on not doing what we shouldn’t in relation to God’s’ law, which is all well and good. Yet, when it comes to sanctification I find an emphasis among the reformers such as John Calvin that is too often hard to find in today’s churches: Repentance.
Moreover, as hatred of sin, which is the beginning of repentance, first gives us access to the knowledge of Christ, who manifests himself to none but miserable and afflicted sinners, groaning, laboring, burdened, hungry, and thirsty, pining away with grief and wretchedness, so if we would stand in Christ, we must aim at repentance, cultivate it during our whole lives, and continue it to the last. Christ came to call sinners, but to call them to repentance. He was sent to bless the unworthy, but by “turning away every one” “from his iniquities.” The Scripture is full of similar passages. Hence, when God offers forgiveness of sins, he in return usually stipulates for repentance, intimating that his mercy should induce men to repent. “Keep ye judgment,” saith he, “and do justice: for my salvation is near to come.” Again, “The Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob.” Again, “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him.” “Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” Here, however, it is to be observed, that repentance is not made a condition in such a sense as to be a foundation for meriting pardon; nay, it rather indicates the end at which they must aim if they would obtain favor, God having resolved to take pity on men for the express purpose of leading them to repent. Therefore, so long as we dwell in the prison of the body, we must constantly struggle with the vices of our corrupt nature, and so with our natural disposition. Plato sometimes says, that the life of the philosopher is to meditate on death. More truly may we say, that the life of a Christian man is constant study and exercise in mortifying the flesh, until it is certainly slain, and the Spirit of God obtains dominion in us. Wherefore, he seems to me to have made most progress who has learned to be most dissatisfied with himself. He does not, however, remain in the miry clay without going forward; but rather hastens and sighs after God, that, ingrafted both into the death and the life of Christ, he may constantly meditate on repentance. (Calvin’s Institutes 3.3.20)
The following is a sermon I listened to this morning on my way to work. If you have ever wondered about sanctification, this sermon should give you much insight into God’s part in our sanctification and our part in it. This sermon was preached by Mike Riccardi of Grace-Life Pulpit on the 19th of May, 2013.
We love the doctrine of justification. Following in the footsteps of Martin Luther and the Reformation, we hail the doctrine of justification as that great doctrine upon which the church stands or falls. It is precious to us. We hold it dear to our hearts, because it captures the very essence of the Gospel of God’s grace to us sinners who know that we can do nothing to earn our acceptance with a holy God. We know that our only hope is to be reckoned righteous on the ground of the perfect, alien righteousness of Christ credited to our account by faith alone, apart from works. We love this doctrine because our goodness and our efforts and our achievements are debased, and Christ is exalted as all in all.
And we also love the doctrine of glorification. We look forward with great joy, eagerness, and anticipation to that day when our struggle with sin will have reached its completion, when we will find the rest and the reward upon which we have steadfastly fixed our hope for all these years. It brings great encouragement and sweetness to our souls to contemplate the day when we will finally see our dear Lord Jesus face to face, when we will finally discover what it means to have unhindered fellowship and communion with the Savior whom we love more than anything or anyone—that day when we will enter in to the fullness of joy and the eternal pleasures that accompany being in His presence (cf. Ps 16:11).
But sometimes the doctrine of sanctification doesn’t fill us with the same sense of wonder and appreciation. That may be because we are quickly reminded of how slowly we are progressing in the process of sanctification. To think of the doctrine of sanctification simply reminds us of what we ought to be but what we’re not.
It also might be because there is a great deal of confusion about the doctrine of sanctification. Christians have long debated what the role of the believer is in progressive sanctification—whether we are to be actively engaged in and pursuing holiness, or whether we are to be passive, waiting faithfully for God to work holiness in us. You have folks, on the one hand, who say things like, “You just do everything you can and leave the rest to God,” as if you’re pretty alright on your own, you just need God to give you a little boost. These are the people with the bumper stickers that say, “God is my co-pilot.” If God is your co-pilot, you are in the wrong seat, my friend. Or sometimes you’ll hear, “Pray like a Calvinist, but work like an Arminian. Pray as if it all depended on God, but work as if it all depended on you.” I think I get what that means, but it’s never a good idea to pretend that something that’s false is true just to achieve a certain result. In fact, I’m not sure I can think of a better recipe for disaster in your pursuit of holiness than to adopt errant theology as the basis for your philosophy of the Christian life.
But on the other hand, you have the quietists who say things like, “Your problem is that you’re trying to live the Christian life. What you really need to do is let Christ live through you. You just need to let go and let God. Stop striving, and just relax.” And so confusion abounds, and in dozens of other ways.
But if there’s one doctrine that we can’t afford to be confused about, it’s the doctrine of sanctification. And that’s because it’s where we all live. All of us who are Christians live in between the time of our past justification and our future glorification, in the present pursuit of the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Listen to the entire sermon by clicking the link below.
The parable of the soils (Matt 13) is direct evidence against the unbiblical doctrine of “libertarian free will” since it is the quality of the soil that determines whether or not it bears fruit. Libertarian free will proponents teach that the choices people make are not determined in any sense by the character or inclinations of the people who make them, which would render this parable meaningless. Fact is, the soil can not choose its nature, therefore it can not choose its fruit. Therefore, the soil must not only be prepared by God (Rom 9:23) the seed will not grow unless the Lord causes it to grow (1 Cor. 3:6).
We all agree that faith is not a work since it points away from self to Christ for salvation, but many make it into a work when they declare that it has its source in a good heart and so turns our eyes back from Christ to a self-generated faith apart from grace alone.
It is “because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Cor 1:30-31)
Total Depravity and the Believers Sanctification – Christian perfectionist teaching on the one hand and carnal Christian teaching on the other hand is a debate that is still waged. Ligon Duncan weighs in.
On Christianity and Politics – If we believe in the sure triumph of Christ, why do we allow ourselves to be drawn in to the very unsure world of political conflict? There is a good reason to be drawn into the world of politics as a Christian.
Seeing the Bride, at Last – All I can say is take a look at this and remember.
7 Ways to Live Positive in a Negative World – If God is sovereign and all we have comes from Him, there is no reason for us to be negative. Take these 7 nuggets to the bank and dwell on them.
God’s Part and Man’s Part in Salvation – Confused in regards to the doctrines of grace? This article should help you understand.
If we go to church just to be with one another, one another is all we will get. And it isn’t enough. Eventually, our deepest unmet needs will explode in anger at one another. Putting community first destroys community. We must put Christ himself first and keep him first and treat him as first and come to him first and again and again. He can heal as no other can. Can, and will. If we come to him. – Ray Ortlund
Sacred Cows and Stars – Part 1 of a series on modern evangelicalism.
Ca$h Cow$ & Fat Cat$ – Part 2 of a series on modern evangelicalism.
Stuffed Shirts and Their Sycophants – Part 3 of series on modern evangelicalism.
Christians Are Sinners Too – Wow, what a novel idea. As much as we like to think we have progressed beyond sin now that we are saved, there is nothing like this article to remind us of what our sinful nature is like.
Bigger Fish to Fry – Jesus’s mission is bigger than next Tuesday’s election. Way bigger.
The Difference Between Our Sanctification and Our Glorification – A short 5 minute video that illustrates these two issues very well.
I know what I want to preach and what I think must be preached and I have a feeling I’ll be able to say it. – Martyn Lloyd-Jones on why he became a preacher.