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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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GOD’S WILL BE DONE

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)

Most Christians are familiar with the Lord’s Prayer. If you attended Sunday School as a child, you are probably able to recite it. I have prayed this prayer many times over the years and have often meditated on these verses and what they mean. I sometimes wonder when we say the words of this prayer if, in the secret places of our hearts, we are really thinking: “MY kingdom come, MY will be done…” Submission to the will of another is very difficult for most of us; even submission to the will of God.

Continue reading

A LIFESTYLE OF FORGIVENESS

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 ESV)

unforgivenessUnforgiveness can affect every facet of your personal life. It impacts the mind and spirit, and creates tension and anxiety. Most importantly, unforgiveness is the disobedience of God’s Word. (Matthew 6:15 ESV)

Unforgiveness may lock the mind in an ongoing stressful state. (“The Negative Effects of Unforgiveness on Mental Health”, Theravive April 28, 2014) Researchers report that people who tend to be unforgiving reported higher rates of heart disease, elevated blood pressure, stomach ulcers, arthritis, back problems, headaches, and chronic pain than those who reported they do not have this characteristic. (Feldman and Kravetz, “Grudge Match: Can Unforgiveness Be Bad For Our Health?Psychology Today 2013)

Unforgiveness is not a desirable characteristic for either the physical or spiritually healthy life. Jesus said:

Continue reading

WHO IS A CHRISTIAN?

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:4-9 ESV)

salvation jesusA Christian is someone who has been born again in Christ to eternal life and salvation. His sins have been pardoned and he is in a state of grace. He now desires to obey God in order to please Him and glorify Him. He has the Holy Spirit to strengthen his desire and ability to live out his obligation to Jesus Christ. The Christian seeks to live life sincerely before God and to walk worthy of Christ.

Authenticity is the path of Christian sanctification. A Christian is not perfect. A Christian’s good works are the result of God’s saving grace. Good works do not save anyone; they are the consequence of having been saved. Even faith is the gift of God. Christians still err, but they are grieved when they do. The Christian’s grief leads to repentance. Sincere repentance leads to God’s forgiveness. God is faithful and just to forgive sins and to cleanse the Christian from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 ESV) Continue reading

SANCTIFICATION AND THE WORD OF GOD

Bishop J. C. Ryle:

Bishop J. C. Ryle“The instrument by which the Spirit effects (sanctification) is generally the Word of God.” (Holiness, 16)

CHARLES SPURGEON ON SANCTIFICATION

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

Sanctification, in its operation upon our character, consists of three things. First, we die to sin. A wondrous death! By this Jesus strikes at the heart of evil. The death of Christ makes us die to sin. After this comes burial. We are buried with Christ and of this burial, Baptism is the type and token. Covered up to be forgotten, we are to sin as a dead shepherd to his flock.

As the sheep pass over the dead shepherd’s grave, or even feed thereon, yet he regards them not—so our old sins and habits come about us, but we, as dead men, know them no more. We are buried to them!

To complete our actual sanctification we receive heavenly quickening. “If we are dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.” Yes, we do live in Him and by Him, for, “He that believes in Him has everlasting life.” I trust you know what this means. Have you been thus dead, thus buried with Christ? Are you now thus quickened in the likeness of His Resurrection? This is your joyful privilege if you are, indeed, Believers in Christ and joined unto the Lord in one spirit. (1891, Sermon #2197)

TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK!

pilgrims-progress“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15 ESV)

Living the Christian life is not always easy. There are times when you feel like you take two steps forward and then fall one or two steps back. “Simul iustus et peccator” is the phrase Martin Luther used to explain the relationship of the Christian and sin. It means “at the same time just and sinner.”

A regenerate Christian may still sin. Regeneration causes real change in a person, however, it does not cause immediate perfection. The Christian, with the help of the Holy Spirit, will pursue sanctification for his lifetime. Holy living should become more evident, but praise Jesus Christ for His imputed righteousness because we are made just (now) by it.

We live in an unholy world. A Christian will face opposition from immorality, wickedness, and corruption. In spite of this, a Christian must be faithful, virtuous, and knowledgeable of the Scriptures, self-disciplined, steadfast, and godly with love. We must seek to grow in grace in order to be effective and fruitful servants of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8 ESV) Continue reading

SANCTIFICATION AND THE MIND

Samuel A Cain“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8 ESV)

Why do our minds need to be sanctified? Sanctification is needed because original sin and our own continual personal sins have darken our minds to man’s true purpose. Instead of glorifying God, we have chosen to ignore Him. The mind of man has been injured by original sin. Thus, man is comfortably ignorant of the truth and knowledge of God. Man’s mind is darkened by the corruption of original sin. This darkness of mind particularly impedes the hearing of the Word of God. The cause is found in Romans 1:18-21: Continue reading

SANCTIFICATION

SanctificationStrive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14 ESV)

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: (1 Thessalonians 4:3 ESV)

Two words that are not used often in our modern culture are the words “sanctify” and “sanctification”. These words leave a bad taste in the mouths of many. They invoke images of people who act “holier than thou”. The world is quick to label Christians as “hypocrites”.

However, the subject of sanctification should be important to every Christian. For the Christian, sanctification begins with regeneration. Once we have been born again, there will be a definite moral change. We no longer desire to yield to the slavery of sin and we are no longer under the dominion of sin. We are sanctified in Christ, but “progressive sanctification” will continue throughout our lives. We must now yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit to become more like Christ.

Continuing growth in sanctification, however, is no guarantee of moral perfection in this lifetime. Paul writes to the Romans: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.” (Romans 6:12-13 ESV) Continue reading

SANCTIFICATION IS A PROGRESSIVE WORK

John OwenJohn Owen:

“The growth of trees and plants takes place so slowly that it is not easily seen. Daily we notice little change. But, in course of time, we see that a great change has taken place. So it is with grace. Sanctification is a progressive, lifelong work (Prov. 4:18). It is an amazing work of God’s grace and it is a work to be prayed for (Rom. 8:27).”(The Holy Spirit, 108-109)

Loving the World

do not love the worldDo not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17 ESV)

Do not claim to walk in fellowship with Jesus Christ if your love is for the world and the things in it. The “world” as it is referred to in the verses above, is not the God-created physical world. What we are discussing here is the satanic evil system which operates through people who hate God. It promotes rebellion against God, ungodly thoughts, wrong motives, and perverted values. We must not love the “world” in this sense. “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2) Continue reading

Whom God Saves

Arthur PinkArthur W. Pink:

Whom God legally saves, He experimentally saves; whom He justifies, them He also sanctifies. Where the righteousness of Christ is imputed to an individual, a principle of holiness is imparted to him; the former can only be ascertained by the latter. It is impossible to obtain a Scriptural knowledge that the merits of Christ’s finished work are reckoned to my account, except by proving that the efficacy of the Holy Spirit’s work is evident in my soul.

Pursuing Holiness

As you read these excellent comments by Andrew Murray today, I would like to add that one of the best tests of holiness is to find if it produces an increasing humility in you. Humility is needed to allow God’s holiness to dwell in you. Counterfeit holiness is identified by its lack of humility. Andrew Murray writes:

“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation: because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15,16)

And what work do we have to do to receive this holiness of Christ through the Holy Spirit? “God bath chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth”. The holiness of Christ becomes ours through faith. Naturally, there must first be the desire to become holy. We must cleanse ourselves from all pollutions of flesh and spirit by confessing them–giving them up to God–and having them cleansed away in the blood. Then, holiness can be perfected. Then, in belief of the truth that Christ Himself is our sanctification, we have to take and receive from Him what is prepared in His fullness for us. We must be deeply convinced that Christ is wholly and alone our sanctification as He is our justification. We must believe that He will actually and powerfully work in us what is pleasing to God. In this faith, we must know that we have sufficient power for holiness, and that our work is to receive this power from Him by faith every day. He gives His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, in us to communicate the holy life of Jesus to us.

Young Christian, the Trinity is three times holy. And this Trinity is the God who sanctifies you. The Father sanctifies by giving Jesus to you and confirming you in Jesus. The Son sanctifies by becoming your sanctification and giving you the Spirit. The Spirit sanctifies by revealing the Son in you, preparing you as a temple for the indwelling of God, and making the Son live in you. Be holy, for God is holy.

Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, what thanks will I render to You for the gift of Your Son as my sanctification, and that I am sanctified in Him. And what thanks for the Spirit of sanctification to live in me, and transplant the holiness of Jesus into me. Lord, help me to understand this correctly, and to long for the experience of it. Amen. (“Holiness”)

Sanctification

When God saves a sinner, He justifies and sanctifies him. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to him and the principle of holiness is imparted to him. Andrew Murray writes:

“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation: because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15,16)

“But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us sanctification.” (1 Corinthians 1:30)

“God hath from the beginning chosen you unto salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

[W]hat is this holiness that I must have? Christ is your sanctification. The life of Christ in you is your holiness. In Christ you are sanctified – you are holy. In Christ you must continually be sanctified. The glory of Christ must penetrate your whole life.

Holiness is more than purity. In Scripture we see that cleansing precedes holiness. Cleansing is the taking away of that which is wrong – liberation from sin. Holiness is the filling with that which is good and divine – the disposition of Jesus. Holiness is conformity to Him. It is separation from the spirit of the world and being filled with the presence of the Holy God. The tabernacle was holy because God lived there. We are holy, as God’s temple, after we have God living within us. Christ’s life in us is our holiness.

And how do we become holy? By the sanctification of the Spirit. The Spirit of God is named the Holy Spirit because He makes us holy. He reveals and glorifies Christ in us. Through Him, Christ dwells in us, and His holy power works in us. Through this Holy Spirit, the workings of the flesh are mortified, and God works in us both the will and the accomplishment. (“Holiness”)

Regeneration And Sanctification

Loraine Boettner

Quoting Loraine Boettner:

[M]any people confuse regeneration and sanctification. Regeneration is exclusively God’s work, and it is an act of His free grace in which He implants a new principle of spiritual life in the soul. It is performed by supernatural power and is complete in an instant. On the other hand, sanctification is a process through which the remains of sin in the outward life are gradually removed . . . It is a joint work of God and man. (Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, 172)

Loraine Boettner On Regeneration And Sanctification

From the pen of Loraine Boettner:

“[M]any people confuse regeneration and sanctification. Regeneration is exclusively God’s work, and it is an act of His free grace in which He implants a new principle of spiritual life in the soul. It is performed by supernatural power and is complete in an instant. On the other hand, sanctification is a process through which the remains of sin in the outward life are gradually removed . . . It is a joint work of God and man” (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, 172)

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