Archive for the ‘Sanctification’ Category

I’m even worse than you think

Posted: November 19, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship, Sanctification

“Satan accuses Christians day and night. It is not just that he will work on our conscience to make us feel as dirty, guilty, defeated, destroyed, weak, and ugly as he possibly can; it is something worse: his entire play in the past is to accuse us before God day and night, bringing charges against us that we know we can never answer before  the majesty of God’s holiness.

What can we say in response? Will our defense be, ‘Oh, I’m not that bad?’ You will never beat Satan that way. Never. What you must say is, ‘Satan, I’m even worse than you think, but God loves me anyway. He has accepted me because of the blood of the Lamb.’


— D. A. Carson
Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus
(Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010), 98-99



I am to believe God and be quiet

Posted: November 18, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship, Sanctification

“If we have sinned, it is wonderful consciously to say, ‘Thank you for a completed work,’ after we have brought that specific sin under the finished work of Christ. The conscious giving of thanks brings assurance and peace. We say, ‘Thank you’ for work completed upon the cross, which is sufficient for a completely restored relationship.

This isn’t on the basis of my emotions, any more than in my justification. The basis is the finished work of Christ in history and the objective promises of God in the written Word. If I believe Him, and if I believe what He has taught me about the sufficiency of the work of Christ for restoration, I can have assurance, no matter how black the blot has been. This is the Christian reality of salvation from one’s conscience.

For myself, through the thirty years or so since I began to struggle with this in my own life, I picture my conscience as a big black dog with enormous paws which leaps upon me, threatening to cover me with mud and devour me. But as this conscience of mine jumps upon me, after a specific sin has been dealt with on basis of Christ’s finished work, then I should turn to my conscience and say, in effect, ‘Down! Be still!’ I am to believe God and be quiet.


— Francis Schaeffer
True Spirituality



1 Corinthians 1, D.A. Carson

Posted: September 17, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Biblical Studies, Christianity, Sanctification

EVANGELICALS REGULARLY DRAW a line between justification and sanctification. Justification is God’s declaration that an individual sinner is just—a declaration grounded not in the fact that he or she is just, but in God’s accepting Christ’s death instead of the sinner’s, in God’s reckoning Christ’s righteousness to the sinner. It marks the beginning of the believer’s pilgrimage. From the believer’s vantage point, to be justified is a once-for-all experience bound up with God’s good purposes in Christ’s once-for-all death.

By contrast, sanctification in the Protestant tradition has normally been understood to refer to the process by which believers progressively become more holy. (Holy and sanctified/sanctification have the same root in Greek.) This is not a once-for-all experience; it reflects a lifelong pilgrimage, a process that will not be finally complete until the onset of the new heaven and the new earth. It is not what God reckons to us; it is what he empowers us to become.

Failure to distinguish between justification and sanctification frequently ends up with a blurring of justification. If justification takes on a shading of personal growth in righteousness, pretty soon the forensic, declarative nature of justification is lost to view, and we start reimporting some kind of works-righteousness through the back door.

Historically, of course, the warning is well merited. One must always be vigilant to preserve Paul’s emphasis on justification. But the SANCTIFICATION word-group has not always been well-served by this analysis. Those who study Paul have long noted that sometimes people are said to be “sanctified” in a POSITIONAL or DEFINITIONAL sense—that is, they are set apart for God (POSITIONAL), and therefore they already are sanctified (DEFINITIONAL). In such passages the process of progressively becoming more holy is not in view.

Most of the places where Paul talks about being “holy” or “sanctified” fall into this POSITIONAL or DEFINITIONAL camp. That is certainly the case in 1 Corinthians 1:2: Paul writes to “the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy.” The Corinthians already are sanctified; they have been set apart for God. Therefore, they have been called to be holy—that is, to live life in line with their calling (which, by and large, they have been failing to do, quite spectacularly, judging by the rest of the book).

Of course, there are many passages that speak of growth and improvement that do not use SANCTIFICATION; for a start, meditate on Philippians 3:12–16. If we choose to use SANCTIFICATION as a term drawn from systematic theology to describe such growth, we do no wrong. But then we should not read this meaning back into Paul’s use where his focus is elsewhere.



from D.A. Carson’s blog

“Reader, would you have more faith? Then seek to become more acquainted with Jesus Christ. Study your blessed Savior more and more, and strive to know more of the length and breadth and height of His love. Study Him in all His offices, as the Priest, the Physician, the Redeemer, the Advocate, the Friend, the Teacher, the Shepherd of His believing people.

Study Him as one who not only died for you—but is also living for you at the right hand of God; as one who not only shed His blood for you—but daily intercedes for you at the right hand of God; as one who is soon coming again for you, and will stand once more on this earth.

The miner who is fully persuaded that the rope which draws him up from the pit will not break, is drawn up without anxiety and alarm. The believer who is thoroughly acquainted with the fullness of Jesus Christ, is the believer who travels from grace to glory with the greatest comfort and peace.”

– J. C. Ryle, Faith in Christ

The True Demerit of Sin

Posted: March 29, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Sanctification

 “Never was sin seen to be more abominably sinful and full of provocation than when the burden of it was upon the shoulders of the Son of God…Would you, then, see the true demerit of sin?—take the measure of it from the mediation of Christ, especially his cross.”

John Owen:(Communion with the Triune God,  203-04)

We have cause to bless Him

Posted: March 26, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship, Sanctification

 “Though the lives of men are dear and precious to God, yet they are not as precious as His glory.  The glory of His name is a thousand, thousand times more dear unto God than the lives of thousands and thousands of people…We think much to have the lives of men taken away, but if we knew what the glory of God meant, and what infinite reason there is that God should be glorified, we would not think it so much that the lives of so many men should go for the glory of God.  It is mercy that our lives have not gone many times for God’s glory.  How often might God have glorified Himself in taking away our lives?  We have cause to bless Him that our lives have been preserved for as long as they have.”

Jeremiah Burroughs: (Gospel Worship, 28)

Stomp, Stomp, Be not at Peace with Your Sin

Posted: March 6, 2013 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Sanctification

 “Let not that man think he makes any progress in holiness who walks not over the bellies of his lusts.  He who doth not kill sin in his way takes no steps towards his journey’s end.  He who finds not opposition from it, and who sets not himself in every particular to its mortification, is at peace with it, not dying to it.”

John Owen:(Mortification of Sin In Believers)