Posts Tagged ‘Sanctification’

Here’s some more good stuff from Walter Marshall on the powerlessness of the unregenerate, gospel-less man:

We are alll by nature, void of strength and ability to perform acceptably that holiness and righteousness which the law requireth, and are dead in trespasses and sins, and children of wrath, by the sin of our first father, Adam… This doctrine of original sin, which Protestants generally profess, is a firm basis and ground-work to the assertion now to be proved, and to many other assertions in this whole discourse. If we believe it to be true, we cannot rationally encourage ourselves to attempt an holy practice, until we are acquanted with some powerful and effectual means to enable us to do it. While man continued upright, in the image of God, as he was first created, he could do the will of God sincerely, as soon as he knew it; but, when he was fallen, he was quickly afraid, because of his nakedness; but could not help it at all, until God discovered to him the means of restoration (Gen 3:10,15). Say to a strong healthy servant, Go, and he goeth; Come, and he cometh; Do this, and he doth it: but a bed-ridden servant must know first how he may be enabled.”

It is the Gospel that frees us, that regenerates, justifies, sanctifies and glorifies us. Apart from the gospel there is no power to perform the acts of holiness which God requires us to fulfill. “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” – Galatians 2:21

One of the gravest mistakes of the church today and throughout the ages is the command to fulfill the command of God without giving the means to do so. Even as God gave the law through Moses to his people he gave them the means through the Gospel. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Exodus 20:2. Here we see both the Gospel, and the helplessness of their state. God rescues them from slavery, and then proceeds to call them to holiness. Oh, how often do we forget the means to to the end.

Marshall says once again in his book The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification:

Men show themselves strangely forgetful, or hypocritical, in professing original sin in their prayers, catechisms, and confessions of faith; and yet urging upon themselves and others the practice of the law, without the consideration of any strengthening, enlivening means; as if there were no want of ability, but only of activity.”

May we continually feed on the means of grace.

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ThegospelmysteryA new book that I started reading is The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification by puritain Walter Marshall. I picked it up thinking that any book dealing with the subject of sanctification  powered by the Gospel must be a keeper. Of course I haven’t been disappointed in my expectations though I am still just in the introduction. The book is divided into 14 different directions to the reader focusing on the sanctification through our unity to Christ.

Here’s a quote from his 7th direction as he lays down the foundation:

We are not to imagine that our hearts and lives be changed from sin to holiness in any measure, before we may safely venture to trust on Christ for the sure enjoyment of Himself, and His salvation.”

He continues on explaining:

To try to make ourselves fit for Christ is to be led away from Christ by a satanic delusion.”

Indeed we are not saved by our repentance or our good works. Those are the overflow of faith; The free gift of God. We simply come as broken sinners. Joel Beeke adds on in his Introduction to Marshall’s work:

Such people become spiritually distressed when they think they must have more love for God, more godliness of heart, more thoughts of God’s attributes, more victory over lusts, more cleansing of their hearts, more impressions of the wrath of God, more confession of sin, and more heart-felt prayer and praise before they trust in Christ for their salvation. Such erroneous ideas only keep people away from Christ.”

and again Marshall says:

While we endeavor to prepare our way to Christ by holy qualifications, we do ratheer fill it with stumbling blocks, and deep pits, whereby our souls are hindered from ever attaining to salvation of Christ.”

We cannot be sanctified before we are justified, for sanctification comes as we are united to Christ. Come to Christ broken as that taxcollector did, who would not dare raise his eyes to the heavens but beat his breast and cried out for mercy. I tell you, this man went to his house justified.

J. C. Hahne

Well, I guess it’s been quite a while since I last posted… If you didn’t know we are on furlough in California for 2 months and thus it’s a little harder to keep up with blogging… But enough excuses…

In Ephesians 3:14 -21 Paul prays for the Ephesian church that Christ would dwell in their hearts and that they would be filled with the width, length, depth and height of His love. In other words, that they would be soaked with Jesus in their way of thinking. Paul then continues and gives thanks to God that He is able to above and beyond all that we could ever think or ask, and so we are filled with hope that He will sanctify His people.

In chapter 4 we find these words directly after his prayer…

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

-Ephesians 4:1-3

If God is so good, so gracious, and able to do exceedingly more than we can imagine, then we ought to be humbled by His great love. We ought to walk worthy of His calling. His calling is to be set apart in holiness; to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. We are to do this just as Jesus did it; with all lowliness, gentleness, and longsuffering. O, may Christ dwell in our hearts, for this is the only way in which we can have humble loving hearts. We must look at Christ in the Scriptures and commit our hearts and minds to prayer; that the Holy Spirit would enlighten us. We must treasure the Lord’s Day as we hear Christ preached to us, and remember all that Jesus did for us as we take part in the Lord’s Supper. We must be Christ-filled Christians. I guess that seems like an akward statement, but there are many that try to live a Christ-less Christianity.

“…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God”

Ephesians 3:17-19

J. C. Hahne

I was reading this morning on the Desiring God Blog, an article entitled, “Bad Times are Good for Missions” and I absolutely love how Piper sees God’s sovereignty in the midst of hard times. Obviously right now America as well as the rest of the world is going through economic uncertainty, but our God is sovereignly ruling and causing all the things to work for our good; for our sanctification. Despite having less money, Piper says that God’s peoples hearts will be enlarged to give more as they savour Him above all things. I particulary liked this portion of his post.

“During an economic downturn people… may be wakened to the brevity of life and the fragility of material things, and so may become more generous not less. And when they give under these circumstances, it will make Christ look all the more like the all-satisfying Treasure that he is.”

May God be merciful to us and open our eyes to see His beauty; to see that He remains the same, unchanging in His Faithfullness and love. May he be our all-satisfying treasure, and give us giving hearts in the midst of uncertainty. Amen.

J. C. Hahne