The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Posts Tagged ‘sanctification

Counselled by Chalmers

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My purpose is to show, that from the constitution of our nature, the former method is altogether incompetent and ineffectual and that the latter method will alone suffice for the rescue and recovery of the heart from the wrong affection that domineers over it.

So wrote Thomas Chalmers in what is probably his best-known sermon, The Expulsive Power of a New Affection. You can read a summary of its principles here.

Better yet, you can read the whole sermon here.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 25 August 2012 at 17:21

Old light on fresh battles

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I ask whether it is wise to speak of faith as the one thing needful, and the only thing required, as many seem to do nowadays in handling the doctrine of sanctification. Is it wise to proclaim in so bald, naked, and unqualified a way as many do that the holiness of converted people is by faith only, and not at all by personal exertion? Is it according to the proportion of God’s Word? I doubt it.

The Cripplegate points us to the wisdom of J. C. Ryle on the realities of sanctification, Biblically understood.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 23 March 2012 at 12:15

Posted in Christian living

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Striving for growth

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The good folks at Main Things (mainly Jim Savastio, I think), speak and ask in this way:

I do not know that I have ever met a true Christian who does not want to grow. But not all do grow as they should. What makes the difference? Labor. Effort. Striving. What makes the difference between the man who wants to be fit and the one who is fit? Their desire has turned to action.

To enforce this, we are directed to Spurgeon on 2 Peter 3.18, where we are commanded to grow in grace and knowledge:

“Grow in grace”—not in one grace only, but in all grace. Grow in that root-grace, faith. Believe the promises more firmly than you have done. Let faith increase in fulness, constancy, simplicity. Grow also in love. Ask that your love may become extended, more intense, more practical, influencing every thought, word, and deed. Grow likewise in humility. Seek to lie very low, and know more of your own nothingness. As you grow downward in humility, seek also to grow upward—having nearer approaches to God in prayer and more intimate fellowship with Jesus. May God the Holy Spirit enable you to “grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior.” He who grows not in the knowledge of Jesus, refuses to be blessed. To know Him is “life eternal,” and to advance in the knowledge of Him is to increase in happiness. He who does not long to know more of Christ, knows nothing of Him yet. Whoever hath sipped this wine will thirst for more, for although Christ doth satisfy, yet it is such a satisfaction, that the appetite is not cloyed, but whetted. If you know the love of Jesus—as the hart panteth for the water-brooks, so will you pant after deeper draughts of His love. If you do not desire to know Him better, then you love Him not, for love always cries, “Nearer, nearer.” Absence from Christ is hell; but the presence of Jesus is heaven. Rest not then content without an increasing acquaintance with Jesus. Seek to know more of Him in His divine nature, in His human relationship, in His finished work, in His death, in His resurrection, in His present glorious intercession, and in His future royal advent. Abide hard by the Cross, and search the mystery of His wounds. An increase of love to Jesus, and a more perfect apprehension of His love to us is one of the best tests of growth in grace.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Tuesday 10 January 2012 at 20:16

Jesus, nothing, everything

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David Murray has some very helpful interaction with Tullian Tchividjian on the substance of his book, Jesus + Nothing = Everything. In three parts, he considers the confusion of justification with sanctification; the confusion from making our own experience the norm for others; and, the confusion of our standing with God and our experience and enjoyment of God.

I think David is making some important points that point us away from error and toward truth in our understanding of holiness and its pursuit.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 15 December 2011 at 22:23

The hole in our holiness

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Excellent stuff from Kevin DeYoung:

I find it telling that you can find plenty of young Christians today who are really excited about justice and serving in their communities. You can find Christians fired up about evangelism. You can find lots of Generation XYZ believers passionate about precise theology. Yes and amen to all that. But where are the Christians known for their zeal for holiness? Where is the corresponding passion for honoring Christ with Christlike obedience? We need more Christian leaders on our campuses, in our cities, in our seminaries who will say with Paul, “Look carefully then how you walk”? (Eph. 5:15).

When is the last time we took a verse like Ephesians 5:4–“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving”–when is the last time we took a verse like this and even began to try to apply this to our conversation, our joking, our movies, our you tube clips, our t.v. and commercial intake? The fact of the matter is if you read through the New Testament epistles you will find very few explicit commands that tell us to evangelize and very few explicit commands that tell us to take care of the poor in our communities, but there are dozens and dozens of verses in the New Testament that enjoin us, in one way or another, to be holy as God is holy (e.g., 1 Peter 1:13-16).

I do not wish to denigrate any of the other biblical emphases capturing the attention of younger evangelicals. But I believe God would have us be much more careful with our eyes, our ears, and our mouth. It’s not pietism, legalism, or fundamentalism to take holiness seriously. It’s the way of all those who have been called to a holy calling by a holy God.

Read it all.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Tuesday 23 November 2010 at 16:06

Ceaseless warfare

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The imperative necessity for this work of mortification arises from the continued presence of the evil nature in the Christian. Upon his believing in Christ unto salvation, he was at once delivered from the condemnation of the Divine law, and freed from the reigning power of sin; but “the flesh” was not eradicated from his being, nor were its vile propensities purged or even modified. That fount of filthiness remains unchanged unto the end of his earthly career. Not only so, but is ever active in its hostility to God and holiness: “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh” (Gal. 5:17). Thus, there is a ceaseless conflict in the saint between indwelling sin and inherent grace. Consequently there is a perpetual need for him to mortify or put to death not only the actings of indwelling corruption but also the principle itself. He is called upon to engage in ceaseless warfare and not suffer temptation to bring him into captivity to his lusts. The Divine prohibition is “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness [enter into no truce, form no alliance with] but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:11). Say with Ephraim of old, “What have I to do with idols?” (Hosea 14:8).

No real communion with God is possible while sinful lusts remain unmortified. Allowed evil draws the heart away from God, and tangles the affections, discomposes the soul, and provokes the Holy One to close His ears against our prayers: “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?” (Ezek. 14:3). God cannot in any wise delight in an unmortified soul: for Him to do so would be denying Himself or acting contrary to His own nature. He has no pleasure in wickedness and cannot look with the slightest approval on evil. Sin is a mire, and the more miry we are the less fit for His eyes (Psalm 40:2). Sin is leprosy (Isaiah 1:6), and the more it spreads the less converse will the Lord have with us. Deliberately to keep sin alive is to defend it against the will of God and to challenge combat with the Most High. Unmortified sin is against the whole design of the Gospel – as though Christ’s sacrifice was intended to indulge us in sin, rather than redeem us from it. The very end of Christ’s dying was the death of sin: rather than sin should not die, He laid down His life.

Arthur W. Pink, Practical Christianity (Baker, 141)

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 6 August 2010 at 16:20

Pursuing holiness

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Searching words from the great Spurgeon via Phil Johnson, offered as a principle for our exposure to television and other media:

Those who can look with delight or any degree of pleasure upon the sins of others are not holy. We know of some, who will not themselves perpetrate an unseemly jest, yet, if another does so, and there is a laugh excited upon some not over-decent remark, they laugh, and thus give sanction to the impropriety. If there is a low song sung in their hearing, which others applaud, though they cannot quite go the length of joining in the plaudits, still they secretly enjoy it; they betray a sort of gratification that they cannot disguise; they confess to a gusto that admires the wit while it cannot endorse the sentiment.

They are glad the minister was not there; they are glad to think the deacon did not happen to see them just at that moment; yet still, if there could be a law established to make the thing pretty respectable, they would not mind.

Some of you know people who fall into this snare. There are professing Christians who go where you at one time could not go; but, seeing that they do it, you go too, and there you see others engaged in sin, and it becomes respectable because you give it countenance. There are many things, in this world, that would be execrated if it were not that Christian men go to them, and the ungodly men say, “Well, if it is not righteous, there is not much harm in it, after all; it is innocent enough if we keep within bounds.”

Mind! mind! mind, professor, if thine heart begins to suck in the sweets of another man’s sin, it is unsound in the sight of God; if thou canst even wink at another man’s lust, depend upon it that thou wilt soon shut thine eye on thine own, for we are always more severe with other men than we are’ with ourselves. There must be an absence of the vital principle of godliness when we can become partakers of other men’s sins by applauding or joining with them in the approval of them.

Let us examine ourselves scrupulously, then, whether we be among those who have no evidences of that holiness without which no man can see God. But, beloved, we hope better things of you, and things which accompany salvation. If you and I, as in the sight of God, feel that we would be holy if we could, that there is not a sin we wish to spare, that we would be like Jesus,—O that we could!—that we would sooner suffer affliction than ever run into sin, and displease our God; if our heart be really right in God’s statutes, then, despite all the imperfections we bemoan, we have holiness, wherein we may rejoice.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Monday 4 May 2009 at 09:49

Name or nature?

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I was struck by the force of Calvin’s earthy rhetoric when reading his sermon on Acts 5:13-16:

The Lord shows his majesty for two reasons. . . .

The second reason is that there are others who are in awe of that assembly and dare not affiliate with the faithful.  That is because they are not all worthy.  For how many of us enter the church of God as we should, and with the kind of reverence I spoke of earlier?  It is true the gospel is preached.  So what?  To what extent do our lives conform to it?  It seems we have conspired to spite God in all we do.  We do not hesitate to use the word ‘reformation’, but to what purpose?  We have no difficulty, no scruples, in saying we are reformed according to the gospel.  But what authority does the gospel have for us?  Does it not influence us to flout God and his word?  What is worse, that is the very reason God’s name is blasphemed, and people call the gospel a teaching for complete disintegration.  But are they right?  ‘Those people say they are reformed, but they are more inclined to do evil than before.’  That is how we will give the papists and other unbelievers an opportunity to speak badly of God’s teaching and blaspheme it.  It is true that one day they will give an account of their blasphemies, but we will not be excused before God, for we will have given them occasion to speak ill of it.  Whereas they should be convinced by our good lives and conduct, we are the reason that God’s teaching, which is the teaching of life and salvation, is called ‘the teaching of devils’, and labelled as false and misleading.  Let us keep in mind the punishment we deserve for such sacrilege.  Let us be aware that the gospel is not preached to us for that reason, but so that our lives will be completely changed by it and our sins rooted out so that God may be seen to be ruling in our midst.  Otherwise, we will boast in vain of possessing the gospel and living according to the reformation it brings.

This is not abstract theological reasoning, but concrete Christian living grounded in the truth.  We like the name, but do we have the nature.  This works itself out in the daily grind of our life as believers, before the eyes of family members, colleagues, friends and neighbours.  I could not help but be reminded of this clever little fiction from Ben Witherington:

A man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy street. Suddenly, just in front of him, the light turned yellow. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman was furious and repeatedly honked her horn, screaming in frustration, as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, while also, dropping her cell phone and makeup.

As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very stern looking police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up.

He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed and placed in a holding cell. After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects. He said, ‘I’m very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the ‘What Would Jesus Do’ window sticker, the ‘Choose Life’ license plate holder, the ‘Follow Me to Sunday-School’ bumper sticker and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk; naturally… I assumed you had stolen the car.’

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 2 April 2009 at 10:28

Definitive sanctification

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R. Scott Clark takes careful issue with Professor Murray over the language and definition of ‘definitive sanctification.’  His argument is substantially though not entirely historical: is the concept ‘Reformed’ i.e. in RSC’s estimation, does it accord with the teaching of the historic confessions of the 17th century?  His answer is a tentative no.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 27 March 2009 at 07:50

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