Friday, August 20, 2010

Sanctification - Part 4

Yesterday we looked at the idea of positional sanctification which occurs at conversion. From there, the believer immediately moves into a behavioral and progressive sanctification process which will take place the rest of one’s life on earth. This is spoken of in terms of an imparted, practical, day-to-day, living-it-out, type of sanctification; or, the real experience of growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul expresses it this way with to the Philippians:
12 Not that I have already l obtained this or m am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for o the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:12-14)

According to J.I. Packer, this part of the sanctification process involves “an ongoing transformation within a maintained consecration and it engenders real righteousness within the frame of relational holiness” He goes on to further explain that sanctification is a synergetic type of process, in that it is an ongoing cooperative process in which regen¬erated persons, who are now alive to God and freed from sin's dominion (Rom. 6:11, 14-18), are required to exert themselves in sustained obedience.

Packer further clarifies this ongoing transformation process when he states: “God's method of sanctification is neither activism (self-reliant activity) nor apathy (God-re¬liant passivity), but God-dependent effort" (2 Cor. 7:1; Phil. 3:10-14; Heb. 12:14). This, synergetic interplay of the obedient believer with total dependence upon God for any success, is clearly the point that Paul is emphasizing to the believers in Philippi when he writes: “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works within you” (Phil. 3:10-14).

Moreover, as Ryle’s quote from yesterday implies, God provides for the believer the help needed in the process. There are three main provisions for the sanctification process: (1) Gospel-center dependence, (2) the ministry Holy Spirit, and (3) the intake of the Word of God.

Over the next few days I will unpack these three provisions more carefully.

3 John 8
Bill H.

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