Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sanctification - Part 6


2 . . . 12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

and, 3 . . . 7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

As mentioned yesterday, sanctification is a Gospel-centered process. Yes, we have personal responsibility to apply the Gospel--that is, what Jesus has done for us--every day of our lives. When we do this, we are living it out, we are being "Gospel-centered" in our sanctification.

The reason, and human ability, for sanctification is the work of Jesus for the believer. Paul connects the work of the Spirit in the believer with the work of Christ for the believer in Roman 8, with the climax in verse 30: “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Rom. 8:30). This is Gospel-centered sanctification. That is, the reality that the Gospel is not a onetime event in the Christian’s life; rather, it is a daily activity of living for Jesus with the realization that our acceptance before God is only because of what Jesus has done, and is doing, for the believer.

Jerry Bridges summarizes the implications of this idea well when he speaks of his personal application of this theological reality:

So I learned that Christians need to hear the gospel all of their lives because it is the gospel that continues to remind us that our day-to-day acceptance with the Father is not based on what we do for God but upon what Christ did for us inhis sinless life and sin-bearing death. I began to see that we stand before Godtoday as righteous as we ever will be, even in heaven, because he has clothed uswith the righteousness of his Son.

(“Gospel-Driven Sanctification,” Modern Reformation Magazine, May/June, 2003: p. 15)

Tomorrow, the role of the Holy Spirit in the process of progressive sanctification.

3 John 8
Bill H.

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