28 April 2011

Speakers : Together for the Gospel

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Speakers : Together for the Gospel

Sanctification V: The Nature of Sanctification

Holiness, then, is both a relationship and a moral quality. It has both a negative and a positive side: cleansing from impurity, adorning with the grace of the Spirit. Sanctification is, first, a position of honour to which God has appointed His people. Second, it is a state of purity which Christ has purchased for them. Third, it is an inducement given to them by the Holy Spirit. Fourth, it is a course of devoted conduct in keeping therewith. Fifth, it is a standard of moral perfection, at which they are ever to aim: 1 Peter 1:15. A ‘saint’ is one who was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), who has been cleansed from the guilt and pollution of sin by the blood of Christ (Heb. 13:12), who has been consecrated to God by the indwelling Spirit (2 Cor. 1:21, 22), who has been made inwardly holy by the impartation of the principle of grace (Phil. 1:6), and whose duty, privilege, and aim is to walk suitable thereto (Eph. 4:1). - A.W. Pink, The Doctrine of Sanctification

26 April 2011

Sanctification IV: The Solution of Sanctification

How, then, is this mystery cleared up? By what method, or in what way, have the sanctified become blest with a nature which makes them meet for the ineffable presence of God? By what process does the evil tree become good, so that its fruit is wholesome and acceptable? Obviously, we cannot here supply the full answer to these questions, or we should be anticipating too much that we desire to bring out in later chapters. But we will endeavor to now indicate, at least, the direction in which and the lines along which this great mystery is cleared—lines which most assuredly would never have entered our hearts and minds to so much as conceive; but which once they are viewed by anointed eyes, are seen to be Divine and satisfying. The Lord graciously assist us to steer clear of the rocks of error and guide us into the clear and refreshing waters of the truth.

...We may clearly perceive that it is they who are truly sanctified and holy, who are the most deeply sensible of the root of corruption which still remains within them, and which is ever springing up and producing that which defiles them; and therefore do they greatly bewail their pollutions, as that which is most dishonoring to God and most disturbing to their own peace; and earnestly do they endeavour after the mortification of it. A remarkable corroboration is found in the fact that the most godly and holy have been the very ones who most strongly affirmed their sinfulness and most loudly bewailed the same. It was one whom God Himself declared to be a ‘perfect (sincere) and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil’ (Job 1:8) who declared ‘Behold, I am vile’ (40:4). It was one ‘greatly beloved’ of God (Dan. 10:19), who acknowledged ‘my comeliness was turned in me into corruption’ (10:8). It was he who was caught up to the third heaven and then returned again to earth who moaned, ‘O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’ (Rom. 7:24).

Every Christian, then, has a ‘pure’ heart in the particulars given above. But every Christian does not have a ‘clean’ heart (Ps. 51:10). That which pollutes the heart of a Christian is unjudged sin. Whenever sin is allowed by us, communion with God is broken, and pollution can only be removed, and communion restored, by genuine repentance—a condemning of ourselves, a mourning over the sin, and unsparing confession of the same, accompanied by a fervent desire and sincere resolution not to be overtaken by it again. The willing allowance and indulgence of any known sin cannot exist with a clean heart. Rightly, then, did John Owen say of repentance: ‘It is as necessary unto the continuance of spiritual life, as faith itself.’ After the repentance and confession, there must be a fresh (and constant) recourse unto that Fountain which has been ‘opened for sin and for uncleanness,’ a fresh application by faith of the cleansing blood of Christ: pleading its merits and efficacy before God.

...We have sought to answer the questions at the close of the fifth chapter. We have met every demand of the law in the person of our Surety. We are made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light, because all the value of Christ's cleansing blood is reckoned to our account. We are capacitated to draw nigh unto God now, because the Holy Spirit has communicated to us the very nature of Christ Himself. By faith we may regard ourselves as holy in Christ. By regeneration we have received a ‘pure heart:’ proof of which is, we hate all impurity, although there is still that in us which delights in nothing else. We are to maintain communion with God by cleansing our own hearts (Ps. 73:13), and that, through constant mortification, and the daily and unsparing judgment of all known sin in and from us. - A.W. Pink, The Doctrine of Sanctification

23 April 2011

Book Review: The Greener Grass Conspiracy

A truly contented man freely and joyfully submits to the will of God for his life.
The Greener Grass Conspiracy: Finding Contentment on Your Side of the Fence

Happiness is such an elusive thing. We all want it and can never seem to get our arms around it. We seem to always be searching for that next thing that will make us happy. In his book, The Greener Grass Conspiracy, Stephen Altrogge lays out our problem of discontentment and with wit, humor and in a compelling easy to read style, directs us on a Biblical path to obtain that happiness we are all so desperately seeking.

In twelve concise chapters the author spells out our issues with discontentment, idolatry and complaining and then carefully and humorously guides us scripturally to the answers we seek. I repeatedly found myself making connections to many of the real life issues he used as examples. Those things that drag us down and cause us to complain and search for answers in the world and in ourselves rather than letting them drive us to Christ. His chapter on complaining, Eat the Meat and Die (you’ll just have to read the book to understand the witty chapter titles), was especially meaningful to me as it likely will be to many readers. Likewise, the last several chapters on counting our blessings, suffering and heaven were warmly written and spoke to some of the serious concerns I have faced and that we all deal with in our lifetimes.

On the surface this may seem like just another self help book but I earnestly contend that it is far more than that. Every Christian should be examining their lives for these issues and carefully contemplating their resolution. This little engaging book from Crossway can help you do that.

Sermon Jam - Matt Chandler - Prayer

21 April 2011

Sanctification III: The Problems of Sanctification

Doctrine Of Sanctification, The: Discerning real and false notions of Holiness

There are various subsidiary difficulties in sanctification, as we intimated in the fourth and fifth paragraphs of the Introductory article, such as whether sanctification itself be a quality or a position, whether it be legal or experimental, whether it be absolute or progressive; all of which need to be cleared up in any satisfactory treatment of this theme. But far more intricate is the problem itself of how one who is a moral leper can be fit to worship in the Sanctuary of God. Strange to say this problem is the acutest unto those who are the most spiritual. Self-righteous Pharisees and self-satisfied Laodiceans are in no wise troubled over the matter. Antinomians cut the knot (instead of untying it) and deny all difficulty, by asserting that the holiness of Christ is imputed to us. But those who realize God requires personal holiness, yet are conscious of their own filthiness, are deeply concerned thereupon.

- A.W. Pink, The Doctrine of Sanctification.

19 April 2011

Sanctification II: The Necessity of Sanctification

...With what forms of godliness, outward appearances, external embellishments are most people satisfied. How they mistake the shadows for the substance, the means for the end itself. How many devout Laodiceans are there who know not that they are ‘wretched and miserable, and poor and blind, and naked’ (Rev. 3:17). No preaching affects them, nothing will bring them to exclaim with the prophet, ‘O my God, I am ashamed, and blush to lift up my face to Thee my God’ (Ezra 9:6). No, if they do but preserve themselves from the known guilt of such sins as are punishable among men, to all other things their conscience seems dead: they have no inward shame for anything between their souls and God, especially not for the depravity and defilement of their natures: of that they know, feel, bewail nothing.

‘There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness’ (Prov. 30:12). Although they had never been cleansed by the Holy Spirit, nor their hearts purified by faith, (Acts 15:9), yet they esteemed themselves to be pure, and had not the least sense of their foul defilement. Such a generation were the self-righteous Pharisees of Christ's day: they were constantly cleansing their hands and cups, engaged in an interminable round of ceremonial washings, yet were they thoroughly ignorant of the fact that within they were filled with all manner of defilement (Matt. 23:25–28). So is a generation of churchgoers today; they are orthodox in their views, reverent in their demeanor, regular in their contributions, but they make no conscience of the state of their hearts.

That sanctification or personal holiness which we here desire to show the absolute necessity of, lies in or consists of three things. First, that internal change or renovation of our souls, whereby our minds, affections and wills are brought into harmony with God. Second, that impartial compliance with the revealed will of God in all duties of obedience and abstinence from evil, issuing from a principle of faith and love. Third, that directing of all our actions unto the glory of God, by Jesus Christ, according to the Gospel. This, and nothing short of this, is evangelical and saving sanctification. The heart must be changed so as to be brought into conformity with God's nature and will: its motives, desires, thoughts and actions require to be purified. There must be a spirit of holiness working within so as to sanctify our outward performances if they are to be acceptable unto Him in whom ‘there is no darkness at all.’ - A.W. Pink

Doctrine Of Sanctification, The: Discerning real and false notions of Holiness

15 April 2011

Reformed Forum Podcast on The Gospel Coalition 2011

Check out the Reformed Forum podcast on the Gospel Coalition - great stuff.

Gospel Coalition 2011

I arrived home from TGC last night after a long ride with two very close friends. Along the way we digested what we had heard and shared some seriously laughter. We enjoyed three days together of wonderful preaching in every style, fantastic worship music, inspiring workshops, an outstanding bookstore and lots of free stuff (mostly books) - thanks to all who gave away so much. I can't wait to dig in.

My takeaways:

- That many people in one large room singing praises to God is simply awesome.
- It warms my heart to see Christians of various convictions come together for the cause of Christ.
- I was honored to hear and meet some well-known authors, teachers and preachers who have given their lives to helping others learn and grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. This was a reminder to thank the Lord for them often.
- I was thankful for the theme this year of Preaching Jesus and the Gospel from the Old Testament. Every speaker handled this so well it is beyond me to pick one or two that were the best. Each session taught me intellectually and spoke to my heart as well.
- Truly thankful for a loving wife who understands my book buying habits (addiction?). I love you, Cathie!
- I spent three days with two Godly men sharing laughter, struggles and Biblical insight. Thanks guys.

I'm already looking forward to Together for the Gospel next year and TGC the year after.

Please share your thoughts on TGC. I'd enjoy reading them and connecting with you.

13 April 2011

11 April 2011

07 April 2011

Sanctification I: Defining Sanctification

A. W. Pink does well in defining this difficult term for us:

To sanctify, then, means in the great majority of instances, to appoint, dedicate or set apart unto God, for a holy and special use. Yet that act of separation is not a bare change of situation, so to speak, but is preceded or accompanied by a work which (ceremonially or experimentally) fits the person for God. Thus the priests in their sanctification (Lev. 8) were sanctified by washing in water (type of regeneration: Titus 3:5), having the blood applied to their persons (type of justification: Rom. 5:9), and being anointed with oil (type of receiving the Holy Spirit: 1 John 2:20, 27). As the term is applied to Christians it is used to designate three things, or three parts of one whole: first, the process of setting them apart unto God or constituting them holy: Hebrews 13:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:13. Second, the state or condition of holy separation into which they are brought: 1 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 4:24. Third, the personal sanctity or holy living which proceeds from the state: Luke 1:75; 1 Peter 1:15. - A.W. Pink, The Doctrine of Sanctification.

06 April 2011

05 April 2011

Justification vs. Sanctification

Though absolutely inseparable, yet these two great blessings of Divine grace are quite distinct. In sanctification something is actually imparted to us, in justification it is only imputed. Justification is based entirely upon the work Christ wrought for us, sanctification is principally a work wrought in us. Justification respects its object in a legal sense and terminates in a relative change—a deliverance from punishment, a right to the reward; sanctification regards its object in a moral sense, and terminates in an experimental change both in character and conduct—imparting a love for God, a capacity to worship Him acceptably, and a meetness for heaven. Justification is by a righteousness without us, sanctification is by a holiness wrought in us. Justification is by Christ as Priest, and has regard to the penalty of sin; sanctification is by Christ as King, and has regard to the dominion of sin: the former cancels its damning power, the latter delivers from its reigning power.

They differ, then, in their order (not of time, but in their nature), justification preceding, sanctification following: the sinner is pardoned and restored to God's favour before the Spirit is given to renew him after His image. They differ in their design: justification removes the obligation unto punishment; sanctification cleanses from pollution. They differ in their form: justification is a judicial act, by which the sinner as pronounced righteous; sanctification is a moral work, by which the sinner is made holy: the one has to do solely with our standing before God, the other chiefly concerns our state. They differ in their cause: the one issuing from the merits of Christ's satisfaction, the other proceeding from the efficacy of the same. They differ in their end: the one bestowing a title to everlasting glory, the other being the highway which conducts us thither. ‘And an highway shall be there,…and it shall be called The way of holiness’ (Isaiah 35:8). - A.W. Pink, The Doctrine of Sanctification.