26 December 2011

Sanctification, Why Bother?

From the Heidelberg Catechism we read,

Q2. How many things are necessary for thee to know, that thou, enjoying this comfort, mayest live and die happily?
A: Three; the first, how great my sins and miseries are; the second, how I may be delivered from all my sins and miseries; the third, how I shall express my gratitude to God for such deliverance (emphasis mine).

 And from the Westminster Catechism,

Q32. What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life?
A. They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification, adoption, and sanctification, and the several benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow from them.

35. What is sanctification?
A. Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness (emphasis mine).

And so we read that sanctification is neither an option or simply a recommended lifestyle. It is a requirement for every beleiver to pursue for Peter tells us, "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed." (1 Peter 2:24 ESV) and Paul,  "Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God." (2 Corinthians 7:1 ESV).

And finally, John Owen offers an excellent explanation

John Owen
"He gave us a new understanding, a new heart, new affections and renewed the whole soul into the image of God. He does this by the washing of regeneration and the restoring of the image of God unto our souls.This work is the cause of our holiness. Our minds, hearts, and affections are renewed by the Holy Spirit, and he cleanses us from all spiritual and habitual pollution. If we would be further cleansed from our sins, we must labour after and endeavor to grow in this renovation of our natures by the Spirit. The more we have of his saving light in our minds, of his heavenly love in our wills and affections, and of a constant readiness unto obedience in our hearts, the more pure we become. He purifies us by strengthening our souls in grace. Having given us the principle of purity in regeneration, he now acts in us the duties of obedience in opposition to sin. By the special application of the blood of Christ, the Holy Spirit becomes the efficient cause of the purging of our souls from all the defilements of sin ( John Owen, Works, III:436-438, emphasis mine,.)

So, my friends, just how do we labor in our sanctification?

No comments: