Tag Archives: sanctification

3GT Episode 62: The Sanctification Scene

With the Christian blogosphere aflame once again, this time with discussions regarding justification and sanctification, the 3GT men join in the fray. With Aaron pumping the questions, and Kyle and Barry responding energetically, they discuss current controversies then tackle the latter subject of sanctification. Minus a morose morbidity, they meditate on mortification while with vim and vigor they verify their views on vivification!

Well, just listen to the podcast. This episode and subject is much clearer than what you just read!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/3gt-episode-62.mp3

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A Real Redeemer, or: “Remember the Rose!”

Christians call Jesus the Redeemer, and he is, but we sometimes forget that biblically, to be redeemed means to be ruled.  To be redeemed means more than being brought back from bad circumstances; it means being bought back, transferred from one allegiance to another.  There’s no redemption through Jesus without a renunciation of our deepest craving since humankind’s collapse in the Garden of Eden:  autonomy.  Watch for this pattern in society – and in your own heart!  So much of what popular culture demands in the name of freedom is better understood as autonomy, literally, self-law.  We want autonomy so bad that we even fantasize about extraordinary beings who can provide and protect it.   

Browse Worthy: Boning Up on Our Doctrine

Two of my favorite bloggers have done helpful series recently on doctrine. You would do well to sharpen your minds by reading these carefully written posts.

First, Kevin DeYoung reminds us of the five questions Francis Turretin asked in Institutes of Elenctic Theology regarding sanctification and good works. In the clear, readable style he’s known for, Kevin interacts with Turretin and others in pinpointing the distinctions necessary to stay on the straight and narrow path of holiness.

Five Questions about Sanctification and Good Works: How Does Sanctification Differ from Justification?
Five Questions About Sanctification and Good Works: Can We Fulfill the Law Absolutely in this Life?
Five Questions about Sanctification and Good Works: Are Good Works Necessary to Salvation?
Five Questions about Sanctification and Good Works: Can Justified Believers Do that which is Truly Good?
Five Questions about Sanctification and Good Works: Do Good Works Merit Eternal Life?

Next, David Murray highlights important truths in understanding the system that is known as Calvinism in his series. With great clarity, David makes the careful distinctions necessary to prevent veering off into forms of Calvinism that are caricatures of it rather than its true representation.

There’s More to Calvinism than the Five Points of Calvinism
There’s more to the doctrines of grace than THE doctrines […]

Am I Being Discerning or Critical?

About six years ago someone I know–one of my seminary professors–shared with me a concern he had regarding my critical spirit. The conversation went like this: “You know Kyle, if there was a seminary degree on being a critical person, you’d be at the top of the class.” Okay, it wasn’t much of a conversation as I simply sat there and received his honest assessment of my character. It hurt. I don’t want to be a critical person. But he said it because he saw in me the same critical spirit he’d known to be true of himself. All I could do is say, “Yes, I’m a critical person.” And I am. I’m critical of other people. I’m critical of their personalities. I’m critical of their weaknesses. I’m critical of their views. I’m critical of their opinions. I’m critical of their way of doing things. I’m critical of their theological convictions. I’m a critical person. And that experience had a profound effect on me. It caused me to consider my own heart which has a natural bent toward being disagreeable and argumentative with others–and it made me realize that my critical spirit isn’t a spiritual gift to be embraced, it’s […]

“Not In Our House!!”

Have you ever tried to resist the inevitable?  I do this whenever I sit down to eat.  No matter how much I try to avoid it, my superlative skills in unintentionally creating social awkwardness will kick in, and some of my food will end up on me rather than in me.  Sometimes I think I should purposely dump the contents of my plate on my lap as soon as I sit down, just to kill the anticipatory tension.  Either way, wearing my food is an unpleasant inevitability.  But have you ever tried to resist something that is inevitable, but also absolutely wonderful – in fact, the very best thing that could ever happen to you?  I have, and if you are a Christian, you have, too.     

Of Kryptonite, Kool-Aid and Windex: Concluding a Series on the Practical Pursuit of Holiness

As much as our hearts crave the completion of God’s sanctifying work within us, the prospect of stepping forward in newness of life can be daunting. We might fear that we will be stepping away from sacred pieces of identity, attitudes and affections which distinguish us from others and which keep us objective in our outlook on life. The reality is, however, that progress in sanctification is the progressive revealing of our truest selves; it is the unleashing, not the strangulation, of our hearts.  We considered this at length in a prior entry:   The New You.  We’ll begin this final entry in a series on sanctification –  one, two and  three – by exposing this fear as a strong impediment to that progress, especially as we hide it beneath the guise of a realism regarding our potential progress in holiness.

Sometimes, the limits we place on the possibilities of realized holiness in this life only reveal the limits of our willingness to pursue them.  Sanctification is hard work, though it is indeed the work of God in and through us which accomplishes it (Philippians 2:12-13).  It is far easier to be content to enjoy freedom from the law’s condemnation, than to […]

Killing Sin, Simply Put

Be killing sin or it will be killing you. -John Owen

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. -Romans 8:13

I was rebuked yesterday, reminded that the repetition of Christian-sounding phrases doesn’t always communicate exactly what I think they do. In meeting with someone for counseling, I encouraged them to “kill your sin!” only to be met with questions and misunderstanding. You see, it turns out that just saying “kill your sin” doesn’t actually tell anyone what that means. It’s not as if sin is a physical thing that can be taken outside and shoved off a cliff. So what does it mean to kill sin?

Simply put…

The Perfect(ionism) Excuse, part 3 in a series on sanctification …

Do you believe that it is possible to overcome a besetting sin in your life?  And do you believe that this conquering is possible in this life?  If your answer is no, or a highly qualified “yes”, what is it that keeps you from answering instead with a resolute, unqualified “yes”?  And is that hesitation truly consistent with what Scripture says is possible for the sons and daughters of the living God?

If you are Reformed in your theology, or are familiar with different denominational takes on this topic, the term “perfectionism” may have come to mind in light of these questions.  Suffice it to say, I am not advocating the idea that Christians can attain a state of sinless perfection in this life, even with regard to willful sins.  The closer we draw to Christ, the more aware we become of sins which had been lurking undetected in our hearts, the kind which eventually give rise to overt and obvious sin (Matthew 5:21-22).  These words from Psalm 139 are appropriate to pray until our dying day: “Search me, O God, and know my heart.  Try me and know my anxious thoughts!  And see if there is any offensive way in […]

A Letter to the Doubting Christian

Dear Mr. Doubting,

Thank you for your last letter. It was honest and, I am sure, difficult to write. I myself have frequently been where you are–asking questions, doubtful about the truth, searching for certainty, unsure of my own belief. Doubt has many channels into the heart, and I too am familiar with the tidal wave of inquisitiveness that seems to fill them all. I have wondered at times if I would ever recover. Such is the tragic position many Christians find themselves in. They are, by all accounts, the unstable man, “like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6).

Now, let me be clear. It isn’t the asking of questions that concerns me. By all means ask questions! If we’re to have an informed faith–which Christianity is in desperate need of today–we must have an inquisitive faith. Nor is it difficulty of mind that troubles me. After all, as one of Job’s friends asked, “Can you find out the deep things of God?” (Job 11:7), and, as Peter noted, even some of Paul’s writings are “hard to understand” (2 Peter 3:16). Neither is it ignorance concerning unrevealed things, “How unsearchable are his judgments […]

Our Father’s Likeness

What is your gut reaction, honestly, when you hear the phrase: “Obedience to God’s law”?  Do you smile, or do you cringe?  And why?

In the previous entry on this subject, we considered our tendency to think of the Lord Jesus in terms more appropriate to Superman than to the Savior.  We appreciate that he’s saved us from God’s wrath against us as sinners, but we struggle to surrender the autonomy which is the essence of our sinfulness.  We want rescue more than we want redemption.  Yet Scripture teaches us that salvation in Christ is about far more than being rescued from the consequences of our sin.  Salvation has to do not only with what we’re saved from, but what we’re saved for: a life lived more and more in keeping with God’s moral law.

Sadly, however, when so many Christians hear the word “law” in a discussion about God, they bristle.  In our contemporary Christian culture, the word has become synonymous with legalism.  Legalism, however, is an abuse of God’s law resulting from its being redacted or reduced (Deuteronomy 4:1-2; Matthew 5:19.)  Abusing God’s word is inevitably abusive to God’s people.

Relationally cold, unnecessarily strict homes and churches are spiritual dungeons in […]