"Indeed, the more sanctified the person is, the more conformed he is to the image of his Savior, the more he must recoil against every lack of conformity to the holiness of God. The deeper his apprehension of the majesty of God, the greater the intensity of his love to God, the more persistent his yearning for the attainment of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, the more conscious will he be of the gravity of the sin that remains and the more poignant will be his detestation of it....Was this not the effect in all the people of God as they came into closer proximity to the revelation of God’s holiness." -John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied
|Even as the old man fades away, the new man is budding. EPrata photo|
"The growth of trees and plants takes place so slowly that it is not easily seen. Daily we notice little change. But, in course of time, we see that a great change has taken place. So it is with grace. Sanctification is a progressive, lifelong work (Prov 4:18). It is an amazing work of God's grace and it is a work to be prayed for (Rom 8:27)." ~John Owen, The Holy Spirit
On the other hand, the process of sanctification in a person is easy to see because His work bears fruit.
|Does your life bear fruit? Evidence of sanctification? EPrata|
I got a glimpse of it when I was looking up my Amazon.com account. I was searching for a book I'd ordered earlier in the year whose name I couldn't remember. Yes, that is evidence of aging, not sanctification! If I don't write it down it's gone forever, seems like. Anyway, then I saw that I could go back and review my orders year by year. Curious, I went backwards as far as my account went, for me that was from 2013 back to 1997. First of all, I was startled to see evidence that I'd been an Amazon customer for 17 years! Secondly, it is very interesting to look backwards at the journey I was making, unknown at the time, toward Christ. Here was graphic proof, in the form of dozens of book covers...
I was justified and saved by His grace in January 2004. (Well really late Dec 2003 but for ease of chronicling purposes, say beginning of 2004).
In 2000, '01, and '02 suddenly my purchases were all on the topic of spirituality. I'd gotten got very spiritual. I was at first buying stuff about the Native American religions and bought a lot of books on that topic. Music too. Then the book-buys gravitated to nature/earth religions like shamanism and animal knowledge etc and the merchandise I was buying reflected that interest. Female power and goddesses and women wisdom. Then came the meditation and Buddhism phase. Lots of spirituality that was "inner" and Gnostic. Plus, candles. Oy.
I believe 2003's purchases were graphically reflective of the spiritual warfare going on in me and all around me.
In January 2004 I was saved! Praise God in the highest for His grace. My book purchases started lightening up. I was still interested in unholy angels for a while, but from a more sanctified perspective. "Who are they? How did they get that way? Can they be saved?" Like that. There was a short spate of interest in modern-day prophets and books from false teacher C Peter Wagner, and 'creating your own reality', personal-power kind of books. Even as a newbie to the faith I rapidly discerned that books like those were not profitable. Thank you Holy Spirit for your discerning wisdom you impart! Then I was interested in holy angels, church life, and then abruptly, since 2005, my purchases became heavily theological- and centered on Christ.
For your New Year resolution, make a determination to look out with refreshed eyes from His inner position of sanctification through your life, your living space, your stuff. Sort and ruthlessly remove anything that could be a stumbling block. Because, they're there.
Every once in a while I go around the house and remove things which are not profitable, and this includes books. All the books I mentioned above I have long since thrown into the garbage. I review my bookshelf occasionally not only to refresh me as to what is there (and so I'll know what I can give away if someone mentions an author) but to remove anything that my increased sanctification shows is not edifying.
"True believers grow. When God begins a true work of salvation in a person, He finishes and perfects that work. Paul expressed that assurance when he wrote in Philippians 1:6, "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." If you are a true Christian, you are going to be growing-and that means you are going to be more and more like Christ. Life produces itself. If you're alive you are going to grow, there's no other way. You'll improve. You'll increase. The Spirit will move you from one level of glory to the next. So examine your life. Do you see spiritual growth? Do you see the decreasing frequency of sin? Is there an increasing pattern of righteousness and devotion to God?" ~John MacArthur
Sanctification is a process by which the Spirit opens your eyes and conforms your self to Jesus. The Spirit's ministry is to point to Him, and away from ourselves and unholy things. Resolve to look with refreshed eyes at your wants and needs, but also your clothes, books, art hanging on the wall, knick-knacks, etc. If you are saved, you have grown. Look to see how much. So then you can praise the Spirit and thank the Christ and submit to the father and do it all over again. Pick up your cross daily, and, my brethren, grow by His Spirit!
|Photo by EPrata|