Sanctification



Our church beadle wrote a series of blogs entitled Principles of Christian Blogging. They are well worth reading and distributing. A Google document is available here.

In the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ, he took comfort in his mission. He took comfort in the fact that he was securing the salvation of his people. He prolonged his days when he saw his seed. Of course, the Scriptures speak of a chaff as well. There are those in the world that do not belong to Christ, but grow alongside the church- but are not his. As we reflect on the sufferings of Christ we need to be mindful of the fact that if we are his seed; then we have a standard of living that we are to live by. We are to reflect the one who bought us. We are to live lives of holiness as the Lord Jesus Christ lived a life of holiness.

He was put to grief for our lives, let us not put him to grief by our lives.

Isaiah 53:9-10 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

They who are Christ’s seed, carry along with them the impression of an obligation to, and an acknowledgment of him in whatever good they have gotten. They think themselves much obliged to Christ, and they acknowledge him for their life (as in Mal. 1.6).. A natively and genuinely disposed child acknowledges his father as his father, and reverences and loves his father as his father, but there are many that pretend to being from Christ, who think not themselves in his debt and common for it, and who know not what it is to walk under the conviction of their obligation to Christ for their supposed spiritual life and being. -Durham, Christ Crucified, 41-413.

True holiness springs forth from true faith. Where true faith is absent, true holiness will likewise be absent. Faith receives Christ as Surety unto justification and sanctification (John 1:12). By faith the soul is truly united with Christ (1 Cor. 6:17). By faith Christ, who is their life, dwells in their hearts (Eph. 3:17). Faith purifies the heart (Acts 15:9). Faith worketh by love (Gal. 5:6), and faith causes them to bring forth good works (James 2:18) [II: 35].

This is from an article by John Murray published in 1941. The whole article is worth reading.

The Sanctity of the Day

First, and most elementally and centrally, it is that one day in seven is distinguished from the other six. That day is to be sanctified, and at the heart of the word “sanctify is the idea of distinction and separation. This one day is set off, it is placed in a distinct category. This import of the word cannot be evaded and it is to be very carefully marked, for on it depends the whole notion of what we may and must call the “sanctity” of the Sabbath.

It is not, however, the bare notion of distinction or separation that is expressed in the commandment. The command to sanctify occurs in a context. “Six days shall thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God.” And it is not only in the context of the remainder of the commandment, but also in the context of the other commandments. “Thou shall have no other gods before me.” “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.” “Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” It is separation, therefore, to God, to the specific purpose of contemplation upon Him and specific occupation with His work in contrast with their own work. In this kind of distinction or sanctity the meaning of the fourth commandment resides. Abolish it, and the essence of the commandment is destroyed.

There is no purpose in contending for the moral obligation of the commandment unless this sanctity is recognized and preserved, for it is the core around which all else is formed and without which all else disintegrates. Just as there is an ineradicable distinction between the six days of creation and the day of rest by which they were followed, so it is here. And it is precisely with this reminder that the commandment itself ends, “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day” wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Israel truly was a holy people; they were separated unto God Jehovah.

It might, then, be supposed that the sanctification of one day in seven was inconsistent with the totality of their devotion to God. Yet it is an inescapable fact that this kingdom of priests and holy nation was in the most direct way commanded to separate one day from the other six for a specific purpose. And unless our conception of devotion to God, and of time as it is related to Him, can embrace and appreciate this notion, together with the divine wisdom embodied in it, we can have no understanding of the fourth commandment.

The Church of Christ is divided in our day. We have invented the sin called denominationalism as a means to justify the division that we have brought upon ourselves. The true Church of Christ is one. She is one in truth, one in spirit, one in the bond of peace and unity.

How often do we commune with those that we do not feel deserve our fellowship? How often do we esteem others lower than ourselves only to set up idols of our own person? How often do slander, injure, and assault the very body of Christ; even in his name?

When one has been united to the Lord Jesus Christ through justification he should seek reconciliation with fellow believers out of duty. We, who are the Church, are united to Christ and, in a sense, united with each other. The Apostle Paul was clear on this when he spoke of the many members. Does the hand say to the foot, I have no need of you?

Seek peace with the household of God. Seek unity of mind and heart. It has been said that through division and hatred, many Sabbath worship services have had Christians murdering other Christians through their mutual thoughts and feelings. Seek peace. Seek unity. Seek communion of the saints as an outworking of union with Christ.

See how fearful a sin it is to abuse the saints. It is an injury done to Christ, for believers are mystically one with him: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4). When the body was wounded, the Head, being in heaven, cried out. In this sense, men crucify Christ afresh (Heb. 6:6), because what is done to his members is done to him. If Gideon was avenged upon those who slew his brethren, will not Christ much more be avenged on those that wrong his spouse (Judges 8:21)? Will a king tolerate having his treasure rifled, his crown thrown in the dust, his queen beheaded? Will Christ bear with the affronts and injuries done to his bride? The saints are the apple of Christ’s eye (Zech. 2:8), and let those who strike at his eye answer for it. Isa 49:26 “I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine” (Isa. 49:26). -Thomas Watson

Memorizing Scripture is essential to the Christian life. Often Christians become overwhelmed at where to begin in the process of memorization. I would suggest beginning with the Westminster Shorter Catechism proof texts. These are a great place to begin because you can have a broad range of verses from systematic theology hidden in your heart.

Another place to begin is with the Navigator’s Topical Memory System (TMS). These are 60 verses to aid in ministering to people. They teach the essentials of Christ as well as give a broad range of verses to use in evangelism. I prefer the TMS verses over the ‘packaged gospel’ of Evangelism Explosion (in which I am certified thanks to my strenuous and intellectual undergraduate education). Here is a printable TMS. It is a good place to begin.

Once you have begun memorizing God’s Word you should pray that the Lord bring you opportunity to evangelize. This will be liberating to you who have not shared your faith to another. We are all commanded to preach the Gospel. Our English translations have

‘preach’ used for two different Greek words. One is the preaching that a minister is ordained by God to do. The other is the preaching, or ‘gossiping’ the Gospel, that all who are true Christians are commanded to do. If the church was equipped to share the Gospel; the Lord would have a mighty army. Imagine, a bunch of Calvinists sharing the Gospel!

A certain degree of religious knowledge , beyond doubt, is of vast importance. Ignorance is certainly not the mother of true devotion and helps nobody towards heaven. An ‘unknown god’ can never be the object of reasonable worship. Happy indeed would it be for Christians if they all knew the Scriptures as well as the Jews seem to have done when our Lord was on earth!

-JC Ryle

People often ask why God allows suffering. Many post-moderns have concluded that suffering is outside of God’s will and that he really does not have control over it. I believe that Augustine answers the question well when he rephrases it. He does not ask why God allows suffering; but what suffering will reveal. When people suffer, their true character comes out. The fruit that a tree produces depends on the life in their roots.

Though the sufferings are the same, the sufferers remain different. Virtue and vice are not the same, even if they undergo the same torment. The fire which makes gold shine makes chaff smoke… Stir a cesspit, and a foul stench arises; stir a perfume, and a delightful fragrance ascends. But the movement is identical.
-Augustine, City of God