Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gospel-Driven Sanctification

You gotta read these outstanding thoughts on Gospel-driven sanctification . . . how the "fear of the Lord" (faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ) can keep us away from evil (Proverbs 16:6) . . . . from a post at the Gospel-driven blog entitled. . .

"Gospel Driven vs. Resolution Driven" . . . .

This is not to say we should not seek to pursue holiness or lead disciplined, orderly lives. Rather, it is to say that we should seek to pursue holiness in the proper manner (i.e., we should be Gospel-driven rather than resolution- [law] driven). The Gospel, not resolutions, is what motivates a believer to pursue a life of holiness. The fact is the enemy of our faith will tempt us and encourage us to make resolution after resolution so long as he can keep us from seeing Christ and trusting in Him alone for our righteousness before God.

“The devil will urge you to make a vow, and then break it, so he may frustrate you and torment your conscience all the more.”

Resolutions, if not carefully kept in check, subtly take the place of Christ and His Gospel and begin dictate our thinking and decision-making, they shape our outlook on the Christian life, and begin to distort our understanding of our Heavenly Father, they corrupt our affections and ultimately destroy the peace our souls. As Marshall insightfully pointed out above, “The devil will urge you to make a vow, and then break it, so he may frustrate you and torment your conscience all the more.” Legalism stirs up and enrages the sleeping lion of our sinful flesh. Apart from the mercy and grace of God coming to us in the Gospel, believers will increasingly grow cold toward God because their consciences continually torment them for their failure. Such is the awful effects of legalistic doctrine upon fleshly hearts.

The god of resolutions is a harsh, unyielding, guilt-inducing task master. There is no mercy for failure only a reminder of failure. Their is no wind for the sail only a loud speaker yelling, “Row!” The Lord never intends for any of His people to place themselves under any unlawful expectations or obligations. Rather, the Lord’s invitation is, “28 Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

The whole post is great. I don't know who this guy is (his name is Jon Fonville and his current blog is HERE), but he and I are coming from the same place on this. . . . . The Gospel is not just power of God for justification, but also for sanctification.

Only the love of God in Christ can constrain us and keep us from sin.

In what ways are you seeking to sanctify yourself today?


Tim Weaver said...

I agree that resolution (try harder) is a cruel task master that frustrates and leads many to totally give up and think "I tried Jesus and it didn't work for me."

So, how do you live the Gospel driven life?

To me, it looks like this. "Lord, I can't do life like You want me to. I'm doing my best, but You have to live your life through me." "Lord, here I am again. I blew it and I'm making a mess of things... again. Thank You for mercy and forgiveness that You promised because of what Your Son did for me at Calvary. I can't wait for the day when I will won't have to fight my sin nature anymore."

Tim said...

Yep, Tim, that's pretty much how it looks for me, too.

Daily dependence and return to the all-sufficient and finished work of Jesus.

Janice Phillips said...

Interesting you'd post this today.

Every day my prayer is that I would submit to the sanctification by embracing the suffering and trials because they are for my good (even if there's no "light at the end of the tunnel").

Trusting God's plans and timing other than MY plan/timetable.

Surrendering my to-do list to the Holy Spirit and recognize the God-moments throughout the day.

Hour to hour praying that in my weakness He will be strong and staying humble when it happens because I don't like being weak.

Seeking to serve vs. being served.