Many of you have asked for the quote on sanctification I read by John Calvin, so here it is … and don’t forget to bake a cake in honor of ol’ John’s 500th birthday on July 10.
“Sanctification is the process by which the believer increasingly becomes conformed to Christ in heart, conduct, and devotion to God. It is the continual remaking of the believer by the Holy Spirit, the increasing consecration of body and soul to God. In sanctification, the believer offers himself to God. This does not come without great struggle and slow progress; it requires cleansing from the pollution of the flesh and renouncing of the world. It demands repentance, mortification, and daily conversion. Justification and sanctification are inseparable. To separate one from the other is to tear Christ in pieces; it is like trying to separate the sun’s light from the heat that light generates. Believers are justified for the purpose of worshipping God in holiness of life.”
I believe that one of the signs of health in a church body is a willingness, even a desire, to hear hard things and engage in doing them. If I’m right, then Leroy Chapel is a healthy place, because many of you have expressed to me in emails, phone calls, and in person your battles against the flesh, and it is one of the most encouraging things a pastor can hear. Health is found in the battle, remember, not in the negotiations with the flesh. Please keep a Biblical perspective on spiritual growth and maturity, here are the three ways I summarized it for us from the text …
1. Maturity is observed in the “big picture” over the course of time.
* It’s not being on fire for a few months or making huge commitments, but being tested in the fire and having stood steadfastly amidst much opposition with steady progress, not perfection … but progress.
2. Maturity is observed in the struggle, not having arrived.
* I told you that I’m scared of the person in whom I never see the struggle. The “I’m doing fine” responses betray that they aren’t. There is either a heart of lies and self-deception, or too familiar a relationship with the flesh. Paul, the older and more mature he got, saw himself as the chief of sinners, still fighting as he did what he didn’t want to do and didn’t do what he wanted to do (Romans 7). Old men still repenting … it’s a glorious thing!
3. Maturity is observed in one’s growing love for Christ through the Spirit, not merely one’s distance from the “world”.
* There are plenty of people holding themselves to high external standards who are cold and lifeless to Christ, His Word, and living courageously by faith … don’t be one of them!
Stay in the battle with me my brothers and sisters and let us move forward by the power of the Holy Spirit,