Marturia unui fost calugar – Florin Pistriceanu

Vezi PAGINA cu MARTURII diverse aici

Florin Pistriceanu: Cine il cauta pe Domnul cu toata inima, sa stiti ca Il gaseste!

M-am tras dintr-o familie bogata, ortodoxa. In familia noastra erau bani, dar vreau sa va spun ca nu era fericire, caci sa stiti ca acolo unde este bogatie nu este fericire, ci numai necaz. Mi-a murit tata, apoi mama si cei 3 frati erau foarte bolnavi. Am vazut ca era atata necaz (de boala) in casa noastra si am mers la preotul nostru (duhovnicul) si mi-a zis, „Florine, ai vazut cat necaz a venit peste voi. Pentru tine ar fi bine sa pleci intr-o manastire sa nu vina si peste tine vreun blestem din cauza pacatelor pe care le-au facut parintii, ca sa nu se intoarca si pe tine.

Ar fi bine sa pleci intr-o manastire. Eu iti voi da o recomandare in Moldova si acolo sa slujesti. Nu prea am vrut asa brusc sa ma duc intr-o manastire, dar ca sa nu pice necazul peste mine ca si pe fratii mei am luat o geanta, am lasat tot si am luat trenul si am plecat spre manastirea care este in Piatra Neamt, Bistrita. Acolo mi-au zis, „Vezi ca aici vin multi, si multi pleaca, nu rezista. E rugaciune multa, e mult post si nu este usor. Am intrat in slujba de ascultare, cu munca de taiat lemne la padure, la sapa peste tot unde era nevoie. Noi munceam pentru ca ne intretineam singuri si mai aveam si niste ajutoare de afara.

Dupa cativa ani, dupa ce ei au prins incredere in mine, am fost calugarit la Piatra Neamt in Bistrita, dupa care in momentul cand am iesit din locul acela chiar am observat ca dupa ce mi s-a dat haina neagra, o multime de oameni veneau sa imi sarute mainile si sa se atinga de haina mea, crezand ca sunt iertati. Eu brusc m-am tras inapoi ca n-am fost obisnuit cu asemenea lucruri, nici nu mi-au facut niciodata inainte acest lucru, ca oamenii sa se inchine inaintea mea.

Dupa cativa ani de slujire in locul acela faceam slujbe de exorcizare. Veneau foarte multe tinere care curveau sau faceau avorturi, veneau in locul acela oameni demonizati, oameni care au facut lucruri blestemate in religia lor, in problemele lor, in necazurile lor. Noi, cand incepeam slujbele de exorcizare nu aveam putere sa exorcizam acesti oameni. Din contra, duhurile rele se zbateau in ei si vorbeau impotriva noastra ca „noi suntem fii puterii intunericului”. Nu stiu cine a vazut lucrurile astea, cine a fost prin locurile acestea- poate a-ti vazut la televizoare sau a-ti vazut in alte parti, dar este un lucru extraordinar de grav. Un om demonizat, un om cu un duh rau in el care il zbate, il tranteste la pamant si tu sa n-ai nici o putere sa-l poti elibera. Este un chin foarte mare. Este o durere mare, mare pentru parintii care si-au adus copii.

Veneau la noi un numar foarte mare pentru a fi eliberati. Am intrebat, „Preasfintirea noastra, de ce noi nu avem putere sa eliberam oamenii? Pentru ca acolo traiam in posturi, acolo traiam in inchinarile facute de catre oameni. Ne inchinam tuturor lucrurilor idolatre. Ne inchinam icoanelor si idolilor. Sfanta Scriptura spune in Psalmul 97 ca cei ce se inchina icoanelor si idolilor sunt de rusine si sunt rusinati. Noi nu ne-am dat seama de lucrarea care este acolo pentru ca pana cand Dumnezeu nu-ti deschide mintea, nu poti sa faci decat ceea ce stii si faci in intuneric. Dar cand Dumnezeu iti deschide mintea, El te scoate din orice loc in care ai fi tu.

Eu am zis atunci catre staret, „Intre noi sunt foarte multi homosexuali, pedofili”. Noi strangeam copii de pe strada si ii duceam in manastire ca sa-i hranim, sa-i imbracam si zic, „Acesti copii devin victimile acestor fiare.” Si-i zic, „De ce nu-i scoateti afara?” Zice, „Eu nu-i scot. Maica Domnului sa-i scoata”. In gandul meu am spus, „Ramai cu maica Domnului si ma rog la Dumnezeu sa ma trimita in alta manastire”, si am plecat din locul acela. La noua manastire m-au luat imediat, vazandu-ma ca sunt inalt, ei cautau calugari inalti ca ziceau ca acolo unde sunt calugari inalti este mai mult har. Dar, Domnul nostru spune ca el nu se uita la ceea ce izbeste omul, ci se uita la inima omului.

Imediat m-au primit, m-au luat in slujbe si am luat niste slujbe economice ca sa avem cat mai mult beneficiu si m-au trimis in alte tari si perindam intreaga lume dupa bani. Intorcandu-ma inapoi, aduceam un venit foarte mare manastirii. Acest lucru nu mi-a placut, dar trebuia sa traiesc in ascultare pentruca trebuia sa te supui invataturii lor. Dupa ce staretul a fost prins cu mai multe autoturisme donate, el a fost mutat in Grecia si a venit un alt staret cu calugarii lui.

Eu ma plecat la o alta manastire in Caransebis – Caras Severin. Acolo exista o legenda care spune ca atunci cand s-a facut tunelul ca sa traga o linie de cale ferata, in momentul cand a pus dinamita, inauntrul manastirii care era intr-o crapatura de stanca, a aparut Dumnezeu, Domnul Isus si Duhul Sfant reprezentat in chip de porumbel. Tot timpul mergeam la spital cu iconite dupa mine si cu banane si portocale la bolnavi, la spitale, la cei bolnavi si la cei necajiti. Mai aveam un ban si puteam sa stau cu ei de vorba si sa le dau din ceea ce aveam noi. Auzind episcopul din Caransebes m-a chemat la el si mi-a zis, „Lasa-i tu pe astia ca au copii, au cine sa mearga la ei. Noi avem problemele noastre”.

Trecand 9 ani de zile si fiind in aceiasi manastire eu m-am acrit de mine. Nu ma mai puteam suporta. Ajunsesem atata de slab ca eram numai pielea si osul si nu mai simteam dragostea aceea, nu mai simteam pe Dumnezeu. Nu simteam in mine ca as fi vrut ceva mai mult pentru Dumnezeu si viata mea sa se schimbe. Pana intr-o zi de toamna, cand s-a terminat slujba de seara, am incuiat usa, au plecat toti calugarii de la manstire. Dupa aceea eu am incuiat si m-am pus in genunchi, fara sa ma mai inchin la idoli si la icoane, fara sa mai fac semnul crucii.

Si in momentul cand m-am prosternut pe genunchi si am spus asa, „Tata, Dumnezeul meu care esti in ceruri si tu ma vezi in locul acesta, daca este voia Ta sa raman aici, aici sa imi putrezeasca oasele, dar daca nu este scoate-ma din lucul acesta”. N-am terminat sa spun lucrul acesta ca peste mine a venit o putere extraordinara si a inceput sa ma zdruncine. Era puterea Duhului lui Dumnezeu care a intrat in mine si a inceput sa ma cerceteze. Au inceput sa imi tisneasca lacrimile si nu ma mai puteam opri. Parca nu mai vroiam sa ma ridic de pe genunchi si bate cineva la usa. Era staretul. Zice, „Ce se intampla cu tine?” „Uitati-va zic, nu stiu ce se intampla. Am zis ca orice vrea Dumnezeu, sa stau sa ma scoata din locul acesta”.

Mi-a zis, „Sa stii ca a venit diavolul la tine”. Diavolul sa vina la mine cand eu plang si il rog pe Dumnezeu? Vine Dumnezeu! Diavolul vine cu ura, cu necaz, cu probleme te face, te distruge. Dar Dumnezeu te ridica, te mangaie… si am zis, „Faca-se voia lui Dumnezeu”. El s-a uitat la mine stiind ca ceva se intampla cu mine, m-a lasat in pace. A doua noapte am avut un vis ca a venit o femeie la mine si mi-a zis, „Iesi din locul acesta, daca nu, te vei duce dupa parintii tai”.  A spus si a disparut. M-am cutremurat. Am zis: cum sa ies, am legamantul aici? Stiam ca dupa ce voi pleca de acolo, ori voi innebuni ori daca ma voi casatori vor innebuni copii sau cine stie ce boli vor veni peste mine. Am auzit ca la foarte multi preoti sau calugari care au parasit li s-au intamplat lucrurile acestea pentru ca au avut legatura cu intunericul si in momentul acela, fiind in lume, duhurile acelea i-a distrus. Dar slavit sa fie Domnul ca la mine nu au mai avut putere ca de acolo eu am venit la Hristos. Salvit sa fie Domnul! Ca e viu si lucreaza, salvit sa fie El!

Dimineata mi-am luat geanta si am spus, „Preasfintirile voastre, eu ies de aici.” Au zis, „Ai innebunit. Te bagam in blasfemie. Te vom blestema pentru ca parasesti manastirea si lucrul pe care l-ai facut”. Am zis, „Faca Dumnezeu ce-o vrea sa faca cu mine. Daca e sa mor, sa mor. Daca e sa traiesc, sa traiesc.” Si am plecat din locul acela. Ei au inceput sa ma scuipe si sa faca semnul crucii si au inceput sa ma blesteme pentru ca am plecat din locul acela. Dar, Dumnezeu binecuvinteaza, nu blestema. Dumnezeu iubeste, Dumnezeu nu uuraste. Slavit sa fie El!

M-am pus pe un tren si acolo a venit o fata de vreo 21 de ani si m-a intrebat la ce manastire sunt. Am zis, „Am fost la ce manastire si ce mi s-a intamplat si plec incotro…” Zice fata, „Parinte, am curvit, am facut un avort. Ce canon voi primi?” La ortodoxi pentru asa ceva se dadea un canon de 15 ani. Aveai sa spui de 50 de ori Tatal nostru in fiecare zi si cam 100 de matanii ca sa ti se ierte acest pacat. Bineinteles ca nimeni nu putea sa respecte acest canon. Eu am zis, „Mai fata, uite care-i treaba. Du-te si te pocaieste ca si eu ma voi pocai”. Fata a plecat nedumerita de la mine. Nu dupa multa vreme au venit niste femei in compartiment si au zis, „Parinte, uite aici niste pomeni pentru copii, pentru pomenirea mortii, pentru saraci”. Am zis, „Mai, femei bune luati banii si dati-i la saraci ca nimeni nu va citeste pomenile acestea, dar mergeti si va pocaiti”. Femeile acelea, iarasi au ramas uimite de ceea ce le-am spus.

Uploaded by  on Jan 6, 2011 Un calugar se intoarce la Domnul

Eu nu stiam ça Dumnezeu vorbeste prin gura mea si habar nu aveam de pocainta. Am ajuns la Bucuresti cu aproape 100 de oameni in gara, nemultumiti de listele si banii care le solocitau preotii si manastirile. Le-am zis, „Oameni buni, pocaiti-va si intorceti-va la Dumnezeu ca si eu ma voi pocai”. Dintre ei, multi se uitau la mine, multi au zimbit, altii erau impotriva mea. In grupul acela era un om care a zis, „Mai, ce-i cu tine? Te-ai pocait?” Am zis, „Nu stiu ce s-a intamplat”. Acesta era un frate pocait din Bucuresti. A zis, „Hai cu mine acasa”. M-a luat cu el acasa, mi-a spalat picioarele, mi-a dat ceva sa mananc si mi-a spus, „Ramai la mine”.  Am zis, „Eu nu pot sa raman la tine. Nu stiu ce plan are Dumnezeu cu mine, dar eu vreau s ama duc mai departe”. A zis, „Hai cu mine sa te duc la cineva”, si m-a dus la Gabi Lunca. Cand am intrat in casa, in partea dreapta era un grup de rugaciune si se ridica si cand ma vede acolo barbat in negru s-au speriat. L-au intrebat pe fratele: ce e cu asta aici? A zis fratele, „L-am gasit in gara si l-am adus aici. Cred ca s-a intors la Dumnezeu. Au zis sa ne rugam.

In momentul cand ne-am pus jos sa ne rugam, din nou cercetarea aceea a Duhului Sfant care am avut-o in manastire  si am inceput sa pland. Imi era rusine sa planf intre femei. Eram barbat si la noi in mansatire nu stiam sa plangem din cauza invataturii, din cauza intunericului si a racelii. Dar cand Hristos se descopera in om, el sparge inima de piatra. El deschide mintea, ochii lumineaza. Ii cad solzii de pe ochi si vad ca e viu Domnul nostru! E o lucrare minunata cand Dumnezeu intoarce pe om de la pacat la El. Apoi sora Gabi Lunca mi-a dat niste Biblii si le-am spus ca eu vreau sa vad ce vrea Domnul cu mine.

Am plecat de acolo si m-am pus pe tren spre Galati unde m-am bagat in doua manastiri vechi ukrainene. Cand am vazut din nou ca mirosul de luminare, mirosul de tamaie, cand am vazut sfintii aceia care erau atata de intunecati si cand am vazut intunericul care era, am zis, „Doamne, daca Tu imi dai putere sa ies de aici, eu nu mai intru cat traiesc. Si slavit sa fie Domnul ca mi-a dat putere sa ies din locul acela. Am iesit intr-un parc mare in Galati si am ridicat capul spre cer si am zis, „Tata, din manastire am plecat. Capul nu mai am unde sa mi-l plec. Unde ma voi duce?” Si atunci peste mine a venit o cercetare si nu ma mai puteam opri din plans caci Dumnezeul cerurilor, care vede pe oricine a venit in locul acela unde am strigat dupa El ca sa aiba mila de mine. Slavit sa fie Domnul, ca El vede lacrimile fiecaruia si nu-i lasa. Cuvantul Domnului spune caci „cu nici un chip n-am sa te las”.

Au venit cateva persoane la mine si m-au intrebat, „Parinte ti-e rau, ce ai patit? Parinte, ce e cu tine?” Am zis, „Dati-va la o parte ca eu stiu ce e cu mine”. Si stiam ca ma cerceteaza Dumnezeu. N-a durat mult timp pana am iesit la trotuar pe drumul care duce de la Galati la Calarasi. Trei sau cinci minute am stat in locul acela si iata ca opreste o masina albastra, Dacia 1100 si spune, „Parinte, incotro?” Am zis, „Eu nu sunt Parinte, Isus Hristos fiul lui Dumnezeu, eu nu mi-s nimic”. Zice el, „Intra in fata.” Pentru ca am avut hainele astea negre am intrat in spate (era mai spatios) si am pornit la drum. Zice, „La ce manastire”. Am zis, „Nu mai sunt, am iesit de acolo”. „Dar, incotro mergi?” „Nu stiu unde ma duc”.

El era din biserica din Calarasi. El zice, „Mai omule, inainte de a ajunge eu unde esti tu mi s-a oprit motorul la 100 de metri”. I s-a oprit motorul brusc. El s-a dat jos din masina si a zis, „Doamne, oare ce ai tu de lucru cu mine in locul asta de mi s-a oprit masina? ”  Dumnezeu a facut ca eu , pana ce ies la locul acela, sa i se strice masina. I-a stricat Dumnezeu masina ca sa vina si sa ma ia pe mine si sa ma duca cu el. In masina am spus sa-mi predice evanghelia. A inceput sa imi predice evanghelia cu atata har, plangea, nu mai putea. Am tras la o parte. Plangea in hohote. O parte din biserica din Calarasi s-a intors prin fratele acesta. Dupa aceea, Duhul lui Dumnezeu a venit peste mine si am avut aceeasi intamplare cum am avut inainte. L-am luat in brate si l-am sarutat. Nu mai ma puteam desparti de el, acolo era Domnul.  A zis, „Vii cu mine acas”. „Merg unde vrei tu, dar du-ma la Dumnezeu. Du-ma acolo unde crezi tu ca trebuie sa merg”. Cand am ajuns la el acasa, avea  5 copii mai mici care s-au speriat cand m-au vazut in negru. A zis sotia lui, „Ce-i cu asta?” I-a zis, „Cred ca s-a intors la Domnul”.  Ne-am pus toti 3 cu copii sa ne rugam si ii zice Domnul prin Duhul Sfant acestei femei (era vas de lucru): Asculta barbate ce vorbeste Domnul. Te-am scos din locurile acelea intunecoase. Te-am scos din adancul cel mare ca pe baza marturiei tale si lucrarea care vreau sa o fac prin tine sa spui din cetate in cetate de unde te-am scos pentru ca am multe persoane care sa le scot de la intuneric la lumina.

Eu n-am inteles lucrarea Duhului Sfant pentru ca nu cunosteam lucrarea Duhului Sfant. Am fost extraordinar de cercetat in acea rugaciune. M-am ridicat in picioare si am zis, „O ce ma bucur ca o sa intru si eu la lucru”. „Nu,” a zis el, „Lucrarea a fost ca tu o sa depui marturie prin locurile unde vei merge despre locul din care te-a scos Domnul ca oamenii sa se intoarca la Dumnezeu”.  M-au dus si m-au prezentat la biserica din Calarasi. Cand am auzit cantarile alea pline de har am crezut ca ma coplesesc de tot. Eram singurul care incepeam sa plang si imi era rusine. Dumnezeu deschidea izvorul din inima mea. Fratele pastor a zis ca cine vrea sa urmeze pe Domnul sa vina in fata. M-am dus si m-am prabusit inaintea adunarii si adunarea a cerut pentru mine eliberari de duhuri rele si de legaturile care s-au facut pe mine in viata mea, ca Dumnezeu sa le rupa prin sangele Lui cel sfant si sa ma faca un alt om, un om nou.

Dupa aceasta rugaciune, eu m-am ridicat de jos, am fost altul. Slavit sa fie Dumnezeu. Mi-am dat haina de calugar jos, m-am ras, fratii mi-au dat un costum. Cand am dat mana ‘pacea Domnului’, fratii nu m-au mai cunoscut cine sunt. Le-am spus ca eu sunt calugarul ala. Toata adunarea s-a bucurat si va dati seama ce bucurie a fost acolo. Am facut catecheza si am inceput sa invat din cuvantul lui Dumnezeu. Dupa aceea am intrat in apa botezului si cand am iesit din apa botezului, o alta bucurie. Ca zice Dumnezeu ca pana si ingerii se bucura in cer cand un pacatos se intoarce la Dumnezeu. Daca stau si ma gandesc, sunt 65 de preoti si calugari acuma in toata Romania care ne-am intors.

Apoi am mers prin locurile unde am fost inainte marturisind lucrarea in viata mea. Eu nu sunt predicator, nu sunt evanghelist, dar numai pe baza marturiei, Dumnezeu folosea si lucra in inimi la oameni ca sa se intoarca la Dumnezeu. Dupa aceea m-am casatorit si la un timp am plecat la Bruxelles. Aveam diabet foarte grav si imi faceam 4 insuline pe zi. Am zis, „Doamne, ca sa nu fiu o povara pe familie, ia-mi viata si cel putin sotiei si fetitei sa le fie mai bine”.  Toata biserica din Bruxelles (suntem aproape 800 de membri) s-a rugat ca Dumnezeu sa ma elibereze de Duhul acesta de boala. A venit un vas de lucru de la Suceava si a spus, „Scurta este vremea barbatule cand te vei vindeca, cand ti se va face ungerea. Slavit sa fie Dumnezeu ca El vindeca, vine vremea cand vindeca si El stie de ce o lasa povara. Nu dupa mult timp am auzit ca vin fratii de la Zalau la noi ca sa faca ungerea la noi in Bruxelles. Adevarul e ca nu se prea face ungeea la noi ca e o biserica tanara, formata acum si nu sunt asa cu experienta in domeniul acesta. Si eu am stiut ca daca vin fratii, Dumnezeu lucreaza si mi se va face ungerea si voi fi vindecat. Seara, la 9:30 imi fac ultima insulina in adunare si am zis, „Doamne, Tu ma vezi ca sunt aici pe scaun si mi-am facut insulina. Doamne, cu credinta vin ianintea Ta ca eu nu mai folosesc ace”. Ma impungeam de 120 de ori pe luna. Am zis, „Doamne, eu cu credinta vin inaintea Ta ca in seara asta ma vindeci.” Cand mi-a venit randul sa intru pe scena si sa mi se faca ungerea fratii se rugau pentu mine. Am simtit cercetarea Duhului lui Dumnezeu si eliberarea trupului meu de boala. Am coborat de pe scena si le-am zis fratilor ca simt o bucurie si ca ceva s-a petrecut in el. A zis, „Cred ca nu mai am diabet”. Toti erau nedumeriti. Dimineata cand trebuia sa imi fac insulina  si sa mananc ca sa nu cad in coma diabetica, eu m-am pus i ngenunchi cu sotia si fetita si am zis, „Doamne, iti multumesc ca mi-ai luat duhul de boala. Eu nu mai am nevoie de insulina.” Trece ora 12. Am zis, „Doamne,  iti multumesc ca nu mai iau insulina.” A trecut ora 5 seara, „Doamne iti multumesc ca nu mai iau insulina”. A trecut 9 seara si am zis, „Doamne, pot manca orice si sant bine”. Vine ziua a doua, vine ziua a treia, toata lumea se uita la mine si se bucura toata adunarea ca Dumnezeu a facut aceasta lucrare. In seara aceea au fost 8 suflete vindecate, 11 botezuri cu Duh Sfant, au fost niste seri minunate. Slavit sa fie Domnul!

Doctorii din Bruxelles au constatât ça e o perioada cand mi-a scazut mie glicemia dar sa intru in spital si sa fac din nou insulina ca s-ar putea sa paralizez sau sa fac emfart. Dar uitati, ca de atunci sunt un om sanatos. Pot sa muncesc, pot sa imi intretin familia. I-am zis, „Dar, doamana doctor, medicul suprem m-a vindecat”. A vrut sa imi dea pensie (de boala) 700 de euros dar eu am refuzat pentru ca eu nu aveam nevoie de pensia lor. Astazi muncesc si Il laud pe Dumnezeu.

Dupa aceasta inregistrare, Florin Pistriceanu urma sa faca o calatorie la o manastire in Tulcea, impreuna cu Cristian Florea, sa depuna marturie despre intoarcerea lor la Hristos fata de 60 de calugari. Acolo urma sa se inchida manastirea 5 zile ca ei sa faca post, rugaciune si evanghelizare.

Related articles

Kevin DeYoung – Incentives for Acting the Miracle from Desiring God Conference September 28-30, 2012

source: By John Piper. ©2012 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org

View/Read John Piper’s Conference messages here-

  1. John Piper – Putting Sanctification in Its Place – Part 1 of 2 from the Desiring God Conference September 28-30, 2012
  2. John Piper – Future Grace, the Word of the Cross, and the Purifying Power of God’s Promises – Part 2 of 2 from the Desiring God Conference September 28-30, 2012

Some great points from Kevin DeYoung’s message (see full transcript below): God has a vision of holiness. As we would grow to share in this holiness that belongs to God, that we are in Christ and now we start to look like Christ. So those are the commands. But, what does Paul do, and what does God do by the Holy Spirit, through Paul to get us from here to there? There is holiness- put away, anger, malice, immorality. Put on love, patience, gentleness. What does he do to get us from here- we don’t have those things and we’re more sinful than we think, and we’re less gracious than we realize and he wants to get us over here. Well, he doesn’t just give a long list of commands; he gives motivation. He gives theology. If you don’t care about theology, you don’t care about holiness. Because, what God does is to give the Colossians lots of theology to stir them up to this new kind of life.

He says in verse 1 – „You have been raised with Christ, so seek the things that are above, with Christ seated at the throne above. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth”. You see the motivation? Set your mind on heavenly things. Why? Because you have been raised form the grave with Christ, you have been raised in His ascension, so that you now are seated in the heavenly places with Christ.

  • So, here’s the logic: If you reside in heaven now with Christ, why are you making choices as if you lived in hell?
  • Your placement with Christ is a motivation for your progress in Christ likeness.
  • And God will say .. to you, „Do you know where you are?” You’re seated with Christ. You’ve been raised with Him where He is. Shouldn’t where you are make a difference to what you’re like?
  • You have to picture Christ on the cross and see Him hanging there not only for the penalty of your sin, but FROM the power of that sin
  • Some people have a very hard time understanding that threats and warnings in Scripture are there for our sanctification.
  • „Shouldn’t we be emphasizing God’s grace? Isn’t it all of grace?” And I say, „Yes! And what makes you think the warning of God’s wrath is not His grace to you?”

Kevin DeYoung (my full transcript):

One of the aims of this message is to correct a problem. The problem is this: Believing, preaching, praying, counseling, and self diagnosing as if there were only one proper motivation for holiness.

That’s a problem not always stated explicitly. It sometimes seeps into our bloodstream and how we do ministry, or how we speak to others, or to ourselves. And, if proper is too strong a word, we might say ‘best, deepest, pious, truest, ultimate motivation. Is there only one? My concern is that as we try to help people on their journey to sanctification, we not unnecessarily limit ourselves. I fear that we often remove some of the tools from our sanctification tool belt, or we set aside some of the weapons of our warfare. Or that we flatten the promises and commands and warnings of scripture, so that we no longer say all that the Bible allows us to say and would have us say.

I think of it like this: Jesus is our great physician. And, as any good doctor, He knows how to write different prescriptions for different illnesses. Jesus knows what we need, He has many doses at His disposal. God knows personalities and sins and situations. And so He is gracious to come at us with all sorts of truth, from all sorts of angles to make us more like Christ. Jesus has many medicines for our motivations. Good doctors can give lots of different prescriptions and what I fear is that we may get locked in a ‘one size fits all’ approach to our growth in godliness. And we may even stumble upon a true, good, biblical motivation. But, if we make it the only one, we will be short circuiting our sanctification.

Sanctification at the micro level

Let me give you a few short examples:

  1. Duty. Luke 17:10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” Eclesiastes 12:13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. We do have a duty, something that is required of us before God. We owe Him our obedience. He is God, we are not. So, duty’s not bad. But, it’s far from the normal way in which God speaks of His commandments. He doesn’t just come our way and say, „I’m the Lord, your God, so you’d better do it!” Think of what He says in the 10 commandments, „I am the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt,” don’t miss that part. Before He gives us a list; God doesn’t just give us a bald list of commands, „Here you go, top 10 commands, for Christians, there it is”. He starts by saying, „I am the Lord your god, your God… I brought you out of Egypt…Do not worship anything or anyone else”. He’ll say, „Don’t bow down to graven images.” Why? „Because I am a jealous God and I visit iniquity, visit the sin in the third and fourth generation and I show steadfast love to thousands of generations.” „Do not take the name of the Lord, your God in vain. Observe the Sabbath day,”  and in Exodus ‘observe the 7th day’ because God rested on the 7th day. Deuteronomy says, „Take a beak, give your people a break because you were slaves once too, so don’t be treating your servants like they’re slaves. Honor your mother and father, that it may go well with you.” So, God comes at us, not just with a list of commandments, but with many reasons for those commandments.
  2. Gratitude. Romans 12:1 – I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. I believe he is hearkening back to all of the promises in Romans 1 through 11, all of the massive truth there, in view of those realities in in gratitude for them. Ephesians 5:4- Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, gratitude helps to squeeze  out what is mean and bitter and nasty. So, whatever problems you may have, if you’re an angry person, one of your problems is gratitude problem. But, gratitude by itself is not enough. It can quickly turn into s debtor’s ethic. i.e. All this has been given to me by God, so the rest of my life I’m trying to prove how thankful I am. Or, there is a tendency, with gratitude as your only motivation that you only look backwards at what has happened. So duty is fine, gratitude is good, but not by themselves as the only motivation.
  3. Justification. It is gloriously true that we are accepted before God because of the work of Christ alone, the benefits of which we receive through faith alone, by grace alone. That ought to be our sweet song and confession at all times. And, this is a MAJOR motivation for holiness. If we are accepted by God, we don’t have to live for the approval of others. If there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus, then we don’t have to fear the disappointment of others. So there’s no doubt that justification is fuel for our sanctification. But, it is not the only kind of fuel we can put in the tank. If we only remind people of our acceptance before God, we will flatten the contours of Scripture and we will be poor physicians of souls.

James 4:1- What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? James is saying, „Because you have now come to grips with your acceptance.” He says, „But, you’re covetous, you’re selfish, you want things that you don’t have, you’re demanding, you’re in love with the world. You’re envious”. That’s what’s going on with your heart right now.

The problem is that we fall into this risk of thinking that there is just one need, there is just one motivation. It’s the same problem, but on a different level that some of christian psychology fell into- assuming a universal needs theory. Sin is always an expression of unbelief. But, there are lots of God’s promises I can be disbelieving at any moment: His promise to accept me in Christ, His promise to judge the wicked or His promise to come again, or His promise to give me an inheritance, or His promise to turn everything to my good. To remind each other of justification is never a wrong answer, it is a precious remedy. But, it is not the only one that we need and it is not the only one that Scripture offers.

Colossians 3– We see in this chapter and we see in so many chapters the multiplicity of biblical motivations for holiness. The first part of the chapter, verses 1 through 17 give a macro level view of how God motivates us. It deals with general commands, general principles. And then, the last part of the chapter- the household code, verses 18 and following, gives us the micro level view where you zero in on the family and day to day life and see how God gives specific motivations for specific commands.

At the macro level– first thing to notice is that this passage is full of imperatives. Paul wants the Colossians to live a certain way. He doesn’t assume that just by telling them the good news of the Gospel, that it will happen. He goes on to tell them what it should look like. He wants them to grow in sanctification. So look at the commands here:

  • verse 2 Set your minds on things that are above
  • verse 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you. That means immorality, impurity, evil desire, idolatry, covetousness
  • verse 8 put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
  • verse 9 Do not lie
  • verse 12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness,humility, meekness, and patience
  • verse 15 let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
  • verse 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
  • verse 17 do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God

The whole passage is a long series of statements with imperatival force. God has a vision of holiness. As we would grow to share in this holiness that belongs to God, that we are in Christ and now we start to look like Christ. So those are the commands. But, what does Paul do, and what does God do by the Holy Spirit, through Paul to get us from here to there? There is holiness- put away, anger, malice, immorality. Put on love, patience, gentleness. What does he do to get us from here- we don’t have those things and we’re more sinful than we think, and we’re less gracious than we realize and he wants to get us over here. Well, he doesn’t just give a long list of commands; he gives motivation. He gives theology. If you don’t care about theology, you don’t care about holiness. Because, what God does is to give the Colossians lots of theology to stir them up to this new kind of life. (20:11 minute mark)

  1. You’ve been raised up – He says in verse 1 – „You have been raised with Christ, so seek the things that are above, with Christ seated at the throne above. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth”. You see the motivation? Set your mind on heavenly things. Why? Because you have been raised form the grave with Christ, you have been raised in His ascension, so that you now are seated in the heavenly places with Christ.  So, here’s the logic: If you reside in heaven now with Christ, why are you making choices as if you lived in hell? Your placement with Christ is a motivation for your progress in Christ likeness. He wants to remind the Colossians, „Do you know where you are this morning? And God will say that to you, „Do you know where you are?” You’re seated with Christ. You’ve been raised with Him where He is. Shouldn’t where you are make a difference what you’re like? 
  2. You’ve died – Then in verse 3 he says, „You’ve died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God to turn from your past and sin and your unrighetousness„. You have to do more than just turn the page. People say you have to turn over a new leaf. No, you have to consider your old self dead, buried. You have to picture Christ on the cross and see Him hanging there not only for the penalty of your sin, but FROM the power of that sin. And you have to see, hanging up there on that cross with Christ is the ‘you’ that was into drugs, and the you that manipulated people, and the you that was angry all the time and the you that was filled with bitterness, and the you that lived from sensuality to sensuality. That you is dead. You died.
  3. Consider what you will become – You see now, verse 4 „When Christ, who is your life appears, you will also appear with Him in glory”. So, this motivation is working in the opposite direction. Instead of considering what you once were and how you are dead, now, you consider what you will become.  What you will be like when your Christ comes and you appear with Him in glory. There’s a better you that you’re getting to. That’s why, as you’ve heard last night, sanctification and glorification are all of a piece- the process of making you perfectly glorified, fit for heaven, for all eternity is under way now. And so, Paul motivates by saying, „Think of who you will be when Christ appears. Think of whom you will be, that man, that woman, that child, without sin, without all of the anger and the bitterness that you have now. Now, think of that you”. Isn’t that what we do when we have a goal in life. 1 John 3:2 „Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared. But, we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him because we shall see Him as He is”. 
  4. Consider God’s wrath – Here is a different kind of motivation, he tells them to put away these earthly desires and in verse 6 he says, „On account of these, the wrath of God is coming”. Some people have a very hard time understanding that threats and warnings in Scripture are there for our sanctification. You try to piece together, „I thought we have eternal security and God’s gonna keep us and He’s going to preserve us, to the end”. That’s wonderfully, absolutely true. And how do you think He preserves the elect to the end? By warning them of what will happen if they did not. In God’s people, these warnings stir up something in their hearts so that says, „Oh Lord, You would be just to judge and keep me in the love of God, even as You keep me in the love of God”. The warnings are God’s means of preserving the saints. Sometimes, in an effort to be Gospel centered we shy away from the warnings in Scripture. Some of you may desperately need to hear about your new identity in Christ, you need to hear how much God loves you in Jesus and there may be others of you that you need to hear, „Look, the way you are living right now, and the stuff that you are into right now, this is why the wrath of God is coming. Coming for people who do things like those you are living for. His wrath will be poured out on the earth for the things you think are no big deal. Some people need the literal hell scared out of them. But you say, „Shouldn’t we be emphasizing God’s grace? Isn’t it all of grace?” And I say, „Yes! And what makes you think the warning of God’s wrath is not His grace to you?” If you are not giving to yourself, or to your friends or to your people all of the grace that God has for you. If you are not warning them of what God will do, and what He will pour out upon those who are found to be unrighteous and unbelieving.
  5. You are a new creation in Christ. Paul goes on in verse 9 & 10 to describe the reality as a new creation in Christ.
  6. Christ is in all of you. In verse 11, „that’s why you are to bear with one another and love one another, and maintain unity with one another„.
  7. Consider your identity as God’s chosen ones, holy. Don’t pass by that verse 12. Pay attention to what God calls us: Chosen ones, holy, beloved. There’s a difference in how a coach can talk to a player. That’s how I picture God, pulling us in and saying, „Listen, my chosen ones, my holy ones, my beloved ones…” Don’t you know this parents, how a father can pull aside his son and those identity words can make all the difference? You can bark out commands to your son or you can say, „Look, you are my son and I love you with all of my heart. And you are my special boy and you are special, smart and I am so proud of you. And you will always be my child and I will always be your daddy, but, we gotta talk about some of the things you’re doing.” That’ll get their attention. God comes at you and He doesn’t just yell out commands. He says, „My chosen ones. I chose you before the foundation of the world. You had nothing good in you that I should choose you, but, in order to set my affection on you, that you might be my treasured possession, I chose you. I count you holy in Christ  and you are beloved to me.
  8. verse 13, Paul says, „We’ve been forgiven, so we ought to forgive. verse 14 „consider what love does, it binds things together in harmony. verse 15 „consider you are one body, so therefore be at peace”.

Do you see the multiplicity of motivations coming from a dozen different angles to get us from here to there? To move one itty, bitty degree of glory to the next? God doesn’t just say, „Here’s the list and just do it”. He says, „Let me tell you all the reasons why”. Here’s a simpler way of looking at what God did. Step back and think for a moment here at what God is doing in Colossians. He basically does three things:

  1. He tells them what was- you died, you were raised, you’re not your old self
  2. He tells them what is- you’re in heaven, you’re in Christ, you’re a new creation, you’re one body
  3. and He tells them what will be- the wrath of God is coming, and Christ is coming, and the glorious appearing is coming, and an inheritance is coming

(transcript from first half of the video) What follows – Sanctification at macro level from Colossians text.

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