How & When do we get Freedom from the (1) Guilt of sin (2) Power of sin (3) Presence of sin?

Justification,sanctification,glorification from Gospel Coalition

Seminary Professor AUGUSTUS NICODEMUS GOMES LOPES explains:

  1. The first step, justification, is an act of God whereby he considers us righteous on the merits of his Son. It’s a legal declaration made once for all, and it is the basis for all that follows.
  2. The second step, sanctification, is our deliverance from sin’s power. This process begins after justification and continues our entire life. Sanctification does not entail complete eradication of our fallen nature, but it does help to subdue and slay it. This is the stage of salvation in which all Christians presently live. The Lord provides us means of grace like biblical meditation, prayer, and fellowship with other believers to harness the Spirit’s sanctifying power. It’s also vital to pray specifically for the spiritual fruit of self-control. This fight is a fierce and seemingly endless struggle, but the fight itself is not sin. Temptation only becomes sin when we yield to it. Victory, however, comes when we say „no,” hour after hour, by the Spirit’s power.
  3. The final step, glorification, is our ultimate freedom from sin’s indwelling presence. It will occur when we die or when our King returns. There will be a resurrection of the dead and a transformation of believers still alive. All God’s children will become like God’s Son in immaculate, immortal, imperishable, glorified bodies.

Source: The Gospel Coalition

A W Pink – The Law and the Saint (Part 3)

READ Part 1 here

READ Part 2 here

Arthur and Vera pink July 20, 1928 (via amazon.com)

The Positive Side
   What is the relation of the Law (the Ten Commandments) to Christians?
   In our previous chapter we pointed out how that three radically
   different answers have been returned to this question. The first, that
   sinners become saints by obeying the Law. This is Legalism pure and
   simple. It is heresy of the most dangerous kind. All who really believe
   and act on it as the ground of their acceptance by God, will perish
   eternally. Second, others say that the Law is not binding on Christians
   because it has been abolished. This is, we are fully assured, a serious
   error. It arises from a mistaken interpretation of certain passages in
   the Epistles. The inevitable tendency of such an error is toward
   Antinomianism, the "turning of the grace of God into lasciviousness"
   (Jude 4). Third, others affirm, and the writer is among the number,
   that the Ten Commandments are an expression of the unchanging character
   and will of God: that they are a moral standard of conduct which we
   disregard at our peril: that they are, and will ever be, binding upon
   every Christian.

   In our last chapter we sought to prepare the way for the present one.
   There, we dealt with the negative side; here, we shall treat of the
   positive. In the former, we sought to give the true meaning of the
   principal passages in the New Testament appealed to by those who deny
   that the Ten Commandments are now binding on Christians. In the present
   chapter, we shall endeavor to expound some of the many passages in the
   New Testament which affirm that the Ten Commandments are now binding on
   Christians. We, therefore, invite the reader's most diligent and
   prayerful attention to the scriptures cited and our comments upon them.

   1. "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am
   not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till
   heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from
   the Law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of
   these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called
   the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach
   them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt.
   5:17-19). It might appear to the disciples of Christ that their Master
   intended to set aside Moses and the Prophets, and introduce an entirely
   new standard of morality. It was true indeed that He would expose the
   error of depending on the work of the Law for acceptance with God (as
   Moses and the prophets had done before Him); but it was no part of His
   design to set aside the Law itself. He was about to correct various
   corruptions, which obtained among the Jews, hence He is careful to
   preface what He has to say by cautioning them not to misconstrue His
   designs. So far from having any intention of repudiating Moses, He most
   emphatically asserts: first, that He had not come to destroy the Law;
   second, that He had come to "fulfill" it; third, that the Law is of
   perpetual obligation; fourth, that whoso breaks one of the least of the
   Law's commandments and teaches other so to do, shall suffer loss;
   fifth, that he who kept the Law and taught men to respect and obey it
   should be rewarded.

   "I am not come to destroy the Law"--the Prophets simply expounded the
   Law, and rebuked Israel for their failure to keep it, and forwarned
   them of the consequences of continued disobedience. "I am not come to
   destroy the Law." Nothing could be more explicit. The word "destroy"
   here means "to dissolve or overthrow". When, then, our Lord said that
   He had not come to destroy the Law He gave us to understand that it was
   not the purpose of His mission to repeal or annul the Ten Commandments:
   that he had not come to free men from their obligations to them. And if
   He did not "destroy" the Law, then no one had destroyed it; and if no
   one has destroyed it, then the Law still stands with all its Divine
   authority; and if the Law still abides as the unchanging expression of
   God's character and will, then every human creature is under lasting
   obligation to obey it; and if every human creature, then the Christian!

   Second, the Son of God went on to say "I am not come to destroy, but to
   fulfill". The word "fulfill" here means "to fill up, to complete".
   Christ "fulfilled" the Law in three ways: first, by rendering personal
   obedience to its precepts. God's Law was within His heart (Psa. 40:8),
   and in thought, word and deed, He perfectly met its requirements; and
   thus by His obedience He magnified the Law and made it honorable (Isa.
   42:21). Second, by suffering (at the Cross) its death-penalty on behalf
   of His people who had transgressed it. Third, by exhibiting its fulness
   and spirituality and by amplifying its contents. Thus did Christ, our
   Exemplar, "fulfill the Law."

   So far from Christ having repealed the Law, He expressly affirmed,
   "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass
   from the Law, till all be fulfilled." In these words He announces the
   perpetuity of the Law. So long as heaven and earth shall last, the Law
   will endure, and by necessary implication, the lasting obligations of
   all men to fulfill it.

   But this is not all that our Lord here said. With omniscient foresight
   He anticipated what Mr. Mead has aptly termed "The Modern Outcry
   against the Law", and proceeds to solemnly warn against it. He said,
   "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and
   shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of
   heaven".

   2. "Do we then make void the Law through faith? God forbid: yea, we
   establish the Law" (Rom. 3:31). In the previous part of the chapter the
   apostle had proven that "there is none righteous, no not one" (v. 10);
   second, he had declared "By the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh
   be justified" (v. 2); then in vv. 21-26 he had set forth the Divine way
   of salvation--"through faith in Christ's blood". In v.28, he sums up
   his argument by affirming "a man is justified by faith without the
   deeds of the Law". In vv. 29, 30 he proves that this is true for Jew
   and Gentile alike. Then, in v.31, he anticipates an objection: What
   about the Law, then? This was a very pertinent question. Twice had he
   said that justification was apart from the deeds of the Law. If, then,
   the Law served no purpose in effecting the salvation of sinners, has it
   no office at all? If we are saved "through faith" is the Law useless?
   Are we to understand you to mean (Paul) that the Law has been annulled?
   Not at all, is the apostle's answer: "We establish the Law."

   What did the apostle mean when he said "we establish the Law"? He meant
   that, as saved men, Christians are under additional obligations to obey
   the Law, for they are now furnished with new and more powerful motives
   to serve God. Righteousness imputed to the believer produces in the
   justified one a kind and an extent of obedience which could not
   otherwise have been obtained. So far from rendering void or nullifying
   the authority and use of the Law, it sustains and confirms them. Our
   moral obligation to God and our neighbor has not been weakened, but
   strengthened. Below we offer one or two brief excerpts from other
   expositors.

   "Does not the doctrine of faith evacuate the Old Testament of its
   meaning, and does it not make law void, and lead to disregard of it?
   Does it not open the door to license of living? To this the apostle
   replies, that it certainly does not; but that, on the contrary, the
   Gospel puts law on a proper basis and establishes it on its foundation
   as a revelation of God's will" (Dr. Griffith-Thomas).

   "We cancel law, then, by this faith of ours? We open the door, then, to
   moral license? We abolish code and precept, then, when we ask not for
   conduct, but for faith? Away with the thought; nay, we establish law;
   we go the very way to give a new sacredness to its every command, and
   to disclose a new power for the fulfillment of them all. But how this
   is, and is to be, the later argument is to show" (Dr. Handley Moule).

   "Objection. If man is justified by faith without works, does not that
   do away with law entirely, i.e. teach lawlessness? Answer:By no means.
   It establishes the law. When a man is saved by grace, that does not
   make him lawless. There is a power within him which does not destroy,
   but it strengthens the law, and causes him to keep it, not through
   fear, but through love of God" (H. S. Miller, M.A.).

   3. "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man...with the
   mind I myself serve the Law of God" (Rom 7:22-25). In this chapter the
   apostle does two things: first, he shows what is not and what is the
   Law's relation to the believer--judicially, the believer is emancipated
   from the curse or penalty of the Law (7:1-6); morally, the believer is
   under bonds to obey the Law (vv. 22, 25). Secondly, he guards against a
   false inference being drawn from what he had taught in chapter 6. In
   6:1-11 he sets forth the believer's identification with Christ as "dead
   to sin" (vv. 2, 7, etc.). Then, from v. 11 onwards, he shows the effect
   this truth should have upon the believer's walk. In chapter 7 he
   follows the same order of thought. In 7:1-6 he treats of the believer's
   identification with Christ as "dead to the law" (see vv. 4 and 6).
   Then, from v. 7 onwards he describes the experiences of the Christian.
   Thus the first half of Rom. 6 and the first half of Rom. 7 deal with
   the believer's standing, whereas the second half of each chapter treats
   of the believer's state; but with this difference: the second half of
   Rom. 6 reveals what our state ought to be, whereas the second half of
   Rom. 7 (vv. 13-25) shows what our state actually is. [6]

   The controversy which has raged over Rom. 7 is largely the fruitage of
   the Perfectionism of Wesley and his followers. That brethren, whom we
   have cause to respect, should have adopted this error in a modified
   form, only shows how widespread today is the spirit of Laodiceanism. To
   talk of "getting out of Rom. 7 into Rom. 8" is excuseless folly. Rom. 7
   and 8 both apply with undiminished force and pertinence to every
   believer on earth today. The second half of Rom. 7 describes the
   conflict of the two natures in the child of God: it simply sets forth
   in detail what is summarized in Gal. 5:17. Rom. 7:14, 15, 18, 19, 21
   are far short of the standard set before him--we mean God's standard,
   not that of the so-called "victorious life" teachers. If any Christian
   reader is ready to say that Rom. 7:19 does not describe his life, we
   say in all kindness, that he is sadly deceived. We do not mean by this
   that every Christian breaks the laws of men, or that he is an overt
   transgressor of the laws of God. But we do mean that his life is far,
   far below the level of the life our Saviour lived here on earth. We do
   mean that there is much of "the flesh" still evident in every
   Christian--not the least in those who make such loud boastings of their
   spiritual attainments. We do mean that every Christian has urgent need
   to daily pray for the forgiveness of his daily sins (Luke 11:4), for
   "in many things we all stumble" (James 3:2, R.V.).

   The second half of Rom. 7, then, is describing the state of the
   Christian, i.e. the conflict between the two natures within him. In v.
   14 the apostle declares, "We know that the Law is spiritual". How
   different is this language from the disparaging way that many now refer
   to God's Law! In v. 22 he exclaims, "I delight in the Law of God after
   the inward man". How far removed is this from the delusion that the Law
   has been abolished, and that it no longer serves any purpose for the
   Christian! The apostle Paul did not ignore the Law, still less did he
   regard it as an enemy. The new nature within him delighted in it: so,
   too, did the Psalmist, see Psa. 119:72, 97, 140. But the old nature was
   still within him too, warring against the new, and bringing him into
   captivity to the law of sin, so that he cried, "O wretched man that I
   am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death" (v.24)--and we
   sincerely pity every professing Christian who does not echo this cry.
   Next the apostle thanks God that he shall be delivered yet "through
   Jesus Christ our Lord" (v. 25), not "by the power of the Holy Spirit"
   note! The deliverance is future, at the return of Christ, see Phil.
   3:20, etc. Finally, and mark that this comes after he had spoken of the
   promised "deliverance", he sums up his dual experience by saying, "So
   then with the mind I myself serve the Law of God; but with the flesh
   the law of sin". Could anything be plainer? Instead of affirming that
   the Law had nothing to do with him as a Christian, nor he with it, he
   expressly declared that he served "the Law of God". This is sufficient
   for us. Let others refuse to "serve" the Law of God at their peril.

   4. "For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the
   flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for
   sin, condemned sin in the flesh. That the righteousness of the Law
   might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the
   spirit" (Rom. 8:3, 4). This throws light on Rom. 3:31, showing us, in
   part, how "the Law is established". The reference here is to the new
   nature. The believer now has a heart that loves God, and therefore does
   it "delight in the Law of God". And it is ever at the heart that God
   looks, though, of course, He takes note of our actions too. But in
   heart the believer "fulfills" the holy requirements of God's Law,
   inasmuch as his innermost desire is to serve, please, and glorify the
   Law-giver. The righteous requirements of the Law are "fulfilled" in us
   because we now obey from the heart (Rom. 6:17).

   5. "He that loveth another hath fulfilled the Law. For this, Thou shalt
not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou
shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any
other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely,
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his
neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law" (Rom. 13:8-10).
   Here again, the apostle, so far from lending the slightest
   encouragement to the strange delusion that the Ten Commandments have
   become obsolete to Christians, actually quotes five of them, and then
   declares, "Love is the fulfilling of the Law". Love is not a
   substitution for Law-obedience, but it is that which prompts the
   believer to render obedience to it.Note carefully, it is not "love is
   the abrogating of the Law", but "love is the fulfilling of the Law".
   "The whole Law is grounded on love to God and love to man. This cannot
   be violated without the breach of Law; and if there is love, it will
   influence us to the observance of all God's commandments" (Haldane).
   Love is the fulfilling of the Law because love is what the Law demands.
   The prohibitions of the Law are not unreasonable restraints on
   Christian liberty, but the just and wise requirements of love. We may
   add that the above is another passage which serves to explain Rom.
   3:31, for it supplies a practical exemplification of the way in which
   the Gospel establishes the Law as the expression of the Divine will,
   which love alone can fulfill.



   6. "For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant
unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a
Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the Law; as
under the Law, that i might gain them that are under the Law; to them
that are without Law, as without Law, (being not without Law to God,
but under the Law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without
Law" (1 Cor. 9:19-22). The central thought of this passage is how the
   apostle forewent his Christian liberty for the sake of the Gospel.
   Though "free" from all, he nevertheless, made himself "the servant" of
   all. To the unconverted Jews he "became a Jew;" Acts 16:3 supplies an
   illustration. To those who deemed themselves to be yet under the
   ceremonial law, he acted accordingly: Acts 21:26 supplies an example of
   this. To them without Law: that is, Gentiles without the ceremonial
   law, he abstained from the use of all ceremonies as they did: cf. Gal.
   2:3. Yet, he did not act as "without Law to God", but instead, as
   "under the Law to Christ"; that is, as still under the moral Law of
   God. He never counted himself free from that, nor would he do anything
   contrary to the eternal Law of righteousness. To be "under Law to God",
   is, without question, to be under the God. Therefore, to be under the
   Law of Christ, is to be under the Law of God, for the Law was not
   abrogated but reinforced by Christ. This text, then, gives a plain and
   decisive answer to the question, How the believer is under the Law of
   God, namely, as he is "under the Law to Christ", belonging to Christ,
   as he does, by redemption.

   7. "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not
liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
For all the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love
thy neighbor as thyself" (Gal. 5:13, 14). Here the apostle first
   reminds the Galatian saints (and us) that they had been called unto
   "liberty", i.e., from the curse of the moral Law (3:13). Second, he
   defines the bounds of that liberty, and shows that it must not
   deteriorate to fleshly license, but that it is bounded by the
   requirements of the unchanging moral Law of God, which requires that we
   love our neighbor as ourselves. Third, he repeats here, what he had
   said in Rom. 13:8-10, namely, that love is the fulfilling of the Law.
   The new commandment of love to our brethren is comprehended in the old
   commandment of love to our neighbor, hence the former is enforced by an
   appeal to the latter.

   "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty
   for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another" (Gal.
   5:13). We quote here part of the late Dr. George Bishop's comments on
   this verse: "The apostle here emphasizes a danger. The believer before
   believing, relied upon his works to save him. After believing, seeing
   he is in no way saved by his works, he is in danger of despising good
   works and minifying their value. At first he was an Arminian living by
   law; now he is in danger of becoming an Antinomian and flinging away
   the law altogether."

   "But the law is holy and the commandment holy, and just, and good. It
   is God's standard--the eternal Norm. Fulfilled by Christ for us, it
   still remains the swerveless and unerring rule of righteousness. We are
   without the law for salvation, but not without the law for obedience.
   Angels are under the law doing God's commandments, hearkening to the
   voice of His word' (Psa. 103:20). The law then is immutable--its reign
   universal and without exception. The law! It is the transcript of the
   Divine perfection: the standard of eternal justice: the joy and rapture
   of all holy beings. The law! We are above it for salvation, but under
   it, or rather in it and it in us, as a principle of holiness" (Grace in
   Galatians).

   8. "Children obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour
thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth"
(Eph. 6:1-3). Once more we have a direct quotation from the tables of
   stone as the regulator of the Christian conscience. First, the apostle
   bids children obey their parents in the Lord. Second, he enforces this
   by an appeal to the fifth commandment in the Decalogue. What a proof
   this is that the Christian is under the Law (for the apostle is writing
   to Christians), under it "to Christ". Third, not only does the apostle
   here quote the fifth commandment, but he reminds us that there is a
   promise annexed to it, a promise concerning the prolongation of earthly
   life. How this refutes those who declare that our blessings are all
   spiritual and heavenly )Eph. 1:3). Let the ones who are constantly
   criticizing those who press on the children of God the scriptures which
   have to do with our earthly walk, and who term this a "coming down from
   our position in the heavenlies" weigh carefully Eph. 6:2, 3 and also 1
   Tim. 4:8--"For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is
   profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and
   of that which is to come"; and let them also study 1 Pet. 3:10. In the
   administration of His government, God acts upon immutable principles.
   [7]

   9. "But we know that the Law is good, if a man use it lawfully" (1 Tim.
1:8). The Law is used unlawfully, when sinners rest on their imperfect
   obedience to it as the ground of their acceptance by God. So, too,
   believers use it unlawfully, when they obey its precepts out of servile
   fear. But used lawfully, the Law is good. This could never have been
   said if the Law is an enemy to be shunned. Nor could it have been said
   if it has been repealed for the Christian. In that case, the apostle
   would have said, "The Law is not binding upon us". But he did not so
   say. Instead, he declared "The Law if good". He said more than that, he
   affirmed, "We know that the Law is good". It is not a debateable point,
   rather is it one that has been Divinely settled for us. But the Law is
   only "good" if a man (Greek, any one) use it lawfully. To use the Law
   lawfully is to regard it as the unchanging expression of the Will of
   God, and therefore to "delight" in it. To use the Law lawfully is to
   receive it as the corrector of our conduct. To use the Law lawfully is
   to "fulfill" it in love.

   10. "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new
covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah...this is
the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those
days, saith the Lord; I will put My laws into their mind, and write
them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to
Me a people" (Heb. 8:8, 10). Let it be carefully noted that this
   passage unmistakably demonstrates two things: first, it proves
   conclusively that the Law has not been "abolished"! Second, it proves
   that the Law does have a use and value for those that are saved, for it
   is saved Israel that is here in view! Nor is there any possible room
   for doubt as to whether or not this applies to Gentile Christians now.

   The passage just quoted refers to "the new covenant". Is the new
   covenant restricted to Israel? Emphatically no. Did not our Saviour say
   at the Holy Supper, "This is My blood of the new covenant, which is
   poured out for many for the remission of sins" (Matt. 26:28, R.V.)? Was
   Christ's blood of the new covenant limited to Israel? Certainly not.
   Note how the apostle quotes our Lord's words when writing to the
   Corinthians, see 1 Cor. 11:25. So, too, in 2 Cor. 3:6 the apostle Paul
   declares that God has made us (not is going to make us) "ministers of
   the new covenant". This is proof positive that Christians are under the
   new covenant. The new covenant is made with all that Christ died for,
   and therefore Heb. 8:8-10 assures us that God puts His laws into the
   minds and writes them upon the hearts of every one of His redeemed.

   But so anxious are some to grasp at everything which they imagine
   favors their contention that in no sense are believers under the Law,
   this passage is sometimes appealed to in support. It is argued that
   since God has now (by regeneration) written the Law on the believer's
   heart, He no longer needs any outward commandments to rule and direct
   him. Inward principle, it is said, will now move him spontaneously, so
   that all need for external law is removed. This error was so ably
   exposed fifty years ago by Dr. Martin, we transcribe a part of his
   refutation:

     How was it with our first parents? If ever outward law, categorical
     and imperative, might have been dispensed with, it might in Adam's
     case. In all the compass of his nature, there was nothing adverse to
     the law of God. He was a law unto himself. He was the moral law unto
     himself; loving God with all his heart, and his neighbour as
     himself, in all things content, in nothing coveting. Was imperative,
     authoritative, sovereign commandment therefore utterly unnecessary?
     Did God see it to be needless to say to him, Thou shalt, or, Thou
     shalt not? It was the very thing that infinite wisdom saw he needed.
     And therefore did He give commandment--Thou shalt not eat of it'.

     How was it with the last Adam? All God's law was in His heart
     operating there, an inward principle of grace; He surely, if any,
     might have dispensed with strict, imperative, authoritative law and
     commandment. I delight to do Thy will, O God; Thy law also is within
     My heart'. Was no commandment, therefore, laid upon--no
     obedience-statute ordained--unto Him? Or did He complain if there
     was? Nay; I hear Him specially rejoicing in it. Every word He
     uttered, every work He did, was by commandment: My Father which sent
     me, He gave Me commandment what I should say and what I should do;
     as He gave me commandment therefore, so I speak'.

     And shall His members, though the regenerating Spirit dwells in
     them, claim an exemption from what the Son was not exempt? Shall
     believers, because the Spirit puts the law into their hearts, claim
     a right to act merely at the dictate of inward gracious principle,
     untrammeled, uncontrolled by outward peremptory statute? I appeal to
     Paul in the seventh chapter of the Romans, where he says: The law is
     holy', and adds, as if to show that it was no inward actuating law
     of the heart, but God's outward commanding law to the will: the law
     is holy, and the commandment is holy, and just, and good'. And I
     appeal to the sweet singer of Israel, as I find him in the 119th
     Psalm, which is throughout the breathing of a heart in which the law
     of God is written, owning himself with joy as under peremptory
     external law: Thou hast commanded us to keep Thy precepts
     diligently'.

   11. "If ye fulfill the royal Law according to the scripture, Thou shalt
love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well" (James 2:8). The immediate
   purpose of the apostle was to correct an evil--common in all climes and
   ages--of which his brethren were guilty. They had paid deference to the
   wealthy, and shown them greater respect than the poor who attended
   their assembly (see preceding verses). They had, in fact, "despised the
   poor" (v.6). The result was that the worthy name of Christ had been
   "blasphemed" (v.7). Now it is striking to observe the method followed
   and the ground of appeal made by the apostle James in correcting this
   evil.

   First, he says, "If ye fulfill the royal law according to the
   scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: but if
   ye have respect of persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the Law
   as transgressors" (vv. 8, 9). He shows that in despising the poor they
   had transgressed the Law, for the Law says, "Thou shalt love thy
   neighbour as thyself". Here then, if proof positive that the Law was
   binding upon those to whom James wrote, for it is impossible for one
   who is in every sense "dead to the Law" to be a "transgressor" of it.
   And here, it is probable that some will raise the quibble that the
   Epistle of James is Jewish. True, the Epistle is addressed to the
   twelve tribes scattered abroad. Yet it cannot be gainsaid that the
   apostle was writing to men of faith (1:3); men who had been
   regenerated--"begotten" (1:18); men who were called by the worthy name
   of Christ (2:7), and therefore Christians. And it is to them the
   apostle here appeals to the Law!--another conclusive proof that the Law
   has not been abolished.

   The apostle here terms the Law, "the royal Law". This was to empathize
   its authority, and to remind his regenerated brethren that the
   slightest deflection from it was rebellion. The royal Law also calls
   attention to the supreme dignity of its Author. This royal Law, we
   learn, is transcribed in the Scriptures--the reference here was, of
   course, to the Old Testament Scriptures.

   Next, the apostle says, "For whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and
   yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For He that said, Do not
   commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no
   adultery, yet if thou kill, thou are become a transgressor of the Law"
   (vv. 10, 11). His purpose is evident. He presses on those to whom he
   writes that, he who fails to love his neighbour is just as much and
   just as truly a transgressor of the Law as the man who is guilty of
   adultery or murder, for he has rebelled against the authority of the
   One who gave the whole Law. In this quotation of the 6th and 7th
   commandments all doubt is removed as to what "Law" is in view in this
   passage.

   Finally, the apostle says, "So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall
   be judged by the Law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without
   mercy, that hath showed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment"
   (vv. 12, 13). This is solemn and urgently needs pressing upon the
   Lord's people today: Christians are going to be "judged by the Law"!
   The Law is God's unchanging standard of conduct for all; and all alike,
   saints and sinners, are going to be weighed in its balances; not of
   course, in order to determine their eternal destiny, but to settle the
   apportionment of reward and punishment. It should be obvious to all
   that the very word "reward" implies obedience to the Law! Let it be
   repeated, though, that this judgment for Christians has nothing
   whatever to do with their salvation. Instead, it is to determine the
   measure of reward which they shall enjoy in Heaven. Should any object
   against the idea of any future judgment (not punishment but judgment)
   for Christians, we would ask them to carefully ponder 1 Cor. 11:31, 32:
   2 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 10:30--in each case the Greek word is the same as here
   in James 2:12.

   It should be noted that the apostle here terms the Law by which we
   shall be judged "the Law of liberty". It is, of course, the same as
   "the royal Law" in v. 8. But why term it the Law of liberty? Because
   such it is to the Christian. He obeys it (or should do) not from fear,
   but out of love. The only true "liberty" lies in complete subjection to
   God. There was, too, a peculiar propriety in the apostle James here
   styling the Law of God "the Law of liberty". His brethren had been
   guilty of "respecting persons", showing undue deference to the rich;
   and this was indeed servility of the worst kind. But to "love our
   neighbour" will free us from this.

   12. Other passages in the New Testament which show more directly the
bearing of the Law on believers might be quoted, but we close, by
calling attention to 1 John 2:6: "He that saith he abideth in Him ought
himself also so to walk, even as He walked" (1 John 2:6). This is very
   simple, and yet deeply important. The believer is here exhorted to
   regulate his walk by that of the walk of Christ. How did He walk? We
   answer, in perfect obedience to the Law of God. Gal. 4:4 tells us, "God
   sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the Law." Psa. 40:8
   declares that God's Law was in His heart. Everything recorded about the
   Saviour in the four Gospels evidences His complete subjection to the
   Law. If, then, the Christian desires to honor and please God, if he
   would walk as Christ walked, then must he regulate his conduct by and
   render obedience to the Ten Commandments. Not that we would for a
   moment insist that the Christian has nothing more than the Ten
   Commandments by which to regulate his conduct. No; Christ came to
   "fulfill" the Law, and as we have intimated, one thing this means is
   that, He has brought out the fulness of its contents, He has brought to
   light its exceeding spirituality, He has shown us (both directly and
   through His apostles) its manifold application. But whatever
   amplification the Law has received in the New Testament, nothing has
   been given by God which in any wise conflicts with what he first
   imprinted on man's moral nature, and afterwards wrote with His own
   finger at Sinai, nothing that in the slightest modifies its authority
   or our obligation to render obedience to it.

   May the Holy Spirit so enlighten our sin-darkened understandings and so
   draw out our hearts unto God, that we shall truthfully say, "The Law of
   Thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver...O how
   love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day" (Psa. 119:72-97).
     __________________________________________________________________

   [6] Vv. 8-12 are more or less in the nature of a parenthesis.   [7] That some obedient children are short-lived no more belies the Word
   of God than that some diligent men are poor, yet Prov. 10:4 says, "The
   hand of the diligent maketh rich:" The truth is, that these promises
   reveal the general purpose of God, but He always reserves to Himself
   the sovereign right to make whom He pleases exceptions to the general
   rule.
 

Related articles

Articole in Limba Romana

 

Fernando Ortega – Corporate Worship from the Desiring God Conference September 28, 2012

OFFICIAL WEBSITE   http://www.fernandoortega.com/ (photo via Christian Post)

Video from the 2012 Act The Miracle Desiring God Conference is up and we will be posting the conference messages here. Meanwhile, here is Fernando Ortega speaking and singing several songs  at the conference.

See the full resource: desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/corporate-worship

Corporate Worship (Fernando Ortega) from Desiring God on Vimeo.

Related posts

Desiring God National Conference – Act the Miracle Panel on Sanctification (Video)

The panel videos are always a treasure trove of personal application advice on living life. Here’s just a few examples from this particular panel:

The moment of temptation – James 1:13-15

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

  • Dr. Russell Moore– I think Satan works in two ways. One of them is in deception. So, you have someone who is deceived in thinking ‘I don’t know, I don’t believe this is going to have consequences, you will not surely die…’ or somehow „i’m special, God’s law doesn’t apply to me in this case’. So, they’re deceived. They don’t see what’s actually happening until it’s too late. And/ or through accusation. That way that the devil accuses us because of our sin. So, either one of those areas leads to the same place which is ultimately to death. So I think the moment of temptation, one problem that people have  is not being aware of the darkness around us. The scripture warns us consistently. But, also to be aware of the possibility of despair. One of the ways that Satan can pin us down in temptation is to start to think of ourselves as an animal: „I don’t have any power over this, I don’t have any control over this, I’m just simply determined to walk in this way.”(13:00)
  • John Piper – I just drew attention to the words ‘No temptation has befallen you but such as is common to man. But God is faithful; He will not suffer you to be tempted beyond that which ye are able to bear, but with the temptation will also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.’ (1 Corinthians 10:13)   I’ve always thought that’s a really provocative way to end the verse, after you’ve used the word escape, to use the word endure. A way of escape may be made so that you may endure. If you got to escape, you’re not enduring anymore. So, my conclusion is that the escape is the power to endure. The word for endure means- you’re being pressed about without being crushed. I’m feeling pressed by external or internal something and endurance means I’m not gonna give up here, I’m not gonna squash. And that’s the escape. The Lord gives that. (23:00)

The role of commandments in sanctification and obedience

  • John Piper: To tell you what you ought to do. (25:00)
  • Kevin Deyoung: Theologians talk about the law being used in different ways. (26:00)
  1. One way is a restraint of wickedness. You get these commandments in some kind of common grace it restrains you from everything you might want to do
  2. Second, what we think of most in the law-gospel distinction. The commands come at us and we say, „I don’t live up to that, I don’t love my neighbor as myself, I don’t love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, I don’t obey the 10 commandments. I need a Savior.” It shows you a need for a Savior. You run to Christ.
  3. And then, the third use which is in the various historically reformed confessions and also in the Lutheran ones (which is sometimes overlooked) is that the law is also given to us as the perfect rule of righteousness. And, there’s a lot of difficult, theological layers. Because, what do we mean by the law, for example?  The law can mean the Torah- the first five books of the Bible, it can mean the Mosaic Covenant, it can mean just commands, and what do we mean as an instrument of our sanctification? The law’s not giving us the power to obey, but, it is giving us the blueprint. It is pointing us along the path. It is telling us how we ought to live. In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul can do this back and forth, „I’m not under the law, but I’m under the law of Christ.” There’s a sense in which he’s saying the Mosaic covenant is not our covenant. I’m not under law, but I don’t want to do away with commandments. I’m still under the law of Christ. And he wants to hold out for us. So, when he gets to Romans 13 he talks about love, he says, „Love is fulfilled in these commandments and these commandments, he lists half of the decalogue is fulfilled in love.” So, if people want to know what it’s like to love your neighbor, you have to go to some of the commandments and if you really want to obey the commandments, you have to talk about loving your neighbor. I wouldn’t quite say they’re interchangeable, but you have to talk about both if you’re gonna talk about either in a biblical way. And I would say, that is the heart of the third use of the law.
  4. So, commands- the New Testament is full of them. God still gives them to us. We just need to obey them, as one hoping to live out all that we are in Christ, and not as one hoping to prove or hoping to earn some sort of status in Christ. So, the law leads to Gospel. But, if you look at the exodus, the Gospel also leads to law because He set them free from Egypt, He didn’t tell them, „Clean up your act, obey the 10 commandments for 400 years and I’ll set you free.” He set them free and then He led them to Sinai and then He said, „Now, you’re to worship Me and here’s what it looks like”.

The role of striving in a christian life

  • Dr. Russell Moore: There is a tendency and there is a danger, because we tend as christians to ping back and forth between extremes and we tend to react to the last bad thing that I encountered. And so, people that grew up in churches in which the Gospel was for unbelievers, and then everybody else was living according to rules or principles, or however this was laid out in that congregation, tend to want to move away form that and say, „We have the Gospel, we are received and accepted in Christ,  we believe the Gospel and so everything else comes almost organically, reflexively and so there’s a tendency to not want to talk about pleasing God or about the commandments of God and then, those people’s children react to that with, „We need to have holiness. Let’s have rules and regulations,” and eclipse the Gospel. Instead, you have both of those things. You have a Gospel that frees us and it tells us who we are in Christ. It tells us what has been done for us. But, that grace that has freed us, has freed us to live out a life in Christ that is defined by the word of Christ. By what it is that He tells us to do.And so, we believe and because we believe, we’re obedient. Pastor Piper’s book ‘Future Grace’ is one of the most helpful things in print about the fact that, because we believe God, who has spoken to us about how we can be freed from condemnation, and how we’re made right, we also then believe Him when He tells us what is best for us, as we move toward the future that He has for us. (29:00)
  • John Piper: As I’ve thought about this most recently, what’s been helpful is to notice that the phrase ‘by faith’ is a definer of the verb ‘live’. For example, Galatians 2:20 the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. The ‘living’ and the ‘faith’ are not the same. The Bible says, „Strive to enter by the narrow gate.” You just take that word ‘strive’ and say ‘believe harder’. Well, it doesn’t work that way because you have descriptions of the christian life that use verbs of ‘doing’ or ‘living’ by faith. So ‘faith’ becomes the instrument or the empowerment for living or doing. We walk by faith and not by sight. So, the walking is not the same as the believing. I’m walking by believing. That means then practically, that the way the will is engaged in obedience is not simply by believing. For example, you’ve decided that the command of ‘visit this person in prison’ or ‘welcome this refugee’ into your home’, os something else. And it involves the motion of your body. The legs have to flex and you must get up, open the door, get in the car, turn the key, take some time… These are all physical actions that have in and of themselves no moral significance whatsoever. But, they are what you are called upon to do. They’re getting you towards doing something. Now, the question is not merely believing. I must do that by faith. That’s why I wrote the book (Future Grace). What does it mean to turn the key by faith, to open the door by faith, to drive a car by faith, go to a prison by faith or a sick person by faith? It also, your will is telling your muscles to do things. And, you’re doing them. And that takes some exertion. It’s painful. It’s hard to deny yourself a comfortable evening at home when you think you should go to the hospital, or something. Here’s where the rubber meets the road for me: The alarm goes off. I’ve had the grace to set it early for meeting God in the morning. It goes off and I am absolutely dead tired. My mind and body make an absolutely compelling case for why sleep is more needful than the Bible. Now, what do you do at that moment? You, by faith get out of bed. Well, for me that would mean believing the promise that it is more blessed to be with my Bible than to be in bed. Believe it. Having believed that, now what? Believing that will get you out of bed. But not before you say to your legs, „Flop over the edge of the bed legs! Flop! Do it now! Do it! ” That really is what it comes down to when you’re getting up in the morning. After you believe, your will tells your body to do things, or NOT. And, that’s why I think it’s over simplistic, it’s flattening, it’s reductionistic to say that that battle is only fought in terms of ‘believe the Gospel more’ or ‘believe the promise more’. It is believe the promise, convince yourself it is more blessed. That’s gonna produce the motivation to get you out of bed, but, then the will says to your legs- who are saying back to you ‘NO, I’m not’- ‘Yes you are.’You sit there and you watch yourself talk to yourself and watch your muscles act in obedience.  (32:00)
  • Kevin DeYoung – I don’t think any of us are in danger of ‘we’re working too hard’.  That may sound, not quite right theologically, but here’s what I mean. We can be in danger of striving, of working, of of being diligent and we can get it wrong in a couple of ways. One, is to do it without faith- legalism or we can not be working at all the things that we ought to be working at. (devotions, family, etc) (38:00)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  • John Piper: The principle that I think we should keep in mind that the warfare against sin, for holiness is a warfare to be fought in the moment with the Bible, and in the background with the Bible. In other words, daily meditation on Scripture is tilling the garden in which the flowers of holiness grows. And if a rabbit, at 3 o clock in the afternoon comes along to try and chew down this beautiful flower, you kill it. And you kill it with a verse that you remember from the morning. So its the ‘both’ ‘and’. Sometimes we can only do one. We need the Bible when challenged in some way of impatience or unkindness and I need a verse to kill that sin. Yes, you do and I do. I also need to be stocking that arsenal and just sweetening my sour heart every morning. So, just those 2 things, by way of principle- we’re pursuing a sweetening, humbling, nourishing, strengthening, and those are just adjectives of which there are 1000 of things that God is doing in our hearts when we read the Bible, and we don’t know He’s doing. And then, through the day, we need particular daggers that we stick Satan with when he’s trying to make us do something we shouldn’t do. (2:00)
  • John Piper: Someone may have mentioned the inspiration of other people’s holiness. And I’m thinking right now of histories and biographies. So, a means of grace for me, few things outside the Bible inspire me to want to be something that I’m not, as biographies of people who in all their sinfulness have conquered some sin, or conquered some weakness and have glorified Christ more because of it. So, I’m stirred and want to press on and fight the fight by stories of people I read in history who have done that.  (11:10)
  • Kevin DeYoung: Don’t pass up those promptings to pray. Sometimes I get it at night, this feeling, ” I need to go pray, I need to think through this” and the thought comes, „I’ll do that in the morning.”  Second thing, very practically, we’re all different, but the practical thing that has helped my prayer life the most  has been not sitting down while I’m doing it. I walk… I wish that I could wake up and have great times in prayer, but I get great times of sleepiness that come and so I walk, and you go out and walk 25 minutes and you’ve got 25 minutes to come back… walking has helped me immensely. (5:00)
  • Dr. Russell Moore: Hymns- I find often that the power of hymns and songs comes not in the moment in which I’m singing them, but, later when they sort of just show up in some primal place inside of me, often very, very convicting. Just a few weeks ago, I was driving along and I was having a really hard time in terms of self pity and anxiety about something and I had my iPod just set to random music and all of a sudden an old hymn from my tradition ‘Just as I am’ came on, which I had heard every single Sunday, 50 verses of it at the end of every service as a child. But, it just pierced through to me because I thought, „I don’t believe that right now,” that I am standing here, just as I am, without one plea, except that your blood was shed for me. It moved to this point of repentance and conviction that I’m not sure simply thinking about it would have gotten to me so quickly.  (12:00)

Russell Moore – on Corporate Sanctification from the Desiring God National Conference September 2012

More Conference videos-

Text 1 Corinthians 4:14- 6:9 The apostle Paul writes, as he is carried by the Spirit to the church at Corinth.

1I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then,be imitators of me. 17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. 18 Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 21 What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?

Chapter 5  Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival,not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Chapter 6.  Lawsuits Against Believers

When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Some notes from the message:

Dr. Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary:

Part of the obstacle you and I face, when it comes to holiness, when it comes to being sanctified is that we don’t know what normal looks like. We live in a fallen universe; we have grown up in a fallen universe. We live, as Isaiah tells us, among a people of unclean lips, even as we are a people of unclean lips. And in the middle of all of that, what can seem to be normal to me can simply be my own pattern of sin. What seems to be regular and the default, simply can be the fact that I am living around people who have similar sorts of slaveries and bondages to sin, and to Satan and to the curse, and to death. And what the Gospel of Jesus Christ does is to break through this bizarre, unusual, unnatural kind of life that we are living, with a new normal that Jesus defines as the kingdom of God.

And this kingdom, Jesus says to His apostles, isn’t just some generic category and it isn’t just something that waits for us in the next thousand or million, or billion years. This kingdom, Jesus says, shows up in the assemblies. At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus speaks of the coming of the kingdom, of the keys of the kingdom. And He says this kingdom is going to advance, this kingdom is going to be invincible, the gates of hell will not stand against it, the powers of Satan will not overcome it and He says this kingdom is going to be seen in the reality that „I will build My church. I will assemble My people together. There is no kingdom, the Bible tells us, where there is not a people, there is no rain, where there is not an empire of those to be reigned over. And Jesus says, „In the middle of this fallen world, you will see what the apostle Paul says to the church at Ephesus is a sign of the manifold wisdom of God. A sign to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. Where God has appointed Jesus to reign and to rule over His church as a head with a body, as a king over a kingdom.

And, while the whole world, the scripture says, lies under the sway of the wicked one, while there is a god of this age, a prince of the power of this air, in these local assemblies and in these gatherings, we see a sign of the reign of Christ. That’s why Paul’s letter here, to the church at Corinth is so significant. He is talking to a group of people who are living out the beginning stages of the reality  that Jesus promised at Caesarea Philippi. The building and the gathering of this church, of this kingdom colony and what is happening here is of absolute significance to our sanctification.

Our problem, typically is that we think of sanctification as primarily an individual thing. How often do I read my Bible? How often do I pray? How often do I meditate on the things of God? How often do I sing and give praise to God? And, all of those things are significant, and all of those things are important. But, we too often neglect that all of that is only true because we are part of the body of Christ, we are part of His church and the theme of this meeting is so critically important: Act the miracle- God’s work AND our work. Not just my work. Not just your work, but, our work in the sanctification process.

I want you to notice several things about what Paul is pointing out here to this church at Corinth.

(1) The role of proclamation

The role of proclamation in the corporate nature of sanctification. Paul writes to this church at Corinth, a church which is troubled, a church that has people within it who are talking, he says, arrogantly. They are talking as if they are already kings. And he says, „I have demonstrated who I am. I have demonstrated the apostleship that I carry, I have demonstrated the commission that I have from the Lord Jesus Christ. I have sent to you Timothy, I have sent to you the word of the Gospel, I have shown you my life. I have given you every reason and every way to imitate it.” „But,” he says, „There are those who are still speaking with arrogance, there are still those who are opposing this kind of apostolic authority”. And he says, „I want to see what they’ve got. I’m going to be coming to you very soon and we will see these people who are talking , if what they have is just talk. Because the kingdom of God is not a matter of just talk. The kingdom of God is a matter of power.”

Now, you look at that, it sounds at first blush as though Paul is threatening some kind of physical encounter. „We’re going to see whether or not you have talk, or you have power.”  As though the apostle Paul is going to show up and say, „Ok, you’ve got your arrogant talk; deal with my heat ray vision. Deal with my levitating power to swoop you out of your chairs and send you out  into the streets.” But, no, no, no, no. Paul says, „I’m going to come to you and come to you with what? With words! With talk, with a spirit of gentleness, or with a spirit of discipline. But he is still dealing with words. The contrast is not between words and a lack of words. It’s between empty, idle, meaningless talk and authority.

I will come to you with power. And what is the power? The power is the proclamation that is coming, bearing the authority and the spirit and the presence of Christ.  He says, „When you’re gathered together in Jesus’ name, in Jesus’ power and my spirit is there with you. As you are reading this letter, there is a power that comes with these words, the kind of power that you see at Caesarea Philippi. Jesus turns to His disciples in Matthew 16 and says, „Who do people say that I am?” That’s a very ‘low threshold’ kind of question. A very non threatening sort of question. „Well some people say John the Baptist, some people say Elijah.” These are just words. They’re going out there and they’re not doing anything. They’re not affecting anything.

But, Jesus  turns when Simon Peter, by the Spirit, confesses ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’, Jesus turns to this man and Simon the fisherman and He names him. Now, that is authority. There’s a kind of audacity when Jesus stands and names him speaking, „You are Peter, you are rock.” And what’s even more audacious is it doesn’t seem to be true. It’s not true at all. This is the least rock like person, just a few verses down Jesus is going to name him again, Satan. He’s going to be the one that when Jesus is arrested, leaves. And in the middle of it he says all kinds of stupid things at inappropriate times. But Jesus names him rock. Foundation. Stone. Of My church. And then, what does Jesus by His spirit, and by His word do? He makes him live up to his name.

„Peter, do you love Me? Feed my sheep.” The voice of Jesus sent out and working in the life of Peter, takes a name that seems as ridiculous as naming an elderly barren man father of many nations. But He makes the name true by the power of His transforming word. Paul assumes that the apostolic authority that he carries, that the proclamation of this Spirit inspired word brings with it  the authority of Jesus Himself. When you and I gather together and hear the word of God as it is rightly preached, we are hearing an ambassadorial plea that has been sent down from our Lord Jesus Himself, so that, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5 „We are speaking, pleading with you as though Christ Himself were pleading through us be reconciled to God. When you are rightly proclaiming the word of God, there ought to be a northern Galilean accent in there.

People ought to hear a familiar voice that first calls them out of darkness. And, whenever Jesus begins speaking, everywhere that we see Jesus speak, things start happening. Demons start shrieking. They see that their power is being broken. That is what is happening when we gather together and hear the word preached. That’s what happens when we admonish one another and teach one another. That’s what’s happening when we sing and teach one another with Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. That’s not just information that  is being downloadedThat’s expository exorcism. The power of Jesus’s voice residing in His church, under the authority of the word of God and reflecting upon the authority of the word of God breaks through those patterns of deception that keep us form seeing the glory of the light of God reflected in the face of Jesus Christ.

It’s not just an information download. It’s not just principles for living. When we teach one another and when we preach to one another, and when we sing to one another, and when we rebuke one another, and when we admonish one another, and when we do so, not on the basis of our own authority, but on the basis of the word of God. There is a power, power pact, wonder working power in that proclamation that creates and forms exactly what Jesus says. This is why the Bible is written to the whole church. The Bible isn’t written in bits and pieces for people in particular life situations. Sometimes that single woman, who has never been married and will never be married, doesn’t sense any calling to be married, can come to our congregation and say, „Eh, I don’t feel comfortable here. Why do I need to be in a sermon on marriage?” Because Ephesians 5 wasn’t just written to the married couples at the church at Ephesus. It’s written to the church at Ephesus, and the church at large because you single woman in this congregation are accountable, not only for your own life for your sanctification, but, to teach and to admonish and to hold accountable those marriages within the church.

Why do I need a sermon series on parenting when I’m an 88 year old man with no children? (Or)  I’ve been widowed for years, there’s no prospect for children out there. Because you are to hold accountable, and to teach and to encourage, and to rebuke the whole church when it comes to parenting. You are a kingdom of priests, under the proclamation of the word of God, that creates and brings about our sanctification and holiness.

(2) The role of discipline

Paul, immediately after he talks about this power, in contrast to the talk about his coming behind his words, starts talking about a situation of scandal. He says, „There is a man in your midst who is unrepentantly sinning against God and the problem is that you’re doing nothing. He begins to speak to them about that kingdom authority, and that kingdom responsibility for discipline. Exactly what Jesus said, when He said at Caesarea Philippi, „I am giving to you the keys of the kingdom.” Now, one of the things that irritates me, when it comes to the way we talk, and when I say ‘we’, I mean me as well as anybody else, we mean church discipline. He’s under church discipline. We mean excommunication. Someone who is under church discipline is someone who has been voted out of the fellowship of the church.

We are ALL under church discipline! Discipline is simply not excommunication. As a matter of fact, excommunication is actually the end of church discipline. I have now been handed over to Satan. Discipline is just not in scripture that final phase of the lack of repentance. Discipline is every step along the way, starting with the definition of who’s who.  He says, „There is sexual immorality among you. Who’s you? The church of God at Corinth, called out and sanctified by the spirit and by the blood of Christ. It is the authority that Jesus has given to His church dependent and derivative upon His word to mark out and to identify who are those who are qualified to be called brother and called sister, based upon the criteria of repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

When the church baptizes and marks out its boundaries. When the church receives into its membership, into its structure of accountability, that church is defining the boundaries of discipline. This is not the world, out there in the chaotic anarchy that is the rule of Satan. This is the church. This is where Jesus, right now is actively ruling. And we, on the basis of what Jesus has said to us declare, „You are my brother. You are my sister. You have been received by Christ.” Now, I don’t have personal authority to define that. And we don’t have individual, congregational authority to define that. The king of the kingdom has defined who are those who are received by God. We, when we speak rightly and when we speak on the basis of what Jesus has given us, we are declaring in the voice of Jesus, „You are one of the brothers. You are one of the sisters.” That is a powerful, powerful responsibility.

Your vote on receiving a new member into your congregation is more significant in the long term than for your vote for who will be the next president of the United States. When the congregation says, „We receive you as brother,” and when the congregation refuses to deal with an issue that would seem to show a lack of repentance, that congregation is speaking for Jesus in a place that congregation has no authority and no mandate to speak. You see these empty suit, toothy preachers on CNN, who get on talking about this very light and fluffy Gospel, who start to become very nervous when the host says, „Well, what about Moslems, and what about HIndus, and what about atheists, do they go to hell?” You see that guy, the grin starts to get frozen, and he starts to get really uncomfortable and he says, „Well, for me I think Jesus is the best way and…” there’s just a reluctance to say what the scripture has said so clearly about the way of salvation through Jesus Christ.

It’s easy for us to look at that and say, „That’s pathetic,” and yet, that’s what many of us do. We have people in our congregations, that we are saying, by the fact that we list them as brother and sister, and we treat them as brother and sister without a life of faith and of gathering together and of repenting of sin. We are saying, „Jesus says you are our brother,” when you have no warrant to say that. You might as well go door to door, simply saying to everyone who opens the door, „I’ll see you in heaven.” The membership of the church and the accountability of the church is the discipline of the church.

Now, you only have the authority in the church to discipline where Jesus has given that authority in His word. We don’t discipline one another and excommunicate one another  because we disagree over home schooling and public schooling, or whether we ought to celebrate Halloween. But where the scripture says this is a lack of repentance and a lack of obedience. And Jesus says, „Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. What Paul says happens is not just when that unrepentant person, going through all that process of „Be reconciled, repent. Be reconciled. Repent.”  When that person refuses  to repent and that church hands that person over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that is not just clearing out a membership roll. That is not punishing that person and saying: We don’t want your kind around here. That is the voice of Jesus saying, „I am turning you over to the power of Satan. If he turns,” Jesus says, „you have received your brother.” Why? „My sheep hear My voice  and they follow Me.”  Only difference between Peter weeping in the arms of Jesus and Judas tangled up in his own intestines in a potter’s field is the kind of repentance the voice of Jesus brings

Acting the Miracle Together: Corporate Dynamics in Christian Sanctification – Desiring God Conference 2012

The discipline of the congregation spurs us to holiness, not only because we deal with lack of repentance and lack of faith among us, but also because this discipline and this accountability changes us. Notice what Paul says, „You ought to be mourning. You ought to be crying. You are arrogant that you don’t even notice this. And why don’t you notice this? Because you don’t know where you are.” He says, ‘I don’t want you to be with the swindlers, and the sexually immoral people, and I’m not talking about those out in the world. I’m not trying to have some premature rapture here.” He says, „I am talking about those within the accountability of the church.”

We tend to get that completely reversed. „Let’s express our outrage with everything that’s going on out there!” And we ignore what is happening among us. The discipline and the accountability of the church changes your affections, it changes your mission, it changes the way you see people and it drives you towards holiness, and it drives you toward love. Why? Because the presence of Jesus is in your midst by His word and by His spirit.

(3) The economy of the church

Paul also talks about the economy of the church, the structure and the life that is being lived within the church. He says, „Your problem is not only that you are tolerating this kind of behavior, the problem is also that you’re fighting with one another, and you’re struggling with one another and you’re doing it by taking one another to court. He says, „This ought to shame you. You ought to be embarrassed about this.

These bickerings and these divisions that are between you and they ought to shame you even more so that you are taking it to those that have no standing in the church. Why? Because the gifts that Jesus is giving to the body are not simply, or means at all simply of personal self actualization. They are given for the building up of the body  and they are a sign of spiritual warfare. Jesus has taken captivity captive. When Jesus gifts His church, He is prepping His church, He is staffing up His church for a future kingdom that is to come.

We have all these spiritual gifts inventories. We spend so much time worrying: What’s my spiritual gift? I’m not saying those things are not of some value. But, the main issue is not whether or not you know what your spiritual gift is. It’s whether or not, in the life of the church your spiritual gift is operative and functioning and building up the body of Christ. It’s not your gift. It belongs to the body.

Paul says, „Is there nobody wise enough among you to decide these disputes? Paul says, ‘The problem is, when you go to the outside,” which doesn’t have to be in a formal law court, you can do that in the court of public opinion on the internet. „When you go to those who have no standing within the church, you are already defeated.” Why? Don’t you know that you will judge angels? Don’t you know that you will rule the world?

Jesus gifts the church because He is showing you in little things. He is training you in little areas of authority to rule over many things. „To rule and to reign with Me,” He says. Your life within the body of the church is just an internship for the eschaton. Why are these people bickering and fighting with one another? Why do they think that their agenda matters so much? It is because they are not looking to their next trillion years. They think this, and this only is where I am going to be able to carry out my little place of power and my little place of authority and so, I don’t care about anything beyond that. Paul says, „You are going to judge angels, you are going to rule over the entire universe and when you come together and you argue and you bicker and when you go out to the pagan world and say, „We need you to help us to discern God’s good from evil, right from wrong,” you are declaring the incompetence of Jesus to rule over his kingdom within His church. (42:50)

Paul says, ‘You have the mind of Christ. You have everything that is necessary for godliness and within this congregation, part of the way that Jesus sanctifies you is by putting you together with people where you are exercising wisdom and you are exercising gifts and you are being trained in some way for a greater and more majestic responsibility later on.

So, who cares right now if somebody has defrauded you? Why not rather be defrauded for the sake of the mission that  you have waiting for you? You’re sanctified as you are giving and as you are serving for the upbuilding of the body because you see the big picture of what’s happening.

Often the kinds of squabbles and bickerings that we have over worship and particularly over music have everything to do with what the apostle is talking about here. I assume that the issue is my personal sanctification in the now. What does it take to speak to me, so I can close my eyes and pretend like it’s me and Jesus in the congregation and have a foretaste of heaven? The problem is that is NOT a foretaste of heaven. It’s not just you and Jesus. It turns out you don’t come to the garden alone (as in the song), which is a disappointment for me…(pun intended) You are teaching one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. You are doing warfare with one another against the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. And you are preparing yourselves, through the worship of God’s people for a new era and a new creation. You are giving yourself over for the new sanctification of someone else.

(4) The corporate aspect of testimony

He says,”Don’t you know the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? The arena culture that God has called us to in our sanctification is an arena that is much bigger than a sports stadium or a political convention. He says, „Remember who you are, don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God.” The power of Christ together breaks through deception of the Satanic powers. The way it’s easy for me to identify your sin, but in my case, there are always reasons. I don’t see it, I am guarded against it. „Do you not know that the unrighteous..” and he lists out what that means: the swindlers, the adulterers, the fornicators, the homosexuals, the thieves will not inherit the kingdom of God. He breaks the deception that is said form the very beginning, „You will not surely die.”

But, that is not the only power that the word given to the church breaks. It beaks that other power of Satan, which is accusation. Not only- „Don’t you know the unrighteous won’t inherit the kingdom of God,” but, it makes the division here, not between the swindlers, the idolaters, the sexual immoral and the regular people. No, no, no, no, no. It’s between the swindlers, the idolaters, the fornicators, the homosexuals, and the swindlers, the fornicators, the adulterers, the homosexuals who have been crucified. „Such were some of you, but you were washed, you were cleansed, you were forgiven.” Being together in the fellowship of the church and  learning to bear with one another’s sins and repentances, and grievances, and weak points, points me to the reality of my own standing before God. Not as some neutral, normal person, but, as a sinner who deserves to hear only, „Depart from Me you worker of iniquity.” Such were some of you, but, the blood of Jesus cleanses.

The gathering of the church together is a sign to the principalities not that this is a sinless people, but that this is a sinless people who can no longer bear accusation because of the reign of Jesus through through His crucifixion and through His resurrection from the dead.

We don’t come together as those who are former sinners. We don’t come together as those who are regular people, or as people who have a difference with the people out there in the world, we come together as the crucified. And when we join in worship, we are joining with an already existing worship service in the heavenly places. We’re just a satellite campus. What we need to remember is that every single Lord’s Day when we gather together we are joining, by the eyes of faith, with a number that no man can number- A church that is awesome, as an army with banners. We are part of a huge, global ,transgenerational movement: the old, restful, and resurrected. And we stand there with them, confessing: „We were lost, but You were slain, and with your blood, You have purchased a church that has the power to transform, that has the power to recalibrate, and that has the power to rebuke.” Because that is the voice of Christ and it gives us a way out of our self sufficiency. If Jesus is able to build this church and the gates of hell cannot stop it, then Jesus is gonna build His church.

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.

Related articles from the same conference

Related articles by Kevin DeYoung and others

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, 2012

See Part 1 here – John Piper – Putting Sanctification in Its Place – Part 1 of 2 from the Desiring God Conference September 28, 2012

See the full resource: desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/act-the-miracle-future-grace-the-word-of-the-cross-and-the-purifying-power-of-god-s-promises

For complete transcript click on link above. Here are some points from the message:

  • A Divine Miracle in Us. God is wholly engaged in bringing your life and this world to its appointed destiny of holiness. And this full engagement of God in the process of your sanctification is no limitation on yourengagement, but is in fact it’s the creation of your engagement. He works the miracle of sanctification; you act the miracle. He produces it; you perform it. And if you don’t use your will to act the miracle, there is no miracle. God’s sovereign enablement of holiness does not contradict the act of duty, it creates it.

–When God fills you with compassion, it is you who exercise your will to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and visit the prison and take in the refugee.

–When God gives you merciful humility, it is you who turn the other cheek.

–When God inclines your heart to his word, it is you who get out of bed early in the morning to read your Bible.

–When God gives you the courage and love, it is you who share Christ with your neighbor.

–When God makes his glory more satisfying than lust, it’s you who turns away from pornography.

–When God gives you a sweet satisfaction in your future reward, you are the one who blesses your enemies and does not curse them.

Act the Miracle: Future Grace, the Word of the Cross, and the Purifying Power of God’s Promises (John Piper) from Desiring God on Vimeo.

John Piper – Putting Sanctification in Its Place – Part 1 of 2 from the Desiring God Conference September 28, 2012

John Piper from „Acting The Miracle” Desiring God 2012 Coference that took place on September 28th 2012.

In this first plenary session, John Piper first defines sanctification:

The English word “sanctify” or “sanctification” is built on the Latin word sanctus which means “holy.” We don’t have a way of turning the adjective “holy” into a verb in English. The world “holify” does not exist. But in the language of the New Testament, the adjective “holy” (hagioscan be made into a verb (hagiazō), which means “to make holy” or to “treat as holy.” And that same adjective for “holy” (hagios) can be made into three different nouns (hagiosmoshagiōsunēhagiotēs) which sometimes mean “the condition of being holy” (“holiness”) or “the process of becoming holy”—which would be “holification” if such a word existed, but since it doesn’t, we use “sanctification.”

Now I don’t expect you to remember all that. Here’s the crucial point: Any time you read in the New Testament any form of the word “sanctify,” you know you are reading about holiness. So a conference on sanctification is a conference on being or becoming holy. And the reason I use the terms “being or becoming” holy is that the New Testament refers to our holiness in both of those senses—a condition of being holy, or a process of becoming holy

He points out that the NT speaks to both the process of becoming holy as well as to the condition of being holy:

Both the condition of being holy and the process of becoming holy are prominent in the New Testament. Neither is minimized. The most obvious way to see the prominence of the Christian condition or state of holiness is to see that Paul calls Christians “saints” 40 times in his 13 letters. …So the picture is that God calls us, and unites us by faith to Christ, so that “in Christ Jesus,” we are holy, sanctified, and the name that we get therefore is “saints” or “holy ones.”

He also shows how holiness is a God given trait:

Christians are holy and must become holy. We have the seed of God’s likeness—God’s holiness—imparted to us when we are born again, and we must grow into that likeness—that holiness—to show who our Father really is.

You can read the entire transcript here- http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/prelude-to-acting-the-miracle-putting-sanctification-in-its-place

Prelude to Acting the Miracle:

Putting Sanctification in Its Place

 

Prelude to Acting the Miracle: Putting Sanctification in Its Place (John Piper) from Desiring God on Vimeo.

The Christian pursuit of godliness

The Hole in Our Holiness

Kevin DeYoung talks with Justin Taylor about the Christian pursuit of godliness:

Quote: There is a lack of emphasis in the evangelical world… a lack of emphasis on sanctification, personal holiness, so I think of Hebrews 12:14 to ‘seek the holiness without which we will not see the Lord’. I don’t see that kind of urgency, I am speaking to my own heart, my own congregation and self .. that without holiness we will not see the Lord. Most people would say, „That’s absolutely right, but that’s the imputed righteousness of Christ, which we certainly believe in with all our hearts, but, that’s no way what Hebrews 12 is talking about, because the context is discipline, the verbs are active- to strive and to seek, and I just don’t hear us with that sense of urgency about holiness. There’s this category of people who will not see the Lord without holiness and I want to be in the category to ‘see the Lord’…

Justin Taylor’s final question: Somebody’s watching this. They believe they should be holy and they wanna be holy, they wanna pursue righteousness, they want to not be in bondage to sin. They love Jesus, they keep falling in the same pattern. What would you say about how to pursue holiness and how to pursue the Lord?

Kevin gives some quick bullet points (@end of video):

  • Understanding motivation and how the Bible motivates us and sometimes we can just truncate it to just 1 or 2- maybe it’s gratitude, maybe it’s just justification. But, really, there are dozens and dozens of ways in which the Bible motivates us. It motivates us because of the fear of God, because of our acceptance before God, because of Jesus’ example, because of the love of the brothers, because of our witness to the church, because it pleases God. I think we’ve really lost the sense that we can grieve the Spirit, even as believers, we can live in a way that displeases God and we’ve lost sight of the opposite, that when you seek God, when you seek holiness, when you are growing in practical righteousness God is pleased. God smiles upon that.
  • To more fully incorporate the doctrine of the union with Christ. And, thankfully, there’s a lot of good things written now about union with Christ. But, I think the central tenet about sanctification in the New Testament is to be who you are. Be who you are, in Christ, living out that new identity. So, I think there’s a lot of really important theology, and then flowing out into practical action from that doctrine.
  • Finally, I would say, very practically, that we look at what we call ‘the ordinary means of grace’. God does extraordinary things through that ordinary means.

There’s this relationship between abiding and obeying. They’re almost synonymous in the Gospels. If someone wants to obey, you abide. If someone wants to abide, you obey. So, sometimes you start living like it and the rest of the affections come behind you.

The Hole in Our Holiness from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

„Sanctification in the Everyday” (Free eBook by John Piper)

Click on book image to download in pdf format or click here- http://dsr.gd/Q45E1U

If you would like to download on Kindle, iPad,Nook, etc – go here- http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/sanctification-in-the-everyday-free-ebook

A VERY MUCH NEEDED BOOK, a short read 44 pages + notes – Desiring God describes it:

How does the cross and victory of Jesus affect your everyday sanctification?

Over the past 30 years John Piper has preached several messages that equip listeners to apply the Bible in their daily lives. Stretching three decades, this e-book includes three of those sermons that intend to mobilize the church in the fight against sin and the walk of faith. In addition to these sermons, there is a practical appendix of acronyms Pastor John uses in his own life and commends to others.

Whether fighting a specific sin or walking by faith amid stressful circumstances, the aim of this e-book is to add to your arsenal for the everyday work of sanctification, for the glory of God.

The Puritan View of Holiness

Also read –

Dr. Joel Beeke (via) www.hnrc.org

The Puritans wrote a great deal about how to live a sanctified life. Little of what they preached and wrote contains anything unique or strange,measured by their doctrinal heritage. What is special about the Puritan view of holiness is its fullness and balance,rather than its distinctive shape.

The Puritan classic definition of sanctification is well known;we find it in The Westminster Shorter Catechism,questions 35 and 36:

”What is Sanctification? Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace,whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God and are enabled more and more to die unto sin and live unto righteousness.

”What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification,adoption and sanctification? The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification,adoption and sanctification are:

  • assurance of God’s love
  • peace of conscience
  • joy in the Holy Ghost
  • increase of grace
  • and perseverance therein to the end.”

From these two questions it is obvious that sanctification in the Puritan mind encompasses all Christian living—the entire process of being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. It is a process which begins at the moment of the new birth,and presses on throughout the entire life of the believer until his last breath. The Puritans wanted to see people growing up into strong assurance of God’s love,great peace of conscience,and authentic joy in the Holy Spirit. They said that the way to receive these blessings is through Spirit-worked sanctification. They advised their people:If you don’t seek sanctification,you not only dishonor God,but you also impoverish your own spiritual life.

What did they actually mean by sanctification? Here are four elements in the Puritan view.

Universal and moral renewal
First,sanctification for the Puritans is a divine work of renewal,involving a radical change of character. It springs from a regenerated heart,which is something deeper than any psychoanalyst or counselor could ever reach. God works in the heart,and out of the change of heart comes a new character.

This work of renewal is (using Puritan language) universal. This means that it touches and affects every area of the person’s entire life. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 4:4-5 that everything is to be sanctified—every sphere of life.

Holiness is an inward thing that must fill our heart,our core being,and it is an outward thing that must spill over into every detail of our lives. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says,“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly;and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Many Puritans preached on that text. Sanctification is to be universal.

But sanctification is also moral,said the Puritans. By this they meant that it would produce moral fruits,the very fruits we read of in Galatians 5—love,joy,peace,longsuffering,gentleness,goodness,faith,meekness,and temperance. Had you asked a Puritan—what really do these fruits mean when you combine them all together?—he would have said that they represent the moral profile of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

That is what the Spirit is doing in sanctification. He is patterning the believer after the profile of Christ. He is reproducing Christ’s qualities in the lives of His own people. God’s people are those in whom the “Christ nature” (the sum total of all that His human life was) finds new,albeit imperfect,expression. That is the Puritan concept of sanctification.

True repentance
Second,sanctification for the Puritans consists of repentance and righteousness—the two-sided activity of turning from sin to obedience. Repentance,said the Puritans,is turning from sin,and it is a lifelong activity. We must repent every day of our lives,and as we do so,we must also turn to righteousness.

Repentance,they said,is a work of faith. Without the Holy Spirit there is no repentance. The Puritan concept of repentance goes much deeper than mere remorse,or than saying,“I am sorry.” The Puritan idea of repentance certainly starts with remorse,but it goes deeper into an essential change of life. Repentance is an actual turning. It is a hating the things I loved before,and a loving the things I hated before.

Repentance involves mortification,said the Puritans,and vivification. By mortification they meant putting the sword through sin;killing sin;putting sin to death,as the apostle says in Romans 6. By vivification they meant coming alive to righteousness,and giving ourselves more and more to practice and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit.

A holy war
Third,Puritan sanctification is progressive,operating through conflict. The Puritans said conflict is inescapable in sanctification,because indwelling sin remains in the Christian,to his great sorrow. It engages him in great warfare and many battles. Indwelling sin works from the inside,the Puritans said,while the world exerts ungodly pressure from the outside. The devil,who plays the role of ring- leader,wants to take those outside pressures and use them along with the internal pressure to regain lost territory. So,although a person conquered by the Holy Spirit seeks to expand and gain the territory of sanctification universally in his life,the devil together with the world and the indwelling old nature,form a front-line of battle in the soul. A holy war is raging.

That is why Bunyan called his book,The Holy War. Sanctification involves conflict with myself,with my flesh,with the world,and with Satan. If a Christian is not battling with sin,the Puritans would say that person should question whether he is a Christian at all.

One Puritan painted this picture. He said that to be a Christian is to walk a narrow,straight path. On both sides of the path there are hedges. Behind those hedges Satan has all the powers of evil at his disposal. He uses his army of demons,and even our internal inconsistencies,and our proneness to fall into backsliding. He uses all these things as arrows,and every step we take along the spiritual pilgrimage he shoots through and over the hedge,aiming at our feet,our heart,our hands,and our eyes. Every step of the way is a battle.

Accepting a struggle
Thomas Watson said the way to heaven is “sweating work.” There is a battle raging,but the work of sanctification,happily,will advance. Sanctification is not stagnant. The Puritans employed Paul’s words of 2 Corinthians 3:18,that we will be changed from one glory to another if we walk in the Spirit. So the true Christian is one who accepts that there will be conflict,but at the same time rests in the truth that the ultimate victory is his. He may lose many skirmishes,but the war will be won,because he is in Christ. The Holy Spirit will lead him,and he will increasingly advance.

However,there is a snag,said the Puritans,because the Christian will often not be able to see any progress in himself. One Puritan said that a woman who dusts her furniture may think she has cleaned away all the dust,until the sunlight shines into her room revealing all the remaining dust. So the more the Sun of righteousness shines in our hearts,even though we may be growing in holiness (and others may see it),we shall see increasingly the motives of our heart.

The important question is not—”Do I view myself as growing more and more holy?” but—”When I look back in my life,say three or five years ago,does Christ mean more to me today than He did then? And do I think less of myself today than I did then? Is Christ increasing and am I decreasing? Am I growing in appreciation of Christ,and in self-depreciation?” This is the Puritan way of examining ourselves with regard to holiness.

Another Puritan way of evaluating progress in holiness is to ask how we are currently battling with temptation. If we are not battling the forces pressing in upon our flesh,we are backsliding. In order,therefore,to make progress the believer must pray at the throne of grace:“Help me to be strong today,Lord. Help me to be pure today. Help me to do righteousness today.” This is the constant desire of the Christian who is making progress in sanctification.

The inner,private person
Fourth,Puritan sanctification is imperfect though invincible. In this life it is never complete. Our reach will always exceed our grasp. Many people do not understand the Puritans at this point. They think that they are introspective,or that they lead us into legalistic bondage,and even into spiritual depression. This is not true.

The Puritans certainly had a very profound concept of sin and of righteousness,while many of their modern detractors have a dreadfully low concept of sin and righteousness. The Puritans felt the imperfection of their sanctification,precisely because they had God’s standard of righteousness before them. They did not compare themselves with their neighbor,but with God’s holy law. Righteousness for the Puritan was motivational in character. What lives inside of you is important. What you do and say reflects who you are within.

One Puritan said,what a man is in private,that is what a man really is in the sight of God. They would want us to ask ourselves:What do you think about? What motivates you? Are you really motivated by love to God? Are you motivated by Samaritanship to others,loving them,doing good to them,and laying out yourselves for their benefit and spiritual welfare? This is the heart of a Puritan righteousness. With this high concept of holiness they naturally felt deeply their imperfections. Perhaps this is nowhere more vividly expressed than in the Westminster Larger Catechism’s questions and answers on the ten commandments. Read them if you will and notice how precise they are,how they probe the heart and how they insist you must love God and your neighbor as yourself.

When,therefore,you read about how Puritans bemoaned themselves,and when you see in their diaries how they grieved over their own wretchedness,remember they are comparing themselves to the perfect God and to His holy law. They were men and women who truly felt Paul’s groaning:“I delight in the law of God after the inward man . . . O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me?” They felt their need to flee to Christ every day to be washed afresh. And that is the root of all genuine holiness. Such holiness is invincible. It will never die,but will one day be perfected in and with Christ forever.

This article was adapted from an address given by Dr. Beeke at the Metropolitan Tabernacle School of Theology in 1998,and printed in Sword &Trowel.

Three views of Sanctification – Reformed, Wesleyan and Pentecostal

In referencing “The Basic Book of Bible Texts” by John Jefferson Davis, I thought it would be helpful to post the Scriptures that are used to support the different denominational views on sanctification. Davis divides the views into 2 camps and then adds a Pentecostal perspective. Davis defines sanctification as:

The Christians’ growth in holiness and conformity to the character of Jesus Christ through personal faith and obedience and the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

 Three Views on Sanctification – Scriptures they are based on

Davis divides the views into 2 camps and also adds a Pentecostal perspective:

Some Christian traditions understand sanctification in terms of crisis experiences leading to Christian perfection (Holiness, Pentecostal, Nazarene); others understand sanctification primarily in terms of a continuous process which never reaches a state of Christian perfection in this life (Reformed, Lutheran, Anglican).

Wesleyan view

“Christian perfection or entire sanctification”, in this view, the state of holiness begins at regeneration and is completed by an instantaneous work of the Holy Spirit (the Baptism of the Holy Spirit) subsequent to regeneration,  in which the old Adamic sin nature is actually abolished. ‘Christian perfection… is nothing more or nothing less than a heart emptied of all sin and filled with a pure love to God and man. Wiley 2:511 (footnote here- The baptism of the Holy Spirit may include, but is not necessarily identified with the outward manifestation of speaking in tongues, although some in this tradition would make this identification. “Christian perfection” is not absolute moral perfection or perfection in knowledge, but a state in which a believer is freed from the power of sin, sin understood as a voluntary transgression of a known law of God. And- Even in the Old Covenant, prior to the fullness of the Spirit’s work, individuals such as Noah and Job are specifically commended for their personal sanctity.

Genesis 6:9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.

Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “Iam Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.

Matthew 5:48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect

Mark 12:28-30  Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” 29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.

Acts 15:8-9 So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith

2 Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God

Galatians 5:24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires

Ephesians 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise

1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,

Reformed view

In this view, the state of holiness begins with regeneration and conversion, and is to grow throughout the believer’s life through the ministry of the Word and Spirit and through personal faith and obedience. In this understanding the old sin nature is progressively subdued but never entirely abolished in this life. In justification, sin is pardoned; in sanctification it is subdued. Sanctification “…is neither equal in all, nor in this life perfect in any, but growing up to perfection” (West Larger Catechism, q 77)

Here are the verses this view is based on:

1 Kings 8:46,49,50 46 “When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin), and You become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to the land of the enemy, far or near; – 49then hear in heaven Your dwelling place their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause – 50 and forgive Your people who have sinned against You, and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You; and grant them compassion before those who took them captive, that they may have compassion on them

Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.

Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me

Romans 8:1-2 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death

Ephesians 5:18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit

Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me

James 3:2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body

1 John 1:8-9  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Pentecostal Directives

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit: “This wonderful experience is distinct from and subsequent to the experience of the new birth… the baptism of believers in the Holy Ghost is witnessed by the initial physical signs of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance.” Articles Seven and Eight, “Statement of Fundamental Truths,” 35th General Council of the Assemblies of God, August 16-21, 1973.

Here are the verses this view is based on:

Matthew 3:11  I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Mark 1:8 I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.

Mark 16:17  And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues

Luke 3:16 John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire

Acts 1:4-5 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

Acts 2:1-4  When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord[a] in one place.And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utter

Acts 8:14-17  Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit

Acts 10:44-46 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God

Acts 19:1-6  And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

1 Corinthians 12:7-11  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit

1 Corinthians 14:4-5 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesiesis greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.

1 Corinthians 14:39-40 Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.40 Let all things be done decently and in order

From Handbook of Basic Bible Texts by John Jefferson Davis (p 92-98)

John Piper – Test Yourself: Are You Lukewarm?

Holman Hunt's painting The Light of the World inspired by Rev 3:20's Christ knocking at the door of the Laodicean Church.

(via)Josh Etter at DesiringGod.org You can listen to the full audio message here.

Pastor John:

The essence of lukewarmness is the statement, „I need nothing.” The lukewarm are spiritually self-satisfied. To find out whether you are among that number, don’t look into your head to see if you think that you are needy; rather, look at your prayer life. It doesn’t matter what we think in our head, the test of whether we are in bondage to spiritual self-satisfaction is how earnest and frequent and extended our prayers for change are.

Do you seek the Lord earnestly and often in secret for deeper knowledge of Christ, for greater earnestness in prayer, for more boldness in witness, for sweeter joy in the Holy Spirit, for deeper sorrow for sin, for warmer compassion for the lost, for more divine power to love? Or is the coolness and perfunctoriness of your prayer life Exhibit A that you are spiritually self-satisfied and lukewarm?

Excerpted from How to Buy Gold When You’re Broke

How to Buy Gold When You’re Broke

And to the angel of the church of Laodicea write: „The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold not hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

Revelation 3:14–22 is a letter from Jesus to the church at Laodicea in Asia Minor. It was given to John in a vision and had the purpose of saving the church from lukewarmness and possible destruction. It’s a message that every church needs to hear, especially at the beginning of a week of concerted prayer. These are solemn words of counsel and love to a church that is content with itself, and feels need of nothing. Anyone who thinks that we have no need to begin the year with a week of fasting and praying should read and reread this letter from Christ to Laodicea and to Bethlehem. Let’s look at it together to prepare ourselves for the week ahead.

The Jesus Who Speaks to Laodicea

First, verse 14: „And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.” In this letter Jesus is going to bear witness against the Laodiceans. He is going to deliver an awful threat and an incomparable promise. It is fitting that he identifies himself as one who has the credibility and power to say such things. When he says that he is the „Amen,” he means that he is reliable; he is God’s confirmation, God’s „yes” to all divine promises (2 Corinthians 1:20). „Amen” is simply a transliteration of a Hebrew word that means firm or true or faithful. So the next phrase defines it: „the faithful and true witness.” So this letter is not to be taken lightly. It is the Word of God, with all his firmness and truth and reliability behind it.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses today, like the Arians in the fourth century, would take the next phrase in verse 14, where Jesus is called „the beginning of God’s creation,” to mean that Christ is not eternal with God the Father, but was the first and greatest creature that God made. But the phrase can mean „that from which creation begins” just as easily as it can mean „the beginning part of creation.” I don’t think John meant here that Jesus is part of creation. The reason is that in Revelation 5:13-14 Christ is worshiped by every creature, but in 19:10 John’s attempt to worship an angel is strictly forbidden; only God is to be worshiped. The status of Jesus Christ is therefore much greater than a created angel, for he is to be worshiped. He is „the beginning of God’s creation,” then, in the sense of John 1:3, „All that was made.” So, the one who speaks to us in this letter is God the Son, the source of all God’s creation, including us. Therefore he has all power and reliability to accomplish his threats and fulfill his promises.

Jesus’ Indictment and Threat

In verses 15 and 16 Jesus brings his indictment of the Laodicean church and delivers his threat. „I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.” His indictment against the church is that they are half-hearted in their relation to him. They do not have the fervor and warmth and zeal of a true lover of Christ; nor are they outright unbelievers who flatly reject Jesus and make no pretence of faith. They are halfway in between. Christ has a moderate influence on their lives. They are not uninfluenced by the Lord; but neither do they go overboard nor get very excited about the Creator of all. In relation to prayer, it would be safe to say that they probably pray at meals and pause for two or three minutes at bedtime. But they do not burn with a desire for more of God. They do not go hard after him in the secret place. They do not fling the door wide and welcome him into the innermost places of their emotions. But they keep him just outside the door and do their business with him coolly, lukewarmly, through the mail-slot. They like the ancient (but very unbiblical) proverb: Moderation in all things.

Jesus’ threat to the lukewarm church is that he will spew them out of his mouth. If you wanted to shock a lukewarm Christian, you could hardly think of a more gross and startling image: Jesus Christ putting the cup to his lips in the hope of tasting a pleasing drink, and then spitting it out on the ground. I find it very hard to make this mean that such people will, after all, be saved and enjoy the blessings and fellowship of Christ for all eternity. Surely the image of spitting people out of his mouth means that he has found them to be unacceptable and rejects them. The faith that saves is not a lukewarm, half-hearted faith. And so he warns Laodicea, and every other church, if you do not repent (as verse 19 says) and become zealous, or hot, then the mechanical, cool superficiality of your faith will be your destruction, and I will spew you out of my mouth. There is ample reason in these verses alone for us to be on our knees in fasting and prayer at the beginning of 1983.

Now in verse 17 Jesus tells us that an essential part of lukewarmness is ignorance of our true spiritual condition and satisfaction with the way we are. „For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” You can take your spiritual temperature by whether you feel in your heart a great need to seek God in prayer and fasting at the beginning of 1983. The essence of lukewarmness is the statement, „I need nothing.” The lukewarm are spiritually self-satisfied. To find out whether you are among that number, don’t look into your head to see if you think that you are needy; rather, look at your prayer life. It doesn’t matter what we think in our head, the test of whether we are in bondage to spiritual self-satisfaction is how earnest and frequent and extended our prayers for change are. Do you seek the Lord earnestly and often in secret for deeper knowledge of Christ, for greater earnestness in prayer, for more boldness in witness, for sweeter joy in the Holy Spirit, for deeper sorrow for sin, for warmer compassion for the lost, for more divine power to love? Or is the coolness and perfunctoriness of your prayer life Exhibit A that you are spiritually self-satisfied and lukewarm?

Jesus’ word In verse 17 to people who feel that they need nothing, who feel that a week of prayer and fasting is a bit melodramatic—taking this business of spiritual hotness too far—the word of Jesus is this: „You are wretched and pitiable and poor and blind and naked.” And if such churchgoers don’t begin to do something to change their condition, Jesus will eventually spew them out of his mouth.

Jesus’ Counsel

Jesus has indicted and warned in verses 15–17. Now in verse 18 he begins to counsel. (Counseling is big business today, and I hope all of us who are involved in counseling hear the way the Master counselor is talking.) „Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.” The will of Christ for the church is that our poverty be replaced by spiritual wealth; that our nakedness and shame be covered with the robes of righteousness and good deeds (3:4; 7:14; 19:8); that our blindness be healed so we can see things as they really are and escape from the dream world of self-satisfaction. And there is only one place we can get these things—from Jesus himself. So he says, „Buy from me gold!” But how do you buy gold when you are broke? Jesus knows we’re broke. He just said so in verse 17. And not just broke, but blind—we can’t work. And not just blind, but shamefully naked—we can’t even leave the closet. So how do you buy gold and garments and salve when you are poor and blind and naked? How do you get the wealth of Christ, the power to be clothed with obedience, and the wisdom to see things like God does, when your house is empty, and you are too frightened and ashamed to venture out?

After saying that it is only love that is prompting his rebuke and discipline, he gives the answer in verse 20: you don’t go out; you invite Jesus in. You don’t work; you pray. „Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” This verse can be applied (without damage, I think) to an unbeliever (as we often use it), but that is not its purpose here. It is addressed to lukewarm Christians who think they have need of nothing more of Christ. It is addressed to churchgoers who do not enjoy the riches of Christ or the garments of Christ or the medicine of Christ because they keep the door shut to the inner room of their lives. All the dealings they have with Christ are businesslike lukewarm dealings with a salesman on the porch.

But Christ did not die to redeem a bride who would keep him on the porch while she watched television in the den. His will for the church is that we open the door, all the doors of our life. He wants to join you in the dining room, spread a meal out for you, and eat with you and talk with you. The opposite of lukewarmness is the fervor you experience when you enjoy a candlelit dinner with Jesus Christ in the innermost room of your heart. And when Jesus Christ, the source of all God’s creation, is dining with you in your heart, then you have all the gold, all the garments, and all the medicine in the world.

How do you buy gold when you’re broke? You pray, and trust the promise: „I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.” There is an intimate communion and fellowship with Christ which many of us at Bethlehem need to seek in earnest prayer. Because when he dwells in the innermost room of our affections, he brings the power we want more than anything —the power to conquer selfishness and live for others.

And so the text closes with a promise to those who conquer. Verse 21: „He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” Christ conquered sin and Satan and death by never veering from the path of love. It cost him his life; but he gained the world. And now he writes to the church—and this is as real for us this morning as if he were here handing you a letter himself—he writes to offer us a share in his universal rule if we will conquer, if we will overcome the menace of lukewarmness and spiritual self-satisfaction. And there is only one way to get that kind of power and victory, namely, by taking all the locks off the door and asking the living Christ to come in and eat with you. And that is what a week of concerted prayer at Bethlehem is all about . . . „that the power of Christ may dwell in us” (2 Corinthians 12:9; Ephesians 3:16–17).

© Desiring God

‪Darrell Bock on N.T. Wright’s New Perspective & Eschatological Language‬‏

Darrell Bock is Research Professor of New Testament Studies and Professor of Spiritual Development and Culture; click on the picture for Dr. Bock’s faculty page on the Dallas Theological Seminary’s website.

There is a lot of commentary on N.T.Wright’s ‘New Perspective’, a topic I am reading about from different, competent sources, who are faithful to the Word of God. This is Darrell Bock’s lecture on the subject.

In the 2 part video Darrell Bock discusses N.T.Wright’s „new perspective” of seeing Jesus and Paul through the lens of 1st century  Judaism (through A.D.70) rather than through Christian critique of the New Testament or through the lens of the Reformation.

The lecture is given at Liberty University.    Uploaded by on Youtube.

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There is a short question and answer session in the middle of  this video, followed by a discussion of Eschatological Language.

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