Another informative and refreshing program at the White Horse Inn: Election & Declaring Independence
The boys’ discussion pertained to :
1) Election: It is in the Bible…everyone believes it — in some sense
2) Electing: Who is doing it? (see Rom.8.28-30 – “called according to his purpose” not according to ‘foreknowledge’)
3) Reprobation: The result of Adam’s work — Now man’s birth right and will
Election: On the basis of Christ’s work — God had to do all that pertains to salvation
4) Modern Western Struggle w/ Sovereignty: In a climate of Independency — “Hey, wait a minute; I did at least a little something right!”
5) ‘Christ choosing you’ & ‘You choosing Christ’: It’s both, with the latter as the fruit of the former – see Jn.1.12-13; Eph.2.8-10; Phil.2.12-13 — We believe because He has made us willing and able to do so…thru the Gospel.
6) Salvation (from ‘east to west’) is from the Lord — Just as there’s ‘no where’ and ‘no place’ that God is not Creator, so too, there’s no where in the believer’s faith that He’s not the Creator of New Life.
Paul Tripp has written:
“Focus on Christ will always result in focus on the cross. You cannot be Christ-centered without becoming cross-centered. The crucified Christ is to be the center of everything I know about myself and my world. You cannot have any real hope for flawed people in a fallen world unless there is a Redeemer to rescue us from the evil that resides both inside and outside of us. Real restoration to God’s created design requires the cross. It is the cross of Christ that alone will restore my allegiance to Christ and his rightful place at the center of everything in my life.”
C. John Miller once wrote: “Repentance has nothing to do with what man has done. Rather it is man’s coming undone in respect to all human righteousness, followed by his going outside himself in faith to Christ alone for salvation.”
John Owen once wrote: “It is by beholding the glory of Christ by faith that we are spiritually edified and built up in this world, for as we behold his glory, the life and power of faith grow stronger and stronger. It is by faith that we grow to love Christ. So if we desire strong faith and powerful love, which give us rest, peace and satisfaction, we must seek them diligently beholding the glory of Christ by faith. In this duty I desire to live and to die.”
Bill Mounce wrote: “In the New Covenant our old heart is removed and a new softer, pliable heart of flesh is put in its place. But if our heart is changed, is it possible for our lives also not to change? Of course not. Changed people live in a changed way. This is why judgment (outside of John) is always done on the basis of our lives (i.e., works). Our changed lives of obedience show the reality of the heart changed through faith. …This is the obedience of faith. It is an obedience that first shows itself in a response of faith, and an obedience that necessarily moves into a life of ever-increasing faithful obedience.”
J.R. Miller once wrote:
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:2
Keeping the heart upon Christ–transfigures the life.
The old monks intently gazed upon the crucifix,
thinking that the print of the nails would come in their hands and feet, and the thorn-scars in their brow–as they gazed.
It was but an utter fiction–yet in the fiction there is a spiritual truth. Gazing by faith upon Christ–the lines of His beauty indeed imprint themselves on our hearts! That is the meaning of Paul’s words–”We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord–are transformed into the same image!”
The gospel is the mirror. There we see the image of Christ. If we earnestly, continuously, and lovingly behold it–the effect will be the changing of our own lives into His likeness. The transformation is wrought by the Holy Spirit, and we are only to behold, to before Christ–His image is imprinted on our soul.
Christian Cryder: “If Justification By Faith is the heart of the gospel, and Sanctification By Faith is its lifeblood, then Worship by Faith explains the reality of our fellowship with God. …[O]ur churches will die when we fail to understand the gospel – that we are justified by faith, sanctified by faith, and that our worship is made pleasing in faith.”
Christian Cryder had written:
“Scripture repeatedly attributes sanctification to God, not man: “I am the LORD who sanctifies you” (Lev 20:8; cf. Ex 31:13, Lev 21:8, Ez 20:12, etc).
“Jesus is said to be the author [justifier] and finisher [sanctifier] or our faith (Heb 12:2), and this truth is placed in the immediate context of the importance of faith (Heb 11), followed by a call to personal faith in Christ (“looking at Jesus…” in Heb 12:2). It is important to note that the author of Hebrews is speaking here to people who already believe. As believers, the way we draw near to Christ is “with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb 10:22), and our own confidence is repeatedly grounded in the faithfulness of Christ (Heb 10:23).
Christian Cryder: “[O]ur hearts are sanctified (changed, perfected) only as we repeatedly embrace the gospel in faith. Luther offers an analogy from marriage: faith is the wedding ring which unites us to Christ; by it he inherits all that is ours (sin, unrighteousness), and we inherit all that is his (glory, righteousness). Our desires are transformed as we focus on Christ’s magnificent, ravishing love for us.
“Tim Keller sees in this the fundamental dynamic for Christian living: “We are saved by believing the gospel, and then we are transformed in every part of our mind, heart, and life by believing the gospel more and more deeply as our life goes on.” The reality of my union with Christ funds my spiritual change; the indicative drives the imperative. We need to constantly remind ourselves of this truth. We clean ourselves up, then, not be trying harder or by doing good works, but by believing God’s promises more and more.
“It is important to note that this concept of sanctification by faith is fundamentally biblical. As Dr. Richard Gaffin says, “What faith will always understand is that the path of sanctification has on it the same signposts as the path for justification – grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.”
Sanctification by the truth is done through the power of the Word of God, and this word of God effects sanctification by faith. Through this sanctification by faith, we apprehend our union with Christ, recognize the divine fact that sin no longer has mastery over us, attach ourselves to the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to overcome this sin and live for God, and produce fruit in keeping with righteousness.
Luther, On Christian Liberty, 13
“If you wish to fulfill the law and not covet, as the law demands, come believe in Christ in whom grace, righteousness, peace, liberty, and all things are promised you. If you believe, you shall have all things; if you do not believe you shall lack all things… God our Father has made all things depend on faith so that whoever has faith will have everything.”
Jason Buzzard: “315 years after its original publication, I believe that Marshall’s thesis [The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification.] is as important and urgent as ever–that Christians grow in obedience to Christ by the power of the gospel, not by their own strength. I’ve found that most all Christians agree on justification by faith, but that very few Christians realize that our sanctification is also by faith. Marshall’s book is a clear, winsome, and persuasive articulation of the gospel-centered nature of sanctification.”
Monergism Books.com: “Walter Marshall lays out the biblical way of growth: obedience comes as Christians live by grace, in union with Christ, by faith. …His basic proposition may seem foreign to many modern believers, who are desperately striving to produce in themselves the fruits of obedience, and so guarantee God’s continuing favor. But it is as scriptural as it is refreshing: sanctification, just like justification, is God’s free gift of grace, and can be apprehended only through the faith which looks to Christ and his perfect work. …The message of the gospel is that we do not become holy by doing, but by not doing – we do not work so that we may become holy, but we become holy by faith, with the result that we begin to work naturally, from our heart. Sadly, many who recognize this truth in the matter of justification forget it when it comes to sanctification. But we are no more able for the latter than we are for the former, apart from the work of Christ in us. …[I]t is only through gospel faith that Christ’s power flows through us because of our vital union with him.”
What I continue to find interesting is how little is said regarding this important correlation between faith and sanctification.
Acts 26:18 …that they may receive …a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.
Somehow, what’s said about sanctification tends to place the accent upon our striving (which is of course a facet of the whole) and not upon God’s ongoing sanctifying work in us (1Th5.23), understanding that the latter brings about the former, not merely by focusing upon the former.
As John Murray put it: “We must also appreciate the fact that there is an agency on part of the Holy Spirit that far surpasses analysis or introspection on our part.” (Redemption Accomplished and Applied; pg.147)
The following tends to get shuffled aside, that, a) we were first raised through faith in the powerful working of God demonstrated in Christ’s resurrection (Col 2:12), and b) that such a life in Christ continues by faith in the same (Rom.1.17; Heb.10.38; Gal.3.2-3).
Our striving need be in the context of *remembering* that Christ dwells in our hearts through faith (Eph 3:17), that our faith might rest in the power of God alone (1Cor 2:5), which is manifest in the Gospel as ‘a’ word and ‘the’ Word (Rom.1.16; Heb.10.14).