I hear men talk of becoming less and less sinful and progressively holier from day to day. I hear men talk about their “progressive sanctification” a great deal. But the more they boast of their progressive holiness, the more harsh, judgmental and mean-spirited they become towards their ‘lesser brethren’. Their doctrine is this: ‘God’s children,’ they say ‘grow in righteousness and personal holiness until they are ripe for heaven.’ They actually teach that glorification is the end result of their own progressive attainments in ‘personal holiness’. If their doctrine is true, if it is possible for men gradually to become less sinful and more holy, then it is possible for men, by diligence, self-denial and mortification of the flesh, eventually to attain sinless perfection in this life.
Such doctrine, of course is contrary to Holy Scriptures (1John 1:8, 1John 1:10). Any man who says that he is without sin, even for a fleeting second, is deceived, the truth is not in him and he makes God a liar. And honesty compels me to acknowledge that this doctrine of ‘progressive sanctification’ is totally contrary to my own experience. I have, I believe, over the past nineteen years, grown in grace. My love for, faith in and commitment to Christ have grown, increased and matured by the grace of God. But my sin has not diminished. My outward acts of sin are more restricted and controlled than before, but the inward evil of my flesh has not lessened. If anything, it is worse now than ever. With aching heart, I confess my sin. Though I am redeemed, justified and sanctified in Christ, I am still a man in the flesh, and my flesh is full of sin. By painful experience, I have learned that ‘I am carnal, sold under sin. . . For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing.’ Christ alone is my redemption. Christ alone is my righteousness. Christ alone is my acceptance with God. And Christ alone is my sanctification.
– Don Fortner
1 Corinthians 1: 30
This declaration gives me four glorious things to contemplate.
First: If it is of the eternal God that I am in Christ Jesus; then there was never a time when I was not in Him. My birth, life and preservation were all considered according to my union with Him. God did not allow me to go too far or turn me over to myself. But He watched over me and when it pleased Him brought me to Christ.
Second: If it is of God that I am in Christ Jesus than it cannot come to naught. No principality or power can snatch me from the hands of my Savior or the hands of my Father who put me there. Our Lord said, “My Father which gave them me is greater than all and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10: 29)
Third: If it is of God that I am in Christ Jesus than all that He has accomplished is for me. There would be nothing significant about being in Christ if he were not my representative and substitute. All of His glory, greatness, and victory would be meaningless to me if we were not one by divine union.
Lastly: If it is of God that I am in Christ Jesus then there is nothing left to glory in except the Lord. “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
– Darvin Pruitt
“I find then, the law that, to me, while I desire to do good, evil is present.” Romans 7:21
Are you not often a mystery to yourself? Warm one moment— cold the next! Abasing yourself one hour—exalting yourself the following! Loving the world, full of it, steeped up to your head in it today—crying, groaning, and sighing for a sweet manifestation of the love of God tomorrow! Brought down to nothingness, covered with shame and confusion, on your knees before you leave your room—filled with pride and self-importance before you have got down stairs! Despising the world, and willing to give it all up for one taste of the love of Jesus when in solitude—trying to grasp it with both hands when in business! What a mystery are you! Touched by love—and stung with hatred! Possessing a little wisdom—and a great deal of folly! Earthly minded—and yet having the affections in heaven! Pressing forward—and lagging behind! Full of sloth—and yet taking the kingdom with violence! And thus the Spirit, by a process which we may feel but cannot adequately describe—leads us into the mystery of the two natures perpetually struggling and striving against each other in the same bosom—so that one man cannot more differ from another, than the same man differs from himself. But the mystery of the kingdom of heaven is this—that our carnal mind undergoes no alteration, but maintains a perpetual war with grace. And thus, the deeper we sink in self-abasement under a sense of our vileness, the higher we rise in a knowledge of Christ, and the blacker we are in our own view—the more lovely does Jesus appear.
– J.C Philpot
“So Jesus said, Do you also still not understand?” Matthew 15:16. What lessons we need day by day to teach us anything aright, and how it is for the most part, “line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” O, what slow learners!—what dull, forgetful scholars!—what ignoramuses!—what stupid blockheads!—what stubborn pupils! Surely no scholar at a school, old or young, could learn so little of natural things as we seem to have learned of spiritual things after so many years instruction—so many chapters read—so many sermons heard—so many prayers put up—so much talking about religion. How small, how weak is the amount of growth, compared with all we have read and heard and talked about! But it is a mercy that the Lord saves whom He will save.
– J.C Philpot
God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of Him is our proper; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any, or all earthly friends. These are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean.”
– Jonathan Edwards