Archive for the ‘Sanctification’ Category

Sympathize With One Another

Posted: November 13, 2009 in Ministry, Sanctification

the-good-samaritan21Some of the most meaningful moments in my life have come when others have shown me sympathy or compassion. When others have gone out of their way to meet me where I’m at and help me with my present needs, my heart has been impacted  in many ways. In fact, one of the marks of a true Christian is treating others feelings and situations as more important than their own.

Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” and Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” In essence Paul is saying in these two passages that loving someone means sympathizing with them in many different ways. So, the Christian is called to holistically love others by putting others needs above their own, by treating others as you would treat yourself (see the Parable of the Good Samaritan [Lk. 10:25-37]).

Showing compassion and mercy is not easy, it is actually very counter intuitive. But by God’s grace let’s strive to be people of sympathy, mercy, and love as we are conformed more and more to the image of Christ.

Below is John Calvin’s Commentary on Romans 12:15 (verse is above), I thought it was good and helpful:

A general truth is in the third place laid down, — that the faithful, regarding each other with mutual affection, are to consider the condition of others as their own. He first specifies two particular things, — That they were to “rejoice with the joyful, and to weep with the weeping.” For such is the nature of true love, that one prefers to weep with his brother, rather than to look at a distance on his grief, and to live in pleasure or ease. What is meant then is, — that we, as much as possible, ought to sympathize with one another, and that, whatever our lot may be, each should transfer to himself the feeling of another, whether of grief in adversity, or of joy in prosperity. And, doubtless, not to regard with joy the happiness of a brother is envy; and not to grieve for his misfortunes is inhumanity. Let there be such a sympathy among us as may at the same time adapt us to all kinds of feelings.”

-John Calvin, Commentary on Romans

Came across this quote as I was reading some of the archives on the First Importance blog.

“There is no victory over the indwelling power of sin, and there is no pardon for the guilt of sin, but as the soul deals with the blood of Christ. All true sanctification comes through the cross.

Seek it there. Go to the cross—oh, go to the cross of Jesus. In simplicity of faith, go. With the strong corruption, go. With the burden of guilt, go, go to the cross.

You will find nothing but love there—nothing but welcome there—nothing but purity there. The precious blood of Jesus ‘cleanses us from all sin.’ And while you are kept low beneath the cross, your enemy dares not approach you, sin shall not have dominion over you, nor shall Satan, your accuser, condemn you.”

—Octavius Winslow, Morning Thoughts

(HT: First Importance)

Da T.R.U.T.H. – Pain

Posted: September 24, 2009 in Sanctification

Da T.R.U.T.H. has a really good song about how God uses pain in Christians lives to refine them. I hope you enjoy the song and video!

The Loving Discipline of God

Posted: September 23, 2009 in Sanctification

Hebrews 12:10b-11 “…But He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

Pain and affliction in the life of a Christian is necessary and is a good thing. It is so easy to get complacent and comfortable in our present circumstance, and yes, we can even get comfortable with the indwelling sin in our lives. God is a loving Father who is more committed to our good than we could ever be. So God, in His sovereignty, will use (and cause) many painful circumstances in our lives to progressively purge us of our idolatry. God is more concerned about our conformity to the image of Christ than our comfort or prosperity. Actually, if you are not under God’s loving discipline than be afraid, you may be illegitimate and not a child of God at all (Heb 12:8). If you truly are a child of God, he will break you and crush you if he must for the betterment of your soul. We must not view God’s discipline as hatred or condemnation, for Hebrews 12:6 is clear, “The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” The loving discipline of God is an act of grace in the Christians life because it cleanses us of our filth, and causes us to hope in the only One that will satisfy.

Getting to the Heart of the Issue

Posted: September 4, 2009 in Sanctification

The illustration in Proverbs 4:23 is very helpful: It describes human life as a river, and the heart is the source from which the water flows. Our tendency is to see pollution and trash in our “life river” and try to pick the trash out of the river. We see a behavior problem, and we try to take care of the habit. This unfortunately will do us no good if we desire real change.  It doesn’t get to the source of the problem, which is upstream at the heart (Mk 7:20-23). Conversion in the gospel gives us a new heart and opens the door to progressive, holistic, and real change. And we don’t leave behind the message that converted us, we continue in the good news that God has freely justified us in Christ, because it is the way we truly grow in holiness.

“But the free pardon of the cross uproots sin, and withers all its branches. Only the certainty of love, forgiving love, can do this.” – Horatius Bonar