Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Sanctification – Introduction Part 2

Just so I don’t come to the end of this post and not say what I intended, I am going to cut straight to the chase and list my points on how to walk in victory and be transformed..

The way to Sanctification in summary:

1. The experience of Simultaneously Saint and Sinner
When we approach God in prayer and in any situation, there is a profound instantaneous experience of being aware of our sinfulness and simultaneously aware of our total acceptance by Grace alone, through Christ alone, by faith alone. To be of the right heart to walk in an abiding newness of life, we must become very accustomed to this experience.

2. A Gospel Orientation toward God
The entire series on the Fatherhood of God was intended to help us have a gospel orientation toward God and see God our Father as a loving provider of all we need. The gospel is an arrow downward. Jesus taught the first principle of moral distinction and transformation was that the kingdom of God is for the poor in Spirit. Only those who are aware that they have no spiritual resources in and of themselves and also are aware that they are simultaneously declared a saint by grace can rightly beg. Christianity is a matter of begging for resources from God with faith in His continual heart to heal and give grace though faith in Christ.

3. The Kingdom of God is within reach
When Jesus announced that the kingdom of God is at hand, He was saying the heavenly pattern of life is within reach through faith in Him. The heavenly pattern of life is the redemption of our person and therefore all creation through the church.

The clearest distilled manifestation of the kingdom is love. When Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, He fully expects us to live it out through the reality of New Covenant spirituality.
When we say we believe that Jesus is the Messiah, we are saying that we believe that the great eschatological event that brings freedom has already happened in the cross of Jesus. Therefore, we can place our faith in the finished work of Christ and expect a heavenly pattern of life in this life. This radical claim to victory is what we actually believe as Christians.

4. Dynamic and Static Faith
All of the above is static or immutable faith. These realities of our position before God and Christ’s finished work are immutable. These skills of learning to get used to our justification and to get used to the Gospel of the Kingdom being an arrow downward are foundational, BUT KNOWING THIS DOES NOT MAKE US VICTORIOUS OR HOLY IN LIFE.

These static truths create affection for God and knowledge of truth deep in our hearts, but they do not directly cause us to behave differently. A person cannot move on without “getting very accustomed to these truths” , but another set of skills are needed to rise up from our contemplative experiences and learn to do good. It has been said that the greatest distance is the distance between the head and the heart BUT this is not true. The greatest distance is from the heart to the body. The greatest gap in life is the gap between knowing and doing. Acknowledging this gap and seeking to leap across this chasm is the first key to actually entering the kingdom.

6. Crossing the Knowing Doing Gap takes a MILITANT ATTITUDE TOWARD LIFE.
The following posts are going to give as many practical examples as I can possibly give of what this orientation toward the moments of life looks like. The experience is one of faith in instantaneous power and a total no compromise relationship to the law of love in the given instant.

By militant, I mean the willingness and readiness to die. All writers on sanctification that are worth their weight in salt focus on the mechanics of the imitation of the cross and death to self.

The understanding that brings victory is neither conservative evangelical, which tends to deny experiences of power, nor is it Pentecostal, which tends to link the filling of the past with victory in the present. Instead, the key to entering the kingdom is learning to experience power in the heat of the battle with the challenges of life itself.

I have tried to describe the experience of justification as that of, in the instant, knowing that we are simultaneously saint and sinner. I have tried to explain that this experience needs to be very familiar to us. In fact, we need to be able to orient our heart toward this gospel posture at any moment. So too, there is an anatomy to the instantaneous experience of sanctification. The difference is that sanctification happens in the instant of the battle itself with the challenges of life. It is in the present instance that we must learn to live and be able to explain the anatomy of the experience.

Justification can be experienced in the disciplines of contemplation, but actual sanctification is only learned in the moment of the battle itself.

Do you know the anatomy of the experience of victory? Picture yourself standing on the East side of the Jordan. As you cross over to do battle, do you know the heart orientation that knows that you are weak in yourself but simultaneously trusts in the instantaneous power of the greater Joshua? Do you know the experience of this power in your daily life in the heat of the battle? Do you know such a confident and militant approach to life?

My hope is to help us all learn these vital lessons and be able to articulate them in such a way that we can bring renewal and sanctification to the church in our generation.

God Bless,

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