Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sanctification Is Inseparable from the Gospel

I don't know if anyone's still arguing that the gospel is not the epicenter of sanctification. Until I know that notion is dead, I'm going to keep making the case that it ought to be. Paul Tripp and Timothy Lane's How People Change develops a thoroughly biblical argument for the centrality of the whole message of the gospel—from conversion to glorification–to the believer's growing holiness. Tripp and Lane haven't unearthed some new truth. In addition to a plethora of biblical texts, they cite a variety of past saints, including these comments from J.C. Ryle's classic, Holiness:
It is a strong but true saying of Traill's, "Wisdom out of Christ is damning folly—righteousness out of Christ is guilt and condemnation—sanctification our of Christ is filth and sin—redemption out of Christ is bondage and slavery." [Traill was a 17th century English Puritan.]

Do you want to attain holiness? Do you feel this day a real hearty desire to be holy? Would you be a partaker of the Divine nature? Then go to Christ. Wait for nothing. Wait for nobody. Linger not. Think not to make yourself ready. Go and say to Him, in the words of that beautiful hymn—"Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling; Naked, flee to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace." There is not a brick nor a stone laid in the work of our sanctification till we go to Christ [p. 49 in the Redwood Burn Ltd. edition]
. . .
Would you continue holy? Then abide in Christ. He says Himself, "Abide in Me and I in you,—he that abideth in Me and I in him, the same beareth much fruit" (John 15:4-5). It pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell—a full supply for all a believer's wants. He is the Physician to whom you must daily go, if you would keep well. He is the Manna which you must daily eat, and the Rock of which you must daily drink. His arm is the arm on which you must daily lean, as you come up out of the wilderness of this world. You must not only be rooted, you must also be built up in Him. [50]
Much more can and should be said to flesh out what it means to "go to Christ" for our sanctification. Tripp and Lane do precisely that. I find myself recommending CCEF publications all the time, primarily because they are saturated with both the truth and the application of the gospel.

1 comment:

Shayne McAllister said...

"How People Change" is a great resource. My church just finished going through it on Wednesday nights. I wish it was organized in a little less confusing way, and the analogies are a little easy to get lost in for some people. But on the whole it's a great resource for a group discussion/small group.