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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
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Tuesday, November 27, 2007
The Greatest Hindrance To Genuine Sanctification
Okay, so you have stopped playing at being a Christian, and have begun to take it all very seriously. You know that you are supposed to be one way, and hate it when you continue to be another - and so you feel guilty all the time, and you sense within a growing concern and maybe even a little quiet frustration - why oh why am I growing colder rather than hotter? Why does it seem that my brain wants more, but my flesh wants less? Why is it that I seem to be less sincere today that I was five years ago? I know I want to be sanctified, and that I want to be as holy as the name I bear (Christian) demands - I want to walk worthy of Christ!

Yet it seems there is some hindrance to the whole process, the more I try and apprehend it the farther I am from it! Would that I could simply identify the problem perhaps I might be able to put it in an eternal grave, and dance upon that grave in joy forevermore.

Well, I am going to tell you what, if this describes you, the problem likely is -- but you will find that while articulating the problem is very helpful to your brain, simply having the knowledge won't solve the problem; the problem isn't entirely rooted in mere ignorance, it is really a spiritual problem, and while spiritual problems need to be understood, yet it isn't the understanding of them that sets us free. The Lord sets us free, and when He does, we are free indeed!

How frustrating it must have been to ask, "What must I do so that I do the works of God" and receive, instead of a practical, "do this, do that" answer, to receive what seems to be an esoteric riddle, "believe on Him who sent Me." Yet as I grow I see with greater clarity the brilliance - the concrete, literal truth in that answer. Sometimes the sheer perfection of scripture magnifies the deity behind the truth, and this is one of those verses that for me is fire and life - a verse that booms throughout all creation - God must be real, for the level of precision in this truth is so profound that no human could possibly have uttered it. Yet the problem will be solved by the same truth found in this verse.

Now, your problem is pretty simple once you isolate the main reason many of us desire to be sanctified. No, it isn't for God's glory, though it ought to be. The main reason most of us desire sanctification is because when we sin, we feel like we are hypocrites, we hate ourselves for giving into the flesh, and what we really want is to be free from the overwhelming sense of condemnation.

I mean seriously, we agree with God that our sin deserves condemnation; we know that God is the one who condemns sin; we know that God knows our innermost thoughts, and sees us for the hypocrites we are; therefore we conclude (with our feelings at least) that God cannot like us in this state, and our desire therefore it to become pleasing to God by exiting this state.

Do you see how subtle pursuing God in our flesh has become?

We desire to be pleasing because above all, we are still thinking that it is the things we do that will make us pleasing to God. This is, of course, a very subtle form of the error made by the Galatians. They were seeking to be sanctified, not by faith, but by human effort.

Look and see that you are not, and can never become acceptable to God by your own effort. You are coming to the plow, but looking back all the time. You cannot look back brother, sister. Put your hand on the plow and plow! You are either right with God in Christ, or you are not right with God. You cannot "make" yourself right - if you could Christ died for nothing. Look and see. Chew on that - be convinced. If you are in Christ, you are acceptable to God. Period.

If I continue to trust in myself to please God, it comes at the expense of trusting in Christ. I can never believe God loves me, and therefore never be free to love Him as I ought, so long as I am trying to do the impossible - "get right" with God by being good. The reason we continue on the mouse-wheel of works is because we don't really trust that God loves us without it. When we begin to see that the reason our sanctification is so stunted, beggarly, difficult, and tearful is because we have been pursuing it out of an irrational fear that if we don't do this God -will- reject us, then we may be ready to reexamine how God sanctifies us: which is by grace alone through faith alone.

You see, love is a far easier yoke than fear. Faith brings forth love, but effort only fear.

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posted by Daniel @ 9:35 AM  
15 Comments:
  • At 11:52 AM, November 27, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Oh - unbelief btw. That is the greatest hindrance.

     
  • At 11:52 AM, November 27, 2007, Blogger Jim said…

    Good thoughts Daniel, I thought you were going to say that our unwillingness to be set apart was a hindrance. Or maybe our unwillingness to separate those things from our lives that dilute our ability to shine for Christ and glorify Him.

     
  • At 11:53 AM, November 27, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Jim - I must have hit the enter key a split second before you

     
  • At 1:22 PM, November 27, 2007, Blogger Jim said…

    Yeah, I noticed that. Unbelief is really the key isn't it.

     
  • At 5:25 PM, November 27, 2007, Blogger Libbie said…

    Wonderful, Daniel. Tremendously helpful.

     
  • At 11:48 PM, November 27, 2007, Blogger Strong Tower said…

    You mean I've gotta believe?

    Oh Lord, help my unbelief!

    Nice sin-opsis Dan.

     
  • At 6:48 AM, November 28, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    There are some victories that come at the end of a long and hard struggle. The victory of faith - overcoming of sin - is one such struggle.

     
  • At 10:35 AM, November 28, 2007, Blogger mark pierson said…

    Sir, this is a BC blog MUST! Great post, Daniel.

    If you don't wish to post this there then I hope you don't mind my swiping it to put there myself.

    Hope to see this there tomorrow, please and thank you.

    Mark

     
  • At 4:59 PM, November 28, 2007, Blogger Marcian said…

    Daniel, I needed to read this today. I really really really did. You and the good man Spurgeon. Why do I get the feeling I have more faith IN faith, than I do faith in Christ's righteousness, His work on the cross, the debt completely paid?!?! *sigh*

     
  • At 5:05 PM, November 28, 2007, Blogger Marcian said…

    There are some victories that come at the end of a long and hard struggle. The victory of faith - overcoming of sin - is one such struggle.

    By the way, thanks for being honest about this one... I only pray that the Lord would not abandon the work of His hands.

     
  • At 6:33 PM, November 28, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Job 14:15 says, "You would call, and I would answer you; you would long for the work of your hands."

     
  • At 7:43 PM, November 29, 2007, Blogger Antonio said…

    Daniel, I think that you are only half right, and therefore half wrong.

    Yes, without faith it is impossible to please God. But there is a disjunction between the unsaved doing works in order that he might please God for acceptance, and the saved man doing works in order to please the God who granted him such a great salvation.

    Paul stated that he made it his aim to be well pleasing to the Lord for he knew that one day he would stand before Christ and receive what he had done in the body, whether good or bad (2 Cor 5:9-10).

    Furthermore there should be a healthy fear in the Christian. Not of hell, but of failing to lay hold of that which Christ has laid hold of us; fear of being disqualified, fear of shame at Christ's Bema, fear of God's wrath for our unfaithfulnesses. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

    "For we know Him who said, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. And again, 'The Lord will judge His people.' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:30-31).

    God has given us everything that pertains to life and to godliness, and has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. We are without excuse if we are not following in sanctification. And such neglect has unfavourable consequences. God does not trifle with sin.

    Antonio

     
  • At 7:32 AM, November 30, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Antonio,

    If I remember correctly, you believe that Christianity can be broken up into (at least) two tiers. The lowest tier you would refer to as 'unfaithful' Christians - citing the Greek word "apistia". These who come to the judgment seat of Chirst you would say are shamed there and enter into heaven as a distinct, non-ruling class. The "upper" tier of Christians, those whom you would call "faithful" recieve praise at the judgment seat, and will enter into the kingdom as co-rulers with Christ, ruling over the lesser, "apistia" Christians.

    Given your perspective on the bematos seat, and your two tier understanding of Christianity by which you adorn your understanding of the bematos, I am not surprised that you would conclude I am half wrong, in fact I am surprised to find you so generous.

     
  • At 10:26 AM, November 30, 2007, Blogger mark pierson said…

    mark pierson said...
    Antonio said...
    Daniel, I think that you are only half right, and therefore half wrong.

    Yes, without faith it is impossible to please God. But there is a disjunction between the unsaved doing works in order that he might please God for acceptance, and the saved man doing works in order to please the God who granted him such a great salvation.
    ======
    So far I agree.
    ======
    Paul stated that he made it his aim to be well pleasing to the Lord for he knew that one day he would stand before Christ and receive what he had done in the body, whether good or bad (2 Cor 5:9-10).
    ========
    Still agree
    ========
    Furthermore there should be a healthy fear in the Christian. Not of hell, but of failing to lay hold of that which Christ has laid hold of us;
    =======
    Laying hold of that wich Christ has laid hold of us appears on Phillipians 3. Paul was straining, pressing forward in His sanctification here. Was fear is driving force here? Perhaps it is only secondary. Firstly, in the context,it is the desire springing from a regenerated heart (Jeremiah 31:31-34; 32:39-40; Ezek 36:25-27; 2 Cor 3:3-18; Hebrews 8:6-13; 10:15-16.
    ======
    fear of being disqualified, fear of shame at Christ's Bema, fear of God's wrath for our unfaithfulnesses.
    =======
    God's wrath on a Christian? Unscriptural!
    =======
    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

    "For we know Him who said, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. And again, 'The Lord will judge His people.' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:30-31).
    ==========
    That potion of scripture is directed at professors of Christianity. Those who are false professors are the ones who need fear Him here.
    ======
    God has given us everything that pertains to life and to godliness, and has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. We are without excuse if we are not following in sanctification.
    ======
    Agreed!
    =======
    And such neglect has unfavourable consequences.
    =========
    Yes, loss of reward.
    ========
    God does not trifle with sin.
    =======
    Right, it was paid for at Calvary. PERIOD!

    Mark

    November 30, 2007 11:24 AM

     
  • At 10:37 AM, November 30, 2007, Blogger mark pierson said…

    Being "born from above" (John 3:3- 8; Titus 3:5) is the starting point in Paul's ministry as he is a minister of the New Covenent (2 Cor. 3:6). ALL things that aim heavenward in the Christian life spring forth from the Indwelling Holy Spirit. Desires for God and Christ-likeness as well as the desire to further His Kingdom all issue from that new nature.

     
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