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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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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.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[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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This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

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.
- Carla Rolfe
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Friday, December 04, 2009
There are two types of Christians: those who think about their sanctification all the time, and those who never give sanctification a second thought.

If a Christian isn't focused in some way, moment by moment, on holiness (being set apart for God's purposes), he or she may not even be a genuine Christian; for if the Holy Spirit is in a person, He does not sit idle, but presses that person constantly into a holier walk with God. It does happen that genuine believers so grieve and so quench the Spirit that they refuse to respond to this pressure - either because they don't understand the proper way to respond to it, or because they are trying to hold onto some sinful thing or things, but God chastens these - either goading them back into a right walk with Him, or drawing them out of their error - or in some cases, as we see in scripture, taking them out of the world entirely (rescinding their breathing privileges).

Which is to say that every healthy Christian is aware (daily) of their sinful flesh; they do not make peace with their estate, but they war against that which sullies God's glory, and that which causes such grief to the Holy Spirit, a grief which the same Spirit dutifuly transmits to us, motivating us to persevere in this endeavor.

But not everyone understands how the Holy Spirit sanctifies us. I think this is evident especially in the way some pray: "Lord, please help me to..."

Here is the thing, when I ask for help, I am tacitly admitting that I am the one doing something. That is a problem because, I am not the one who sanctifies myself - God is.

Yes, I am to work out my own salvation (from sin) with fear and trembling because it is God who works in me, both to will and to do His good pleasure, but if I ask God to simply help me in my own failing efforts to do what only God can do it shows a profound misunderstanding of how this is all supposed to work! When it inevitably fails, or when all of sanctification seems to be a pathetic exercise in carnal effort and cyclical backsliding; that is, when we grow frustrated and weary and it seems as if our enemies are leaning forward in anxious anticipation of our fall - that is when asking for help is most natural, and simultaneously most impotent.

Sanctification is entirely God's work. It isn't something God assists me in. Sanctification does not spring from my efforts to be righteous, but from simple trust. Hearts, we read in scripture, are cleansed by faith, no where do read that we are sanctified by "good" works.

That doesn't mean that we abandon doing good, and try instead a 'new' way to pry sanctification out of God's hands and into our lives. Rather it means that we cannot live the Christian life apart from moment by moment trusting in God for all things.

Sanctification doesn't happen because we do good, but sanctification is being worked into us as we do good works, providing we are doing them in the Spirit - that is, unless we are cognative of, and actively (rather than passively) trusting that God is performing in us exactly what He has promised as we do a thing, nothing will happen. There is no sanctification apart from moment by moment fellowship with God.

Don't get me wrong - the outside of your cup can polish up real nice without fellowship and active trust - but we aren't talking about looking the part are we?

I know that some who read this know fully the heartache of frustration in trying to be holy. They know the grief that rises from always seeming stalled in their efforts to be more sanctified. They know even if the world thinks they are super Christians, they no better - they aren't driven by, or even moved by worldly accolades; they just want the inside of the cup to be clean. I write to all, but I expect that it is these who actually desire holiness who will benefit from this post the soonest (assuming this post offers some benefit).

Walk in the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (c.f. Gal 5:16). That verse describes sanctification in a nutshell. It's simple and practical. It speaks of what stands in opposition (the desires of the flesh), and it speaks of what conquers that (walking "by" the Spirit).

The trouble is most of us think walking in the Spirit means more than it actually does.

Try this on for size: walk trusting that the work that is being done in you by the indwelling Holy Spirit will suceed and not fail.

Whatsoever you do, trust that God will be in it, and purposely and agressively divest yourself of every other hope in regards to your sanctification. You cannot sanctify yourself, nor can you "help" God in sanctifying you - and God certainly isn't helping you to sanctify yourself, no matter how many times you ask Him to. God is doing it all - your part in all this is simply to believe not only that He is doing it, but that He is succeeding in what He is doing.

What must you do to do the works of God? Believe in Him whom God has sent - Jesus. Believe/trust that Christ's death did more than save you from sin's penalty - it saved you from sin's power, so that you are no longer sin's slave, or said another way you are (by trusting in Christ) set free from the flesh's bondage to sin.

I know, I know, it all sounds like biblical gobbledygook - but only until God opens your eyes to it, then you will see that Christ is your very life, a life that is apprehended by moment to moment trust, and not supplicating God to help you do it without (and instead of) Him.

Modern evangelism places such emphasis on "gospel justification" that it forgets to carry through with "gospel sanctification". As you received the Lord Jesus, we are told - so you must walk in Him (i.e. by trusting). I think many are so tuned to the 'one-timer' of justification - that they think that the purpose of faith is to get us in the door of heaven, and once we are in, the gospel doesn't serve any more purpose - and they are as far from the truth in that presumption as east is from west. The gospel - the message that both righteousness and salvation comes by faith, matters to God, which is why you feel frustrated in your sanctification today if you are not allowing (by faith) God to work in you in this matter.

So trust God. Trust that He is in charge of it. Trust His pace and timing - a feat that will be impossible if you believe (wrongly, but secretly) that God is against you because of your failures (read: abundant, willful, rebellion). You will always find it unproductive to trust in a warped image of God an image that is more than or different from (however subtly) the one found in scripture. If you think God hates His children because of their sin, you are slandering God whether in ignorance or in unbelief.

When I say to trust God, I mean trust the God you find in the bible, and not the warped image of God you may be harbouring in your heart.

Also, you must determine to no longer live your life aloof from God.

If you're His son or daughter, live like it. Don't come to God for building materials with which to build your own house - live in His. Don't be like the prodigal son who demanded an inheritance so that he could live apart from His father. Don't live your life moment by moment ignoring God and wonder why you're not being sanctified. Your life is hid in Christ; your house is God's house - that is where you are supposed to live, that is where you are to be. Don't try and build your own place - I am speaking metaphorically - don't try and sanctify yourself, or ask God to help you do that, you will never be sanctified apart from fellowship with God so stop avoiding Him in your daily life.

Don't try to get holy in order to come to God either. That's as dumb as a beggar trying to get rich in order to beg.

Simply life by bringing every moment to, and living every moment with , God; that is, live each momenht trusting that God is with you, working in you. Don't look to your own understanding, but lean on Him.

Seriously, you want joy? We are most assured when we are most trusting - we are most sanctified when we are most assured. We are most joyful when we are most sanctified.

Grace and peace.
posted by Daniel @ 7:47 AM  
  • At 9:22 AM, December 04, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    I had to correct a few spelling mistakes, and then I changed up a few things - since I never seem able to articulate a thought without wanting to edit it and make it better.

    Anyway - I posted it from my iPhone, so if you read it and found all sorts of typos and whatnot - I fixed those now.

  • At 9:28 AM, December 04, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    make it better

    Well, make it better might be too presuming a phrase - how about, "better express what I meant to say"

  • At 11:40 PM, December 05, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    your words encouraged me. bless you.

  • At 5:29 AM, December 06, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Anon - Thank you for saying so, because that encourages me.

    I would write posts like this one even if no one other than myself read them, for in articulating the matter, I find I am edified - it is as if being able to express it in words clarifies it further for me.

    And yet, what a joy it is, and how it builds me up, to know that even one other person was built up by it besides me. I hope you know that by informing me that my post encouraged you, you have greatly encouraged me, and blessed me by it.

    Even as I have already thanked God for the encouragement He provided to me through your comment, so I warmly thank you also.

  • At 10:28 PM, December 06, 2009, Blogger Unknown said…

    I love reading your posts..So many times you put things in a way I would have, if I wrote a blog.. and it fills me with gratitude to our Lord, for the ways He confirms to my heart what He has revealed during my times in His Word!

  • At 11:30 PM, December 06, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Celine, it is always affirming when someone reads the same texts and comes to the same conclusions without having discussed it with you beforehand. That is one of the neat things the internet allows.

    Grace and peace.

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