29 January 2015

Becoming Holy

The Scriptures place great emphasis on our part in sanctification, on what you and I have to do. What is the point of the mighty arguments of Paul and the apostles in their letters if sanctification is something that I am to receive? Why the exhortations?

Here is one exhortation from the apostle Peter: "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul" (1 Peter 2:11). Do you notice what he says? We do not receive our sanctification and are then delivered from theses things. No; he tells us to abstain from them and to keep ourselves from them. And the tragedy is that so many people are spending their lives waiting to receive something, and in the meantime they are not abstaining from these fleshly lusts.

Take a statement from Paul: "Let him that stole steal no more" (Ephesians 4:28). That is what he is to do. He is not to wait to receive something; he is commanded to give up stealing. What can be more specific than that? And people who are guilty of foolish talking and jesting and other unseemly things are not to do them (Ephesians 5:4). "Be not conformed to this world" (Romans 12:2). You do not wait to receive something; if up to this moment you have been conforming to the world, you must stop.

People have often come to me about this and said, "You know, I've been trying so hard, but I can't get this experience." To which the reply is that the Scripture commands you to abstain: "Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded" (James 4:8). And I repeat that these injunctions are quite pointless and a sheer waste of ink if sanctification is something that I can receive. If it is, we would surely be told, "You need not worry about this question of sin–you can receive your sanctification in one act, and all you do then is to maintain it and abide in it." But this is most certainly not the New Testament teaching.

– Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Walking with God Day by Day

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