Progressive Sanctification

God’s purpose is that each Christian should press onward in the life of holiness aiming at final perfection, like a runner in a race. God has made provision for each Christian to be a “perfect” runner.  In running a race, it is half the battle to make a good start.  And in the Christian race, it gives a tremendous impetus to the believer if he starts and continues with a clear, steady faith in Christ for full deliverance from sin.  What is the greatest hindrance to a Christian starting and continuing in this glorious race?  Surely it is indwelling sin.  But praise God, as we shall show, we may be set gloriously free from this indwelling, entangling hindrance, we may be made perfectly whole and clean within and filled with the blessed Holy Spirit. This is “Perfection the True.”  Thus we can, through grace, fulfill the command, “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:1, 2) – Brockett

The unchristian world that walks by sight and not by faith and knows not the dignity of the Christian nor what the Christians are entitled to.  The Christian is favored by heaven and will be an inhabitant of that place where the unchristian as well as the antichristian person cannot go.  The unchristian and the antichristian alike will see Jesus with His frowns, the terror of His majesty and vengeance but the true Christian will see His smiles, the glory of His majesty, His beauty.  The impure will be terrified by His purity.  Those who hope to live with Him must strive to be more pure.  “It is the hope of hypocrites, and not the sons of God that makes an allowance for the gratification of impure desires and lusts.” – Matthew Henry

The work of the Holy Spirit in the progressive sanctification of the newborn soul is indirect: in opening the heart to receive the truth, the instrument of purification; in giving vigor to the spiritual life; in strengthening the will to resist temptation, and in diminishing the power of evil habits. It is repressive of depravity rather than totally destructive. 

The entire eradication of the propensity to sin is by the direct and instantaneous act of the Holy Spirit responsive to a special act of faith in Christ claiming the full heritage of the believer. It is in reference to this distinctive act of the Sanctifier that it is noted by an eminent expositor “that in the New Testament we never read expressly and unmistakably of sanctification as a gradual process.” This is said in view of the almost universal use of the aorist tense of the verbs to sanctify and to cleanse. – Dr. Daniel Steele

An excerpt from my soon to be released book “Jesus the Christ made a statement,” Pastor Ward

Jesus the Christ Made a Statement

It is somewhat understandable why many people mistrust certain Christians; however, there are other Christians whom it is quite dangerous to despise.  Those Christians and their way of living may make you feel a bit uncomfortable regarding the life-choices you have made or may be currently making but since they are actually embarking on the spirit-walk we are all called to travel in then it is wise to take note and move in the same direction and along the same pathway and in the same manner as they are.  “Blessed are the pure in heart ….” – Jesus.  And God commanded, “Be holy even as I am holy.”

Wherever a number of Christians have associated together, with the evident and exclusive aim of promoting purity of heart and life, they have prospered.  The most profound attention to the history of the general church will show the same unvarying truth.  Under the influence of apostolic purity, the early victories of the cross were as decisive in the reformation of individual character and public manners, as they were unparalleled in their extent and power.  But the gradual departure from primitive simplicity, and the immense accumulation of corruption in heart and life which followed, by slow degrees destroyed the power of the church to act as a reforming agent.  There are punctuated periods of pursuing heart purity throughout church history and we stand in dire need of another.  The possibility of the perpetual presence of the empowering Spirit of God is real but the spirit cools for whatever reason and the fervent flames of reformation fade until problems provoking punishment from the Supreme Moral Authority again multiply.  See 2nd Chronicles 7:13-15

The pure in heart — Those whose hearts are purified by faith; who are not only sprinkled from an evil conscience by the blood of Jesus, but cleansed by the Spirit of God from vain thoughts, unprofitable reasonings, earthly and sensual desires, and corrupt passions; who are purified from pride, self-will, discontent, impatience, anger, malice, envy, covetousness, ambition; whose hearts are circumcised to love the Lord their God with all their hearts, and their neighbours as themselves, and who, therefore, are not only upright before him, but possess and maintain purity of intention and of affection in all their designs, works, and enjoyments; serving him continually with a single eye and an undivided heart. They shall see God — Namely, in the glass of his works, whether of creation, providence, or grace, here, and face to face hereafter: they shall have fellowship with him in his ordinances, and shall endure as seeing him that is invisible, while they walk by faith on earth, and shall be admitted to the most perfect vision and complete enjoyment of him in heaven. – Joseph Benson

The above is an excerpt from my current book project

Blessed are the Pure in Heart

Blessed are the pure in heart is what our Lord said, He didn’t say pure in the head; men may have pure notions and impure hearts.  It was not in the hand, or action, or in outward conversation only.  The Pharisees were outwardly righteous before men but, we are told, inwardly they were full of impurity.  It is in the heart that we are to be pure.  Ever since the failure of Adam, the heart of man has been “naturally” unclean and it is not within our own power to make it clean or to be pure from sin.  Too many people stop right there just like John Calvin did.  Now, “The Bible is a holy book and woe to the man that would make it a minister of sin!” – Dudley Kidd.  Many people do carefully give consideration to the command of God, “Be ye holy, even as I Am holy….”  With such a command coming from our Creator, it seems that there should be a way for it to occur.  Guess what; Scripture reveals there is!  The preventatives against sin are not in us but in God.  Either the doctrine of God as related by the Apostle John or the practice of sin must be abandoned; they are incompatible with each other.  The ones who are wise will seek to find it while the foolish ones will not and they will tend to merely rely on the “lamp oil” they already started out with; initial sanctification.  Even they who’ve experienced the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit tend to find themselves desiring and following after ever more purity of heart, life, thought, and conversation; so happy and blessed they are for they shall see God, in this life and in the one to follow. – Ward Clinton, an excerpt from my current book project.

This is the day…

This is the day that the LORD has made.

Where I sit at the moment the skies are overcast and the sun seems to have risen recently even though it is not clearly visible.

About 1,930 years ago, on the first day of the week, it may have been a clear and cloudless sky but for the followers of Jesus of Nazareth it was a very gloomy day.  The One whom they had believed to be the promised Messiah had been seized, killed, and entombed.  All hope was gone.  Only doom and gloom lay before them.  Then the women came with a strange, very strange, story.  The Son is Risen!  Glory be to God; He is risen!

The folded napkin in the tomb says, “I’m not finished, I will be back.”

On the cross, Jesus had said, “It is finished,” not “I’m finished.”  It was a statement of victory, not defeat.

The Son has risen and it is a beautiful day, a good day to rejoice in the Lord, Jesus the Christ (Messiah).  Grey skies or blue, it is a beautiful day today because Messiah Jesus lives and the napkin is still folded.

Maranatha!

Freedom or ….

I recently watched the 1999 movie “The Matrix” again. In this movie the majority of the population go about living their lives not knowing that the world they are living in is not the real world(In the movie it is a computer based program they’ve been placed in). Everyone is just consumed with their daily lives having no realization that all of the comforts they are currently seeking aren’t even real.

The main character Neo is offered a choice. He may take a blue pill and stay ignorant to the truth and live like everyone else, or he may take a red pill with the only promise being that he will know the truth.

In the movie there is a character who wishes he had never taken the red pill. He believes that life was so much better before he knew the truth and he makes a deal to have his memory wiped in order that he may live once again in the fake world where life just seemed easier.

For those who know that the Matrix is not the real world there is a constant battle as the rulers of that world don’t want them interfering.
At the very end of the movie the character Neo says, “I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.”

How many in our world live as if this is it? Living to find fulfillment and enjoyment in what this world has to offer and are oblivious to the fact that this reality, this world is nothing in comparison with eternity.

There are some who find the truth, but so want to be like the world around them that they live as if they do not know the truth that sets them free as they seek the passions of the world. Mark Twain said, “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” Let us be careful not to be fooled and deceived to what we are allowing to shape our heart and desires.

Galatians 5:1 says, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”
It is not freedom to be just like the world and enslaved by its pursuits and passions-It is freedom to have relationship with God, to know that we are strangers in this land, and be okay with that because this is not our real home.

We will be tempted and distracted by this temporal world around us-
“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.
Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.” (Colossians 3:1-4 The Message)

May you and I not be absorbed with this life and the things around us. May we truly walk in the freedom that Christ brings knowing, yes, we are aliens in this land, but we will have a glorious homecoming. May we not be distracted and pursue what the majority around us do, but rather may we be so distinctive and different that those around us can’t help but take notice.

You and I won’t make a difference trying to be like everyone else. Pursue Christ and let Him continually mold you and make you distinct and different from those around you in this world as you are made in His image.

You have to be different to make a difference! – Be Lifted High

What is Man? ….

SECOND CHAPTER SUMMARY
from “What is Man? Adam, alien or ape?” I am posting here periodically the chapter summaries of each of the 14 chapters of “What is Man? Adam, alien or ape?” Here is the summary for Chapter 2, “The Cheshire Cat Cosmos (or can a universe create itself from nothing?)”
If you don’t already have the book this might further stimulate interest (please share these posts with your friends!)
“If the universe is an accident of nature, then Man is also likely to be a meaningless accident. If, on the other hand, the universe was created by God, then humanity is also likely to be a purposeful creation. So the question “where is Man?” will directly affect the way we resolve the basic issue, “What is Man?”
Until about 100 years ago, most scientists who studied the universe as a whole (cosmologists) believed the universe was eternal and had no beginning. But this began to change in 1916 when Albert Einstein published his general theory of relativity, which implied that the universe could not be static or unchanging. Subsequently in 1929, astronomer Edwin Hubble showed that the universe (or cosmos) is expanding, and this result was confirmed in 1963 by the discovery that the earth is bathed in a background of weak microwave radiation — now interpreted as the remnants of a “hot big bang” origin of the universe. The Bible’s opening verse declares that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, and the theological implications of these new discoveries greatly alarmed those who reject the ancient idea of divine creation.
In this chapter we trace the development of atheistic thinking about cosmic origins, and the successive ideas advanced to sidestep the conclusion that creation demands a Creator. The current atheistic claim is that the universe created itself from nothing without the involvement of any spiritual agency, alleging that the laws of nature must lead to the spontaneous creation of a material cosmos. Her we gently point out that even if this were the case, someone or something having a non-material nature would have to create and host the laws of nature. Since these laws are essentially mathematical, only a non-material intelligence could have composed them and put them to work. The atheists’ theories therefore lead logically to the necessity of God.