Posted in glorification, new earth, new heaven, sanctification, sin

Those distressing sin-battles

Sin is a torture. There is no avoiding it. There is no getting away from it. I hate the sin in me, and I hate that the older I grow in Christ, the sadder and more disappointed about my sin I become. Why? The more I’m sanctified the more sin I see. The more sin I see the more I realize that, blessedly, Jesus is the only One who can catch me up. He will glorify me on His Day. The most I can do is run the race. Persevere. (1 Corinthians 9:24)

I love the bible. My Savior, who I really love, sent His Spirit to inspire an entire book which reveals God to us. I love that. It encourages us with words of life. In this book are common men, men and women who were living lives and worshiping or not worshiping, or in Apostle Saul/Paul’s case, killing. One day, Jesus broke the veil and converted Paul. Hallelujah!

I can’t wait until our soul and our flesh are both perfectly pure!

However, even with a direct confrontation with a glorified risen Jesus, and even with the Spirit as fully on Paul as He was, Paul still did what he didn’t want to and didn’t do what he wanted. That old flesh.

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” (Romans 7:15-20)

In other words, Paul struggled. The flesh certainly has a grip on us, doesn’t it? I’m grateful again that the people who are written down in the book are regular people, saints of grace, but not saintly. At least I can relate to the passage there in Romans.

When Jesus came, and some disciples told John the Baptist that people were going over to Jesus, John replied.

He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30)

O, Lord, please increase the Spirit in me! Please, more each day. Yes, I know that’s sanctification, but it is all right to long for the glorification, is it not? When there be no more sin in me, when I can worship Jesus properly? O happy day. I know I am not the only one to feel this way.

There is then…there is then sort of an ongoing sadness in the Christian life, isn’t there? And the longer you’re a Christian, the sadder you are over your sin. And what makes you sadder than you used to be is you keep assuming that you ought to grow out of this. There’s a place in life for fun and there’s a place in life for joy. And the Lord wants us to rejoice, all of that. But there’s always that nagging reality in the life of a true Christian, that deep-felt grief and sorrow over sin until it is repentant of. ~John MacArthur, The Only Way to Happiness is to Mourn Over Sin

There is the joy that we know we don’t have to increase by ourselves. We can’t. We have joy in knowing the Holy Spirit in us is the One who will increase us to Christ-Likeness.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

He is a glorious, wonderful Savior to save us from wallowing for an eternity in our sins. What a blessed relief that is coming, final and eternal release from the sinful flesh.

New Heavens and a New Earth

17“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.
18But be glad and rejoice forever
in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. 19I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people;
no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.
(Isaiah 65:17-20)

What a Creator. We brought sin into the world, but He will finally banish it. No more distressing flesh-battles…only peace- and purity.

Posted in glorification, justification, salvation

We are dragged toward salvation

I’m watching Columbo on Netflix. One of my favorite episodes was Swan Song, starring Johnny Cash. The show opens with Cash singing “I Saw the Light”. When I saw this show last, I was not saved. I remember loving the song, and searching the internet for the lyrics. I found them,

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ve wandered so aimless, life filled with sin
I wouldn’t let my dear Savior in
Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night
Praise the Lord, I saw the light

I saw the light, I saw the light
No more darkness, no more night
Now I’m so happy, no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord, I saw the light

I’ve walked in darkness, clouds covered me
I had no idea where the way out could be
Then came the sunrise and rolled back the night
Praise the Lord, I saw the light

Just like a blind man I wandered alone
Worries and fear I claimed for my own
Then like a blind man who God gave back his sight
Praise the Lord, I saw the light

When death takes me down and I breath here no more
My anthem will sound on that eternal shore
When I join with the angels in heaven on high
Singing “Praise the Lord, I saw the light”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I wondered, ‘what did it mean?’ I liked the tune, but what was the reference to darkness and light all about?

Well, the Light found me and I became saved. Now I know what it means.

Isn’t it fun to look back and see the steps He used to draw us to Him? He surely pursues us, even drenched with sin as we are.

I review my life before I was saved and I can clearly see the people and the incidents He used to bring me along, ever closer to the cross. GotQuestions asks,

What does it mean that God draws us to salvation?
“Answer: The clearest verse on God’s drawing to salvation is John 6:44 where Jesus declares that “no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” The Greek word translated “draw” is helkuo which means “to drag” (literally or figuratively). Clearly, this drawing is a one-sided affair. God does the drawing to salvation; we who are drawn have a passive role in the process. There is no doubt that we respond to His drawing us, but the drawing itself is all on His part.”

The essay continues in explaining His drawing of us. I was glad to read that, because I know I was not ‘drawn’, I know I was dragged. LOL. I mentioned that once to a Christian friend. I’d said, “He dragged me kicking and screaming to the cross.” My friend has replied, “Of course He didn’t drag you!” But He did. I knew He did.I remember those last three years before I was saved distinctly and I felt like I was being dragged. Further, even now I know I never would have come on my own unless He had brought me. Now I can read it for myself in John 6.

Our sin is so pervasive, it can only be the power of God to drag us out of it. Not that God struggles with bringing us to salvation, but that we struggle against it so much. I wish more people understood how firmly sin has us in its clutches, and how much we like it there.

I enjoyed learning the word helkuo, and that it means drag. Here is a bit more from GotQuestions about that word and its use in bringing us to salvation:

“Helkuo is used in John 21:6 to refer to a heavy net full of fish being dragged to the shore. … Clearly the net had no part in its being drawn to the shore … Why does God need to draw us to salvation? Simply put, if He didn’t, we would never come. Jesus explains that no man can come unless the Father draws him (John 6:65). The natural man has no ability to come to God, nor does he even have the desire to come. Because his heart is hard and his mind is darkened, the unregenerate person not only doesn’t desire God, but is actually an enemy of God (Romans 5:10). When Jesus says that no man can come without God’s drawing him, He is making a statement about the total depravity of the sinner and the universality of that condition.” More at link.

So you get saved by His power. You’re justified, the Judge has pardoned you. Now what?

GotQuestions explains spiritual growth
“When the transformation of salvation takes place, spiritual growth begins. The Holy Spirit indwells us (John 14:16-17). We are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). The old nature is replaced with a new one (Romans 6-7). Spiritual growth is a life-long process that depends on our study and application of God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and our walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26). As we seek spiritual growth, we should pray to God and ask for wisdom concerning the areas He desires us to grow in. We can ask God to increase our faith and knowledge of Him. God desires for us to grow spiritually, and He has given us all we need to experience spiritual growth. With the Holy Spirit’s help, we can overcome sin and steadily become more like our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.’

Sometimes I like to look at the glossy magazines’ photos of Before and After. You know, when they take a regular looking woman and they make her up and dress her and she looks totally different. But that change is only external. I love to think about the Before and After of our salvation. If we could see how putrid sin is and how ugly it makes us, before, and how beautiful we will be after glorification…now there is a real Before and After. I can’t wait to see my friends in their eternal state when the rapture comes. How beautiful they will be and how pure their soul will shine, inside and out. We will have had our sin-nature removed and been changed into incorruptible bodies with full and complete access to God in person.

I look forward to that day! I pray for that day! I hope you do too.

Posted in glorification, sanctification

In through the door of justification, out the door of glorification. What’s in between?

We enter the door to the Kingdom over the threshold of “Justification.” Justification is-

“…to justify is to declare righteous, to make one right with God. Justification is God’s declaring those who receive Christ to be righteous, based on Christ’s righteousness being imputed to the accounts of those who receive Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Though justification as a principle is found throughout Scripture, the main passage describing justification in relation to believers is Romans 3:21-26: “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”

“We are justified, declared righteous, at the moment of our salvation. Justification does not make us righteous, but rather pronounces us righteous.”

It is all about justice. The Lord declares us pardoned and free from the penalty of our sins, and therefore justified. Justice has been served- not because of anything we did, but because of Jesus taking on the penalty from God for all the world’s sins.That’s a lot of wrath, and Jesus took it.

At the moment of justification God sends the Holy Spirit to dwell inside us.

God justifies.

When we exit this life we are glorified. Glorification is “the future and final work of God upon Christians, where he transforms our mortal physical bodies to the eternal physical bodies in which we will dwell forever.  1 Cor. 15:42-44…” (source). God removes all sin from us and changes our sin-nature to a perfect nature. It is a change in body and soul. More here.

God glorifies.

In between the moment of justification (pronounced righteous and free from the penalty for sin) and glorification (the removal of sin from our soul and the creation of a new eternal body) is sanctification.

Sanctification “means to be set apart for a holy use. God has set us apart for the purpose of sanctification not impurity (1 Thess. 4:7), and being such we are called to do good works (Eph. 2:10). Sanctification follows justification. In justification our sins are completely forgiven in Christ. Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit makes us more like Christ in all that we do, think, and desire. True sanctification is impossible apart from the atoning work of Christ on the cross because only after our sins are forgiven can we begin to lead a holy life.” (source)

Sanctification also refers to the practical experience of this separation unto God, being the effect of obedience to the Word of God in one’s life, and is to be pursued by the believer earnestly (1 Peter 1:15; Hebrews 12:14).”

This is the one part of the process where we have input. The Holy Spirit is in charge of the process, but we don’t lay down and let sanctification drip on us and absorb it by osmosis. The reason sanctification is messy and hard is because we participate in it.

Think of the book “Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan. Christian walked, wandered, got back on track, slept, was vigorous, was inattentive, was purposeful…it took a while to get there, and his walk wasn’t straight all the time. At times it was even circular.

Even Paul said found it difficult to walk the straight arrow of sanctification at times. “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15).

We do not do anything about our own justification. That is a declaration from God based on the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. We can’t do anything about glorification, because it is the Creator who makes us our new bodies. But sanctification… we engage with the Spirit in the process.

The bible says we are to pursue sanctification earnestly. In the practical, this means, do we pray ceaselessly? Do we walk closely with Jesus? Do we repent to Him of our sins? Do we study diligently? The more we put in, the more we are sanctified.

The Bema seat award ceremony will reveal to us the fruits of our participation in the sanctification process. (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:9-10; Rev. 3:11-12.) From the time we walked through the door and were justified and to the end at the rapture when we’re glorified, how much of what we did for Jesus as the Spirit sanctified us was motivated by love for Him, and how much of was motivated by love for our own selves? How much did we do and how much more could we have done if we had been more vigorous for Him? Will you have moved away from the door of justification and toward the other door? Or are you still hovering at the entry, not doing much and not allowing the Spirit to set you apart for good works? All will be revealed.

The more we participate in the sanctification process by praying, walking, submitting, and working, the more we will be rewarded.

So that’s justification, sanctification and glorification. Search these things out to see if they are true! 🙂