Sanctification: Robert Murray McCheyne

In a small but powerful booklet titled The Deeper Life, Robert Murray McCheyne, a Scottish pastor and author who died at the age of twenty-nine in 1843, addresses one obstacle to growing in sanctification (the progressive formation of Christ within us): doubt as to the power of God to really sanctify us and free us from the power of sin.  “I am often tempted to say, ‘How can this Man save me?  How can Christ in Heaven deliver me from lusts which I feel raging in me, and nets I feel enclosing me?’  This is the father of lies again!  For Jesus ‘is able to save unto the uttermost’ (Hebrews 7:25).”

The antidote to the lie, McCheyne says, is to grow in grace, chiefly through prayer.  “I am persuaded that nothing is thriving in my soul unless it is growing,”  he observes.  We must desire to be more like Christ, and we “ought to strive for more purity, humility, meekness, patience under suffering, and love.  ‘Make me Christ-like in all things,’ should be my constant prayer.  Fill me with the Holy Spirit.”

“True holiness is Christ in us, the hope of glory,” McCheyne reminds us, and this reality is birthed and sustained in prayer.  “When God gives grace to souls, it is in answer to the prayers of His children.”

Let us remember and emulate the zeal for purity and holiness exhibited by saints like McCheyne, and commit to a deeper pursuit of a sanctified life founded upon the pillars of prayer, understanding, resolve, and engagement.

Sanctification: Oswald Chambers

Sanctification, the Apostle Paul tells us, is God’s will for our lives (1 Thessalonians 4:3).  Abstaining from sexual immorality, pursuing purity of heart, and loving rather than objectifying others are fruits of sanctification.  Fruits, however, not of a life well-lived, but of the life of Jesus Christ flowing through us.

Oswald Chambers said that sanctification is “His patience, His love, His holiness, His faith, His purity, His godliness…manifested in and through” a person.  It is Christ in us that purifies (Colossians 1:27) and produces pure thoughts and deeds.  Nobody, Chambers tells us, “can make himself pure by obeying laws.”

As we rejoice and celebrate this weekend, recalling the atonement of our sins through Jesus’ shed blood and the promise of new life, focus on letting go of striving and grasping and embrace some R&R–repentance and rest (Isaiah 30:15) in what Jesus has done for us on the cross, trusting in the power of His resurrection.  It’s God’s will for you, after all.

Sanctification: J.I. Packer

Sanctification is, in short, the work of God within us to purify us (Titus 2:14), transform us (Romans 12:2), and mold us into the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29).  This is God’s very will for us (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

And while it is a work of His free grace, it also requires from us.  The theologian J.I. Packer put it this way in his book Concise Theology:  “Sanctification…is in one sense synergistic–it is an ongoing cooperative process in which regenerate persons, alive to God and freed from sin’s dominion (Romans 6:11, 14-18), are required to exert themselves in sustained obedience.”  Sanctification is neither “self-reliant activity,” nor “God-reliant passivity,” but “God-dependent effort.”  We abide in Him, asking for His help constantly–and receiving it.

This is the heart of our message at pureHOPE–the PURE life is one defined by prayer (2 Chronicles 7:14, John 15:5, Philippians 4:6), understanding (Proverbs 19:8, Luke 24:45, Ephesians 5:17), resolve (Isaiah 30:15, John 14:21, Romans 15:4), and engagement (Deuteronomy 6:5, John 15:12, 1 John 3:18), but totally dependent on Jesus’ finished work on the cross.  And it is one we are called to initiate, or re-initiate, every day of our lives.