“Justification, Sanctification, Glorification”

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“Justification, Sanctification, Glorification”

Can Christians ever willfully sin?
How could we sin if we are ‘saved from our sins’?
What does salvation really mean if we still sin?
How do we reconcile the fact that professing Christians could commit adultery and drunkenness?
Are they really ‘saved’?
Is it possible to reach a state of ‘sinless perfection’ in this life?
The above questions have caused confusion in the minds of many Christians and deceived not a few. One of the best ways the above questions can be answered and understood is to first have a clear foundation and understanding of the distinctions between Justification, Sanctification and Glorification.
Much heresy and false teaching has its roots in a lack of understanding of, and false separations of, these three facets of salvation.
2 Corinthians 1:10 He delivered us [past] from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us[present continuous]. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again[future].
Christ delivers us from the sentence of spiritual death past, present and future. The three facets of salvation are summed up in these three terms.
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Justification
Salvation from penalty of sin (1Thess.1:10; Eph.1:7; Col.2:13,14; 2Cor.1:9,10; Matt.1:21) Past (done once) (Rom.5:1; Heb.12:23; Rom.4:1-13; 8:32-34; Phil.3:9)
Imputed (legally credited) from outside (Rom.4:6-8,11,22-24)
God’s work for us (Rom.5:8; 1Pet.2:24)
Sanctification
Salvation from power of sin (2Tim.4:18; Phil.1:6; Rom.6:18; 2Cor.7:1)
Continuous (Progressive) (Phil.1:6; 2:12,13; 3:21; Rom.6:1-14,18;8:1-16; 2Tim.4:18; Col.3:10;
1Tim.5:22)
Imparted from within (Phil.2:13; 2Thess.2:13; 1Pet.1:2) God’s work in us (Scriptures as above)
Glorification
Salvation from presence of sin (Rom.8:21-23; 2Cor.5:1,2) Future (Rom.8:21-23; 2Cor.5:1,2)
Created in Heaven by God (2Cor.5:1,2; Rom.8:21-23) God’s work to us (Scriptures as above)
An understanding of the distinctions between Justification, Sanctification and Glorification will show clearly that salvation is past, present and future – spirit, soul and body.
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Justification
This refers to the act which declares a person righteous in the sight of God.
In Justification we are saved from the penalty of sin. This work is entirely of God (passive) and outside of us through the imputed (legally credited) righteousness of God in Christ.
It is past, finished, and as the Greek tenses often show – done once and non repeatable. This is done by grace through the vehicle of faith alone…
‘Therefore being justified by faith…’ (Rom.5:1). It affects our very spirits, making them legally perfect… ‘the spirits [not souls or bodies] of just men made perfect’ (Heb.12:23).
The Old Testament Hebrew equivalent of ‘justify’ is ‘tsadheq’ which is used essentially in a legal and forensic sense (Job.9:15; 13:18; Dt.25:1; Is.45:25).
This justification comes through imputation.
In Romans 4 the word ‘logizomai’ is mentioned 11 times in a classic Pauline and Reformation passage on Justification. ‘Logizomai’ is translated as: imputed, credited, reckoned, accounted.
Romans 4:3 For what does the say Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted [‘logizomai’] to him as righteousness’.
This Scripture is a direct quote from Genesis 15:6 where the Hebrew equivalent ‘chashav’ is used. The idea is that God registered, counted, credited Abrahams faith as righteousness.
Again this word is used in a legal sense and is essentially an accounting term (Lev.25:27; 50, 52; 27:18,23). Hence the reformers called this a ‘legal’ and ‘forensic’ righteousness.
The Reformers also called it an ‘alien’ righteousness because it was and always will be a righteousness outside of us.
This righteousness is in fact a person, as Jeremiah 23:5,6 says: ‘…The Lord our righteousness…’, (‘Yehowah our tsadheq’; see also Phil.3:9). ‘Our righteousness’ now sits on the right hand of God!
Thus this righteousness is not of us but is substitutionary: ‘He shall justify many for He shall bear their iniquities’ (Is.53:11- literally: ‘make many to be accounted [‘tsadeq’] righteous’)
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Sanctification
This refers to a separation from sin and the world; and a separation to God and His word. In Sanctification we are saved and being saved from the power of sin.
Sanctification is past (‘positional’ at salvation) and present continuous (‘progressive’) by the indwelling Holy Spirit from within:
2 Timothy 4: 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
The word here, ‘bring me safely’, is the Greek ‘sozo’ – the same word for ‘save’.
This work continues until Glorification:
Philippians 1: 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
1 John 3: 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
Colossians 3: 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Philippians 2: 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
The latter Scripture has nothing to do with working for salvation but rather co-operating with the Holy Spirit in the past salvation that was already received in Justification.
The Greek tense and voice of ‘work out’ is present imperative showing this is continuous as well as a command for all Christians.
Sanctification is synonymous with the word ‘holiness’ and is by the Holy spirit. It is ‘…salvation through sanctification of the Spirit…’ (2Thess.2:13; 1Pet.1:2).
Sanctification is also inextricably linked to the Word: ‘Sanctify them through your Word…’ (Jn.17:17).
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Although Sanctification involves surrender and yielding to the Holy Spirit, the ‘feet’ to that surrender is action.
We are to ‘present’ our bodies (Rom.12:1); ‘…keep yourself pure’ (1Tim.5:22);
take up our cross daily (Lk.9:23; 14:27); ‘exercise yourself unto godliness’ (1Tim.4:7); and ‘work out your own salvation’ (Phil.2:12).
We are progressively sanctified by being in the written Word and separating ourselves from sin and the polluted thinking of the world.
The holiness experience throughout life is a battle (Rom.7:23-25).
We are told to resist and not to yield to unrighteousness (Rom.6:12,13); to ‘strive’ (Rom.15:30);
‘fight’ (1Tim.6:12; 2Tim.4:7; 1Cor.9:26; Heb.10:32);
‘wrestle’ (Eph.6:12);
‘mortify the deeds of the body’ (Rom.8:13; Col.3:5);
deny our sinful ways (Tit.2:11,12);
‘subject the body’ (1Cor.9:27);
‘cast off the works of darkness’ (Rom.13:12);
‘take the whole armour of God’ (Eph.6:11,13);
and to ‘cleanse ourselves’ and be ‘perfecting holiness’ (2Cor.7:1)
The Scriptural words linked with Sanctification are fighting terms! – ‘mortify’, ‘strive’, ‘fight’, ‘wrestle’… We must be careful here not to make Sanctification our work separate to the Holy Spirit’s work. The work of Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit.
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However, Scripture clearly attests to us having a part to play in His work. We co-operate and are ‘partakers of His holiness’ (Heb.12:10; 6:4).
Justification is the outside and past work of Christ by imputation, Sanctification is the present work of the Holy Spirit from within.
In Justification we do not grow, yet in Sanctification we do grow, mature and develop. In Justification we do not work – righteousness comes by grace through faith alone (Gal.2:16; 3:2,5,10; Rom.4:5; 3:27; 9:32).
But this cannot be said entirely for progressive Sanctification. In the latter we do co-operate, strive, and ‘work out our own salvation’ with the Holy Spirit who is doing the work within us (Phil.2:12,13).
John Bunyan wrote: ‘If you do not put a difference between justification wrought by the man Christ without and sanctification wrought by the Spirit of Christ within…you are not able to divide the Word aright, but contrariwise, you corrupt the Word of God, and cast stumbling blocks before the people’.
2 Corinthians 7:1 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
Here ‘completion’ is the Greek present active showing the progressive action by the Christian. Positional or ‘entire’ Sanctification without progressive Sanctification will lead to two opposite errors or degrees of such – ‘Sinless Perfection’ and ‘Antinomianism’. Antinomianism is Latin for ‘against the law’. In common terms it is when a person has a ‘low view’ of sin and might think: ‘I’m saved, sealed and delivered and so it does not matter if I sin’.
Both sinless perfection and antinomianism are opposite extremes. Both deny sin yet in different ways. On both sides there will ultimately be a denial of effort, responsibility, separation and mortification to do with sin.
The core of the Gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ on our behalf as sinners (1Cor.15:3,4). The Gospel is God’s work for us, not in us. We must not distort the Gospel by turning people to what God might do in them. We must teach them to look away from themselves. The Gospel is about Justification not Sanctification!
The Gospel is objective and outside of us – it is the work of Christ 2,000 years ago.
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Glorification
This refers to that final change and redemption of the body.
In Glorification we are saved from the presence of sin in us and in the world.
Romans 8: 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
2 Corinthians 5:1For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
Why do we ‘groan’? – because we live in sinful flesh and await the redemption of such!
The experience and the dissatisfaction with sin in Romans 7 and the victories over it in Romans 8 are concurrent. To separate the two is to deny one or the other. It is also arguable that we cannot know the experiences in Romans 7 if we are not experiencing the victories in Romans 8.
In other words we will become increasingly dissatisfied with sin in ourselves the more we know the power and the working of the Holy Spirit.
Thus we will want to strive more and more against sin and the flesh. This has been the consistent testimony of the great saints down through the centuries.
So what about our questions concerning Christians sinning, etc? What is sin?
Several different words are found in the Greek but the general word is ‘hamartia’ which means missing the mark of the absolute holiness and righteousness of God.
Who would dare say they never miss this mark?
In the flesh and in the world the presence of sin still reigns! Romans chapters 6,7 and 8 teach the gamut of the doctrine of sin.
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Romans 6: 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
We still live in sinful flesh.
The possibility of allowing the flesh to encroach is evident by many Scriptures: 6:12:
Romans 6:13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. (note it does not mention spirits but ‘members’)
‘Do not present your members to sin as instruments of unrighteousness’, (‘members’ refers to the seat of lusts and passions)
7:15-18: – describes the war between the flesh & the spirit. In the flesh sin may reign, (vs.17)…7:20:
If I sin it is in the flesh…8:12:
We are not ‘to live after the flesh’…13:12-13:
Romans 13: 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.
‘…They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God’ (9:8)
‘For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace…For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live’ (8:5,6,13).
In contrast, in the new man/creation we are ‘freed from sin’ (6:7).
Thus we are to ‘reckon [ourselves] dead to sin’ (6:11) and ‘…sin shall not have dominion…’ (6:14).
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In summary, there are two ‘laws’ – one in my members (‘the law of sin’) and one in my mind (‘the law of my mind’). ‘…With the mind I serve the law of God but with the flesh the law of sin’ (7:25). Because our sinful flesh wars against our righteous soul (1Pet.2:11; Gal 5:16), we struggle to walk the walk at times.
However, in a true believer it is a war with one side stronger and with one side having ‘dominion’ over the other!
It must be remembered that Christians are undergoing this process of Sanctification at differing rates and depths.
The success in the struggle against sin will vary from person to person and from time to time. But Justification will produce Sanctification and change will be apparent.
The habits of sin may still be evident in the flesh but now there is a new master. Sometimes it may be almost impossible to tell a true believer who has fallen into grievous open sin from a false ‘believer’ who is deluding himself that he is saved.
However, the ‘new man’ is ‘created in righteousness and true holiness’ (Eph.4:24). He should sin less than the ‘old man’.
The spirit of this new Born Again creature is ‘sinless’ now (1John 3:9; 5:18) but lives in a sinful body that will one day be glorified and made sinless also.
‘And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life [Sanctification] because of righteousness [Justification].
But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies [Glorification] by His Spirit that dwells in you’ (Rom.8:10,11).
To say that we Christians do not wilfully sin (‘miss the mark’ of the absolute perfection of God), is arrogant and proud. To do so would be to put ourselves equal with God Himself!
The scriptures do not set up divisions of sinning as ‘willful’ or ‘unwillful’. All sinning is in the ‘members’ of the flesh. Such people who claim ‘Christians cannot wilfully sin’ do place themselves in a most dangerous position of pride and deception.
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The tendency of such people is to legalism, sectarianism and a judgmentalism which is offensive to other Christians.
It is usually not difficult to see pride and sin in their own lives. ‘They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on mens shoulders…’ (Matt.23:4). Such a mindset places unnecessary bondage, legalism and moral demands on self, family and friends to the point where many are prime targets for cult groups or suffer mental or emotional breakdowns.
The keeping of moral codes or a way of life is not the primary essence of Christianity. If that were the case then many cults and false religions today would suffice for our salvation!
Christianity is uniquely a divine appointment to eternal life through faith and the substitutionary death and resurrection of Christ. It is perhaps arguable that hardly a day passes without most Christians on earth having sinned (1Jn.1:7-10; 1Cor., etc).
The Corinthian Christians willfully sinned! Paul found drunkenness and fornication yet called them ‘brethren’! However, by urging them to repent and seek forgiveness he was not condoning or excusing their behaviour. But it has to be acknowledged that such sinning did and could take place! God forbid that any Christians should willfully sin – but it would be foolish to say they cannot.
As Christians, we have been set free from the penalty and power of sin but not from the presence of sin.
We have in the past been set free through the work of Christ without and delivered once and for all from the penalty of sin in Justification. We have been and are being delivered from the power of sin in progressive Sanctification by the Spirit within. We will in the future be set free from the presence of sin in Glorification.
If we have trusted in the true Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the substitute for our sins, and His righteousness alone – in his death burial, resurrection…then Justification, Sanctification and Glorification are a foregone conclusion (Rom.8:28-30; Eph.1:3-14)!
May we be students of the doctrines of, and the distinctions between, these three facets of salvation. May we repent of and hate sin. But may we forever give praise to the God of our salvation whose plan and system of Justification, Sanctification and Glorification is masterful and perfect to deliver us from sin!
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Things to Mull
1. Define Justification in your own terms.
2. Explain Justification in “Court Room” “Legal” terms.
3. Why did God decide to save us using Justification?
4. Define Sanctification in your own terms.
5. Describe briefly how God has guided you through Sanctification.
6. Why do we desire grace from others as we are being sanctified but have little grace for others going through the process. (What verses speak to this?)
7. Describe Glorification in your own terms.
8. Why is Glorification put off until after our death? Wouldn’t it be a much better testimony to God’s existence if He did it now?
Bibliography
Terry Arnold TA Ministries, PO Box 1499, Hervey Bay, Qld. Australia
http://taministries.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Justification-Sanctification-Glorification- Printable-Booklet-v10.0.pdf

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10 Views On How To Spend Eternity With God

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10 Views On How To Spend Eternity With God (ULTIMATE DEBATE)

 

Eternal Life,Faith,Saving Faith,Repentance,Salvation,Justification,Sanctification,Glorification
My (Trev)owner of site is Free grace position 6 and 7
Recommended reading all available on Kindle,so prices my vary,depending on your choice between,digital or physical book

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The Doctrine of Sanctification.

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The Doctrine of Sanctification (eBook)

BY A. W. PINK

IN EPUB & .MOBI & .PDF FORMATS

The Doctrine of Sanctification is one of Pink’s most insightful books, which is a high commendation indeed! In it he deals with the Biblical answers to the following questions poised in the Introduction, and more. “What is ‘sanctification’: is it a quality or position? Is sanctification a legal thing or an experimental?—that is to say, is it something the believer has in Christ or in himself? Is it absolute or relative?—by which we mean, does it admit of degree or no? Is it unchanging or progressive? Are we sanctified at the time we are justified, or is sanctification a later blessing? How is this blessing obtained?—by something which is done for us, or by us, or both? How may one be assured he has been sanctified: what are the characteristics, the evidences, the fruits? How are we to distinguish between sanctification by the Father, sanctification by the Son, sanctification by the Spirit, sanctification by faith, sanctification by the Word?” May the reader be illumined by the Holy Spirit as he finds the answers herein!

“These blessings walk hand in hand; and never were, never will be, never can be parted. No more than the delicious scent can be separated from the beautiful bloom of the rose or carnation: let the flower be expanded, and the fragrance transpires. Try if you can separate gravity from the stone or heat from the fire. If these bodies and their essential properties, if these causes and their necessary effects, are indissolubly connected, so are our justification and our sanctification”

———–

Arthur W. Pink was born in Nottingham England in 1886, and born again of the Spirit of God in 1908 at the age of 22. He studied at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, USA, for only six weeks before beginning his pastoral work in Colorado. From there he pastored churches in California, Kentucky, and South Carolina before moving to Sydney Australia for a brief period, preaching and teaching. In 1934, at 48 years old, he returned to his native England. He took permanent residence in Lewis, Scotland, in 1940, remaining there 12 years until his death at age 66 in 1952.

Most of his works…first appeared as articles in the monthly Studies in the Scriptures published from 1922 to 1953 (and currently republished serially by Mt. Zion Publications). Pink was virtually unknown and certainly unappreciated in his day. Independent Bible study convinced him that much of modern evangelism was defective. When Puritan and reformed books were generally disregarded by the Church as a whole, he advanced the majority of their principles with untiring zeal. The progressive spiritual decline of his own nation (Britain) was to him the inevitable consequence of the prevalence of a ‘gospel’ that could neither wound (with conviction of sin) nor heal (via regeneration).

Familiar with the whole range of revelation, Mr. Pink was rarely sidetracked from the great themes of Scripture: grace, justification, and sanctification. Our generation owes him a great debt for the enduring light he has shed, by God’s grace, on the Truth of the Holy Bible.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Contents
1 Introduction
2 Its Meaning
3 Its Necessity
4 Its Problem
5 Its Solution
6 Its Nature
7 Its Author (The Father)
8 Its Procurer (The Son)
9 Its Securer (The Holy Spirit)
10 Its Rule
11 Its Instrument (Faith)
12 Its Means
13 Its Process
14 Its Progress
15 Its Practice
16 Conclusion

The Doctrine Of Sanctification ebook

More excellent resources on the Doctrine Of Sanctification

Sanctification

Definitive and Experiential Sanctification

Definitive sanctification, refers to the the accomplished fact that believers “have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10) .. an irreversable event wherein Christ’s single offering has perfected for all time those he came to save. This means that our just standing before God can neither be lost nor improved upon.  As defined by John Frame, it is “a once-for-all event, simultaneous with effectual calling and regeneration, that transfers us from the sphere of sin to the sphere of God’s holiness, from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God.” Definitive sanctification marks us out (or separates us) as God’s chosen people – His treasured and covenantal possession (Acts 20:32; Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; 6:11). So too, definitive sanctification redeems (or frees) us from the dominion (or slavery) of sin by uniting us to Christ, particularly in His death, resurrection and ascension. Sanctification, in this sense, refers to a decisive and radical break from the power of sin.

Experiential sanctification refers to the work of God in and through man which makes us more and more like Christ in our day to day lives/. The Bible declares that as we behold God’s glory we are being transformed into the image of Christ from one degree of glory to another. (2 Cor 3:18).” According to John Frame, “We can think of sanctification as the outworking of the new life given in regeneration.” It involves the gradual, incremental and (S)piritual work of both putting to death the remains of “indwelling sin” as well as putting on the likeness of Christ. While we work out the salvation given to us, it is God who works in us, both to will and to work for His sovereign good pleasure. (Phil 2:13).  We are sanctified in Christ and so our obedience flows from the cross.

“Union with Christ in his death and resurrection is the element of union which Paul most extensively expounds…if we are united to Christ, then we are united to him at all points of his activity on our behalf. We share in his death (we were baptized into his death), in his resurrection (we are resurrected with Christ), in his ascension (we have been raised with him), in his heavenly session (we sit with him in heavenly places, so that our life is hidden with Christ in God), and we will share in his promised return (when Christ, who is our life, appears, we also will appear with him in glory) (Rom. 6:14; Col. 2:11-12; 3:1-3). This, then, is the foundation of sanctification in Reformed theology. It is rooted, not in humanity and their achievement of holiness or sanctification, but in what God has done in Christ, and for us in union with him. Rather than view Christians first and foremost in the microcosmic context of their own progress, the Reformed doctrine first of all sets them in the macrocosm of God’s activity in redemptive history. It is seeing oneself in this context that enables the individual Christian to grow in true holiness.”
Sinclair Ferguson from Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification

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EVIDENCES & RESULTS OF SANCTIFIED AFFLICTION

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EVIDENCES & RESULTS OF SANCTIFIED AFFLICTION

By John Angell James

“Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty!” (Job 5:17)

“Before I was afflicted I went astray—but now I keep Your word. It is good for me that I was afflicted—that I might learn Your statutes. I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are righteous—and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” (Psalm 119:67, 71, 75)

“And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons: My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly, or faint when you are reproved by Him; for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and punishes every son whom He receives. Endure it as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there whom a father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline—which all receive—then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had natural fathers discipline us, and we respected them. Shouldn’t we submit even more to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but He does it for our benefit, so that we can share His holiness. No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:5-11)

Our subject is peculiarly appropriate to many. Few are the travelers to heaven who do not pass through the land of ‘Bochim’ (the place of weeping– Judges 2:5), and the valley of tears, in their way. Blessed are they, and more blessed will they be, who, being chastened by the hand of their heavenly Father—are thereby made partakers of his holiness. The afflictions and consolations of ministers are often made subservient to the good of their people. The apostle has beautifully expressed this, 2 Cor. 1:3-7. I would not be a sterile thorn in the garden of the Lord, but a fruitful vine, and bearing the more fruit for the ‘pruning of his severe but infallible kindness’; and “I desire fruit that may abound to your account.” May it be granted me to teach you by example as well as precept—not only the ‘active virtues’, but the ‘passive graces’ of our holy religion; and both by what I suffer and enjoy, may I be made more effectually the comforter as well as instructor of the sorrowing portion of God’s chosen family.

I. The proof of a sanctified affliction begins to show itself while the trouble lasts. Though it be very true that it is “afterwards,” when it is gone by, that it yields “the peaceable fruits of righteousness” in their maturity; yet as there can be no fruits where there have been no blossoms, so in this case the ‘buds of spiritual improvement’ must be seen during the season of affliction, or there will be no ripe fruits afterwards. A right frame of mind rarely comes on when the trial is over—if it does not commence while it lasts. The seeds of improvement, like some grain—must be sown while the showers are falling and the ground is wet, or they will not germinate and yield a crop. While the tear is yet in the eye, the earnest desire after sanctification must be in the heart. Let not the sufferers, therefore, put by the wish, and suspend the effort to get good, until the visitation of the Almighty has passed away. A child who is not brought to reflection, and to begin, at least, an appropriate disposition, while under chastisement—is rarely brought to it when the rod is laid aside, and he is restored to his fellows, in all the joyousness of boyish hilarity. The reason why trials are so generally unproductive of spiritual effect, is because the sufferer postpones his attempts to render them beneficial until days of prosperity return—and then he is too busy and too happy in the enjoyment of his altered circumstances, to call to remembrance the wormwood and the gall.

Hence, a striking proof of sanctified affliction is a deep concern, a studious effort, and much earnest prayer—that it might be blessed for the good of the soul. The only solicitude of a worldly man and of a ‘worldly-minded professor of religion’, is to get out of trouble as fast as he can, and in any way he can. But the concern of a consistent, spiritual, and growing Christian—is to get out of it only in God’s time, by righteous means, and with holy fruits. When there is a real inward desire, and not the mere profession of such a wish, that the trial might be sanctified, and that it might not be removed until it is; when there is a willingness to remain in the furnace, however long the time and fierce the fire, until the dross is separated, and the gold refined; when there is a disposition to say, “Lord, smite me until the folly is beaten out of your wayward child. Do not stop until you have restored me to yourself, since the sorest word you could say to me, would be, ‘Why should you be stricken any more?’ and my chief blessing, not to have it said of me, ‘Let him alone'”—this is sanctification. If the soul is in that state, it has received good, and is getting it still. Here is God’s end in afflicting accomplished, which is—that we might be partakers of his holiness.

But just look at a more detailed description of the state of mind of those who are really benefiting by affliction.

They recognize the hand of God in it, whether it comes direct from him—or through the medium of second causes. “It is the Lord!” they exclaim. “It comes from God! Is there evil in the city, and the Lord has not done it? I am silent, and open not my mouth, because you, O God, have done it!” Yes, they do not wander about amidst the briars, torn and lacerated, seeking after second causes—but go and lie down at once on “the soft green” of the doctrine of providence.

Then, as they recognize the hand that smites, they are equally forward to acknowledge His DESIGN in their affliction. “This is for my good, I know, because I am told that all things work together for my good. I do not see how, but that is not my business—all I know is, it will be so, for God has said it. He intends to make me holier by this affliction. He is bent upon my improvement. He thinks me, shall I say, worth and worthy of being chastised? Yes, I receive it as a message from God to me, saying, ‘See how important holiness is in my people, since I call you to suffer so much in order to promote it.'”

Nor does the Christian’s recognition of God stop here, for it goes on to the PRINCIPLE from which the dispensation proceeds. “This, yes, even this is love!” says the believer, whose affliction is sanctified. “Even through the cloud I so clearly perceive the smile, not only of peace, but of affectionate, tender love, on the countenance of that Father who holds the rod—as to be constrained to run into those very arms which chastise me. I resolve all into love. I know that in faithfulness he has afflicted me. Love cannot act unlike itself. I could sooner believe a mother would torment her child, than that God would his.”

Notwithstanding these views, still the sufferer has his SINS brought to remembrance. “I have endured my punishment; I will no longer act wickedly. Teach me what I cannot see; if I have done wrong, I won’t do it again.” Job 34:31, 32. This is his language; and in answer to his prayers, God shows him his sins, his defects, his rebellions, his backslidings, and he is deeply abased and humbled before God. Confession, purposes of amendment, plans of improvement follow. Oh! it is a blessed sign of good, when the sufferer is taken up with a sense of SIN; when not only the past life is reviewed with a more searching scrutiny, and a more rigid exaction, so that sins passed over on former occasions come out more distinctly and impressively to view—but when the chambers of imagery in the heart are laid open, and the soul grows in accurate and humbling acquaintance with itself. All this is quite compatible with our recognition of God’s love. Yes, the more we are assured of God’s love—the more clearly do we see our sins.

Connected with all this, and in some measure implied in it, is deep SUBMISSION to the will of God. A quiet bowing down, and lying still at the feet of God; a giving up of ourselves to his disposal, willing that he should determine for us; a patient endurance of lengthened visitation; a grateful recollection of what still remains, controlling a mournful calculation of what is lost; a quiet consciousness that God has exacted of us less than our iniquities deserve—in short, such a disposition under the rod, as seems to say, “Anything from your hand; anything with your smile; anything but your frown.”

A readiness to dwell upon our mercies, especially our spiritual blessings—is a fine evidence of a holy state of mind. It is delightful to hear the sorrowful believer talking of his mercies, and thus setting one thing over against another.

Such is the proof of a sanctified affliction, which is furnished by the conduct of the sufferer whilehis trouble lasts. If, on the contrary, the mind is wholly absorbed with a sense of sorrow; thinking only how it may be removed, and caring nothing about improvement; if there is no remembrance of SIN, no desire after holiness; if God, as the source and sender of the affliction, is forgotten, and the mind dwells exclusively with peevishness and reproachfulness on second causes; if there is, though not words of complaint, murmuring, and rebellion, and thoughts and feelings that imply something like a sense of unmerited hardship in the painful visitation—there can, in such a case, be no benefit derived from the affliction. It is merely the bitterness of the medicine without its beneficial effect—the pain of the chastisement, without the compensatory result in the improvement of the conduct.

II. I now go on to set before you those proofs of a sanctified affliction which are furnished by the conduct, AFTER the trial is removed.

1. If, when the hand of God is withdrawn, and prosperity again returns, the views, feelings, and purposes remain which the soul entertained in the season of darkness; if, for instance, there is the same solicitude for spiritual improvement, and, even amidst the glow of health, the tranquility and repose of altered circumstances, and the freedom from apprehension for the future; if there is a still prayerful and anxious desire not to lose the benefit of trouble, but to be made more holy and heavenly—there is every reason to believe that the visitation of God has left a blessing behind. The passing away of severe trial leaves the soul so buoyant and joyous, so prepared for the feelings of earthly delight, and possessed of such a capacity for the most vivid enjoyment, that if amidst such circumstances, there is a sobriety of mind, a seriousness of spirit, a solemnity of manner, a prayerful concern after increased spirituality—there is a sanctified affliction! Yes, when such devout aspirations after conformity to God’s will and image survive the night of sorrow, and still live, and grow, and thrive, under the sunshine of prosperity—the beneficent end of the chastisement has been indeed accomplished!

2. When one of the first businesses that are attended to after the return of prosperity, is to put in execution the vows that were made, the plans laid, and the purposes formed, in trial; when defects in duty are immediately attended to; when sinful practices are discontinued; when discovered corruptions are mortified; and when languishing graces are revived—then good is certainly gained by suffering!

It is indeed a blessed sight, and a proof of growth in grace, when the soul, liberated from the prison of its distress, goes straightway and most diligently—to the work of increased sanctification. Perhaps few professors are ever greatly afflicted, without some purposes of amendment being formed, as well as convictions of the need of it being felt. How many of them forget their views, abandon the plans of their improvement, and become as lukewarm, worldly, and as careless as ever—when the Lord is pleased to terminate their severe affliction. Some few, however, there are of the mind of David, who said, “I will go into your house with burnt offerings, I will pay you my vows, which my lips have uttered when I was in trouble,” Psalm 66:13, 14. There is a proper custom prevailing in all sections of the Christian church, of publicly acknowledging in the house of God any special mercy received at his hand. It is to be feared that, with many, this is nothing more than mere form; and that by others, who are really sincere, and even ardent at the time, it is regarded, or at any rate acted upon, as if it were a kind of clearance of all other obligations to increased holiness imposed upon us, even by our own declarations and promises in the hour of affliction. If, however, this religious observance is faithfully employed, as a means to fasten upon the heart and conscience the obligations of the season of sickness, and to summon the soul to the business of renewed devotedness to God—it may be truly concluded that the affliction has done its own proper work.

3. When besetting sins are mortified by trial, it is a good sign—and it is a sign frequently exhibited in God’s afflicted people. Almost all of us have ‘favorite pet sins’–which there is not ordinarily that concern and labor for putting them away, which there should be. They are indulged, instead of being resisted. Thus they gain strength by such indulgence, and most sadly disfigure our character and disturb our spiritual peace!

Prosperity, like sunshine upon weeds, often causes them to grow rapidly! And then God in great faithfulness, love and mercy sends adversity, like frost, to kill them. Upon a bed of sickness, and in other severe trials–they are often remembered, understood, and seen in all their sinfulness. They are then lamented, confessed, and mortified.

Nothing can be a darker sign than for a professor’s conscience to be so dull and drowsy during a time of trial, as to leave him unadmonished respecting these predominant sins. It has been sometimes a blessed fruit of tribulation, that these predominant sins have been weakened, if not eradicated. It is worth any amount of suffering to secure this result. Happy the Christian who comes out of the furnace, with his dross removed by the fire! No matter what he has lost–he has gained freedom from these inward enemies of his peace and purity.

4. Increasing deadness to the world, and growing spirituality of mind, are sure results of sanctified affliction. The love of the world is the great snare of the church in every age of time, but especially in the present unmolested circumstances of the Christian profession. Worldly-mindedness is now the prevailing sin of Christians! We see them on all hands too eager to make themselves happy on earth, and seeking their enjoyments, if not in the sinful amusements of the world, yet in its innocent and home-bred comforts. They look not at unseen and eternal things, but at seen and temporal things. Theirs is too much a life of ‘sense’, refined it is true from its gross sinfulness, but still a life of sense, rather than a life of faith. Hence there is “a needs be for manifold trials,” if not to separate them and keep them separate from specific and gross sins—yet to lift up their affections to things above, and to lead them to seek their happiness from faith, hope, and love; from God, the fountain of life; from Christ, the Redeemer of their souls; and from heaven, the object of their expectations.

When the world has been crucified to us, and we have been crucified to the world; when we have been taught its vanity and emptiness as a satisfying portion for the soul; when we have lost much of our anxiety to obtain its possessions, and of our dread of losing them; when we have been taken off from the folly of hewing out broken cisterns that can hold no water, and led more to the fountain of living waters; when we have lost our dependence on our comforts and possessions for happiness, and feel and rejoice in a glorious independence upon ‘created good’ for bliss; when there is really and truly a conscious elevation of soul towards God and things divine—there, there is the evidence that we are improved by our trials.

5. In some people we discover a striking and beautiful mellowness of character, as the result of God’s chastening hand. The roughness, harshness, arrogance and haughtiness of their conduct, which once rendered them annoying and offensive, are scraped off—and a sweet gentleness, humility, meekness, and softness of manner, and a tenderness of spirit have come in their place. There is now a gentleness in their speech, a mildness in their look, and a kindliness and cautiousness in their manner—which tell us how the haughty spirit has been broken, and the proud loftiness of their mind has been brought down. An unusual loveliness has been spread over their character, a holy amiableness has been infused into their temper, and a stubborn self-will has yielded to a kind consideration of the wishes and feelings of others, which convince all around them, how much the Spirit of God has done in them, and for them, by the afflictions they have endured; how the plough and the harrow have broken up the hard soil, and pulverized the rough clods of their stubborn nature, and prepared it for the growth of the precious seed of the kingdom.

6. A clearer view of the glory of Christ, and a deeper sense of his inestimable preciousness, are an evidence of growth of grace in affliction. The design of all God’s dealings in his providential dispensations, in the scheme of redemption, and in the work of his Holy Spirit—is to bring us to Christ, to enlighten our minds in the knowledge of him, to lead us to a more simple dependence upon him, and to endear him more and more to our hearts! If, then, amidst the ‘decays of health’ we have learned to feel his value more, as the Physician of souls; if amidst the ‘loss of property’, the worth of his unsearchable riches has been more correctly estimated; if at the ‘grave of earthly friends’, we have been drawn closer to him the Friend of sinners; if amidst the gloom and desolation of earthly scenes, the glory of the cross has shone forth with a new and surpassing luster; if amidst privations and losses, otherwise trying and distressing, we are brought to adopt the language of the apostle, “I have all things, and abound. All things are mine; for I am Christ’s!” In this case, also, the affliction has answered its end; for that trial cannot have been in vain, which has revealed to us the glory of the Savior, and made us more Christlike, both in our sentiments, feelings and life. Clearer views of the importance of gospel truths, and a richer unction from them resting upon the heart, acquired by sorrow—are a convincing proof of benefit from God’s chastening hand.

7. Less dread of future trials, with a stronger trust in God for support under them—is another evidence of sanctified trial. There is about most of us, until it is removed by God’s grace, a timidity, dread, and desponding feeling about afflictions, which make us afraid to encounter them. We turn away from them with dismay, as if there were no power which could support us under them, no wisdom to guide us through them, and no grace to comfort us in the midst of them. The very shadow of an approaching affliction makes our coward hearts to tremble, and causes us to cry out in unbelief, “How can I endure it?” We thus dishonor God by our guilty fears, and show a weakness of faith exceedingly dishonorable to us. To be cured of this weakness by affliction, and to rise out of it strong in faith, and firm in trust; to feel our fears subsiding, and our confidence in God established; to see new chastisements preparing for us, to be endured as soon as the present ones have ceased; to behold storm clouds returning after the rain, and gathering to beat upon us, when those which have lately spent their fury upon us retire—and yet to be able to say, “I will trust and not be afraid—for with the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength, and he will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed upon him, because he trusts in him”—is a genuine mark of improvement by afflictive dispensations. God’s design in chastening us—is to bring us to confide in him. He demands our trust, and is honored by it, and it is really no small part of our sanctification. And he that goes forward from one cross to another, strengthened by the past to meet with greater courage the future; who can trust himself and all he has with greater calmness to the disposal of God, with less apprehension for the result, has not been visited in vain by the afflictive hand of God.

8. A more entire consecration of the soul to God’s service in general, and to some special service in particular, is also a proof of sanctified affliction. How delightful a spectacle is it to God, to angels, and to men—to see a Christian rising from the bed of his own sickness, or returning from the grave of a near relative, in the spirit of the hundred and sixteenth Psalm—and while the eyes are yet moistened with tears, and the heart soft with sorrow, yielding up himself afresh to the claims, the service, and the glory of God; and instead of being paralyzed with grief, or taken up with enjoyment, setting himself apart by a new dedication to God. How beautiful is the language of the Psalmist in the review of his deliverance, “I love the Lord because He has heard my appeal for mercy. Because He has turned His ear to me, I will call out to Him as long as I live. The ropes of death were wrapped around me, and the horrors of the grave overcame me; I encountered trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!” The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is compassionate. The Lord guards the simple; I was helpless, and He saved me. Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. For You, Lord, rescued me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. I believed, even when I said, “I am severely afflicted.” How can I repay the Lord all the good He has done for me? I will take the cup of salvation and worship the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people. Lord, I am indeed Your servant; I am Your servant! You have loosened my bonds. I will offer You a sacrifice of thanksgiving and will worship the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord, in the very presence of all His people, in the courts of the Lord’s house. Hallelujah!”

This is the language of sanctified affliction. Then when the Christian is seen giving himself afresh to the service of God, in a more devoted attendance upon all the means of grace, private, domestic, and public; when his liberality is more diffusive, and his zeal more ardent; when he seems concerned, inventive, and laborious to show his gratitude and love by new acts of devotedness, and former measures of service will not content him—it is a convincing evidence that he has derived benefit from tribulation.

9. Increased sympathy for others in their affliction, is a proof that our own affliction has done us good. In some cases sorrow has hardened the heart, and made men selfish; it has drawn off all their attention from others, and concentrated it on themselves. This is a dark sign; nothing can be a stronger proof that trials have done us harm, instead of good—than when they have blunted our susceptibilities, hardened our hearts, and put all our tears in reserve for ourselves! Nor, on the contrary, can there be a more convincing evidence that they have benefited us, than an increase of sympathy, and a greater readiness to weep with those who weep. It is a delightful exhibition of a mind softened and sanctified by affliction, to see a person, on recovering from it, still holding in remembrance the wormwood and the gall—and instead of giving himself to selfish enjoyment, going forth with quickened sensibilities to support and comfort the distressed.

Such are the proofs, evidences and results of sanctified affliction.

May they be found in you, my dear friends; and in your pastor. Trials abound in this world—it is a valley of tears. Happy will it be for us, if we shall emerge from it at length into that blessed region, where God shall wipe away all tears from every eye. “I reckon,” said the blessed Paul, “that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us!” “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!” “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, and are called according to his purpose.” With such internal consolations as the gospel affords, and with such a peace as passes understanding—what external tribulation may we not endure, and endure not only with all patience, but with joyfulness?

It is beautifully said by Leighton, “All outward distress to a mind thus at peace, is but as the rattling hail upon the tiles, to him who sits within the house at a sumptuous feast.” Do not dread affliction—or at least dread far more being left to grow worldly and sinful, for lack of affliction; or being allowed to endure the pain of affliction without reaping the benefit of it. The losses, the pains, the disappointments, of the present state—if blessed for our spiritual good—will all fit us for the state where there shall be no more sorrow nor crying! The drops of sanctified grief—are the seeds of immortal joy! There will soon be a last tear—but never a last joy! Fix your heart upon holiness as the preparative for heaven, and be little concerned at what expense of present ease and possessions it be obtained—so that it holiness obtained.

The first look at Jesus as he is, and the first moment spent in heaven—will make ample amends for the longest and the saddest life on earth! Abound in hope—a lively hope of that inheritance which is incorruptible and undefiled, and unfading, reserved in Heaven for you! Be much in prayer for the presence and help of the Spirit of God as a Comforter. Without his aid the least trial will distress you—and with it the greatest cannot crush you! God is able to support and comfort—as well as save—to the uttermost! And none of us can tell what, in either case—the uttermost of God can do!

 

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