Archive for the ‘Sanctification’ category

Six Ways of Minimizing Sin

May 26, 2012

I found these six ways of minimizing sin to be very instructive regarding gospel-centered sanctification/mortification of sin. Take a moment and examine your fight against sin, the ways you are prone to minimize sin, and develop an intentional strategy to renounce them.

Defending

I find it difficult to receive feedback about weaknesses or sin. When confronted, my tendency is to explain things away, talk about my successes, or to justify my decisions. As a result, I rarely have conversations about difficult things in my life.

Pretending

I strive to keep up appearances, maintain a respectable image. My behavior, to some degree, is driven by what I think others think of me. I also do not like to think reflectively about my life. As a result, not very many people know the real me (I may not even know the real me).

Hiding

I tend to conceal as much as I can about my life, especially the “bad stuff”. This is different than pretending in that pretending is about impressing. Hiding is more about shame. I don’t think people will accept the real me.

Blaming

I am quick to blame others for sin or circumstances. I have a difficult time “owning” my contributions to sin or conflict. There is an element of pride that assumes it’s not my fault AND/OR an element of fear of rejection if it is my fault.

Minimizing

I tend to downplay sin or circumstances in my life, as if they are “normal” or “not that bad. As a result, things often don’t get the attention they deserve, and have a way of mounting up to the point of being overwhelming.

Exaggerating

I tend to think (and talk) more highly of myself than I ought to. I make things (good and bad) out to be much bigger than they are (usually to get attention). As a result, things often get more attention than they deserve, and have a way of making me stressed or anxious.

This excerpt is taken from the excellent study called The Gospel-Centered Life. Week one, in which this excerpt is derived, can be downloaded for free.

Make War

November 4, 2010

Gospel-Centered Renewal: I Am Being Made New (Part 2)

August 3, 2009

:: The Series ::
I Have Been Made New
I Am Being Made New (Part 1)

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Colossians 3:5-10
18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18

According to Scripture two things are happening simultaneously.  Outwardly, we are “wasting away” while inwardly we are “being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16).  This body Paul calls a “jar of clay” has in it “this treasure” of the gospel of the glory of Christ.  And it is because of this treasure that we both experience “momentary afflictions” and one day “an eternal weight of glory.” Without the centrality of the gospel, neither of these realities would be known.

Beholding Christ and Being Made New

The way in which we are being made new is seen in 2 Cor. 3:18 which says:

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

This little verse packs glorious truths of how we are being made knew and what God is making as the Potter upon these jars of clay.  The means of renewal is “beholding the glory of the Lord.”  Sounds quite abstract, doesn’t it?  But Paul makes it plain what, rather who, we are to behold in 2 Cor. 4:4, 6.  We are to behold (vs. 4) “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” and again (vs. 6) “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  The gospel is the eternal spotlight on the glory of Christ, so if we want to know the glory of God, we must look supremely upon the face of Jesus Christ.

The effects of beholding Christ is that we might be renewed (transformed) into the image of God from one degree of glory to another.  We are being transformed because this process of being made new is so glorious that we cannot handle it but in degrees!  The image of God marred by sin is be recreated in the new man being perfected for glory.  Paul tells the church at Colossae that they have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Col. 3:10).  The image which God is committed to renewing comes from the knowledge found in the gospel which leads us to see and savor Jesus Christ who is our hope of glory (Col. 1:27).

What this means for you and me is that renewal in the Christian does not come by growth steps but by gospel sight.  It is not what we do for Jesus but what we see in Jesus that brings us into greater conformity to His image.  A failure to center your life on the gospel and embrace the supremacy of Christ has tragic implications because this is precisely the means of renewal we need to experience the eternal weight of glory that awaits us.  Each degree of glory in our daily renewal and transformation are like birth pangs when we shall be like Him fully, for we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2).

And oh, what a glorious day that will be!

Gospel-Centered Renewal: I Am Being Made New (Part 1)

August 1, 2009

Picking up where I left off, I want to draw out the continuous nature of gospel renewal through the ongoing work of sanctification.  Behind these posts is the central theological motif that our union with Christ is the fountainhead of all genuine renewal in the Christian life, and therefore we should center our lives, churches, and ministries on the gospel of Jesus Christ and experience its satisfying and strengthening work from beginning to end.

Justification and Sanctification

We are made new by the justification of God where the new covenant promises of the Father are fulfilled in new and living way of Christ’s atoning death through which we experience regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.  This work of renewal continues as those who are being saved continually repent and believe the good news which is forever theirs in Christ Jesus.  God is committed to perfect a people for Himself by reversing the curse of sin through the Fall as His people are changed into the likeness of Christ, the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15).

In justification, we are made a new creation in Christ by the sovereign work of God in bringing those who are dead in trespasses and sin and making them alive (Eph. 2:1-5).  The continuing work of this resurrection power is seen as “the old passing away as all things become new” (2 Cor. 5:17b).  We are being made new (sanctification) only because we have been made new (justification).  Those who seek renewal upon spiritual performances and not the gospel are trying to be made new without having been made new, thereby replacing justification with sanctification.  This deathly treadmill is a cycle which does not breed new life but new despair in the heart of those whose hopes are in what they can do for God rather than what God has done for them.

(more…)