Sanctification—A Lifelong Process

“Good men will always be discovering themselves.”  –Thomas Manton

     “Christians, don’t despise your wet wings.” Charles shared this unusual sentence during the conclusion to his sermon last Sunday. The context was the transformative process that a caterpillar undergoes as it emerges from its chrysalis stage toward becoming a beautiful butterfly. The application was made to the sanctification process that every living and genuine believer is passing through. We are called to examine ourselves. The apostle Paul encouraged the Corinthians to such an examination, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” (1 Cor. 11:27-28) This is not a call to a morbid introspection that continually ends in self-condemnation. No, not at all! Instead, it is a thoughtful reflection on our own propensity to sin; a repentance and brokenness over any present sin; and a rejoicing in the Lord Jesus who mercifully redeems his people.   

     The Puritan Richard Sibbes encouraged his people to pursue a “thorough dealing” with their sinfulness. He noted: “There is more mercy in Christ than sin in us; there can be no danger in [a] thorough dealing. It is better to go bruised to heaven than sound to hell. Therefore, let us not take off ourselves too soon nor pull off the plaster before the cure be wrought, but keep ourselves under this work till sin be the sourest and Christ the sweetest of all things. And when God’s hand is upon us in any kind, it is good to direct our sorrow for other things to the root of all, which is sin. Let our grief run most in that channel, that as sin bred grief, so grief may consume sin.”
[Richard Sibbes, Bruised Reed and Smoking Flax, 31–32.] The end of all this self-examination was a trusting in the sweetness of Christ and a deepening appreciation for his atoning work.

     Christians, realize today that pursuing God’s kingdom and righteousness does not mean a slavish attempt to keep the law. There is, after all, “no room for ritualistic law-keeping,” (Charles’ sermon) but rather “present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:13-14) Praise the Lord for his grace that writes the law of God on our hearts and fills us with His Spirit! Have a blessed week and Lord willing, we will see you on Sunday.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Dale