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Archive for the ‘holiness’ Category

In older Evangelical parlance the language of guidance was used comprehensively to cover God’s eliciting of faithful obedience from us within the often enigmatic and daunting frame of providentially ordered circumstances.

Packer, J. I, and Carolyn Nystrom. Guard us, guide us : divine leading in life’s decisions. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2008), 178.

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We have reason to desire to grow in every grace, and have need of the Spirit’s influence in order to growth in grace; and the way to obtain this is by prayer. We are beholden to god not only for the stock put into our hands at first, but for the improvement of it also.

(source: Matthew Henry, 1Thessalonians 3:12-13)

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Those who walk after the Spirit are not such as have wholly put off all the emotions of the flesh, so that their whole life is redolent with nothing but celestial perfection; but they are those who sedulously labor to subdue and mortify the flesh, so that the love of true religion seems to reign in them. He declares that such walk not after the flesh; for wherever the real fear of God is vigorous, it takes away from the flesh its sovereignty, though it does not abolish all its corruptions.

Source: John Calvin on Romans 8:1-4

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Thomas Chalmers was very concerned about excessive introspection in the pursuit of holiness. He knew that a believer cannot make progress in holiness without basing it on the assurance of salvation. And yet the effort to look into our sinful hearts for some evidences of grace usually backfires.

Robert McCheyne wrote:

Learn much of the Lord Jesus.

For every look at yourself take ten looks at Christ.

He is altogether lovely . . . .

Live much in the smiles of God.

Bask in his beams.

Feel his all-seeing eye settled on you in love.

And repose in his almighty arms.

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How are you righteous before God? Only by true faith in Jesus Christ.

Although my conscience accuses me that I have grievously sinned against all God’s commandments, have never kept any of them, and am still inclined to all evil, yet God, without any merit of my own, out of mere grace, imputes to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ.

He grants these to me as if I had never had nor committed any sin, and as if I myself had accomplished all the obedience which Christ has rendered for me, if only I accept this gift with a believing heart.

2 Corinthians 5:21  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Source: The Heidelberg Catechism Q.60

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Godliness is God-consciousness, an all-pervasive sense of God’s presence.

It will mean that never do we think, or speak, or act, without the undergirding sense (1) of God’s presence, (2) of his judgement, (3) of our relation to him and his relation to us, (4) of our responsibility to him and dependence upon him.

This God-consciousness is spoken of as the fear of God, the profound reverence for his majesty and the dread of his judgments.

This fear of God is not something abstract – it is filial reverence springing from a relation that has been constituted by redemption in Christ, justification and forgiveness by his grace, adoption in his love. …

In a word, this God-consciousness is conditioned by all the provisions of saving grace brought to bear upon us in Christ Jesus, and by the distinct relations that we sustain by God’s grace to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. There is an intimacy constituted by adoption and the sonship created thereby …

Source: John Murray “Adorning the Gospel” (Collected Writings of John Murray, Vol. I, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1976, pg. 182)

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A set of rules is unable to motivate and conform us to holiness.

You have to know that you are loved by God. Otherwise you will always have fear motivating you i.e. if I don’t do this he will be mad and punish me.

Fear cannot motivate you to genuine holiness. You must know that you are loved and that the outcome is assured – so you can obey with your whole heart.

This knowledge will propel one to obedience, knowing that you are loved and believing that God has given you what is needed in terms of enabling.

If you not assured of God’s love for you then you will fall into a sinful lifestyle. Duty cannot motivate in the face of temptation but love in response to grace (God’s love and enabling) is more motivating.

Source: ‘The Gospel and Sanctification: How Does Your Garden Grow?’  Providence Church in Temecula, CA is a congregation of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

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