Friday, January 07, 2011

The Process of Sanctification

I define the Process of Sanctification as the process of changing one’s personality into the likeness of the personality of Jesus Christ.
I give credit to the accomplishment of this process entirely to the Holy Spirit. Our part in the process is to make ourselves available to the Holy Spirit so that He may accomplish His good work in us. This work will be completed in that day when we meet Jesus Christ Himself.
The only question then is: How do we make ourselves available to the Holy Spirit? Answer: By practicing the disciplines! The disciplines are not spelled out specifically in the Bible. This has led to many people developing their own “list” of disciplines. This is a very worth while exercise, which may be why they are not specifically listed. My list looks like this:
1. Prayer, with the goal of praying continuously2. Scripture; read, study, memorize and pray them (supercharging your prayers)3. Witnessing: in word and in deed
I break here to emphasize that these three are the most valuable of all the disciplines. If one were to only focus on these three, then one would do very well indeed. Twelve are hard to memorize, but just remembering these three is not so hard.
Why are these three more important?
Prayer: because it is the only one that can be done 24 hours a day. Yes, by practicing “praying continuously” prayer begins to penetrate your sleep and affect your dreams. C. S. Lewis said that anything that is living is either growing or it is dieing. So when we speak of a Spiritual Life we speak of something that is either growing or it is dieing. If you spend 15 minutes in Bible Study per day, great! You were growing for 15 minutes, but if you do nothing else you are dieing for 23 hours and 45 minutes. Praying continuously then is “the” way of growing all day long.
Scripture: because it is the anointed word of God. Get the Word inside you and it changes you from the inside out. You will not have to “act” like a Christian, you will “become” more Christlike. John 17:17
Witnessing, because it is part of the salvation process (Romans 10:9-10).
4. Meditation5. Worship6. Communion7. Repenting8. Giving9. Fasting10. Forgiving others
All of the above are disciplines that we initiate. The last two are initiated by God.
11. Challenges in life12. Punishment
I think Finney got it right when he said, he “believed that sanctification only occurred through the constant appropriation of faith through Christ. Christ then enabled the Christian’s moral self to become like His own.” The question then becomes, “how does one constantly appropriated his faith through Christ?” Practicing the disciplines is (in my humble and uneducated opinion) the “how.”

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