Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Spirit's Work in Sanctification

Certainly, there are specific responsibilities the believer is given in the sanctifying process. However, in our ladies' book study on The Discipline of Grace, Bridges is currently emphasizing the Spirit's work. Why?

Bridges explains,

We tend to lose sight of the fact that He is the agent of sanctification.

Guilty as charged. Just look at my post yesterday or last week or well, lots of old posts. Read my journal (no, don't). I am always trying my new plans, "picking myself up by my boot straps" - my attempts to "help God out" in sanctifying me by getting all of my to-dos to-done, as I like to say. Checkmarks. Me-focused goals, so I can feel good about my work or something like that. I love LOVE this book because he labors the point, I mean he really hops on the horse and stays there for quite awhile, that the Holy Spirit is responsible for our transformation. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

He is the one who works deep within our character to change us.

So, relax. Well, no, don't relax. Work! Plan to grow. Plan to read. Evangelize. Serve in your church. There are so many biblical exhortations to obey, but before you get started on your responsibilities as a believer, make one fact very, very clear in your mind. (And remind me every time you see me.)

It is God who works in you.

One of the things I loved from book study was a prayer that we, like Jerry Bridges, can pray, based on Hebrews 13:21.

After writing about one of my favorite verses, Philippians 1:6, Bridges turns to a Hebrews passage on the same topic,

The writer of Hebrews prayed that God will 'work in us what is pleasing to him' (13:21). Although these passages speak of God in a nonspecific sense, or use the pronoun he, we know from other Scriptures that the work of sanctification within the Trinity is primarily the work of the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2). This being true, we ought to pray daily for His work of sanctification within us. One of my favorite prayers is to take the words of Hebrews 13:21 and ask that He will work in me what is pleasing to Him.

No comments: