SOUL EXERCISE

Outward actions first, inward state of the heart second, No! Our outward actions cannot be correct if our heart remains unchanged.

“When we consider that soul exercise is a term which has almost passed out of our religious vocabulary and that more attention is paid to the outward actions of the Christian life than to the state of the heart, we cannot but come to the conclusion that vital godliness is at a low ebb” John Newton (ref#322, p11).

“He that rightly understands the Lord Jesus, understands how to have his guilt removed, his heart renewed, his conscience calmed, his soul secured. The better Christ is understood, the more the soul that understands Him is at rest” Nathanael Vincent (ref#225, July 23rd).

“The deep things are not discovered; they are received. They are not achieved; they are believed” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p108).

“Whereas false teaching results in meaningless speculation, proper apostolic teaching results in practical good behavior rooted in love. And that love must come for internal, Spirit-worked changes that have produced a pure heart (rather than one filled with sinful desires), a good conscience (rather than one laden with guilt), and a sincere faith (rather than pretense and hypocrisy)” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2325).

“It is only when you understand the completeness of your justification (that your penalty has been paid and you have been made eternally right with God by the life and death of Jesus) that you are able to rest in the ongoing discipline of your sanctification. That discipline is not to make you right with God, but an expression of the fact that you have been made right with God, and because you have, you are not the object of his Fatherly love. You can expect his discipline, but you do not have to fear his anger. You will experience his correction, but you will never face his rejection. He disciplines all his children in order to produce a harvest of righteousness, but he will never punish you for your sin” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Nov 1st).

“’My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.’ It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline then you are illegitimate children and not sons” (Heb 12:5-8 ESV).

THE SPIRIT, OUR PROVISION

“Jesus cannot come as long as there is anything in the way either of goodness or badness. When He comes am I prepared for Him to drag into the light every wrong thing I have done? It is just here that He comes. Repentance does not bring a sense of sin, but a sense of unutterable unworthiness. ‘He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire.’ John does not speak of the baptism of the Holy Ghost as an experience, but as a work performed by Jesus Christ. ‘He shall baptize you.’ The only conscious experience those who are baptized with the Holy Ghost ever have is a sense of absolute unworthiness” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Aug 22nd).

“God has made provision for our holiness and He has also given us a responsibility for it. God’s provision for us consists in delivering us from the reign of sin, uniting us with Christ, and giving us the indwelling Holy Spirit to reveal sin, to create a desire for holiness, and to strengthen us in our pursuit of holiness. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and according to the new nature He gives, we are to put to death the misdeeds of the body” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p78).

“The saving work of the Spirit in the heart of God’s elect is a gradual and progressive one” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p78).

“It is not the work of the Spirit to tell you the meaning of Scripture, and give you the knowledge of divinity, without your own study and labour. To reject study on the pretense of the sufficiency of the Spirit, is to reject the Scripture itself” Richard Baxter (ref#225, July 22nd).

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Rom 8:16 ESV).

“Weakness is a reproach when such a might is at our service. Defeat is dishonor when the partnership of God is rejected” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p73).

WHO THE SPIRIT IS

“The Third Person of the Holy Trinity agreed to sanctify the object of the Father’s eternal choice, and of the Son’s redemptive satisfaction” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p21).

“The Spirit sets apart God’s people into the sphere of the holy so that believers are now holy and righteous in their standing before God, and they grow in actual holiness in their lives” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2405).

“The Spirit dwells in men, clothes Himself with consecrated humanity, and accomplishes extraordinary things through quite ordinary people on the simple conditions of abiding surrender, implicit obedience, and simple faith” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p66).

“[T]he gracious Holy Spirit pledged Himself to sanctify wretches, and frame and fit them to be partakers of holiness, and live forever in God’s spotless presence” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p21).

“[The Spirit] comes to the things that are weak and despised and dignifies them with His Glory. Before Glory comes, the church will have to elevate those things that are despised by the world, such as modesty, chastity, inner beauty, self-effacement, willingness to serve, and willingness to be in the background. These are the kinds of values the Holy Spirit is exalting” Bob Sorge (ref#197, p17).

“[The Spirit] clothes Himself with sanctified men and women. The Spirit of the Lord clothed Itself with Gideon (Judges 6:34), He did not come upon him like a garment, but the Spirit clothed Himself with Gideon as with a garment” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p54, 60).

THE SPIRIT’S HELP IN SANCTIFICATION

“For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph 2:18-22 ESV).

“God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thes 2:13 ESV).

“[T]he Pentecostal gift of the Spirit is the gift of a God-possessed personality. The gift turns ordinary persons into extraordinary personalities” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p87).

“We are encompassed with innumerable sinful infirmities; we have a law in our members warring against the law of our mind, and bringing us into captivity to the law of sin in our members. We are constantly assailed by Satan, and as constantly liable to yield. Oh, with what power and constant acting of faith should we throw ourselves on the Spirit! How ceaselessly should we pray to Him with all supplication, imploring His guiding, teaching, sealing, and comforting grace to help us in every time of need” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Apr 12th).

“He put His own nature into us. [I]t is acting and manifesting and expressing itself by the Holy Ghost (Rom 5:5)” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p17).

“[A]s the first man Adam was made in the image of God, so we, by the renewal of the Holy Spirit, are in a diviner sense made in the image of the Most High and are partakers of the divine nature” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Sept 16th AM)

GOAL OF SANCTIFICATION

“It is God’s work, wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit who makes Christ our sanctification. Generally there is an awakening of heart and mind in which there comes vision and persuasion. There is a conviction of need and a revelation of grace, a hunger and a search, a process and a crisis, an act of faith and an assurance of cleansing. It is as distinctly a second work of grace as regeneration is a new birth” Smauel Chadwick (ref#195, p115-116).

“[T]his is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thes 4:3 ESV).

“[A Christian] is in a partnership with God, and he will reap its benefits only when he has fulfilled his own responsibilities. He cannot do what God must do, and God will not do what [He] should do. No one can attain any degree of holiness without God working in his life, but just as surely no one will attain it without effort on his own part. God has made it possible for us to walk in holiness. But He has given to us the responsibility of doing the walking” Jerry Bridges (ref#244, p9).

“[God] first ‘counsels and directs’ as to what is to be done, and then He ‘excites and effectually inclines’ to the doing thereof” Thomas Jacombe (ref#225, July 20th).

“The aim is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Tim 1:5 ESV).

“Weak, unskillful, and unfaithful, as I am in practice, the Lord has been pleased to give me some idea of what a Christian ought to be, and of what is actually attainable in the present life, by those whom he enables earnestly to aspire towards the prize of their high calling” John Newton (ref#322, p135).

“[W]hoever does what is true his works have been carried out by God” (John 3:21 ESV).

INTRO TO SANCTIFICATION

Posts on the subject of “Sanctification” start today and will conclude in July, LORD willing. These posts are divided into three categories: (1) GOD’s work in my sanctification, (2) My work in my sanctification, and (3) Our work together in sanctification.

At the beginning of sanctification “Generally there is an awakening of heart and mind in which there comes vision and persuasion. There is a conviction of need and a revelation of grace, a hunger and a search, a process and a crisis an act of faith and an assurance of cleansing. It is as distinctly a second work of grace as regeneration is a new birth” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p116).

“[V]ast pieces of your existence are out of your control, beyond your power to alter. But you must not conclude that your life is out of control. Because your story is woven into the fabric of the redemption story, there is meaning, purpose, and direction to every part of it.  The inertia of redemption carries your story along. The goal of redemption guarantees your destiny. The future grace of eternity secures for you all the grace you will ever need in between. No, you won’t understand all that you face, and yes, God’s will will confuse you at points, but your story has been infused with meaning and purpose because it’s been included in God’s story of redemption and restoration. He rules over all things so that his grace can finish its work in you unabated” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Nov. 8th).

“God’s tender love for His servants makes Him concerned for the state of their emotions. [O]ur Master would not have us entangled with fears. He wants us to be free of cares, doubts, and cowardice. Our Master takes our unbelief more seriously than we do. When we are despondent, we are subject to a grievous disease that should not be ignored, but should be taken immediately to the Beloved Physician” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, May 11th PM).

“Be most engaged in those experiences that have proven to draw you nearest to Christ, because it is from Him that all your fruit proceeds. Any holy exercise that will bring you to Him will help you to bear fruit” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 13th AM).

“God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears” (Phil 1:3-6 MSG).

Instruct our minds; our wills subdue;

To heaven our passions raise;

That hence our lives, our all may be

Devoted to thy praise” B. Beddome (ref#224, song #434).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

FANATICISM

“Rightly did Jonathan Edwards affirm, ‘Many have been the mischiefs that have arisen from that false and delusory notion of the witness of the Spirit, that it is a kind of inward voice, suggestion, or revelation from God to man, that he is beloved of Him, and that his sins are pardoned—sometimes accompanied with, sometimes without, a text of Scripture; and many have been the false and vain (though very high) affections that have arisen from hence.  It is to be feared that multitudes of souls have been eternally undone by it.’  Especially was this so in the past, when fanaticism made much of the Spirit witnessing to souls” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p138).

Samuel Chadwick defines this as ‘will-worship.”  “…a kind of will-worship, by which man substitutes his own enthusiasms for the will of God” (ref#195, p126).  These thoughts came from a spirit all right, but it was an unholy spirit and not the HOLY SPIRIT.

“…They tripped over what little they knew about him [JESUS] and fell, sprawling….” (Mark 6:3 MSG).

“He who is seldom with Jesus in private will only exhibit, in all that he does for Jesus publicly, the fitful movements of a mind urged on by a feverish and unnatural excitement” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 17th).

“Man-made enthusiasm and emotionalism is superficial and cheap.  In real revival emotion is not produced or manipulated by man.  It is a response to the unsought, unexpected, but powerful working of God’s Spirit upon the inner depths of people’s souls” Wesley Duewel (ref#341, p12).

ABIDING IN CHRIST

ABIDE IN CHRIST AND NOT IN SELF

“They that are convinced of their own sin and misery do commonly first think to tame the flesh…to make their corrupt nature to be better-natured and inclined to holiness by their struggling and wrestling with it…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p191).

“…they endeavor to reform their old state, and to be made perfect in the flesh, instead of putting it off and walking according to the new state in Christ….they trust to Christ to help them in this carnal way; whereas true faith would teach them that they are nothing, and that they do not labour in vain” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p191).

The Apostle Paul accuses the Galatian church of this very thing: “O foolish Galatians!  Who has bewitched you?…Are you so foolish?  Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh” (Gal 3:1,3 ESV)?

FATHER, for many years now You have impressed upon me that “The world will never believe in a religion in which there is no supernatural power” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p89).

“The answer is in the demonstration of a supernatural religion, and the only way to a supernatural religion is in the abiding presence of the Spirit of God” Samuel Chadwick (ref#161, p190).

You have thoroughly convinced me that my own efforts to be righteous does not stand out in supernatural righteousness at all.  My efforts leave me only prideful, with short-lived joy.  No wonder You call my acts filthy rags (Isa 64:6).  “…self must fail…” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p58).

“The…greatest enemy in the abiding life, is SELF….it refuses to give up its will…by its working, it hinders God’s work.  Unless this life of self, with its willing and working, be displaced by the life of Christ, with His willing and working, to abide in Him will be impossible….Are you ready…to give up self entirely to its death of the cross, to be kept there until it be wholly destroyed?…Am I prepared to say that the old self shall no longer have a word to say; that it shall not be allowed to have a single thought, however natural—not a single feeling, however gratifying—not a single wish or work, however right” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p187)?

FATHER, I desire to “live in Your acts of kindness and enjoy Your smiles” Barnes Notes (ref#16, [Ps 89:15]).

PRAYER

UNANSWERED PRAYER  I

“Surely God does not hear an empty cry…” (Job 35:13 ESV).

“Every one that asketh receiveth’…Yet…there are conditions and limitations….The unrestricted promises are hedged about with conditions….It is possible to ask and not receive (Ps 66:18; James 4:2-3)” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p126).

“There may be cases in which the answer is a refusal, because the request is not according to God’s Word, as when Moses asked to enter Canaan.  But still, there was an answer: God did not leave His servant in uncertainty as to His will” Andrew Murray (ref#19, FIFTH LESSON).

“…there are burdens placed on us by God which He does not intend to lift off, He wants us to roll them back on Him” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, April 13th). “…prayer is God’s answer to our poverty, not a power we exercise to obtain an answer” Oswald Chambers (ref#23, p397).

FATHER, this quote propels me to see that when I cry to You in my sympathies I cry to You in pride.  “I” want to be the one who moves You to answer my request.  All my prayer requests must be out of contriteness—praying because I can do nothing to answer the need.  Sin entangles me so that I forget that I am the needy creature and You are the providing Creator.  I thank You for Your longsuffering grace to teach me.  Praise befits You.

“God commands us to pray specifically for our desires, but our desires cannot command him” (Ps 37:4-5; Phil 4:6)” Bryan Chapell (ref#66, p109).

“God does not delay to hear our prayers, because he has no mind to give; but that, by enlarging our desires, he may give us the more largely” Anselm of Canterbury (ref#65, p96).

PRAYER

UNABLE TO PRAY ARIGHT 

“…so depraved is the saint that in the hour of need he is incapable of asking God aright to minister unto him.  Sin has so corrupted his heart and darkened his understanding that, left to himself, he cannot even discern what he should ask God for….In nothing do the saints more need the Spirit’s presence and His gracious assistance than in their addresses of the Throne of Grace” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p145).

LORD, send “the [Holy] Spirit…in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication…” (Rom 8:26 AMPC).

“…because we are so blinded by self-love…we are unable to discern what will be most for God’s glory, what will best promote the good of our brethren…and what will advance our own spiritual growth” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p146-147).

“We are poor, and needy, and ignorant, and blind…But in the midst of our feebleness we may look to God for the aid of his Spirit, and rejoice in his presence, and in his power to sustain us in our sighings, and to guide us in our wanderings” Barnes’ Notes (ref#16, [Rom 8:27]).

“…the Spirit of God makes intercession for the saints, not by supplication to God on their behalf, but by directing and qualifying their supplications in a proper manner, by his agency and influence upon their hearts…” Adam Clarke’s Commentary (ref#15, [Rom 8:27]).

“He [the SPIRIT] instructs and inspires all true prayer.  There is no truer word than that ‘we know not what we should pray for as we ought.’  There is no realm in which we so soon come to the end of what we know as in that of prayer.  Our petitions urge wants that are immediate, obvious, and urgent.  We cannot see deep enough or far enough to know what is our real need.  Most people would like good health, home comfort, congenial conditions, happy friendships, a little more money, and better success…” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p60, brackets mine).