Archive for the ‘Sanctification’ Category

Repentance is, despite its oneness in essence, different in form according to the persons in whom it takes place and the circumstances in which it takes place.  The way upon which the children of God walk is one way but they…have varying experiences.  What a difference there is in the conversion of Manasseh, Paul and Timothy!  How unlike are the experiences of a David and a Solomon, a John and a James!  And that same difference we encounter also outside of Scripture in the life of the church fathers, of the reformers, and of all the saints.  The moment we have eyes to see the richness of the spiritual life, we do away with the practice of judging others according to our puny measure.  There are people who know of only one method, and who regard no one as having repented unless he can speak of the same spiritual experiences which they have had or claim to have had.  But Scripture is much richer and broader than the narrowness of such confines…The true repentance does not consist of what men make of it, but of what God says of it.  In the diversity of providences and experiences it consists and must consist of the dying of the old and the rising of the new man.

—Herman Bavinck, quoted in Sinclair Ferguson, The Holy Spirit (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1996), 134-135.


Repentance isn’t so much a set number of steps to changing behavior as it is seeing Christ increasingly clearly, and so turning from ourselves to Him, over and over until we see Him face to face.  There are as many different stories of how our sanctification has progressed as there are stories of how we first came to know Christ as Savior and King—that is to say, as many as there are followers of the Lord Jesus.  The key isn’t so much how we come to repent, but that we come to repent, and keep on repenting until we reach the full measure of Christ.


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In the new covenant, the specific content of the new obedience involves putting off the old and putting on the new man (cf. Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10)…Christlikeness is the end in view; sanctification is the transformation which produces it.  Now ‘I am the Lord who sanctifies you’ becomes ‘I am Jesus who by my Spirit will transform you into my likeness’.  ‘Be holy, because I am holy’ means ‘You belong to God’s family; Jesus Christ is your Elder Brother; his Spirit dwells in you, enabling you to follow in his footsteps; be like him.’  Holiness is Christlikeness.  As the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit is the agent of this transformation.

—Sinclair Ferguson, The Holy Spirit (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1996), 142.

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Sanctification does not…make us become more than human.  Rather, men and women become fully and truly what they were created to be; now in principle, hereafter in fullness…[J]ust as we bore the image of the man of dust, we will bear the image of the man from heaven (1 Cor. 15:49; cf. 2 Cor. 3:18; 1 Jn. 3:2).

—Sinclair Ferguson, The Holy Spirit (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1996), 140.

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The difference between an unconverted and a converted man is not that the one has sins and the other has none; but that the one takes part with his cherished sins against a dreaded God, and the other takes part with a reconciled God against his hated sins.

—Scottish pastor William Arnot (1808-1875), quoted in Mark Dever and Michael Lawrence, It Is Well: Expositions on Substitutionary Atonement (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), p. 175.

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