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Knock Together Christianity

May 7, 2015

ExplosionRevival ministries have helped popularize a view of sanctification that leaves many Christians in despair. This view of sanctification is found in those who walk down the aisle, kneel at the altar and then leave expecting the major struggle with a particular sin to be at an end. This perspective of going to the altar is one piece of a larger view of sanctification that perceives the process of Christian growth to be similar to the knock together furniture bought at a big box store. Plug the right parts into the right slots and in no time everything is as it ought to be. Plug church attendance (A) into Bible reading (B), insert prayer (C) into Christian living (D) and maturity will follow. The big problems will be gone. The Christian life will be free from sorrow and disappointment. Fruit will pour out of the Christian like he is some sort of mobile, spiritual cornucopia. The Biblical reality of sanctification is something entirely different.

Christian growth requires the proper uses of means. The proper steps must be followed, but Christian growth is not a formulaic add this external to this external and you will achieve this great victory. Christian growth is a transformation of the heart. Externals disciplines and habits aid the process but they do not accomplish it. The mere performance of proper behavior can never achieve Christian maturity because the problem of the Christian life is more than getting the outside of a man to match the eternal, internal change produced by Christ at salvation. The problem of the Christian life is one of slaying a multi-headed monster that makes the Hydra look like an earth worm. Sanctification is a process of total renovation in the middle of a battle field. As soon as one gets the windows all put in place, some fiend comes along and shoots an RPG through one of them. As soon as a Christian feels like he is finally getting a handle on patience, some spiritual terrorist interferes with the day’s agenda and shows the patience achieved was not as real as believed.

Sanctification requires the Christian make use of the Biblically prescribed means of growth. Attend church every Sunday. Read and study the Bible. Pray constantly. Serve in the church. Tell the gospel to the unsaved. Take part in communion. Be disciplined to godliness. While making the proper use of means, never imagine that the mere performance of rituals and duties will magically make sin go away. The process of sanctification is accomplished by the Spirit in the heart and mind of the believer. God will complete this task, but never in the time and way expected.

Christian growth is mortal combat in which the flesh rages against the Spirit every step of the way. This warfare will never cease. The Christian who believes putting together a series of proper actions will render sin powerless and the Christian life a breeze is a Christian doomed to disappointment. Christian growth is only accomplished through God dependent combat. The means of growth are tools and weapons in this conflict. God in His wisdom has not given to man a nuclear option that will end the fight. Christian growth is a lifelong war with victory accomplished in Christ and assured the believer.

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