Vespers – Spurgeon’s Question 34

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love

  • Ephesians 1:4

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

  • 1 Corinthians 6:11

But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:13

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— …
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. … For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

  • Romans 6:4-6,11,14

in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

  • Romans 8:4

to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

  • Ephesians 4:23-24

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

  • Philippians 3:10

“I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’

  • Acts 11:18

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.

  • 1 John 3:9

But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,

  • Jude 20

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

  • Ephesians 3:16-18

so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,

  • Colossians 1:10-11

“Q. 34. What is sanctification?
“A. Sanctification is the work of God’s Spirit (2 Thess. 2:13), whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God (Eph. 4:24), and are enabled more and more to die to sin, and live to righteousness. (Rom. 6:11).”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Catechism (Scripture proofs in bold above)

“Q. 35. What is sanctification?
“A. Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin and live unto righteousness.”

  • The Shorter Catechism (Westminster Assembly)

“Q. 75. What is sanctification?
“A. Sanctification is a work of God’s grace, whereby they, whom God hath, before the foundation of the world, chosen to be holy, are, in time, through the powerful operation of his Spirit, applying the death and resurrection of Christ unto them, renewed in their whole man after the image of God; having the seeds of repentance unto life, and all other saving graces, put into their hearts, and those graces so stirred up, increased and strengthened, as that they more and more die unto sin, and rise into newness of life.”

  • The Larger Catechism (Westminster Assembly)

Again, the Larger Catechism is larger, and added many extra biblical proofs.  This time the Spurgeon and the Shorter Catechisms differed in a few words, the only semi-significant change is God’s free grace versus God’s Spirit.

Of the three words that the catechisms have been defining, I have heard the most diversity in how sanctification is used.  To some pastors of 100 years ago, give or take a few decades, they have the concept that sanctification happens completely at the point of being born again, but even the late R. C. Sproul had said that sanctification happens little bits at a time and the greatest change in our lives to be more like Jesus is when we pass away and we are with Him.

To think that we are not saved if we ever sin after we accept Jesus is a tough task, disheartening, and a good excuse to simply give up hope.  You do not simply falter and slip off the path, able to get back up and reestablish your feet on the path if that is the case, you would be jettisoned back to the starting point.

It is impossible for us to live a sinless life without Jesus and His strength within us.  But even then we have our eyes slip from the prize on occasions and we sin.  These times of losing that attention span, getting distracted by something along the way, those become less as we strengthen our desire and our zeal to remain on the path, that journey of faith.  And as we struggle, that builds up our faith.  With greater faith, we have more inner strength to stay on the path.

The words above of the work of God’s Spirit, not a single action, and “more and more” point to a process that as we listen to the Spirit’s guidance, we become more like Jesus.

And now let us sing.

The following song, I Am Trusting Thee, Lord Jesus is sung by the congregation at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London.  As we are sanctified, we become more like Jesus, but also our desires better align with Jesus and as a natural result, we trust Him more.

I am trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
Trusting only Thee;
Trusting Thee for full salvation,
Great and free.

I am trusting Thee for pardon;
At Thy feet I bow;
For Thy grace and tender mercy,
Trusting now.

I am trusting Thee to guide me;
Thou alone shalt lead;
Every day and hour supplying
All my need.

I am trusting Thee for power,
Thine can never fail;
Words which Thou Thyself shalt give me
Must prevail.

I am trusting Thee, Lord Jesus;
Never let me fall;
I am trusting Thee forever,
And for all.”

  • Frances Ridley Havergal, I Am Trusting Thee, Lord Jesus

Closing Prayer

Dear Lord,
We need You.  Please guide us. We are all works in progress.  We stumble, but as the hymn ends, please do not let us fall.  As we get to know You better from reading the Bible, praying, and trusting in You, we find You more desirable than we did before, and we also see our weaknesses.  Help us to keep our eyes on You, the source of our strength.
In thy Name we pray.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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