Sanctification

The Life of the Mind

Triune Contemplation.  “Contemplation in fact is the reward of faith, a reward for which hearts are cleansed through faith, as it is written, cleansing their hearts through faith (Acts 15:9).  Proof that it is that contemplation for which hearts are cleansed comes from the key texts, Blessed are the pure at heart, for they shall see God (Matt 5:8)” (Augustine, De Trinitate, 1:17, 77).

Theological Language. “Theological language has no other ultimate purpose than to strip from the mind material form and content of its thinking about God and to shape the heart in love for God; together these actions constitute the purification of the heart” (Michel Barnes, “The Logic of Augustines’ Trinitarian Theology,” quoted in Keith Johnson, Rethinking the Trinity and Religious Pluralism215).

Desiring God’s 100 Quotations on Sanctification

A. W. Tozer: “We must hide our unholiness in the wounds of Christ as Moses hid himself in the cleft of the rock while the glory of God passed by. We must take refuge from God in God. Above all we must believe that God sees us perfect in His Son while He disciplines and chastens and purges us that we may be partakers of His holiness” (The Knowledge of the Holy, 107).

J. C. Ryle: “Tell the young, tell the poor, tell the aged, tell the ignorant, tell the sick, tell the dying — tell them all about Christ. Tell them of His power, and tell them of His love; tell them of His doings, and tell them of His feelings; tell them what He has done for the chief of sinners; tell them what He is willing to do until the last day of time; tell it to them over and over again. Never be tired of speaking of Christ. Say to them broadly and fully, freely and unconditionally, unreservedly and undoubtingly, ‘Come unto Christ, as the penitent thief did; come unto Christ, and you shall be saved.'” (Sermon, “Christ’s Greatest Trophy“)

C. H. Spurgeon: “If heaven were by merit, it would never be heaven to me, for if I were in it I should say, “I am sure I am here by mistake; I am sure this is not my place; I have no claim to it.” But if it be of grace and not of works, then we may walk into heaven with boldness.” (Sermons, 6.354.)

Jerry Bridges: “Grace stands in direct opposition to any supposed worthiness on our part. To say it another way: Grace and works are mutually exclusive. As Paul said in Romans 11:6, “And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” Our relationship with God is based on either works or grace. There is never a works-plus-grace relationship with Him.” (Transforming Grace, 22)

R. C. Sproul: “Loving a holy God is beyond our moral power. The only kind of God we can love by our sinful nature is an unholy god, an idol made by our own hands. Unless we are born of the Spirit of God, unless God sheds His holy love in our hearts, unless He stoops in His grace to change our hearts, we will not love Him… To love a holy God requires grace, grace strong enough to pierce our hardened hearts and awaken our moribund souls.” (The Holiness of God)

Horatius Bonar: “Grace burst forth spontaneously from the bosom of eternal love and rested not until it had removed every impediment and found its way to the sinner’s side, swelling round him in full flow. Grace does away the distance between the sinner and God, which sin had created. Grace meets the sinner on the spot where he stands; grace approaches him just as he is. Grace does not wait till there is something to attract it nor till a good reason is found in the sinner for its flowing to him… It was free, sovereign grace when it first thought of the sinner; it was free grace when it found and laid hold of him; and it is free grace when it hands him up into glory.” (Sermon, “God’s Purpose of Grace“)

Martyn Lloyd-Jones “Always respond to every impulse to pray. The impulse to pray may come when you are reading or when you are battling with a text. I would make an absolute law of this – always obey such an impulse. Where does it come from? It is the work of the Holy Spirit (Phil 2:12-13). This often leads to some of the most remarkable experiences in the life of the minister. So never resist, never postpone it, never push it aside because you are busy. Give yourself to it, yield to it; and you will find not only that you have not been wasting time with respect to the matter with which you are dealing but that actually it has helped you greatly in that respect. You will experience an ease and a facility in understanding what you were reading, in thinking, in ordering matter for a sermon, in writing, in everything which is quite astonishing. Such a call to prayer must never be regarded as a distraction; always respond to it immediately, and thank God if it happens to you frequently.” (Preaching & Preachers, 170-171)

J.C. Ryle: “In justification the word to be addressed to man is believe — only believe; in sanctification the word must be ‘watch, pray, and fight.'” (Holiness, ix)

John Owen: “He does not so work our mortification in us as not to keep it still an act of our obedience. The Holy Ghost works in us and upon us, as we are fit to be wrought in and upon; that is, so as to preserve our own liberty and free obedience. He works upon our understandings, wills, consciences, and affections, agreeably to their own natures; he works in us and with us, not against us or without us; so that his assistance is an encouragement as to the facilitating of the work, and no occasion of neglect as to the work itself. And indeed, I might here bewail the endless, foolish labor of poor souls, who, being convinced of sin and not able to stand against the power of their convictions, do set themselves, by innumerable perplexing ways and duties, to keep down sin, but, being strangers to the Spirit of God, all in vain. They combat without victory, have war without peace, and are in slavery all their days. They spend their strength for that which is not bread and their labor for that which profits not.” (Overcoming Sin and Temptation, 62)

Thomas Watson: “Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.” (The Doctrine of Repentance, 63)

John Piper: “I know of no other way to triumph over sin long-term than to gain a distaste for it because of a superior satisfaction in God.” Desiring God, 12.

John Calvin: “The whole lives of Christians ought to be a kind of aspiration after piety, seeing they are called unto holiness (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:5). The office of the law is to excite them to the study of purity and holiness, by reminding them of their duty. For when the conscience feels anxious as to how it may have the favor of God, as to the answer it could give, and the confidence it would feel, if brought to his judgment-seat, in such a case the requirements of the law are not to be brought forward, but Christ, who surpasses all the perfection of the law, is alone to be held forth for righteousness.” (Insittutes III, 19, 2)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God’s commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God, not trying to direct if for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won where the way leads to the cross.”  (Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, 241)

C. S. Lewis: “Lose you life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death to your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” (Mere Christianity, 226-227 )

John Owen: “In this would I live; in this would I die; upon this would I dwell in my thoughts and affections, to the withering and consumption of all the painted beauties of this world, to the crucifying all things here below, until they become to me a dead and deformed thing, no way suitable for affectionate embraces.” (The Glory of Christ)

Ed Welch: “But remember once again that we cannot avoid God. All paths lead to Him. If you are tempted to skip over His words on perseverance, remember that He is life. His words give life. Whatever He says is surprising in its beauty and elegance, and is of invaluable worth.” (Depression: A Stubborn Darkness, 92)

Ed Welch: “Your future includes manna. It will come. There is no sense devising future scenarios now because God will do more than you anticipate. When you understand God’s plan to give future grace, you have access to what is arguably God’s most potent salve against worry and fear.” (Running Scared, 140)

Elyse M. Fitzpatrick: “Unless we’re very intentional about meditating on these truths [that show God's love], they slip from our thoughts like misty dreams that evaporate in the morning light. That’s why Luther said we must “take heed then, to embrace…the love and kindness of God…[and to] daily excercise [our] faith therein, entertain no doubt of God’s love and kindness.” (Because He Loves Me, 36 )

Martyn Lloyd-Jones: “You pray and make your requests made known unto God, and God will do something.’ It is not your prayer that is going to do it, it is not you who is going to do it, but God. ‘The peace of God that passeth all understanding’—He, through it all, ‘will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus’.” (Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure, 270)

John Owen: “Consider who and what you are; who the Spirit is that is grieved, what he has done for you, what he comes to your soul about, what he has already done in you; and be ashamed.  Among those who walk with God, there is no greater motive and incentive unto universal holiness, and the preserving of their hearts and spirits in all purity and cleanness than this: That the blessed Spirit, who has undertaken to dwell in them, is continually considering what they give entertainment in their hearts unto, and rejoices when his temple is kept undefiled.” (Overcoming Sin and Temptation, 102)

Kevin DeYoung, “…,the will of God for your life is pretty straightforward: Be holy like Jesus, by the power of the Spirit, for the glory of God.” (Just Do Something, 62)

T. S. Eliot: “The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason.” (“Murder In The Cathedral“)

Charles Spurgeon: “The axle of the wheels of the chariot of Providence is Infinite Love, and Gracious Wisdom is the perpetual charioteer.” (Gleanings Among the Sheaves)

Jonathan Edwards: “The soul of a true Christian, as I then wrote my meditations, appeared like such a little white flower as we see in the spring of the year; low and humble on the ground, opening its bosom to receive the pleasant beams of the sun’s glory; rejoicing as it were in a calm rapture; diffusing around a sweet fragrancy; standing peacefully and lovingly, in the midst of other flowers round about; all in like manner opening their bosoms to drink in the light of the sun. There was no part of creature holiness, that I had so great a sense of its loveliness, as humility, brokenness of heart and poverty of spirit; and there was nothing that I so earnestly longed for. My heart panted after this – to lie low before God, as in the dust; that I might be nothing, and that God might be all, that I might become as a little child.” (Iain Murray, Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography51-52)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “But to procrastinate and prevaricate simply because you’re afraid of erring, when others — I mean our brethren in Germany — must make infinitely more difficult decisions every day, seems to me almost to run counter to love. To delay or fail to make decisions may be more sinful than to make wrong decisions out of faith and love.” (Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, 218)

J. D Greear: “In Christ, there is nothing I can do that would make You love me more and nothing I have done that makes You love me less.” (Gospel)

Oswald Chambers: “I have never met a person I could despair of, or lose all hope for, after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.” (My Utmost for His Highest)

John Piper: “The universe, they say, is so vast, it makes man utterly insignificant. Why would God have bothered to create such a microscopic speck called the earth and humanity and then get involved with us? Beneath this question is a fundamental failure to see what the universe is about. It is about the greatness of God, not the significance of man. God made man small and the universe big to say something about himself. And he says it for us to learn and enjoy—namely, that he is infinitely great and powerful and wise and beautiful. The more the Hubble Telescope sends back to us about the unfathomable depths of space, the more we should stand in awe of God. The disproportion between us and the universe is a parable about the disproportion between us and God. And it is an understatement.” (Don’t Waste Your Life34)

Robert Murray McCheyne: “Ah! believers, you are a tempted people. You are always poor and needy.  And God intends it should be so, to give you constant errands to go to Jesus. Some may say, it is not good to be a believer; but ah!  see to whom we can go.” (Works, 59)

R. C. Sproul: “[Uzzah] stretched out his hand and put it squarely on the ark, steadying it in place lest it fall to the ground. An act of holy heroism? No! It was an act of arrogance, a sin of presumption. Uzzah assumed that his hand was less polluted than the earth. But it wasn’t the ground or the mud that would desecrate the ark; it was the touch of man. The earth is an obedient creature. It does what God tells it to do. It brings forth its yield in its season. It obeys the laws of nature which God has established. When the temperature falls to a certain point, the ground freezes. When water is added to dust, it becomes mud, just as God decided. The ground doesn’t commit cosmic treason. There is nothing polluted about the ground. God did not want his holy throne to be touched by that which was contaminated by evil, that which was in rebellion to him, that which by its ungodly revolt had brought the whole of creation to ruin and caused the ground and the sky and the waters of the sea to groan together in travail waiting for the day of redemption. . . ” (The Holiness of God, 140-141)

John Stott: “For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God [Gen. 3:1-7], while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man [2 Cor. 5:21]. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices himself for man and puts himself where only man deserves to be.” (The Cross of Christ)

Andrew Murray: “Not to be occupied with your sin, but to be occupied with God brings deliverance from self.” (“Humility: The Beauty of Holiness“)

A.W. Tozer: “With the goodness of God to desire our highest welfare, the wisdom of God to plan it, and the power of God to achieve it, what do we lack?  Surely we are the most favored of all creatures.” (The Knowledge of the Holy, 64)

John Owen: “What then is holiness? Holiness is nothing but the implanting, writing and living out of the gospel in our souls (Eph 4:24).” (The Holy Spirit, 100)

John Owen: “The growth of trees and plants takes place so slowly that it is not easily seen. Daily we notice little change. But, in course of time, we see that a great change has taken place. So it is with grace. Sanctification is a progressive, lifelong work (Prov 4:18). It is an amazing work of God’s grace and it is a work to be prayed for (Rom 8:27).”(The Holy Spirit108-109)

John Owen: “Great winds and storms help fruit-bearing trees. So also do corruptions and temptations help the fruitfulness of grace and holiness. The storm loosens the earth round its roots so the tree is able to get its roots deeper into the earth, where it receives fresh supplies of nourishment. But only much later will it be seen to bring forth better fruit. So corruptions and temptations develop the roots of humility, self-abasement and mourning in a deeper search for that grace by which holiness grows strong. But only later will there be visible fruits of increased holiness.” (The Holy Spirit, 110-111)

John Owen: “Though we are commanded to ‘wash ourselves’, to ‘cleanse ourselves from sins’, to ‘purge ourselves from all our iniquities’, yet to imagine that we can do these things by our own efforts is to trample on the cross and grace of Jesus Christ. Whatever God works in us by his grace, he commands us to do as our duty. God works all in us and by us.” (The Holy Spirit,124)

Timothy Keller: “The thing we would remember from meeting a truly gospel-humble person is how much they seemed to be totally interested in us. Because the essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less. Gospel-humility is not needing to think about myself. Not needing to connect things with myself. It is an end to thoughts such as ‘I’m in this room with these people, does that makes me look good? Do i want to be here?’ True gospel-humility means I stop connecting every experience, every conversation, with myself. In fact, I stop thinking about myself. The freedom of self forgetfulness.” (The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness)

Charles Spurgeon: “There, poor sinner, take my garment, and put it on; you shall stand before God as if you were Christ, and I will stand before God as if I had been the sinner; I will suffer in the sinner’s stead, and you shall be rewarded for works that you did not do, but which I did for you.” (The Essential Works of Charles Spurgeon, 36)

John Owen: “Never was sin seen to be more abominably sinful and full of provocation than when the burden of it was upon the shoulders of the Son of God…Would you, then, see the true demerit of sin?—take the measure of it from the mediation of Christ, especially his cross.” (Communion with the Triune God,  203-04)

C. S. Lewis: “You have a traitor there, Aslan,” said the Witch. Everyone present knew that she meant Edmund. But Edmund had gotten past thinking about himself after all he’d been through and after the talk he’d had that morning. He just went on looking at Aslan. It didn’t seem to matter what the Witch said. “Well,” said Aslan, “his offense was not against you.”…Edmund was on the other side of Aslan, looking all the time at Aslan’s face. He felt a choking feeling and wondered if he ought to say something; but a moment later he felt that he was not expected to do anything except to wait, and to do what he was told.” (The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, 141-143)

John Bunyan: “And, indeed, this is one of the greatest mysteries in the world; namely, that a righteousness that resides in heaven should justify me, a sinner on earth!” (“Justification By An Imputed Righteousness“)

Martin Luther: “A Christian man is the most free lord of all, and subject to none; a Christian man is the most dutiful servant of all, and subject to everyone.” (On Christian Liberty)

C.S. Lewis: “The whole idea of seeing through something is to see something through it. But a wholly transparent world is an invisible world. To ‘see through’ all things is the same as not to see.” (The Abolition of Man)

J.I. Packer: “[N]obody can produce new evidence of your depravity that will make God change his mind.  For God justified you with (so to speak) his eyes open.  He knew the worst about you at the time when he accepted you for Jesus’ sake; and the verdict which he passed then was, and is, final.” (Knowing God, 273)

Timothy Keller: “Jesus does not divide the world into the moral “good guys” and the immoral “bad guys”.  He shows us that everyone is dedicated to a project of self-salvation, to using God and others in order to get power and control for themselves.  We are just going about it in different ways.  Even though both sons are wrong, however, the father cares for them and invites them both back into his love and feast.” (The Prodigal God, 43).

John Bunyan: “But one day, as I was passing in the field, and that too with some dashes on my conscience, fearing lest yet all was not right, suddenly this sentence fell upon my soul, Thy righteousness is in heaven; and methought withal, I saw, with the eyes of my soul, Jesus Christ at God’s right hand; there, I say, as my righteousness; so that wherever I was, or whatever I was adoing, mGod could not say of me, He wants my righteousness, for that was just before him.  I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.” (Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, 35-36)

Thomas Watson: “There is justice in hell, but sin is the most unjust thing.  It would rob God of his glory, Christ of his purchase, the soul of its happiness.” (The Great Gain of Godlines)

J.I. Packer: “Do I as a Christian understand myself? Do I know my own real identity? My own real destiny? I am a child of God, God is my Father; heaven is my home; every day is one day nearer. My Saviour is my brother; every Christian is my brother too. Say it over and over again to yourself first thing in the morning, last thing at night, as you wait for the bus, any time when your mind is free, and ask God that you may be enabled to live as one who knows it is all utterly and completely true. For this is the Christians secret of the Christian life, of a God-honouring life.” (Knowing God)

David Brainerd: “Saw so much of the wickedness of my heart that I longed to get away from myself…I felt almost pressed to death with my own vileness. Oh what a body of death is there in me…Oh the closest walk with God is the sweetest heaven that can be enjoyed on earth!” (The Life and Diary of David Brainerd, 86)

John Piper: “…all the saving events and all the saving blessings of the gospel are means of getting obstacles out of the way so that we might know and enjoy God most fully. Propitiation, redemption, forgiveness, imputation, sanctification, liberation, healing, heaven—none of these is good news except for one reason: they bring us to God for our everlasting enjoyment of him. If we believe all these things have happened to us, but do not embrace them for the sake of getting to God, they have not happened to us. Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.” (God is the Gospel, 47)

C.H. Spurgeon: “Our faith is a person; the gospel that we have to preach is a person; and go wherever we may, we have something solid and tangible to preach, for our gospel is a person. If you had asked the twelve Apostles in their day, ‘What do you believe in?’ they would not have stopped to go round about with a long sermon, but they would have pointed to their Master and they would have said, ‘We believe him.’ ‘But what are your doctrines?’ ‘There they stand incarnate.’ ‘But what is your practice?’ ‘There stands our practice. He is our example.’ ‘What then do you believe?’ Hear the glorious answer of the Apostle Paul, ‘We preach Christ crucified.’ Our creed, our body of divinity, our whole theology is summed up in the person of Christ Jesus.” (Ray Ortlund blog, Christ Is Deeper Still)

Milton Vincent; “For the gospel is the one great permanent circumstance in which I live and move; and every hardship in my life is allowed by God only because it serves His gospel purposes in me.” (The Gospel Primer)

John Owen: “…but let it suffice us to know that it became God, who is the supreme Ruler, Governor and Judge of all that sin should be punished with death in the sinner or his surety; and therefore if God would bring many sons to glory, the Captain of their salvation must undergo sufferings and death, to make satisfaction for them.” (Commentary on Hebrews 2:10)

Jerry Bridges: “Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace”  (The Discipline of Grace, 19)

Charles Spurgeon: “My hope lives not because I am not a sinner, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died; my trust is not that I am holy, but that being unholy, HE is my righteousness. My faith rests not upon what I am or shall be or feel or know, but in what Christ is, in what He has done, and in what He is now doing for me. Hallelujah!” (Morning and Evening)

David McIntyre: “To what profit is it that we dwell in Jerusalem, if we do not see the King’s face? And when He comes forth from His royal chambers, accompanied with blessing, are we to hold ourselves at leisure that we may yield Him worship and offer Him service?” (Hidden Life of Prayer)

John Owen: “The vigour, and power, and comfort of our spiritual life depends on the mortification of the deeds of the flesh…The choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business all their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin…Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.”  (Mortification of Sin In Believers)

John Owen: “Let not that man think he makes any progress in holiness who walks not over the bellies of his lusts.  He who doth not kill sin in his way takes no steps towards his journey’s end.  He who finds not opposition from it, and who sets not himself in every particular to its mortification, is at peace with it, not dying to it.” (Mortification of Sin In Believers)

David Powlison: “Don’t ever degenerate into giving advice unconnected to the good news of Jesus crucified, alive, present, at work and returning.” (Who is God? The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Volume 17, Number 2, Winter 1999, 16)

John Owen: “The choicest believers, who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business all their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin. So the apostle, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth” (Col 3:5). To whom does he speak? Such as were “risen with Christ” (v. 1); such as we’re dead with him (v. 3); such as whose life Christ was and who should “appear with him in glory” (v. 4). Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you. Your being dead with Christ virtually, your being quickened with him, will not excuse you from this work.” (Overcoming Sin and Temptation, 50)

C. S. Lewis: “If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.  The apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire; the great men who built up the Middle Ages; the English evangelicals who abolished the slave trade, all left their mark on earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with heaven.  It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” (Mere Christianity)

Sinclair Ferguson : “When I know that Christ is the one real sacrifice for my sins, that His work on my behalf has been accepted by God, that He is my heavenly Intercessor – then His blood is the antidote to the poison in the voices that echo in my conscience, condemning me for my many failures. Indeed, Christ’s shed blood chokes them into silence!” (In Christ Alone, 151)

John Bunyan: “Now while they were thus drawing towards the gate, behold, a company of the heavenly host came to meet them;  to whom it was said by the other two Shining Ones, These are the men that have loved our Lord when they were in the world, and that have left all for his holy name; and he hath sent us to fetch them, and we have brought them thus far on their desired journey, that they may go in and look their Redeemer in the face with joy.  Then the heavenly host gave a great shout, saying, ‘Blessed are they that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” (The Pilgrim’s Progress, 195)

C. H. Spurgeon: “I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified unless we preach what is nowadays called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the Gospel and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the Gospel… unless we preach the sovereignty of God in his dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah. Nor do I think we can preach the Gospel unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of his elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend the Gospel which allows saints to fall away after they are called.” (Sermon, “Christ Crucified“)

C. S. Lewis: “You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness.  But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy.  It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing.  Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick.  Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.  Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.” (The Screwtape Letters, 56)

Jerry Bridges: “Don’t believe everything you think.  You cannot be trusted to tell yourself the truth.  Stay in The Word.” (The Great Exchange)

John MacArthur: “Discipleship entails a life of total self-denial, a humble disposition towards others, a whole-hearted devotion to the Lord alone, a willingness to obey His commands in everything, an eagerness to sense Him even in His absence, and a motivation that comes from knowing He is well pleased.” (Slave, 43)

Horatius Bonar: “This righteousness is ‘reckoned’ or ‘imputed’ to all who believe; so that they are treated by God as if it were actually theirs.  They are entitled to claim all that which such a righteousness can merit from God (as the Judge of righteous claims).  It does not become ours gradually, or in fragments or drops; but is transferred to us all at once.  It is not that so much of it is reckoned to us in proportion to the strength of our faith, or the warmth of our love, or the fevour of our prayers; but the whole of it passes over to us by imputation.  In its whole quality and quantity it is transferred to us.  Its perfection represents us before God; and its preciousness, with all that that preciousness can purchase for us, henceforth belongs to us”. (The Everlasting Righteousness82-83)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: “If you stop and say, “I want to know first whether I am elect,” you ask you know not what.  Go to Jesus, be you never so guilty as you are.  Leave all curious inquiry about election alone.  Go straight to Christ and hide in His wounds, and you shall know your election.  The assurance of the Holy Spirit shall be given to you, so that you will be able to say,” I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have commited to him.”  Christ was at the everlasting council: He can tell you whether you were chosen or not; but you cannot find it out in any other way.  Go and put your trust in Him, and His answer will be-“I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”  There will be no doubt about his having chosen you, when you have chosen him.” (Morning and Evening)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “After he has been following Christ for a long time, the disciple of Jesus will be asked, “Lacked ye anything?” and he will answer “Nothing, Lord.” How could he when he knows that despite hunger and nakedness, persecution and danger, the Lord is always at his side?” (The Cost of Discipleship, 181)

J. D. Greear: “For many evangelicals the gospel has functioned solely as the entry rite into Christianity; it is the prayer we pray to begin our relationship with Jesus; the diving board off of which we jump into the pool of Christianity. After we get into the pool, we get into the real stuff of Christianity: mastering good principles for our marriage; learning rules and regulations of how to behave; and figuring out if Kirk Cameron will be left behind. The gospel, however, is not just the diving board off of which we jump into the pool of Christianity; it is the pool itself. It is not only the way we begin in Christ; it is the way we grow in Christ. As Tim Keller says, the gospel is not just the ABCs of Christianity, it is the A-Z; it is not the first step in a stairway of truths, it is more like the hub of God’s wheel of truth. All other Christian virtues flow out of it.” (Gospel, 21)

J. C. Ryle: “Lastly, we must be holy, because without holiness on earth — we will never be prepared to enjoy Heaven. …I do not know what others may think — but to me it does seem clear that Heaven would be a miserable place to an unholy man. It cannot be otherwise. People may say in a vague way, that they “hope to go to Heaven,” but they do not consider what they say. There must be a certain “fitness for the inheritance of the saints in light.” Our hearts must be somewhat in tune. To reach the holiday of glory — we must pass through the training school of grace. We must be heavenly-minded and have heavenly tastes in the present life — or else we will never find ourselves in Heaven in the life to come! (Holiness)

John Piper: “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the Church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.” (Let the Nations Be Glad!)

John Stott: “We need to repent of the haughty way in which we sometimes stand in judgment upon Scripture and must learn to sit humbly under its judgments instead. If we come to Scripture with our minds made up, expecting to hear from it only an echo of our own thoughts and never the thunderclap of God’s, then indeed he will not speak to us and we shall only be confirmed in our own prejudices. We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.” (Authentic Christianity)

Jerry Bridges: “…God has made provision for our holiness. Through Christ He has delivered us from sin’s reign so that we now can resist sin. But the responsibility for resisting is ours. God does not do that for us. To confuse the potential for resisting (which God provided) with the responsibility for resisting (which is ours) is to court disaster in our pursuit of holiness.” (The Pursuit of Holiness, 57)

Martin Luther: “This life is not godliness, but growth in godliness; not health, but healing; not being, but becoming; not rest, but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way; the process is not yet finished, but it has begun; this is not the goal, but it is road; at present all does not gleam and glitter, but everything is being purified.” (A Defense and Explanation of All Articles, AE 32:24)

John Piper: “The inner essence of worship is cherishing Christ as gain – indeed as more gain than all that life can offer – family, career, retirement, fame, food, friends. The essence of worship is experiencing Christ as gain. Or to use words that we love to use around here: it is savoring Christ, treasuring Christ, being satisfied with Christ.” (Sermon, The Inner Essence of Worship)

Thomas Brooks: “Ah! sinner, remember this, there is no way on earth effectually to be rid of the guilt, filth, and power of sin, but by believing in a Saviour. It is not resolving, it is not complaining, it is not mourning, but believing, that will make thee divinely victorious over that body of sin that to this day is too strong for thee, and that will certainly be thy ruin, if it be not ruined by a hand of faith.” (Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, 220)

Oswald Chambers: “Prayer is the practice of drawing on the grace of God.  Don’t say, “I will endure this until I can get away and pray.”  Pray now – draw on the grace of God in your moment of need.  Prayer is the most normal and useful thing;  it is not simply a reflex action of your devotion to God.  We are very slow to learn to draw on God’s grace through prayer.” (My Utmost for His Highest)

John Piper: “I am wired by nature to love the same toys that the world loves. I start to fit in. I start to love what others love. I start to call earth “home.” Before you know it, I am calling luxuries “needs” and using my money just the way unbelievers do. I begin to forget the war. I don’t think much about people perishing. Missions and unreached people drop out of my mind. I stop dreaming about the triumphs of grace. I sink into a secular mind-set that looks first to what man can do, not what God can do. It is a terrible sickness. And I thank God for those who have forced me again and again toward a wartime mind-set.” (Don’t Waste Your Life)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” (The Cost of Discipleship, 44-45)

D. A. Carson: “Some Christians want enough of Christ to be identified with him but not enough to be seriously inconvenienced; they genuinely cling to basic Christian orthodoxy but do not want to engage in serious Bible study; they value moral probity, especially of the public sort, but do not engage in war against inner corruptions; they fret over the quality of the preacher’s sermon but do not worry much over the quality of their own prayer life.  Such Christians are content with mediocrity.” (A Call To Spiritual Reformation,121)

Matt Chandler: “God’s response to the belittlement of his name, from the beginning of time, has been the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on a Roman cross.” (The Explicit Gospel57)

John Piper: “True worship comes from people who are deeply emotional and who love deep and sound doctrine. Strong affections for God rooted in thrush are the bone and marrow of biblical worship.” (Desiring God, 81-82)

Martyn Lloyd-Jones: “The One who has done the greatest thing of all for you, must be concerned about you in everything, and though the clouds are thick and you cannot see His face, you know He is there. ‘Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.’ Now hold on to that. You say that you do not see His smile. I agree that these earth born clouds prevent my seeing Him, but He is there and He will never allow anything finally harmful to take place. Nothing can happen to you but what He allows, I do not care what it may be, some great disappointment, perhaps, or it may be an illness, it may be a tragedy  of some sort, I do not know what it is, but you can be certain of this, that God permits that thing to happen to you because it is ultimately for your good. ‘Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness…’ (Hebrews 12. 11).” (Spiritual Depression Its Causes and Cure, 145)

Jeremiah Burroughs: “Though the lives of men are dear and precious to God, yet they are not as precious as His glory.  The glory of His name is a thousand, thousand times more dear unto God than the lives of thousands and thousands of people…We think much to have the lives of men taken away, but if we knew what the glory of God meant, and what infinite reason there is that God should be glorified, we would not think it so much that the lives of so many men should go for the glory of God.  It is mercy that our lives have not gone many times for God’s glory.  How often might God have glorified Himself in taking away our lives?  We have cause to bless Him that our lives have been preserved for as long as they have.” (Gospel Worship, 28)

John Piper: “Life and death! They seem like complete opposites-at great enmity with each other. But for Paul-and for all who share his faith-there is a unity, because the same great passion is fulfilled in both-namely, that Christ be magnified in this body-our bodies-whether by life or by death.” (Don’t Waste Your Life, 66)

David Powlison: “We are meant to long supremely for the Lord himself, for the Giver, not his gifts.  The absence of blessings – rejection, vanity, reviling, illness, poverty – often is the crucible in which we learn to love God for who he is.  In our idolatry we make gifts out to be supreme goods, and make the Giver into the errand boy of our desires.” (Seeing with New Eyes134-135)

Bill Farley: “Those who understand the cross increasingly see their sin as God does, and therefore begin to feelabout sin as does God.  We begin to mourn for and hate it.  In other words, at the cross God becomes larger and we become smaller.  This separation is at the heart of the fear of God.  This “fear” opens God’s wisdom to us because only in light of God’s immensity can I see the importance of living for the right end, his glory. And only in the light of my smallness can I feel overawed by the means he used to save me, his cross.” (Outrageous Mercy: Rediscovering the Radical Nature of the Cross, 139-140)

C.H. Spurgeon: “We would labor earnestly to raise a believer in salvation by free will into a believer in salvation by grace, for we long to see all religious teaching built upon the solid rock of truth and not upon the sand of imagination. At the same time, our grand object is not the revision of opinions, but the regeneration of natures. We should bring men to Christ, not to our own particular views of Christianity. (The Soulwinner, 10)

Martyn Lloyd-Jones: “Ultimately it comes down to this, that the real cause of our trouble is failure to realize our union with Christ. Many Seem to think that Christianity means that we are delivered in that sense that our sins are forgiven. But that is only the beginning, but one aspect of it. Essentially salvation means union with Christ, being one with Christ. We have been crucified with Christ – ‘I am crucified with Christ’, says Paul. ‘All that has happened to Him has happened to me. I am one with Him.’ Read the fifth and sixth chapters of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. The teaching is that we have died with Christ, have been buried with Christ, have risen with Christ, are seated in the heavenly places in Christ and with Christ. That is the teaching of the Scriptures. ‘Ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God’ (Colossians 3. 3). The old man has been crucified and all that belonged to Christ, you are risen with Christ. ‘Reckon ye yourselves then to be dead unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Romans 6. 11).” (Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure, 74-75) 

John Piper: “Faith stands or falls on the truth that the future with God is more satisfying than the one promised by sin. Where this truth is embraced and God is cherished above all, the power of sin is broken. The power of sin is the power of deceit. Sin has power through promising a false future. In temptation sin comes to us and says: “The future with God on his narrow way is hard and unhappy, but the way I promise is pleasant and satisfying.” The power of sin is in the power of this lie.” (Future Grace, 326)

C. S. Lewis: “If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith.  Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mudpies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” (The Weight of Glory, 1-2)

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