Monday, July 24, 2017

Devoted To God: Blueprints For Sanctification - by Sinclair B. Ferguson

"Holiness is the intensity of the love that flows within the very being of God, among and between each of the three persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." (pg. 2)

"Knowing (i) whose you are, (ii) who you are, and (iii) what you are for, settles basic issues about how you live." (pg. 7)

"...God has in the past destined us, and in the present is transforming us, so that in the future we will 'be conformed to the image of his Son'." (pg. 17)

"If holiness is our heavenly happiness, and true happiness is, ultimately, holiness, then the prospect of the future will influence and shape our lives here and now.  How strange it is that people think (as many seem to do) that they will be happy pursuing holiness there and then in heaven, if they are singularly unhappy about the calling to pursue it here and now on earth! ...if we do not desire heaven as a world of holiness and freedom from the presence of sin, a world of delight in Jesus Christ here and now, what possesses us to think we will love it and enjoy it - or him - then?  There could surely be no greater self-delusion." (pg. 28ff)

"God's truth (given now to us in Scripture) expresses the power of Christ and the grace of Christ that transforms and renews our way of thinking and then our manner of living." (pg. 48ff)

"To understand rightly how baptism functions in our Christian lives we must first recognize that it points to Jesus Christ and to union with him by faith.  It does not point at faith so much as summon us to faith." (pg. 75)

"...we have lost hold of baptism's power and usefulness in our lives.  We do not get much beyond thinking about ourselves, and our faith in or 'decision for' Christ.  We therefore forfeit the life-long blessing baptism is intended to be.  And so our baptism fails to accomplish its purpose of defining our daily life in Christ." (pg. 87)

"Exhortations to be holy are always derived from an exposition of what God has done and provided for us in Christ and through the gift of the Spirit." (pg. 93)

"...You cannot have the Spirit as your Leader unless you have Christ as your Savior, because you cannot have the Spirit without having Christ, and vice-versa." (pg. 106ff)

"When we have rejected or denied our basic created desire for God (we were, after all, made for him), we do not destroy our need; we only distort it.  In its place we deify something that God has made." (pg. 117)

"Growing in holiness, enjoying closer fellowship with God, brings with it an ongoing and very painful revelation of layers of sin that have been subtly hidden in our hearts but rarely if ever exposed." (pg. 143)

"This spirit of the age has undoubtedly bled into the life of the church.  Now to place any emphasis on the law of God is often regarded by professing Christians as 'legalism'.  A new 'narrative' has arisen to interpret the 'old evangelicalism' which is now characterized - actually caricatured - as a religion of the 'dos and don'ts'.  Now we frequently hear that God loves us the way we are.  Any element of divine demand is seen as a return to the bad old ways and days - in a word to legalism." (pg. 173)

"Without the power of the Spirit we would lack the love for God that energizes us to keep his law.  But without the law of God our love for him would lack direction.  Thus we discover that the way of Christ leads us more and more into obedience to God's law." (pg. 187)

"Indwelling corruption has the potential to express itself in any and every from of sin.  Yet, as Augustine argued, sin is not an objective, quantifiable 'something' which attaches itself to us.  Rather it is the distortion of our persons.  Sin is not 'it' but 'I'!" (pg. 198)

"...we must make sure that these two things are held together - on the one had our own pursuit of Jesus Christ and on the other our desire to see others running with us." (pg. 212)

"...God's ultimate goal provides a touchstone by which we regulate our lives.  Nothing now is seen as an end in itself; the end of everything we do becomes glorifying God in the knowledge that we will enjoy him both now and for ever." (pg. 220)

"Likeness to Christ is the ultimate goal of sanctification.  It is holiness.  It is therefore also the ultimate fruit of being devoted to God." (pg. 235)

Sinclair B. Ferguson, Devoted To God: Blueprints For Sanctification (Edinburgh, UK: The Banner of Trust Trust, 2016)

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