Counseling and Models of Sanctification: Just Some Jots or Two

As it turns out, I have interacted with many people of the (perhaps ignorant of the) Keswick View of sanctification; and many of my family members are Wesleyan or Methodist and would more than likely hold to the Wesleyan view or operate solely on the basis of morality.  

In truth, I do not see how these models do not effectively drive someone insane, for they strive for that which is simply not attainable in this life.  Was John Wesley greater than Paul?  Do we find in the New Testament anything resembling a higher level of Christianity apart from very poor exegesis and hermeneutical interpretations?  For Paul had fought the good fight of faith and yet did not consider himself to have attained perfection.  Wesley may have only held out the possibility of such a thing, but the New Testament gives no evidence that the greatest Christian in human history considered himself to attain to this possibility, nor does he mention as much in this life.  Nor did he observe any superior Christian life over against the other brother as if there were a superior level of Christlikeness.  For although there are varying degrees of Christlikeness in every believer, the principle in each is the same, the Spirt the same, the Lord the same, and thus humility, grace, love, accountability and encouragement are the relational attributes one to another.  Moreover, if one be greater is he not to be the lesser, the servant of the least; in our seeking Christlikeness shall we not become more like Him as a servant, rather than to hold out the boast of superiority over the next?  

The goal is glory.  Glory, though tasted in this life, comes in fullness at death only; and death is not the cessation of the eternal life begun in us in this life, but the entrance into its fullness, the presence of the Lord, the absence of sin, and inevitably, it could only be in such an atmosphere of glorious grace and the absence of sin that one could ever conceive of such perfection lest he seek to make Christ normative and not unique.  

The biblical sanctification model on the other hand is quite hopeful.  For though we battle, it is a winning battle; though we slide, the Lord keeps our foot from sliding completely; He preserves us; He is the Lifter of our heads; and He strengthens us with the vitality of Christ’s life manifest in the gift of His Spirit.  And this Spirit wields us by His Word and through all manner of means, both ill and good, makes us conformable unto Christ’s image as the perfectly obedient Son.  We do not see death as the cessation of the practice but the fulfillment of it when our adopted sonship shall be perfected in Him as we see Him.  The glory of sanctification is that we may rightly understand that God is working for our holiness in everything that we do, every second that we live, for this glorifies Him.  

Part of biblical sanctification is understanding the issues of guilt, repentance, forgiveness and how these impact one’s growth in Christ.  I think perhaps, though I have not studied myself clear on this yet, that the notion that guilt is removed from the Christian life on the basis of Christ’s acceptance with the Father, and our acceptance with the Father in Christ, such that our standing with God is no longer an issue of “I like you now, I don’t like you as much now, or at all now”, nor was it ever, for we were either condemned or accepted; but in Christ, having rest from the guilt and condemnation of sin, guilt being paid for by Christ on the cross such that we are innocent, we are freed as children to repent, to love and to delight in obedience as sons.  Understanding our seat with Christ in Christ is essential to our understanding of biblical sanctification.  Practically, the reality then that my introversion or people pleasing does not carry with it the guilt of sin that it once had apart from Christ, that I am now a son by the grace of adoption, fills my heart with love for my Father, and my Lord Jesus, such that the introversion that I struggle with is not the object of free indulgence but the sin that I delight to repudiate in Christ’s Name.  Even so, help me Lord Jesus for Your Name’s sake.  Amen.


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