Continuing…the chapter…The Fruitful Bride – Part 4
Looking at reasons we do not bring forth the fruit that we can and should….
Another reason is that we may know the doctrine by mental assent without making the doctrine ours. In the last analysis it is never doctrine alone that is important. It is always doctrine appropriated that counts. We can see this in the case of justification. There are many men, unhappily, who have heard the gospel and know the gospel but do not take Christ as their Savior. In such a case a man has the knowledge, but it means nothing to him because he has not taken it. It may be so with us in this matter of our present life. We may know the truth, we may have knowledge, but it has not been appropriated, and so it will not mean anything to us in practice, and the fruit will not be born. But we do not need to be either ignorant or confused. If we are truly Christians, we know how we were justified when we became Christians. The practice of sanctification is very much parallel to what we know from justification. In other words, if I am a Christian at all, I have been justified, and thinking back to my justification, all I have to do is to see the parallelism between justification and the Christian life. When I see these, there is no reason either to be ignorant or confused, because there are these very definite parallels.
In justification the basis is the finished work of Jesus Christ; in sanctification it is the finished work of Christ. In justification, we must see, acknowledge, and act upon the fact that we cannot save ourselves. In sanctification, we must see, acknowledge, and act upon the fact that we cannot live the Christian life in our own strength, or in our own goodness.
In justification the instrument by which we receive the free gift of God is faith, which believes God as he has given us his promises in the Bible; in sanctification the instrument by which we receive the free gift of God is faith, which believes God as he has given us his promises in the Bible. It is exactly the same thing. There is one difference between the practice of justification and sanctification. As justification deals with our guilt, and sanctification deals with the problem of the power of sin in our lives as Christians, justification is once for all, and the Christian life is moment by moment. There is a difference in that one deals with guilt of my sin, and the other deals with the power of sin in my life.
If we are Christians, we have understood and acted upon the finished work of Christ once for all at our justification, and our guilt is gone forever. Now let us understand and act upon the practice of the same work moment by moment in our present lives.
Let me repeat; the only difference in the practice is that in justification it is once for all, and the Christian life is lived moment by moment. The Christian life is acting moment by moment on the same principle, and in the same way, as I acted at the moment of my justification.
Thoughts developed or used directly from the work of Schaeffer, Francis. True Spirituality . Tyndale House Publishers, Inc