Set Apart to Die and to Live

“When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer was about thirty years old when he penned these words in his classic work The Cost of Discipleship. Eight years later he was executed for his crimes against the Third Reich. The prison doctor who witnessed Bonhoeffer’s execution wrote, “In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.” The doctor’s words could not have been more appropriate to describe not only the manner in which Bonhoeffer submitted himself to God in death but also the manner in which he submitted himself to God in life. In his life and at his death, Bonhoeffer grasped one crucial truth: To be set apart to God is to be set apart to die, to die to sin, to self, and to life itself — to take up our crosses daily and to live unto Christ and embrace the true freedom that only comes when Christ calls a man to die and live abundantly in Him.

—Burk Parsons
Tabletalk, May 2010

Via: Ligonier Ministries

The Mindset of a Pilgrim

A holy man will follow after spiritual mindedness. He will endeavor to set his affections entirely on the things above, and to hold things on earth with a very loose hand. He will not neglect the business of the life now is; but the first place in his mind and thoughts will be given to the life to come. He will aim to live like one whose treasure is in heaven, and to pass through this world like a stranger and pilgrim traveling to his home.

To commune with God in prayer, in the Bible, and in the assembly of His people – these things will be the holy man’s chiefest enjoyments. He will value every thing and place and company, just in proportion as it draws him nearer to God.

—J.C. Ryle
Faithfulness and Holiness: The Witness of J.C. Ryle

Via: J.C. Ryle Quotes

Climbing Out of the Mire

Our souls cannot climb out of the mire of sin because they are dead. Salvation comes not to those who cry out, “Show me the way to heaven,” but to those who cry, “Take me there for I cannot.”

Lest we see the sinner’s prayer as mere technique, we must remember that Christ raises the dead that they might walk. We do not mumble the magic words and then wait to die. Christianity is about spiritual growth as well. It is about work, the hard work of sanctification. Regeneration is monergistic, God’s work alone. Sanctification, the process by which we are made holy, is synergistic, God’s work with us.

God’s part is easy for Him. He needs no shortcuts because He never tires. We, though, must ever fight the temptation to seek the shortcut. No technique will make us holy. No technique of the Devil’s, though, can stop the process of Christ making us into His image. Those whom He calls He sanctifies.

Our sanctification requires the Spirit of God and, because He has so ordered His world, sanctification requires the disciplined and repeated use of the means of grace. Five minutes a day of Bible study smells like technique. Arid, it is sure to fail. We must immerse ourselves in the Word of God. Then, as Jesus promised, we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. Then we will be His disciples (John 8:31-32).

Coram Deo: Remember, God is at work in you. He never tires. Give thanks for the process that is underway.

John 8:31-32: “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.'”

John 8:36: “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

Psalm 40:2: “He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.”

—Dr. R.C. Sproul

Via: Ligonier Ministries Blog

Our Blessed Hope

Though we will not be like Him until the last day (1 John 3:2), we know that even now we enjoy a foretaste of that future in glory by the power of the Holy Spirit. Sin will be fully purged from our bodies at our resurrection. And we who rightly understand this truth also know that the Creator begins transforming us as we are sanctified in this present evil age; therefore, we are zealous for good works, knowing that by them we make the purity Christ has purchased for us more of a reality in our experience and taste more fully the sweetness of the life to come.

Jesus’ work in the past has liberated us from the bondage of sin in the present (Titus 2:14), so we need not submit to its power any longer. As we long for our Savior’s return, our desire to have a taste of glory today grows, and we pursue holiness in order to know better the blessing of the resurrection to come.

Tabletalk Magazine, October 2009