Reading Jerry Bridges’ book Discipline of Grace, especially chapter 6, prompted me to think about the importance of understanding “Who does What?” in our salvation.
Here are a few observations that I hope will provide some clarification:
- Many are frustrated to unfortunate degree because they do not understand that sanctification is a process.
- Many are spiritually stunted because they do not realize spiritual growth and maturity is a process in which we must actively and intentionally participate.
- Many people just assume that, now that they are “New Creations”, Christ-likeness will inevitably emerge from within them whether they do anything or not.
- But spiritual growthis not automatic. God calls us to cooperate with his grace, by actively engaging in the Means of Grace (Word, Sacraments, Prayer), responding to the Spirit by his grace.
- The confusion seems to be rooted in misunderstanding the differences and the relationship between justification (conversion) and sanctification (growth).
- While it is true that we can do nothing to bring about our justification, our new birth, any more than we can do anything to bring about our physical birth; it is not true that we can do nothing, or should do nothing to cultivate healthy spiritual growth. Just as in our physical growth, where we develop in accord with our God-given DNA in no small part through healthy eating and activity, we grow spiritually by God-given grace AND healthy activity (i.e. Means of Grace, Obedience, Active Mission and Spiritual Disciplines).