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Sanctifying Grace: Movements of Grace (3)

. 4 min read



Children, The Caterpillar and the Polliwog (Jack
Kent)

Romans 8.28-39

Review: I’m a perfectionist.  (My justifying grace story.)

            My joke: JP
stands for “just perfect”

            Tell your
grace stories

Perfection (sanctification):

Jesus: “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt
5.48)

Peter: “just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all
you do” (1Pt 1.15)

Perfect in LOVE:

not absolute, not in knowledge, not mistake free, not free
from weakness or temptation, not sinless (see Wesley, “Christian Perfection” in
Outler) … living in obedience to the two greatest commands:

            Love the
LORD your God with all your …

            Love one
another as I love you

Ordination examination (Discipline, ¶336) – first 4
questions:

            Have you
faith in Christ?

            Are you
going on to perfection?

            Do you
expect to be made perfect in love in this life?

            Are you
earnestly striving after it?

Organic, natural progression from justifying grace

            “If you
have the Holy Spirit, you live a holy life.” (C. T. Studd, from bio by Norman
Grubb)

            “Just as
you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him” (Col 2.6)

Sanctification is not about living under judgment and
law.  “There is no condemnation for those
who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8.1). 
Sanctification is not about changing ourselves by our own effort.  This is grace, it is unpacking the gift of
justification in daily life, the gift of pardon and peace, to which we respond
with love.  “The one who is forgiven much
loves much” (Luke 7.47).

Pope Francis (interview): “I am a sinner whom the
Lord has looked upon”

Our reaction against perfection language:

            as
impossible (missing the point of John Wesley & Scripture – love)

            as judgment

                        Sin
has consequence – that’s why there is justifying grace!

                        Forgiven
people change – it is NATURAL

            we judge
ourselves over and over

                        something
I am good at as a perfectionist

            we have
been judged over and over

                        as
failures, guilty, not good enough

                        we’re
polliwogs and will not be butterflies

                        and
we still listen to those voices and believe them

            it is our destiny

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be
conformed to the image of his Son
, in order that he might be the firstborn
within a large family” (Ro 8.29).

            “We, who
with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into
his likeness
with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is
the Spirit” (2Co 3.18).

            Not about
destiny but pre-destiny.

Metamorphosis – a natural transformation driven by
DNA, by predestiny

Icon – image/likeness – open window to eternity
(Orthodox)

            computer
language: open windows

So often we are told that our destiny is sin, abuse, pain,
grief.  But our predestiny is
metamorphosis, to become an icon of Jesus! 
How is this transformation, this sanctification, “written into our
DNA”?

            The
polliwog
in the story does not know what he is going to become, does not
even realize he is being transformed. 
Then he discovers that he is a frog, and a handsome one too!  Sometimes we may look at ourselves and wonder
if we are making any progress at all. 
Sometimes we’re going to wonder if that stuff that we nailed to the
cross is going to dog us for the rest of our lives.  Don’t worry, this is God’s gracious gift

            Velveteen
Rabbit
, “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin
Horse.  “It’s a thing that happens to
you.  When a child loves you for a long,
long time, not just to play with but really loves you, then you become
Real.”  We love because God first
loved us!

Wesley’s favorite verse: “The only thing that counts is
faith working through love” (Gal 5.6).  That’s
what Sanctifying Grace is all about, this is the cross-purposes of God.  God loves us enough for us to become real,
icons of his glory, just as he designed us to be.  Welcome to your pre-destiny!
            Romans
8:37-39
 No, in all these things we
are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  38 For I am convinced that neither
death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to
come, nor powers,  39 nor
height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate
us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.