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The Cross: Motivation and Power to Change

Posted in Gospel, Grace, Holy Spirit, Mission, Sanctification

In some ways, yesterday was a bit like stepping back in time for me. Allow me to explain: God gave me the gift of faith in Christ for salvation 20 years ago under the gospel teaching of this church and the example of the extraordinary love the saints have for one another in this place. Yesterday was for me flashback to those early years, as Phil carefully dealt with the subject of ongoing Christian sanctification from the pages of Scripture.

Boldness to address the reality of sin and our need for progressive growth according to God's Word, ever-coupled to the reality that in Christ we have already been given abundant grace and we have all we need for change in what He has secured in the gospel for those whose faith is in Him. His cross has secured my forgiveness and has given me the power to change in the ways He desires. Aware of this, I have all the motivation I could ever want and need to take up the fight against sin's temptations that assault me from the world, the enemy, and even my own flesh.

I said this was a flashback because this gospel-saturated preaching was what I cut my teeth on in those early years as a Christian. The men who discipled and taught me continually reminded me that God's grace in the gospel was both the reason and means by which I could hope to change. I'd been rescued by God out of an adult life, well-acquainted with sin and its promised pleasures. There was much that needed to change in my life to glorify God, so sanctification was my front-burner issue.

Hearing Phil's message yesterday, I was freshly reminded of the care God showed me in those early years and the diligence of the men who mentored me to be certain that grace in the gospel always preceded a call for change. Similarly, I felt the challenge that I now am in the place of helping others as they also pursue progressive sanctification. It is my honor and duty to help them see that long before they ever attempt to work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12-13), by His grace Christ has already made them a new creation in Him (2 Cor 5:17-18) who is fit for the fight.

Friends, let us rejoice in the grace of the gospel that has already secured all the resources for change that we will ever need. Aware of the treasure that is already ours in Christ, let us take up the fight against sin with fresh resolve and the hope that victory awaits!

Jim Martin

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