The Work of the Holy Spirit in our Sanctification

Written By: John - Jul• 25•12

Both John Flavel, in The Mystery of Providence, and John Owen, in The Mortification of Sin,” speak of the work of the Holy Spirit in our sanctification.  The opening paragraph of Owen’s third chapter says,

“The Holy Spirit is our only sufficiency for the work of mortification.  All ways and means apart from Him have no true effect.  He only is the great power behind it, and He works in us as He pleases.”  There are many vain methods to sanctification, but only One that will truly make us holy.

Owen captures the battle that goes on in many believers lives with these words, “When men are troubled with the guilt of sin that has prevailed over them, they promise themselves and God that they will sin thus no more, but they seek to accomplish their own victory.  They watch over themselves and pray for a short season until the pain of conviction waxes cold and the sense of sin wears off.  Mortification then also goes out the door, and sin returns to its former dominion.  These ways are not sufficient.  There is no self-endeavor that can accomplish mortification.  Almighty energy is necessary for its accomplishment.

Many of you will remember the anti-drug campaign several years ago—Just Say No!  That sounds great, but you can’t tell a someone addicted to Meth to just say no…they can say no a million times, but the drug will keep calling their name.  The same is true of our sin—just saying no is not going to work—we must also say yes to the Holy Spirit and learn to depend upon Him.

When we fight in our own power we will find Owen’s words to be true, “They combat without victory, have war without peace, and are in slavery all their days.  They spend their strength for that which is not bread, and their labor for that which does not profit.”  Unless we fight the flesh in the power of the Spirit we will never find victory, but we must fight.

We cannot sit around and think the Spirit is going to do it without our effort and we cannot sit around and think that we can ever do it without Him.  I want to discuss that in more detail tomorrow, but I would encourage you to stop and evaluate your life and your level of dependence upon the Holy Spirit.  You cannot live the Christian life on any level without Him.

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