Skip to content ↓

Two Gifts You Give To Others in Your Sanctification

Two Gifts You Give To Others in Your Sanctification

It’s a drum I beat again and again: Your sanctification is a gift to others. Your continual growth in holiness is not something you emphasize merely for your own benefit or your own assurance, but something you pursue for the benefit of others. This message cuts hard against the individualism of western society, so is one we need to hear again and again.

A wife’s sanctification is a gift she gives her husband. A pastor’s sanctification is a gift he gives his congregation. A parent’s sanctification is a gift he gives his children. A Christian’s sanctification is a gift he gives his family and neighbors and co-workers and world. Those who feel little compulsion to become holy for their own sake, at least ought to feel a burden to become holy for the sake of others. We are, after all, to live outside ourselves, to do unto others as we would have them do to us.

Sanctification is a gift to others. But so too are the means God uses to achieve that sanctification. The reality is we are deeply entrenched in our sin and poorly motivated to put it to death. The reality is that righteousness doesn’t always look attractive and we are poorly motivated to bring it to life. Whether for this reason or for his own inscrutable purposes, God sometimes uses difficult means. He uses trials and sorrows and suffering. And through it all he conforms us to the image of his Son who was also made perfect through suffering (Hebrews 2:10). He wastes none of it.

The means God uses to sanctify us are a gift to the rest of the church so others can be encouraged by our faith, so they can be motivated by our endurance, so they can weep with us who weep and rejoice with us who rejoice. A man’s confidence in God’s provision through an extended period of unemployment is a gift that strengthens those who witness it. A woman’s hope through miscarriage is a gift that serves others who will soon endure a similar trial. A widow’s godly grief models confidence in the coming resurrection to those who weep with her even as she weeps.

Suffering is God’s instrument to bring about the maturity of the whole church.

Focusing specifically on the purposes of God in suffering, Ligon Duncan says this: “Suffering is God’s instrument to bring about the maturity of the whole church. God ordains for our suffering, as a participation in the suffering of Christ’s body, to bring about in the church the purposes of Christ’s affliction. In other words, sometimes God appoints his children to suffer so that the whole body will become mature.”

Sanctification is a blessing that extends to others. The means used to achieve sanctification are equally a blessing that extends to others. God uses both the means and the end to strengthen his people and glorify himself.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (February 22)

    A La Carte: Ice, wind, and unanswered prayers / Was it all a waste? / Prepping for the impending apocalypse / The best analogy for the Trinity / Getting to stop by woods on a snowy evening / Bible translation and AI / and more.

  • Like an iPhone

    Like an iPhone, Only Much More So

    Can I confess something to you? There’s one thing Aileen does that really bugs me. We will be talking together and enjoying one another’s company. But then, as we chat, I’ll hear the telltale buzz of her phone. And I can tell that I’ve lost her. I can see it in the look on her…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (February 21)

    A La Carte: When cultural tailwinds become cultural headwinds / Talking with kids about gender issues / Try to be more awkward / Life is more than mountaintop experiences / Tinder / Unpacking “separation of church and state” / and more.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (February 20)

    A La Carte: How hell motivates holiness / The bond of love / How to love our friends in truth, even when it stings / The distorting power of the prosperity gospel / Thinking about plagues / and more.

  • A Difference Making Ministry for Any Christian

    A Difference-Making Ministry for Any Christian

    The experience of preaching is very different from the front than from the back, when facing the congregation than when facing the preacher. The congregation faces one man who is doing his utmost to be engaging, to hold their attention, and to apply truths that will impact their hearts and transform their lives.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (February 19)

    A La Carte: Courageous pastors or overbearing leaders? / Jesus didn’t diss the poor / 8 qualities of true revival / Why don’t you talk about the sermon? / The idol of competence / The danger of inhospitality / and more.