The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification
By Walter Marshall

Chapter 2

Marshall began his teaching on sanctification with a few basic observations. 1) The source of sanctification is God’s grace. 2) Sanctification is not optional, but it is a necessary part of the process of salvation that bridges from justification to glorification. Since sanctification is such a necessary part of God’s plan of redemption, Christians will benefit greatly from learning how God sanctifies us.

Chapter one directs Christians to the knowledge that is necessary for sanctification. Our growth in Christlikeness, holiness and righteousness flows out of the powerful and effectual means God has given for sanctification. Therefore, our first directive is to learn about those means.

The second direction Marshal gives moves beyond necessary the knowledge to the condition of the heart. Without a heart that longs and desires to please God, the knowledge of what pleases God is of ill-effect.

Therefore, Marshall says there are 4 endowments and qualifications necessary for sanctification to happen: 1) an inclination and propensity of the heart thereunto, 2) a persuasion of our reconciliation with God, 3) a persuasion of our enjoyment of everlasting happiness, and 4) a persuasion of sufficient strength both to will and perform duties acceptably.

James Hervey has restated the second direction like this.

Assertion #2: No man can love God, till he knows Him nor till he knows Him to be his everlasting friend. Therefore, the spring of true holiness, is a well-grounded persuasion of our reconciliation with God, of our future enjoyment of the everlasting happiness, and for sufficient strength given in for all the He calls us unto.

These 4 things are absolutely necessary to enable the practice of holiness.

#1 An inclination of the heart to the duties of the law is necessary to frame and enable us for the immediate practice of them.

This is the chief endowment necessary for sanctification because a person whose heart does not desire to be obedient and holy is a person that will at best begrudgingly do the works of the law (But this will not be to the glory of God, but self-serving. Therefore, there will be no genuine sanctification.)

This is the point that Hervey emphasizes in his restatement. A man that does not love God will not desire to grow to be like Christ. Marshall states an old proverb to emphasize this point; “Like loveth like.”

Thus the question becomes, how do we learn to love God?

The first thing we must realize is that the heart, in its sinfulness, is wholly adverse to the law of God. Jesus summarized the moral law as the law of love. We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. And to love God this way means we love everything about Him, including His will, His ways, and His law.

This love for God is contrary to our sinfulness. We love ourselves, our plans, and ways and our own laws. Therefore unless our hearts are radically changed so as to love God and not self, we will have no desire to obey God.

I cannot help but think of God’s grace in this regard. We know what love is because God has first loved us! Consider 1John 4:7-10.

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

It is only as the Holy Spirit awakens us and enlivens us that we comprehend the love that God has for His people. And as we begin to apprehend that love and contrast that love to the depth our depravity, we begin to love God more and desire to please Him. This is why Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.”

Marshall finishes his discussion of this first endowment by considering Ezekiel 36:26-27. “26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”

It is God who enables people to love Him and God does this by removing the cold, hard dead heart, and replacing it with a living heart of flesh. This is the same thing that David prayed for in Psalm 51:10 as he was repenting for his sin surrounding his Bathsheba affair. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

The emphasis in these verses is clear. God does not give a clean heart, a living heart to someone so that they are empowered to choose good or evil or exercise free will, but rather God gives this new heart expressly for the purpose of making the recipients to walk in obedience and to love Him.

So the challenge before us is to examine our lives and to ask ourselves, “Do I love Christ?” Do I find obedience to God a delight to my soul?

Endowments 2, 3 & 4 give evidence of God’s great love for his people and reason to love God in return. We learn to love God more deeply as we consider each of these things.

Endowment #2: The second endowment necessary to enable us to practice holiness is that we be well persuaded of our reconciliation with God.

Consider Romans 5:10, “Rom 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”

How great is God’s love for us that he would reconcile us to Himself while we were still sinners and He would do so by the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ! What a great love is this!

Endowment #3: The third endowment necessary to enable us to practice holiness is that we be persuaded of our future enjoyment of the everlasting heavenly happiness.

If obedience is not a joy to us, then why would we seek a less than joyful eternity? If eternity is not joyful, where we will be perfect in obedience, then why would we pursue obedience here when we could find some sort enjoyment in disobedience?

Therefore, as we grasp the truth that eternity will be of utmost enjoyment to our soul BECAUSE we are able to perfectly obey, we will seek to find enjoyment even now in obedience to Christ.

Endowment #4: The fourth endowment necessary to enable us to practice holiness is that we be well persuaded of sufficient strength both to will and to perform our duties.

Those that God loves, God enables to love Him in return by giving them the strength AND the will to do so. Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

The work that was begun by Christ was the transforming of our hearts and so that we love him and want to please Him. That work of holiness will be completed at the coming of Christ. Our struggle for Holiness will end in victory.

Meditate on the great grace of God to fully reconcile sinners to Himself, to promise them eternity heavenly happiness, and to grant them the strength and the will to trust Him.

To do so will drive us to love Him more.

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