Literature Ministries International
- By Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
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IS SANCTIFICATION AN EXPERIENCE?
We all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory.
2 Corinthians 3:18
Is sanctification an experience? There are large numbers of stories about people who have had marvelous experiences, of people, for example, who had a bad temper or something like that. I accept the experiences without any hesitation at all. Thank God, I am able to testify to some such experiences in my own life. So what of them? Well, here is my answer. First and foremost, there is no evidence at all in the New Testament that this kind of experience means sanctification. It may be a part of sanctification, it may greatly aid sanctification, but it is not sanctification in and of itself. We must not base our doctrine on experiences but on the teaching of the Word of God.
The teaching of the Scripture is that “We all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Sanctification is a growth, a development; it is a going forward. But it seems to me that the main trouble with this teaching about experience is that it confuses two things that are different, and the two things are these various experiences that we get in the Christian life and the grace of God in sanctification.
Sanctification is not an experience—it is a condition. It is my relationship to God: I am “changed into the same image [of Jesus Christ] from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Sanctification involves experiences and is helped by them, but in itself it is not an experience. Sanctification is that process of growth and development that starts the moment we are saved, the moment we are justified, the moment we are regenerated. The experiences are not the process of growth, but they do help and stimulate it.
A Thought to Ponder
We must not base our doctrine on experiences but on the teaching of the Word of God.
From God the Holy Spirit, pp. 216-218.
Today’s devo is taken from Walking with God Day by Day © 2003 by Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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