Monday, March 14, 2011

Sanctification Means Change

“Sanctification means more than learning what the Bible teaches. It involves personal change.' Sometimes when coun­selees are cornered and forced to acknowledge that their be­havior is irresponsible, they attempt to dodge the issue by re­plying: "Well, I guess that's just the way I am." They say this in a resigned manner and expect to leave the whole matter right there. They speak as though there were no possibility for genuine personality change. Such a view of man is decid­edly unscriptural. Human beings in one way might be de­scribed more accurately as human becomings. Personality can be changed. God, throughout history, has turned Jacobs into Israels, Simons into Peters and Sauls into Pauls. Today's personality is based on yesterday. What one is today is but the composite of his past. At birth, God gave to each of us a basic deposit of inherited stuff which Scripture calls phusis (nature). This is a matter of gene makeup. But that is not personality. How one uses the phusis in responding to life's prob­lems and life's challenges determines the personality. Those response patterns may become deeply etched over a period of time. At length, they may seem to be, as we say, "second na­ture," i.e., almost as "given" as the original phusis. Though habit patterns are hard to change, change is not impossible. Nouthetic counselors regularly see patterns of 30-40 years' duration altered. What was learned can be unlearned. An old dog can learn new tricks…. Wherever the Holy Spirit's activity is demon­strated, people are changed. God says, "Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." Static living, static decisions, static personality is inconsistent with the biblical picture of the new life. Where there is life there is growth,' and growth means change. Growth means maturation; it means refining of ideas and ways of doing things. So a Christian counselee must not be allowed to plead that he is what he is and nothing can be done about it.”

[Jay Adams, Competent to Counsel, pp. 74-76]

1 comment:

  1. >>>"God, throughout history, has turned Jacobs into Israels, Simons into Peters and Sauls into Pauls."

    None of these men made their way to change through the counsel of other men. Such change only came about through the direct work of the Spirit of God in their lives.

    It is one thing to suggest that change should be had on the part of those who must eventually conform to God's law and quite another to try to unduly force such things. We cannot take the place of shining light on the Damascus Road or the preincarnate Christ wrestling with Jacob all night. We are responsible to speak the Word of God and watch as God does the work.

    Such things may take a long time as God's ways are not our ways and He often works on a different time table than we do. But, look at how long the Lord strives with us. Are we as pastors and counselors showing the same patience with those we counsel or are we expecting too much and exacting discipline where none is really required? Is it not possible that the too much and the too soon of both formal and informal discipline is really a lack of faith in God and how He works?