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The Means of Growth

April 21, 2010

One of the things I love about reading various blogs is that I become exposed to quotes from people that I probably would have never read on my own. On his blog “Strawberry-Rhubarb Theology“, Dane Ortlund quotes from Counseling and Theology by William Hulme (a college professor at Luther Theological Seminary in the 1950’s). In a chapter entitled “The Means of Growth”, Hulme writes these excellent thoughts:

The more one is able to love, the more he develops the qualities of integration and adjustment to reality that mark the mature person. . . . If our sanctification is allowed to become confused with our justification, then our motive for pleasing God is no longer one of love and gratitude, but one of earning and deserving. Hence we have the entrance of a self-interest motive into our living which is a deterrent rather than an incentive to growth.

Justification must come first and be completed experience, since the sanctification process is dependent upon the mindset which results from it.

Each time the sinner is drawn to the cross in new repentance, he gains a deeper appreciation of the gift of forgiveness. This ever-increasing gratitude for the righteousness which is imputed unto him becomes the motive in his own righteousness. Because he knows that he is accepted of God by grace, his tension is released and he is free to love. . . . [T]he justification experience must precede that of sanctification to make either of them possible. (pp. 200-201)

May God grow in me a deeper gratitude for the righteousness that has been imputed to me, that I may be increasingly freed up to love well.

HT: Strawberry-Rhubarb Theology

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