Together we have been reading through The Mystery of Providence written by Puritan John Flavel. You can read more about the project here.
It was just in chapter six that John Flavel reminded us of the work of God in preserving us from sin and here in chapter seven he moves logically to another point of God’s work: sanctification. It is easy to say that God is responsible for our sanctification. Just as we accept that left to our own ways, we would seek sin out instead of God, we also can have no work in the work to make ourselves holy. That too can only come by the grace of God.
The mortification of sin is no small task and it is by “the aid and assistance given to people” that God works to abolish sin in a person’s life. It is through His work that punishment is given, affliction is inflicted, or circumstances are created in order to guide a person away from the enticing factors of sin.
We must not only not forget this work, but through God’s work in it should be reminded of God’s concern for us. Flavel reminds us that God’s concern is constantly demonstrated through:
- His eternal, electing love.
- His gift of the Son.
- His continual care.
- His tenderness in providence.
- His variety of fruits of His providence.
- His assistance by angels.
How wonderful it is to think that God continues to care for us. In the moments which we falter, we fail, God continues to be faithful even when we are not. Were it not for the work of Christ we would have no opportunity to conform to Christ.
The process of sanctification can sometimes be difficult. As God tries to mold us into the image of His son, sometimes we are resistant. It is difficult to break habits and change ways. Yet, His tenderness is seen through the way He works with us. The care is furthered when we recognize that God deals with us not in the same way all the time, but in the way that is necessary to make the greatest change and do the most good. If he continually worked in the same manner, we would become accustomed to that manner of working and fail to keep pace with the change that He is trying to instill. Instead, each moment calls for a different way in order to provoke and prompt us the most.
It is my hope, that after reading this chapter, we all capture the essence of John Flavel’s thoughts here. We should become continually thankful for God’s work in our lives. We should not forget that it is His working in us that removes sin and replaces it with godliness. Praise God!