This is the 17th part of a series of posts adapted from a paper I pre­sented at a New Covenant The­ol­ogy think tank in upstate New York in July 2010.

Discipline of Grace cover

The Dis­ci­pline of Grace by Jerry Bridges

Paul’s repeated expla­na­tions of the gospel and his dox­olo­gies to Christ are not given because the peo­ple to whom he writes do not have Christ — or don’t know Him — but because they do know him. Paul writes to the Romans words that echo those we saw last time from :

[14] I myself am sat­is­fied about you, my broth­ers, that you your­selves are full of good­ness, filled with all knowl­edge and able to instruct one another. [15] But on some points I have writ­ten to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God [16] to be a min­is­ter of Christ Jesus to the Gen­tiles in the priestly ser­vice of the gospel of God, so that the offer­ing of the Gen­tiles may be accept­able, sanc­ti­fied by the Holy Spirit. ()

Paul is bring­ing the words and truth of Christ to remem­brance, because it is the gospel of Christ that brings about all aspects of sal­va­tion: jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, sanc­ti­fi­ca­tion and glorification.

But that’s not new infor­ma­tion to these saints.

Repeat­ing the gospel does, how­ever, con­tinue to ground them in what is trans­form­ing them. Their knowl­edge of Christ brings them closer to Him, increas­ing the love of Christ in them. For indeed, we all, “with unveiled face, behold­ing the glory of the Lord, are being trans­formed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” ( ).

By behold­ing Him then, we will be trans­formed in an instant.

By behold­ing more of Him now, we are trans­formed bit by bit.

As Jerry Bridges writes:

Our spe­cific respon­si­bil­ity in the pur­suit of holi­ness as seen in , then, is to behold the glory of the Lord as it is dis­played in the gospel. The gospel is the “mir­ror” through which we now behold His beauty. One day we shall see Christ, not as in a mir­ror, but face to face. Then, “we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is” (). Until then, we behold Him in the gospel. There­fore, we must “preach the gospel to our­selves every day.“[1]

Why then, if sanc­ti­fi­ca­tion is the work of the Holy Spirit in us, do believ­ers, who have received the Spirit, still need instruc­tion and exhor­ta­tion? We’ll look at that next time.

 


Now con­cern­ing broth­erly love you have no need for any­one to write to you, for you your­selves have been taught by God to love one another, (ESV)


14 I myself am sat­is­fied about you, my broth­ers, that you your­selves are full of good­ness, filled with all knowl­edge and able to instruct one another. 15 But on some points I have writ­ten to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God 16 to be a min­is­ter of Christ Jesus to the Gen­tiles in the priestly ser­vice of the gospel of God, so that the offer­ing of the Gen­tiles may be accept­able, sanc­ti­fied by the Holy Spirit. (ESV)


18 And we all, with unveiled face, behold­ing the glory of the Lord, are being trans­formed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (ESV)


18 And we all, with unveiled face, behold­ing the glory of the Lord, are being trans­formed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (ESV)


Beloved, we are God’s chil­dren now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (ESV)