Saturday, August 3, 2013

Progressive Sanctification

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Saturday, August 3, 2013:  II Chronicles 33:14-34:33

Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem.  II Chronicles 34:1 (NKJV)

For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images.  II Chronicles 34:3 (NKJV)

In the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land and the temple, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the Lord his God.  II Chronicles 34:8 (NKJV)

Josiah was one of the best kings to rule over Judah.  He, along with Hezekiah, were the two best kings Judah ever enjoyed after the reign of David.  Josiah's rule is a mirror image of the New Testament concept of PROGRESSIVE SANCTIFICATION.  

Here is a simple timeline of Josiah's 31 year reign:

1. He rose to power at the age of 8!  (II Chron.34:1)
2. At the age of 16 (8 years later), he began to seek the Lord. (II Chron. 34:3)
3. At the age of 20 (4 years later), he started cleaning up the spiritual landscape of Judah.  (II Chron.34:3)
4. At the age of 26 (6 years later), he began to rebuild the Temple of God.  (II Chron. 34:8)

There are several lessons we can draw from the life of Josiah:

First, it takes TIME for people to line up with God's will for their life. Most of us think that we should be fully devoted and fully developed as a disciple of Jesus in ONE YEAR -- or less!  It took Josiah 18 years to START building the house of God.  

Second, there must be a negative before there is a positive.  The first 18 years of his reign were engaged in pulling down all the bad things he inherited.  The last 13 years of his reign were dedicated to building up the positive.  REPENT comes before BELIEVE.  Part of progressive sanctification is destruction of bad patterns in our lives.

Third, we need to be PATIENT with people who are walking the path toward Jesus.  They always take longer than we think they should.  It took Josiah a lifetime!  In our "instant gratification" society, we expect people to make a giant leap into the kingdom of God in ONE WEEK.  

Josiah was a great man.  But, if you had walked into his life at some point during his formative years, you might have wondered if this immature believer would ever make it.  

I rest continually in the promise of Philippians 1:6 which says that "He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."  Progressive sanctification means that God is committed to lead us through the negative and the positive.  It is the story of God's great work in our lives that will continue until we look like Jesus.  If you are in Christ, that is your future.  

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