In the recent issue of Credo Magazine, “The English Reformation,” Michael Nelson has reviewed Sinclair Ferguson’s new book, Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification (Banner of Truth, 2016). Michael Nelson is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Grandview, MO. Nelson begins his review:
Sanctification can be a confusing concept to many believers. With the variety of teachings on holiness ranging from Keswick understandings of a “let go and let God” approach, to strains within evangelicalism leading to passivity or legalism, Sinclair Ferguson’s book, Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification (Banner of Truth, 2016) is more than welcomed. Though Ferguson recognizes the numerous writings already devoted to the topic of sanctification, his approach brings with it a distinctive goal: “to provide a manual of biblical teaching on holiness developed on the basis of extended expositions of foundational passages in the New Testament” (ix). With this goal in view, Devoted to God is a book written to encourage all who read to “strive…for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).
Regarding the topic of holiness, it is typically defined as the believer’s separation from sin. Though this is key for every sin-stained human being, it only describes “the Creator’s attribute of holiness from the viewpoint of the creature” (1). This is not to say that separation isn’t necessarily a component of holiness when it comes to God, it is just simply too narrow. For a quality to be considered an attribute of God, it must not only be true in how God displays himself to his creation, but also in how God relates within himself before he created. Before creation, God’s holiness did not include separation from anything. Instead, the Father, the Son and the Spirit were completely devoted to each other. Holiness is then defined within the Godhead as “absolute, permanent, exclusive, pure, irreversible and fully expressed devotion” (2). That means for believers, “to be holy, to be sanctified, therefore, to be a ‘saint’, is in simple terms to be devoted to God” (4). …
Read the rest of Nelson’s review today: “The holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”