[b]Part 3: Man's Part and God's Part[/b]
To state it briefly, I would say that man's part is to trust, and God's part is to work.
A real work is to be wrought in us and upon us. Sins with which we constantly struggle are to be conquered. Evil habits are to be overcome. Wrong attitudes and feelings are to be rooted out. A positive transformation is to take place. So, at least, the Bible teaches. Now, somebody must [i]do[/i] this. Either we must do it for ourselves, or another must do it for us. Most of us have tried to do it for ourselves at first, and have grievously failed. We then discover, from the Scriptures and from our own experience, that it is something we are unable to do. But, the Lord Jesus Christ has come on purpose to do it. He will do it for all who put themselves into His hands and trust Him completely.
Now, under these circumstances, what is the part of the believer, and what is the part of the Lord? Plainly the believer can do nothing but trust. The Lord, in whom he trusts, actually does the work entrusted to Him. When we say, therefore, that in this higher life man's part is to trust, and God's part is to do the thing entrusted to Him, we do not present a very difficult or puzzling problem.
Sanctification is both a step of faith and a process of works. It is a step of surrender and trust on our part, and it is a process of development on God's part.
Having, therefore, taken the step of faith by which you have put yourself completely and absolutely into His hands, you must now expect Him to begin work. His way of accomplishing that which you have entrusted to Him, may be different from your way. But He knows, and you must be satisfied.
The maturity of a Christian experience cannot be reached in a moment. It is the result of the work of God's Holy Spirit, who, by His energizing and transforming power, causes us to "grow up into (Christ) in all things" (Ephesians 4:15). We cannot hope to reach this maturity in any other way than by yielding ourselves completely and willingly to His mighty working. However, the sanctification the Scriptures encourage, as a [i]present[/i] experience upon all believers, does not consist in maturity of growth, but in purity of heart.
From the moment the lump of clay comes under the transforming hand of the potter, it is, during each day and hour of the process, just what the potter wants it to be at the hour or on that day. Therefore, it pleases him, but it is far from being the vessel he intends it to be in the future. A little baby may be all that he or she could be or ought to be, and may perfectly please its mother. Yet it is very far from being what that mother would wish it to be when it reaches maturity. The apple in June is a perfect apple for June. It is the best apple that June can produce. But it is very different from the apple in October, which is a perfected apple.
God's works are perfect in every stage of their growth. Man's works are never perfect until they are in every respect complete. In this life of sanctification, all we can claim is that by an act of faith we put ourselves into the hands of the Lord for Him to work in us all the good pleasure of His will. Then, by a continuous exercise of faith, keep ourselves there. This is our part in the matter. And when we do it we are truly pleasing to God. It may require years of training and discipline to mature us into a vessel that will be in all respects to His honor and fitted to every good work.
Our part is the trusting. His part is to accomplish the results. When we do our part He never fails to do His. No one ever trusted in the Lord and was confounded. Do not be afraid to trust or tell others to trust. Trust is the beginning and the continuing foundation. When we trust, the Lord works, and His work is the important part of the whole matter.
In the divine order, God's working depends upon our cooperation. Our Lord could do no mighty work at a certain place because of the unbelief of the people. It was not that He would not. He could not. The potter, however skillful, cannot make a beautiful vessel out of a lump of clay that is never put into his hands. Neither can God make out of me a vessel unto His honor, unless I put myself into His hands.
As God is sure to do His part all right, the vital thing for me is to find out what my part is, and then do it.
[i]I am currently reading through Hannah Whitall Smiths classic [u]A Christian's Secret of a Happy Life[/u] and couldn't continue without sharing this treasure I have found with you. I hope you will be blessed as I have been. Your comments are welcome and encouraged.[/i]