This post a few days ago garnered a few comments but not as many as I wanted. It is my hope to stimulate some deeper thinking on the part of my readers and enter into dialogue with you. Read it again and see if you agree with Dr. David Benner, the author and an author in spiritual growth.
Conversion is the lifelong transformational process of being remade into the image of God. It is so much more than simply trying to avoid sin. The focus of repentance and conversion is Jesus, not my sin nor my self. My attachment to sinful ways of being is much too strong to ever be undone by mere willpower. There is no substitute for surrender to divine love as the fuel to propel such undoing. Divine love transforms both my heart and my will. Divine love enables me to choose God’s will over mine. Without this, repentance will be nothing more than a self-help scheme based on effort and resolve." David Benner, Surrender to love.
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I agree with some and disagree with some.
1. Conversion is the lifelong transformational process of being remade into the image of God.
a. The issue is not just conversion which indicates a willful repenting and turning away from our behavior. Sanctification or growth in Christ requires more than will power because the fall did more than tempt us to make bad but conscious decisions. Luther's first book was called Bondage of the Will and indicates his genius to see that sin is deep and unconscious. Thus we all need God's power not just our will power to set us free within. Benner says we are in bondage My attachment to sinful ways of being is much too strong to ever be undone by mere will power.
but contradicts himself by going on to state:
There is no substitute for surrender to divine love as the fuel to propel such undoing.
I cannot surrender without God's visitation first.
Sanctification also means that we live in a perpetual state of confession of our true moral guilt; that we recognize and admit that we deserve justice but we have justification through Jesus.
Last, we are covered with a sense of shame or a loss of identity and inheritance. When we through Adam and Eve were removed from paradise, we entered a universe of confusion. But through God we have been adopted and give a new name, a new identity and a new inheritance.
Sanctification means that we need Jesus to take care of our will, our sickness, our guilt and our shame on a daily basis. Repentance is impossible without all the rest.
b. We did not lose our imago Dei at the Fall in Eden. It was deeply marred but not destroyed. The most important aspects of the imago Dei, such as an ability to relate to the Godhead and make decisions and think remain in humanity. Perhaps the most important dimension, that of being a Vice Regent or Ambassador for God, is intact. Even though we are deeply flawed God continues to imbue us with His call to represent Him around the world.
I would say, "Sanctification is the sum total of receiving God's mercy and grace to set me free from all known and unknown sin, guilt, shame and bondage.
What do you think?