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Acting the Miracle: God's Work and Ours in the Mystery of Sanctification Paperback – September 30, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“I love this book. One meets real holiness here and it has real drawing power. C. S. Lewis said it well when he quipped, ‘How little people know who think holiness is dull. When one meets the real thing, it is irresistible.’ The content in these chapters awakened within me a deeper hungering and thirsting for righteousness. I pray it will cause those same hunger pangs to spread so that many more will taste and see that the Holy One Himself is an irresistible treasure.”
Jason C. Meyer, Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota

“The Reformed view of sanctification has resonated with me for a long time. More importantly, it is biblically rooted, realistic, hopeful, and doesn’t fall into the error of perfectionism. Now we have a wonderfully accessible presentation of the reformed view of sanctification. The scriptural support for a progressive view of sanctification is persuasively made. The realistic struggle that characterizes our lives is set forth, and the hope we have in Christ Jesus is proclaimed. I was encouraged and convicted in reading this work.”
Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Associate Dean of the School of Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“A great combination of theological insight and practical advice on one of the most important of all Christian doctrines.”
Douglas J. Moo, Wessner Chair of Biblical Studies, Wheaton College

“The Reformed and evangelical mind has recently concentrated much attention on the doctrines of justification and adoption, with many salutary effects. In some instances, however, concentration has degenerated into myopia, resulting in the distortion of the doctrine of sanctification. The present collection of essays is a helpful remedy to this situation. With chapters that are richly biblical, Christ-centered, and humane, Acting the Miracle refocuses our attention on the place and purpose of sanctification among the manifold works of the triune God. Readers will find this book both theologically and pastorally satisfying.”
Scott R. Swain, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Academic Dean, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida

“This book is theologically informed and pastorally wise. It helpfully distinguishes and defines definitive and progressive sanctification, and it shrewdly shows how to approach Christian living without being reductionistic.”
Andy Naselli, Assistant Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology, Bethlehem College and Seminary, Minneapolis, Minnesota

About the Author

John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is the founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for 33 years as the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Don’t Waste Your Life, This Momentary Marriage, Bloodlines, and Does God Desire All to Be Saved?

David Mathis serves as executive editor at desiringGod.org, pastor at Cities Church, and adjunct professor at Bethlehem College and Seminary. He and his wife, Megan, have three children.

Kevin DeYoung (MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is senior pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, and chancellor's professor of systematic and historical theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. He blogs at the Gospel Coalition and has authored or coauthored numerous well-known books such as Just Do SomethingThe Hole in Our Holiness, Taking God At His WordWhat Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?, and The Biggest Story, as well as the award-winning books Why We’re Not EmergentWhy We Love the Church (with Ted Kluck), and Crazy Busy.

Russell Moore (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the eighth president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the moral and public policy agency of the nation's largest Protestant denomination. A widely-sought commentator, Dr. Moore has been called "vigorous, cheerful, and fiercely articulate" by the Wall Street Journal. He is the author of several books, including Onward, The Kingdom of ChristAdopted for Life, and Tempted and Tried, and he blogs regularly at RussellMoore.com and tweets at @drmoore. He and his wife, Maria, have five sons.

Edward T. Welch (PhD, University of Utah) is a counselor and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation. He has been counseling for more than 35 years and has written extensively on the topics of depression, fear, and addictions. His books include When People Are Big and God Is Small, Crossroads: A Step-by-Step Guide Away From Addiction, Running Scared: Fear, Worry and the God of RestShame Interrupted, and Side by Side. He blogs regularly at CCEF.org.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (September 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433537877
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433537875
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,022,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
There are various aspects to the biblical doctrine of sanctification - essentially becoming more like Jesus "conformed to the image of Christ" (Romans 8:29). Theologians often talk about two aspects of our becoming like Christ: Definitive sanctification and Progressive sanctification. Definitive sanctification is our legal status with God whereby we become righteous in God's sight upon our conversion and justification in Christ Jesus. This book focuses on the Progressive sanctification aspect. It addresses the issue of how we actually progress in actual holiness as we live by faith in Jesus.

There are 7 helpful chapters in this book by some excellent scholar/pastors on topic of Progressive Sanctification:

(1) David Mathis gives the introduction which focuses on the complexities of sanctification and how it relates to our justification and union with Christ.

(2) John Piper defines sanctification by grounding its reality in the holiness of God and the sinfulness of humanity. He provides a wonderful exegetical study of Romans 8:28-30 and answers the question: "What is the Place of Sanctification in the Process of Salvation?"

(3) Kevin DeYoung examines what should motivate our sanctification. He gives a very practical explanation from Colossians 3 that seeks to balance the element of justification, duty, and gratitude in the context of grace as we seek to be more like Jesus. He points out that our greatest incentives in the pursuit of holiness are theologically based on our identity in Christ. Sanctification is diverse and there is a multiplicity of reasons for this diversity, but it all stems from our union with Christ as we grow in our understanding of and application of His grace.
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Format: Paperback
Point: God works the miracle of sanctification, we act the miracle.

Path: Taken from a conference, each chapter is authored by one of the speakers. They answer questions such as “What is Sanctification?” “What motivates me to sanctification?” “How does sanctification work with my physical being?” “What are everyday ways of being sanctified?” “What role does the Church play in my sanctification?” and, “How does this all fit together?” They include a helpful roundtable discussion at the end of the book as well.

Sources: People and ideas that periodically surface in the chapters include: John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, Reformers, etc.

Agreement: I greatly appreciated these chapters. They were:
Biblical
God focused
Practical
Challenging
Comforting
Engaging

I found Welch’s chapter on “Sinners Learning to Act the Miracle” and Williams “Acting the Miracle in the Everyday” to be the most helpful.
I enjoy DeYoung’s humor, Moore’s illustrations, and Piper’s passion.

(Note: Someone could become confused with the various “kingdom” language used by Moore, depending on their theological background.)

Personal App: “Your sin is canceled because of union with Christ. Now, dethrone it. Break the power of canceled sin” (Piper, 132). Am I doing that?

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:
Has questions about sanctification
Wants to know how they can deal with sinful patterns in their life
Is discouraged about temptation
Wants to help others to grow
Sees sin as no big deal

Other books along this same theme would be:
Bridges, Jerry. The Pursuit of Holiness. Colorado Springs: Navpress, 1978.

———.
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By Jacob on February 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book has is highs and it's highers. There are so many great theological lessons here that must be taken to heart. I have never highlighted so much in a book and took so many notes, other than in school books. This is a fantastic tool that covers so many areas of ministry in 6 short chapters. You will likely really enjoy this book.
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Great book
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