“If you abide in me, I will abide in you, and you will produce much fruit. But apart from me, you can do nothing.”
In John 15, Jesus compares the believer’s relationship with God to a branch that receives life from a vine, a fitting metaphor of how personal change takes place. Change does not take place through greater willpower, determination, promises, and human resolve. Change is the result of a vital union whereby a believer abides in Jesus by faith as his or her sin-bearer, righteousness provider, sustainer, and sanctifier.
As we abide in the justifying grace of Jesus we receive the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit, who gives us new desires and new abilities to produce good fruit. This good fruit is the result of the Spirit’s work in the life of the believer. As we say, the fruit depends on the root.
Therefore, faith-union with Christ as one’s justifier and sanctifier is the key to change and provides the theological foundation and spiritual fuel for all the resources available at mckaycaston.com.
This is why our mission is to help Christians come alive to the wonder of the gospel by living all of life in union with Jesus. When we come alive to the beauty and power of grace, everything changes. How I view God and myself. How I engage with the world. How I treat my wife and kids. How I face loss, defeat, and suffering. How I deal with victory and success, too. Grace changes everything.
By the way, the concept of sanctification by grace through gospel faith is no new doctrine.
Francis Schaeffer, the late 20th-century Christian philosopher, theologian and apologist wrote,
I became a Christian once for all upon the basis of the finished work of Christ through faith; that is justification. The Christian life, sanctification, operates on the same basis, but moment by moment. There is the same base (Christ’s work) and the same instrument (faith); the only difference is that one is once for all and the other is moment by moment…If we try to live the Christian life in our own strength we will have sorrow, but if we live in this way, we will not only serve the Lord, but in place of sorrow, He will be our song. That is the difference. The ‘how’ of the Christian life is the power of the crucified and risen Lord, through the agency of the indwelling Holy Spirit, by faith moment by moment.
Tim Keller, Senior Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC, agrees, saying,
Belief in the gospel is not just the way to enter the kingdom of God; it is the way to address every obstacle and grow in every aspect. The gospel is not just the “ABCs” but the “A-to-Z” of the Christian life.
Octavius Winslow, a renown English preacher of the 19th century, contributes his perspective as he writes,
It is by simple, close, and searching views of the cross of Christ that the Spirit most effectually sanctifies the believer. This is the true and great method of gospel sanctification… The Spirit especially and effectually sanctifies by unfolding the cross of Jesus.
Our prayer is that through this writing and speaking ministry you will come alive more and more to the wonder of the gospel as you learn to live all of life in union with Christ.
– Dr. McKay Caston