A Second Work

As we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?                                                                                                 1 Thess. 3:10 ESV

I recently read in a dictionary article on holiness the unequivocal statement that there is no such thing as a second work of grace.

I understand why an author might say such a thing. “Second work of grace” could imply that what Christ did on the Cross was not sufficient, that God must do something more subsequent to that. Whatever anyone who used the phrase might have thought, that is surely not a correct understanding. Everything necessary for salvation up to and including glorification was accomplished in one work of grace on the Cross.

But is it normal to expect a second crisis in the Christian life? Yes, it is. You only have to read Christian biography to know that is the case. Whether you are talking about missionaries like C. T. Studd or J. Hudson Taylor, or the pastors, like Harold John Ockenga, each of them at some point subsequent to their conversion came to a place where they had to make a full surrender (consecration?) of themselves and to exercise faith (exactly as Paul was wanting the Thessalonians to do) for God to make their divided hearts one for God.

So perhaps we might say there needs to be a second appropriation by faith of all that Christ did on the Cross so that we can live fully Christlike lives. The reason the evangelical church has made so little impact on our society is that too many believers have stopped short of that appropriation. We do not want to surrender our stubborn wills to God, and we do not believe he can make us one for him. But he can! That is what he died to do! He doesn’t just want us to go to heaven. He wants us to walk like Christ walks – now – not just in eternity.

How important is this? Paul was praying night and day for the opportunity to share with the Thessalonians that although their faith was talked about all over the Mediterranean world, there was more to believe for.

What about you? Have you believed Christ to crucify your hell-inclined will, and to bring you into a level of life in which you are all his, without a limit and without a rival? You can! Do it!

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