A Meeting of the Minds

In my last post I remarked how I had a fascination with God’s providence.  My morning devotions today took me back to my old friend Thomas Boston.  If you followed my posts in the past, you remember that I regard him to have been the greatest preacher who ever lived.  While still working through his posthumously published 12 volume “Complete Works,” at the end of a sermon he preached at Ettrick, Scotland, July 7, 1728, on 2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight,” he drew some conclusions that really struck a chord with me.

Obviously the doctrine taught here is that the Christian’s walking is a dependence on what God has promised to be the appropriate way, as opposed to by sight which is the appearance things make to their sight, senses, and human reason.  In other words Boston says that we should “walk like men of another world.”  Why should we do this, beside the fact that God tells us to?  We are to do this first because when we are born again we literally become aliens.  Thus we then live in a foreign land, and where we are going is Heaven, where Christ is.  So far Boston was teaching fairly basic doctrine.  In his wrap-up to the sermon was where the fun really began.  In his second point to confirm the doctrine he states, “Thus the Christian’s life is distinguished from that of the Saints in Heaven and that of the wicked, as he is in a middle state betwixt the two.”

So you may say, “Ok, where’s fireworks and the crescendo?”  You may see where I’m going with this post.  If you do, then you may be as weird as I am.  If you don’t, then you are probably quite normal, and just don’t have the time spend following my line of thought.  However, if you read my post a few days ago, “Faith to See Beyond the Shire,” I was pointing out this very topic.  Our world view should be distinctly different than those around us because of the nature of our citizenship.  We literally are living in, not only, a foreign country, but a foreign world.  In God’s perfectly good providence he brought together two trains of thought I had been riding onto the same track, in the same direction, and the same time.  These are Boston’s middle state and Tolkien’s Middle Earth.  For me this is simply magical.

Let me breath. Ok, I’m better now.

What is this place that we live in?  By sight, it looks like a familiar place, what I called my Shire.  But when the scales fall from our eyes, by regeneration and sanctification,  what is revealed is Middle Earth, Tolkien’s fabled world.  Some pundits on Tolkien simply want to make Middle Earth an old world continent, sort of a mystical archaic Europe, with the Hobbit’s Shire as a representation of England.  However many believe, from Tolkien’s perspective, Middle Earth was conceived as the setting for his tales by the Old English, pre-Christian, language translation of the word “middengeard,” the everyday world between Heaven and Hell.

If you surf around the internet you will find endless material about the symbolism of Tolkien.  Some of it some pretty strange stuff.  I prefer however to have fun with finding in Tolkien the symbolism I recognize in the world we live in. Tolkien’s stories symbolized the world God has temporarily set us in.  Nothing in Tolkien’s Middle earth was what it appeared to be.  Both animate and inanimate morphed from apparent to obscure.  Lust of the eyes, the flesh, and pride were always the downfall of the characters.  Entropy was placed in motion with no hope of reversal accept for divine intervention.   Even the good were powerless against evil, barring some propitiation. I could go on indefinitely, but you can get the picture.

As you walk through Middle Earth, whether you are descending to the depths of Mordor, with the flames all around you, trying to rid yourself of your precious sins, or you are merely tending your garden in the Shire, feeling sheltered from danger, beware, things are not as they appear.  You live and walk with the triune God constantly providing faith in his promise of deliverance to your true home, eternal life with him in Glory.




For What It’s Worth

Remember how I often mention my difficulty with paying attention?  Well, this post is a direct result of my being distracted for a moment.  Last week, while cutting back a ditch bank in the South Carolina summer heat, plugged into some great oldies, I had a thought that could be applicable for the blog.  The heat could have been responsible, but I rather prefer to believe my fascination with God’s providence in all things brought me to this topic.

Does anyone remember the band Buffalo Springfield?  In 1966 they were the house band at the Whiskey a Go Go, a night club on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles.  This area was home to the music and club scene, and the gathering place for a generation that would soon be in turmoil as their government was making war on the other side of the world, in a place they had never heard of.   In November of ’66 the city of LA passed a 10:00 curfew ordinance for the Sunset Strip area because of traffic and pedestrian congestion, or so they said, basically shutting down the popular club scene there.  On November 12 as many as 1000 young people staged a protest which became violent. According to witnesses, a fight broke out when the occupants of a car stuck in the traffic started a fight with protesters.  You know what happened next.  The police interpreted the fight to be protester violence and it all went south.  In the days following the riots Stephen Stills, vocalist and guitarist for Buffalo Springfield, and later would be famous as a member of the folk rock supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, wrote the song “For What It’s Worth,” also known as “Stop, Hey What’s that Sound.”  The lyrics were inspired by the Sunset strip riots, which deeply affected Stills.  He saw the pent up anger from both the youth culture and the civil government collide on the streets of LA, where no side was a winner.  A few weeks later Stills contacted an Atlantic Records producer and said something to the effect,  “I have this song here, for what it’s worth, if you want it.”  On December 6, “For What It’s Worth,” the title given in jest, was recorded. This solidified the theme song for a generation in turmoil.  While only peaking at #7 on the 1967 Billboard Charts,  today it sits at #63 of Rolling Stone Magazine’s top 500.

Obviously when Stills arranged and recorded these lyrics he nor his mates ever considered what an impact they would make.  In the turbulent decade that would follow, these lyrics would inspire young baby boomers who were voicing their desire for cultural freedom, African Americans struggling for social equality, and soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines trying not to die in foreign political campaigns.  Even Forrest Gump would tell his story set to the music of Buffalo Springfield.

There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
It’s s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, now, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

Understand, I am no free love hippie and am not promoting civil disobedience.  Nor am I seeking to glorify a musical artist.  What I am highlighting is how in God’s sovereign providence something seemingly benign can work for change, and always for our good and his glory.  Whether you believe that some of the changes brought about by those who were inspired by this song were good, God says that they were. Rom. 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for GOOD…”  For if one of God’s attributes is goodness, then all he does must be good.

You never know how God will use even the most seemingly small event in your life.  The butterfly effect is God’s trademark.  Always remember that behind all you do is an all powerful, all knowing, and everywhere present God, who will direct your path with or without your help.  When you speak a small word to a stranger, do the anonymous good deed, or even write a song,  you have started a wave of providence that will have impact on some shore.  Don’t become discouraged that your role as a member of the body of Christ is insignificant.  Even if you doubt your fulfilment of Paul’s instruction to the Romans (12:1), to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, as if anyone does, you can offer your service through your daily walk before men, and trust that God will provide the affect.  Always remember that your efforts are worthy because Christ makes them so.

Supernatural Blindness

My upbringing was, at least from my perspective at the time, fairly normal.  My siblings were much older than I, so from my formative years on, I was the only child in the household.  We had the basic TV channels, radio, and the monthly periodicals.  However, there was little time for those things because I was busy playing.  That’s right, using my imagination to make up for the lack of all the stimuli children have today.  When I think back, I remember vividly the world I created for myself.  Adventures pretending with the aid of toy guns, action figures, and usually whatever involved getting dirty.  What I don’t recall is much imagining anything supernatural.  I suppose the fantastical was just that, fantasy.  We were taught not to believe in magic, otherworldly creatures or powers.  I’m not sure where Santa and the Easter bunny fit in, but certainly goblins, ghosts, and dead people coming to life at Halloween were taboo.  We could do the Halloween stuff of course but it was just for fun, not real.

I guess we have just become such an enlightened society that the supernatural or metaphysical is just a distraction best left to the fringe groups like “Wiccans” or Native Americans.  Just for kicks, have you ever considered that those who dabble in the otherworldly may have an advantage over most “rational” human beings in legitimizing the truths of scripture? In fact it was not that long ago that the belief in the supernatural was the norm. To believe in the literal creation accounts all the way to the destruction of the earth as we know it, not by man made climate change but by God’s own version of global warming, would have been the norm just a few generations ago.  In a previous post, entitled State of Grace: Part 1,  I discussed this same topic as it relates to regeneration or being born again.  I won’t repeat myself but I recommend you go back and read that post after this one.

I realize there can be a fine line when we enter the world of supernatural phenomena.  There are always dangers, especially for children, when exposed to the horror and destruction that is often associated with these topics.  For instance, as a teenager I saw the movie “Amityville Horror.”  Let me tell you, that was my first and last horror flick.  On the peer level it was cool to go to these movies and be frightened.  Though some of my macho guy friends claimed not to be, but their dates were, and that was good for them.  I however was shaken by the evil spiritual power, death and destruction.  There was an innate sense of the possibility of the reality of it all, and I wanted no part of it.  I am not promoting horror movies, Steven King novels, nor the “Long Island Medium” series, but rather just permitting yourself to open the door just a crack to see what your level of belief is.

We will never know for sure what Tolkien really believed about what he wrote.  What he did believe in strongly was that the tales told for thousands of years before the Christianization of Europe were not just the result of ignorant people making up fantasy.  There was an element of truth in those Viking legends, those Druid rites, and  the Elvish tongue.  Good verses evil, redemption, reprobation, powers of darkness and light, and promised messiahs were all story lines of peoples long ago who had never seen a bible.  Tolkien was well aware of the story of the Tower of Babel and the subsequent confusing of languages and the dispersal of the people of earth, or Middle Earth, as he penned his words.  The elements of truth contained in this ancient lore was passed on from generation to generation from the foundation of the world. In fact, if you believe the bible, these stories were told by the descendants of Japheth, Noah’s son. Oh by the way, if you are of European descent, these were your grandparents.  The tribe of Japheth migrated from Asia to be the first Europeans.  These are your family’s tales.  Tolkien wanted it to live on, not as fact, but not as fiction either. He devoted his life to it.  During a time when it was believed that the Renaissance was the beginning of quality literature in Briton and that Shakespeare was the bomb, Tolkien fought for the tale tellers who went before them.

What I am proposing here is not only enjoying a good story, but also examining what you believe concerning the mysteries of God.  Don’t be led down the path of the higher critics of the bible, which leads to tearing out the supernatural aspects as if they are merely the remains of ignorance from another age.  The fantastical tales of a primitive and scientifically bereft people, may actually be more advanced and accurate than what we believe to be truth today.




Faith to See Beyond the Shire

I introduced to you the inspiration for this and the next few posts, JRR Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and the “Lord of the Rings” series, in my last post.  You might say that I am a big fan of Tolkien due to the fact that one of my cats and one of my dogs are named Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee.  Although I encourage you to read Tolkien the movies are wonderful too.

If you are familiar with Tolkien and C.S. Lewis you know that they have been somewhat controversial in Christian circles.  Lewis, most famous for “Chronicles of Narnia,” has been credited for the allegorical nature of these works.  Tolkien and Lewis were friends, members of an elite literary society known as “The Inklings,” and colleagues at Oxford University, but due to their religious and sometimes heated philosophical differences and personal struggles, a rift between them brought years of coldness and prevented collaboration, which could have been the recipe for a literary machine.

Let me be clear, my use of Tolkien’s stories is not intended to imply that his work is Christian allegory.  Tolkien himself stated in a forward for the American printing by Ballentine Books, “As for the inner meaning or message, it has none. It is neither allegorical nor topical.” Rather my intention is to use something that I enjoy, and is innate in mankind, that is, story telling, to inspire thought about the truths of our Christian faith.  I am not alone in this quest as many have gone before me.  I eagerly await the release of “The Messiah Comes to Middle Earth,” by Phillip Ryken, president of Wheaton College and former Pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia.  Ryken describes the story as containing “Christian symbolism and meaning.”

As followers of Christ, being created in his image, and being remade more and more like him, each of us can be read like a book.  Our behavior and conversation should overflow with Christion symbolism and meaning.  Although Tolkien describes his work as “the desire of a tale-teller to try his hand at a really long story that would hold the attention of the readers, amuse them, delight them, and at times maybe excite them or deeply move them,” he leaves out what maybe the most eternally important benefit of his efforts.  This story makes you think about the real story,  your own journey within and beyond the Shire.

The Shire was basically the region and home of Bilbo and Frodo.  The village of Hobbiton, in the heart of the Shire, is the setting for the opening of the books.   The book vividly describes the fantastical scene of how the Hobbits live.  Even more so, the cinematography of the film, set in New Zealand, is amazing.  Agrarian, natural, and  peaceful tranquility is the feeling you get from what you see with your eye.  I would probably want to live in a hobbit hole, eat six meals a day, tend my garden and sing songs of peace and harmony all day long.  Wait, I think I am a hobbit!  But the reality is not always what you see. You have heard the expression “in your minds eye.”  This saying was coined long before science determined that about seventy percent of the cognitive workings of the brain are associated with sight.  In some ways sight is a handicap. People blind from birth are a testament to the untapped sources of the brain.  Their storage and recall ability is far better that those with sight. The fact that what we see is constantly bombarding our minds, we do not have the mental capacity to process and rectify all of the information we are receiving. As I have mentioned before,  being raised in the era when ADD wasn’t cool, I was not diagnosed or should I say labeled.  How ever I am easily distracted.  I’m kind of like the Pink Floyd “Comfortably Numb” line that goes, “You are only coming through in waves.  Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying.”  I have a new practice when I am listening to someone speak.   For instance when the preacher is speaking or reading scripture, I close my eyes to avoid the distraction of his visible appearance, mannerisms, or facial linguistics, smile, frown, etc., and the possible distraction of other visual stimuli such as words on a page or things around me.  This works for me, though most think I’m sleeping.

The Shire was Bilbo’s and Frodo’s safe place.  To see the image portrayed in the story, whether described in words or picture, it is easy to see why.  However this place, home to the Hobbit, or the comfort of our safe place, wherever that may be, is not home to the Christian.  Bilbo would eventually come to this conclusion.  We must as well.

2 Corinthians 5:7 is one of those often misused passages of scripture.  “We live by faith not by sight.”  Although there is truth in the abuse, for instance, when we apply this verse to the making of basic decisions every day.  If you apply it to general obedience to God’s word such as making a decision to obey God even though we do not see the wisdom in it, you are not wrong to do so.  However the true context of the verse is about eternity, heaven.  In the first five verses of this chapter Paul had been describing the fallen condition of man dwelling in the world and how heaven will be the correction to this broken inglorious situation.  In verse seven he advises the Corinthians not to base their lives on their earthly condition, what they can see, but rather to live with the knowledge of his promise, what they cannot see.  In fact he tells them that their faith is the giving of the Holy Spirit, their guarantee.

We often like, like the Hobbits, want to cling to and give great value to this world and the things in it.  I do it every time my mind drifts to what it sees.  It is the things that are invisible, the promises of God, the deposit of the Holy Spirit, that escapes my reality.  As followers of Christ we will travel through dark and dangerous adventures outside of our Shire.  When we become homesick, and truly that is what we are, we must not visualize the conceptual picture of earthly tranquility but rather trust that what we cannot visualize is our true home.


Return to Ink Well or There and Back Again

As a teenager my friend David nicknamed me Bilbo Baggins.  Unfortunately David was more well read than I, because I thought the name was merely his distortion of my name, Billy.  It was some time before he revealed to me that Bilbo was the famed character in “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings.”  Regardless, I liked this nom de guerre primarily because it was something special that a good friend had taken the time and thought to associate with me.  No one but David ever called me this.  In those days while David and I listened to the lyrics of Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On,” he could relate to the Robert Plant line, “Twas in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair, but Gollum and the Evil One crept up and slipped away with her.” I’m sure I butchered that line as well as most that blared from my 1974 Monte Carlo 8 track stereo. Some thirty-five years later I reflect on the adventure, symbolized to me by Tolkien’s work, the adventures of my youth, and the adventure that is the Christian life.

At this point you may be wondering where in the world is he going with this.  Has he been on a trip, or has he been tripping, or has he tripped out?  Well, it has been just over a year since I inked a single word.  There is no dramatic reason for this other than that is just what the sovereign Lord foreordained for me to do.  Yes, I have been listening to some Zeppelin, but without psychedelic assistance.  More importantly I have been reading.  Church history, military history, social history, systematic theology, doctrinal positions and biographical works of my favorite Churchmen, and, yes, Tolkien, Lewis, Chesterton.  I hope that this sabbatical will make my blog writing a little more fresh and helpful.

If you read me before, you know that this blog is a fellow believer’s attempt to add a little information and encouragement to your journey through this barren land.  If you watch some of the “Christian” movies, listen to CC music, or you have fallen prey to some of the “prosperity gospel” hacks,  you may have been given the notion that being a believer means this constant steady march up the mountain of sanctification.  If you stop ascending and fall into the pit then you are doing something wrong or are not trying hard enough.  Well, if you were followers of one of the thousands of other religions out there, then that assessment might be correct. In fact those religions are designed to fail. Primarily, because they are false, there is no actual success,  but also because they depend on YOU!   It is true that if you are not using the means that God has provided to assist you in this journey, his word, prayer, sacraments, Church fellowship, etc., then certainly and logically, you place yourself behind the eight ball, so to speak.  However, the journey itself is totally dependent on God’s will, his sovereign, perfect, mysterious will.  He has you exactly where he wants you, or he would not be God.

In the next few posts I will use the similarities of Tolkien’s Bilbo and Frodo adventure and our Christian journey to edify us all. Remember this is partly my own thinking through writing.   No novel ideas here but rather a bit of using what I have on my mind, only the basics, and generating something to chew on.  No great epiphanies here.  Just stuff my reading and my perspective generate.  Hope it helps.



Imperfect Sanctification

Oil and water do not mix.  We often use that phrase to describe a condition of contrary principles.  Within the life of a regenerate man their are the contrary natures of the old and new man, the flesh and the spirit.  There exists a mortal combat between good and evil, where a victor has already been determined but the battle must still wage for a time.  In the previously discussed work by Thomas Boston, we saw the fourfold state of man’s nature explained in detail.  Here we will look briefly at the period of the regenerated man that is commonly referred to as sanctification.  According to Boston, this is an imperfect sanctification.

In his letter to the Church in Galatia, Paul addresses the problem directly.  “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.  They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” (Gal. 5:17)  As we are being renewed by the Holy Spirit into the new man, the old man is being destroyed.  However, while we live in this world neither is complete.

This being said, how do we deal with this imperfect condition.  Paul actually answered this question before he presented the quandary.  “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Gal. 5:16)  Well, I’m sure even the Galatians response was much like ours.  Easier said than done, Paul!

To help us better digest what Paul was saying I will provide some commentary from the Reformation Study Bible on verse 16.  First, the Holy Spirit dwelling in a believer is a sign of the inheritance to the covenant promises given to Abraham.  Secondly, the Spirit’s presence is a sign that in the final day, God will declare the believer to be righteous.

As we discussed in an earlier post, a common mistake we make when considering our sanctification, is putting too much emphasis on works.  We must not discount works, for Peter makes clear that they are evidences of our faith.  We also must not overweight works as evidence.  The mortification of the old man and the increase of the new produces greater belief in the promises of God.  Belief is evidence of sanctification being made perfect.  I once heard a great teacher say, “The greatest sin of all is not believing what God says.”  Conversely, the greatest good would be believing.

What Paul was telling the Galatians is that you combat the problem of sin by believing the promises represented by the Holy Spirit in you.  Just test yourself.  When you sin, were you aware of the Spirits presence and witness to your sin?  We could go on indefinitely with tips and exercises to help with this matter of awareness, but rather let us look at some facts Boston gives to help sure up our faith.

Christ tells us that the very fact that we are aware of our sin and that we want not to sin is a start to our faith.  Evidence of our being renewed is a hatred of sin.  Counting this struggle as joy is way to embolden us for the fight.  Our desire to struggle against our old nature is proof of the promises.

The unregenerate are not without struggles of their own.  The unbeliever has a perfect lack of sanctification.  Their struggle is between desires of the flesh and the fear of punishment or retribution.  They perfectly desire what is sinful and if they desire what is good they only wish to avoid the consequences of the evil.

Boston calls the old man a “troublesome guest.”  The fleshly desires of the sin nature are unwanted by the believer.  They are like a chronic affliction that, though it may wane, it will wax again.  The promise is that the affliction of sin no longer has dominion.  This pathogen that has raged now is being conquered by the Holy Spirit’s antigen.

This miraculous healer is unknown to the world.  Though there are many imposters, the fact that you know this One is proof of his reality.  There are many religions, some even called Christian, that profess to have the answers to perfecting your sanctification through rational and pragmatic practices.  They cannot accept the simplicity of the work of God because they cannot know him.  In John 14:17, speaking about the Spirit, Christ says, “The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him, nor knows him.  But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”  Therefor, living in the Spirit is about knowing of him.

If you are in a period of doubt, or have a dim view of your sanctification, take heart.  The Spirit conveys fresh supplies of grace.  The promise of the perfecting of our sanctification makes even our imperfection a blessing.  Your struggle is proof of the promise.

The Mystery of Sanctification

Sanctification is a term often used in religion speak, but often we can speak past one another because of how we define it.  Not an everyday word, sanctification means different things to different people.  Most commonly either we mean to be set apart for special purposes or the improving or purifying of one’s Godliness.  Thomas Boston would recommend a synonym that exemplifies both meanings, “washing.”  In his sermon series on John 8, Boston teaches that the mystery of sanctification is dependant on being washed by Christ.

If you are a child of God, your promised sanctification is multi-tensed.  It has already happened, is happening, and will happen.  In fact Boston calls it “the threefold washing of sinners.”  No matter your level of understanding or maturity in the Faith, you can relate with the concept of washing.  In the narrative of John 8, Christ uses the symbolic foot washing event to help Peter and the others understand their sanctification.  Though there will always be a mysterious aspect to our understanding,  Boston wanted us to understand that being sanctified is dependent upon being washed by Christ.

The message that Christ was trying to pass on to Peter had all to do with this cleansing by justification and the continued preserving of his soul.  Peter had already been cleansed by the washing of regeneration.  Paul, in his letter to Titus explains, “He saved us by the washing of rebirth(regeneration).” (Titus 3:5)  Peter, not understanding, desired that not only his feet, but also his hands and head be washed. Christ denied him by saying that a man who has had a bath need only wash his feet.  We are first washed by the sanctifying power of God when we are adopted as his children.

Progressive sanctification will continue all the days of our earthly life.  As symbolized by Christ’s washing of the disciple’s feet, we are to understand that there will be a continuous presence of God the Holy Spirit ever working to keep us clean.  The renewing affect of conversion will be at work in us until we are glorified in Heaven. Continued defilement due to our remaining sin must be removed from our soul.  A man made clean will still collect filth as he walks along the dusty paths of life.  We must understand, as  followers of  Christ,  that in no way may we wash ourselves.  Christ made clear to the disciples that only he can cleanse them.  We have a tendency to work toward improving our holiness.  We try to do better, to live cleaner, less sinful lives.  Also we tend to judge our success in this endeavor as a measure of sanctification.  More often than not we frustrate ourselves.  There is no merit in religious acts that can remove our stains.  Quoting Boston, “The doings and sufferings of saints are as free from merit as those of sinners.”  Don’t suffer yourself to measure your sanctification on your successes in washing yourself.

Finally, there is the final sanctification.  On the Day of Judgement we will be washed permanently.  When Christ sets his elect apart from the rest of mankind, the declaration of the Kingdom of Heaven, we shall appear pristine.  There will be no more cause for washing of feet nor of soul.  Our journey fraught with corruption will be ceased.  No longer will the grime of our sin cling to us.

If you are a believer and follower of Christ you must always recollect the mystery of sanctification and its threefold nature. No part should stand out more than the others.  If you focus more on one than the others you will be unfit for the feast.  Your living out your faith will be unbalanced and your walk will be aimless.  The strength of a threefold sanctification will hold you firm in the most violent tempest of your journey.