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Summary: To work our your Sanctification You Must 1) Understand Your Example 2) You Are Loved 3)Obedience 4)Personal Responsibilities & Resources 5)The Consequences of Sin

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How are you coming thus far in 2010 in terms of your new year’s resolutions? Author, innovation consultant, and speaker Stephen Shapiro, with the help of Opinion Corporation of Princeton, New Jersey, offers the following interesting statistics concerning New Year’s resolutions:

• Forty-five percent of (North) Americans usually set New Year’s Resolutions; seventeen percent infrequently set resolutions; thirty-eight percent never set resolutions

• Eight percent are always successful in achieving their resolutions; nineteen percent achieve their resolutions every other year; forty-nine percent have infrequent success; twenty-four percent (one in four) never succeed and have failed on every resolution every year.

• Forty-seven percent set resolutions related to self-improvement or education

• Thirty-eight percent set resolutions related to weight

• Thirty-four percent set resolutions related to money

• Thirty-one percent set resolutions related to relationships

• The younger you are, the more likely you are to achieve your resolutions (thirty-nine percent of those in their twenties achieve their resolutions every year or every other year, while less than fifteen percent of those over fifty achieve their resolutions every year or every other year)

• The less happy you are, the more likely you are to set New Year’s resolutions (this is especially true for those who set money-related resolutions: forty-one percent are not happy; thirty-four percent are moderately happy; twenty-five percent are happy)

• There is actually no correlation between happiness and resolution setting/success (people who achieve their resolutions every year are no happier than those who do not set resolutions or who are unsuccessful in achieving them) (http://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/weekly/09-12-21/7122109.html)

Last week we talked about having a fresh start in terms of focusing on the goal of Christlikness. We saw how it required 1) Proper Awareness, 2) Maximum Effort, 3) Focused Concentration, 4) Proper Motivation, 5) Recognition and 6) Conformity.

In Philippians, Paul focuses on achieving this Christlikeness in terms of the believer’s role in sanctification. Some misguided interpreters completely misread this exhortation, as if it said, “work for your salvation,” “work at your salvation,” or “work up your salvation.” But both in the immediate context of this letter and the broader context of the New Testament, none of those interpretations is correct. Paul is not speaking of attaining salvation by human effort or goodness, but of living out the inner transformation that God has graciously granted (Eph. 2:8-9).

As Paul emphasizes in verse 13 of Philippians 2, salvation is from God. But in verse 12 he focuses on the responsibility of believers to live lives that are consistent with the divine gift of salvation. Because “we live by the Spirit,” that is, have the divine life of Christ within us, we should “also walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25).

Everything in life requires energy. It takes energy to walk and to work. It takes energy to think and to meditate. It takes energy to obey and to worship God.


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