Preaching Christ and Him Crucified
When you look at the apostle Paul, you hardly see a pragmatist. He says to the Corinthians, I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (1 Cor. 2) Wow, that's a pretty narrow message. So whenever he showed up in a situation, it was about Christ, about Christ crucified, and consequently, Christ raised from the dead.
Paul says, I didn't come to you in the wisdom of a man, I didn't come to you with any human cleverness or ingenuity. I came and I preached Christ crucified and Christ risen so the focus is on Christ. (1 Cor. 2)
Until Christ Is Fully Formed in You
He also says in the book of Galatians, I am in birth pains until Christ is fully formed in you. Why does he talk about birth pains? Because that's the most agonizing sort of human experience. We all understand that the birth pains in which a woman brings forth a child are agonizing birth pains.
The passion of his ministry was the sanctification of his people.
Paul is saying, I literally agonize in a kind of birth pain to bring forth a sanctified believer who's like Christ. Therefore, you could say the passion of his ministry was the sanctification of his people. He was never content that someone believed. That was not enough. He was never content that someone just gathered with the saints. He was never content until Christ was fully formed in that believer. That was always the objective: to see that believer conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. That's the pastor's primary calling: the sanctification of his people.
John MacArthur is the author of Sanctificaiton: God’s Passion for His People.
God is the one who enables us to do the good works he has called us to do.
Justification and sanctification are inseparable gifts of redemption because they flow from the unified work of the triune God and his electing, redeeming, and renewing mercy.
If we take apathy seriously, as does God, we will be better equipped to recognize it when it threatens, avoid it, or at least escape from it earlier.
The Holy Spirit guarantees that he is at work. He will continue to be at work until it is completed on the day of Christ Jesus.