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Constantly Dying; Constantly Living

"Luke 9:23-24 (KJV) 23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it."

2 Peter 1:4 (KJV) 4 "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."

John 15:4-5 (KJV) 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."

"How is that soul to be made a partaker of the divine nature?—By coming to Christ and connecting with him, as the dry, sapless branch connects with the vine, and thereby lives. ... When this union is formed, the principle of the law of association takes effect, the will is surrendered to Christ’s will, and the sinner has the mind of Christ. The humanity in Christ has touched our humanity, and our humanity has touched divinity. Thus, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, man becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus."

Signs of the Times, December 21, 1891 Par. 9

The Law of Association

The last few weeks I have been studying much about what it means to be a partaker of the divine nature. I've come across the term repeatedly as I have read, but never really understood what it meant. I think I finally know more and it is perhaps the most wonderful knowledge I have found yet. I will put a link where you can read more on the subject. However, in reading this morning I read of something referred to as the "law of association," and explained how by associating with Christ we are changed. Associating is a similar term to "communing"—spending time with Jesus. Note the following:

“I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.” Is this the test? Then is not here given a reason why so little is accomplished by so many laborers? They have not a living connection with Christ. The dry branch is to be united to the living vine, grafted into it. Fiber by fiber, vein by vein, the graft grows into the vine stock, until the life of the vine becomes the life of the branch, and the branch buds and blossoms, and matures its clusters of rich fruit. Jesus says to all, whatever their riches, their learning, their talents, their position, “Without me ye can do nothing.” There is the soul dead in trespasses and sins, and how is that soul to be made a partaker of the divine nature?—By coming to Christ and connecting with him, as the dry, sapless branch connects with the vine, and thereby lives. The sinner may unite his ignorance to Christ’s wisdom, his weakness to Christ’s strength, his frailty to Christ’s enduring might; and in this union there is confidence, love, and dependence. When this union is formed, the principle of the law of association takes effect, the will is surrendered to Christ’s will, and the sinner has the mind of Christ. The humanity in Christ has touched our humanity, and our humanity has touched divinity. Thus, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, man becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus. He then abides in Christ, living by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. New and heavenly principles are received through mental, moral, and spiritual association with Christ." – {ST December 21, 1891 Par. 9}

"Those who would gain the blessing of sanctification must first learn the meaning of self-sacrifice."
"It is the fragrance of our love for our fellow men that reveals our love for God. It is patience in service that brings rest to the soul. It is through humble, diligent, faithful toil that the welfare of Israel is promoted. God upholds and strengthens the one who is willing to follow in Christ’s way."

Acts of the Apostles, p. 560.2

First Learning The Meaning Of Self-Sacrifice

Then Constantly Dying To Sin And Constantly Living For Christ

In my study I also came across the following very instructive quote on sanctification. I particular noted two points: (1) the initial necessity of learning the meaning of self-sacrifice," and (2) sanctification being the "result of constantly dying to sin, and constantly living for Christ." 

"Those who would gain the blessing of sanctification must first learn the meaning of self-sacrifice. The cross of Christ is the central pillar on which hangs the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” “If any man will come after Me,” Christ says, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” 2 Corinthians 4:17; Matthew 16:24. It is the fragrance of our love for our fellow men that reveals our love for God. It is patience in service that brings rest to the soul. It is through humble, diligent, faithful toil that the welfare of Israel is promoted. God upholds and strengthens the one who is willing to follow in Christ’s way. {AA 560.2}

Sanctification is not the work of a moment, an hour, a day, but of a lifetime. It is not gained by a happy flight of feeling, but is the result of constantly dying to sin, and constantly living for Christ. Wrongs cannot be righted nor reformations wrought in the character by feeble, intermittent efforts. It is only by long, persevering effort, sore discipline, and stern conflict, that we shall overcome. We know not one day how strong will be our conflict the next. So long as Satan reigns, we shall have self to subdue, besetting sins to overcome; so long as life shall last, there will be no stopping place, no point which we can reach and say, I have fully attained. Sanctification is the result of lifelong obedience." {AA 560.3}

Final Thoughts

God has made wonderful provision for us to be completely transformed. First he draws us to Himself and gives us the desire to know Him. Then He brings us under conviction that we are lost. Then He offers pardon through the blood of Christ. Then He offers His own righteousness to stand in the place of our failure. He also calls us to follow Him, something that we cannot do on our own. And so, after becoming thoroughly frustrated with ourselves and giving up all hope in self-transformation, He opens our eyes to the wonderful possibilities that come through connecting with Him in the same way the branch connects to the vine. We accordingly choose to place ourselves in relationship in a new and continuing way, by spending time beholding and trusting Him. As we remain connected—we continue abiding and continue beholding—the law of association kicks in , and we become fully transformed—somehow the divine nature of Christ comes into our lives and brings such a transformation that 2 Cor. 5:17 can refer to us as new men and new women. I want that experience and I am sure you want it to. God wants it even more than we do!—Dan

Read more about partaking the divine nature elsewhere on this website.