Christian Spiritual Formation - Parts 1 & 2

The term “Spiritual Formation” is the rage today, but is it a Christian term and if so, what does it mean?

“Spiritual Formation” is simply the term that refers to “sanctification.” And sanctification largely refers to the process by which every believer is being transformed into the Image of Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:9; Rom 8:29; Gal 4:19; 2 Cor 3:18; Phil 2:13) and personal effort (Rom 12:2; Phil 2:12; 1 Tim 4:7-8; Heb 6:1; 1 Pet 2:2; 2 Pet 1:5-8).

Now, don’t freak out about this idea of “personal effort” because I am not advocating a “works” oriented salvation. Every person who puts their faith in Jesus Christ is saved by grace, not works (Eph 2:8-9). However, our transformation is not a passive process whereby we just sit around and do nothing. For example, we know that the Holy Spirit uses the Bible as a primary tool in our transformation. But if I never actually sit down, open my Bible and start reading, the Holy Spirit isn’t going to have anything to work with. The personal effort on my part, is to sit down and start reading; the Spirit will not do that for me. My part is to read, study, memorize, and reflect on the Word, the Holy Spirit’s part is to bring about the actual growth. 

Sanctification is a cooperative venture; the Spirit blesses believers with sanctifying grace, but the latter must faithfully cooperate therewith. Faith alone justifies; but faith joined with our concerted efforts sanctifies . . . The biblical pattern is not that God does some of the sanctifying and we do the rest. Rather, believers strive for holiness in every area of life through the enabling Spirit.”  -Dr. Bruce Demarest: The Cross and Salvation, 425.

Therefore, I believe that “Spiritual Formation” is largely synonymous with words like: “Sanctification,” “Progressive Sanctification,” “Spiritual Growth,” and “Discipleship” in that all these terms refer to the same thing: being “rooted and established in love” (Eph 3:14). 

In the following video: Christian Spiritual Formation - Pt 1,  I discuss God’s ultimate plan for every Christian as well as the variety of elements that have “shaped” us spiritually. Many things in life affect us spiritually including, our family of origin, painful experiences, joyful experiences, and culture to name a few. In the following video, I will share with you why I believe it is important to identify the various elements that have shaped us and how they affect our Christian Spiritual Formation.


If you would like to download the graphics I refer to on the TV, you can download the graphics here as a .pdf file.  I also have included the outline if you want to take notes. You can download the outline here.

Christian Spiritual Formation - Pt 1
June 10, 2015

In the following video: Christian Spiritual Formation - Pt 2,  I discuss the fact that human beings are composed of material (flesh) and immaterial (spirit). Therefore, the whole-person (body and spirit) must be addressed if spiritual formation is to be truly transformative. I also describe at length how Neurology (brain science) can help us understand why we get stuck spiritually and then share with you a practical process for taking “every thought captive to Christ” (2 Cor 10:5) in such a way that it renews the mind (Rom 12:2).


If you would like to download the graphics I refer to on the TV, you can download the graphics here as a .pdf file. I also have included the outline if you want to take notes. You can download the outline here.

Christian Spiritual Formation - Pt 2
June 24, 2015

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