The Spirit of God is the Holy Spirit. Wherever He comes, He comes with holiness and sanctification. Here we see that the loving goal of our sanctification is that the Spirit will change us. God is making us new. The purpose in election is not just eternity with God in sinless bliss, but it is the everyday outworking of our salvation with the fear of God in our lives. If we are elect, it will show in our progression toward God in holiness and reverence: “he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Eph. 1:4). God chose us in holiness and He chose us to holiness. Election is the love and grace of God to us. Sanctification is the Spirit of God working through us to make that election, calling, and choice sure (2 Peter 1:10).
Yet, as we all know, often before we can make something new, we have to tear down the old. As God is making us new, He is also tearing down the old, and it does not always feel good. He is giving us new minds, new affections, new priorities, even new habits of speech. As Paul says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17).
Joyful obedience is the only faithful response to the gospel
Joyful obedience is the only faithful response to the gospel and the right response to election. The Bible reminds us that our obedience is an obedience of faith (Rom. 1:5; 16:26). It is the necessary and faithful consequence of the love of God in choosing sinners to be saved in Christ Jesus. If we love Christ, we joyfully obey Him (John 14:15). The commands of Christ are the loving edicts of a faithful Master. Like Peter (2 Peter 1:1), Paul (Rom. 1:1; Phil. 1:1), and James (James 1:1), we have no problem in calling ourselves slaves of Christ, who alone is worthy of our loving, unquestioned obedience.
When I was a boy, I obeyed my parents because of what I thought they would do to me if I did not (as most kids do). As I have matured, so has my obedience. Today I obey my mother not because I am afraid of what she will do to me, but because now I realize all that she has done for me. This is the obedience of faith—gospel obedience. We obey God not because we are afraid of what He will do to us if we do not. Rather, we obey Him because we are moved by all that He has done for us in Jesus Christ. He has lovingly elected us and sprinkled us with the sin-forgiving, grace-abounding blood of Jesus.
An excerpt from Blood Work by Anthony Carter.