SANCTIFICATION BY CONSENSUS
Do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
In many evangelical circles it seems that we have morality by consensus. We may not be doing what society around us is doing, but neither are we living according to biblical standards. Instead we live according to the standard of conduct of Christians around us. We not only have morality by consensus; we have sanctification by consensus. We expect to become holy by osmosis, by the absorption of the ethical values of our Christian peer group.
If we’re going to make progress in the pursuit of holiness, we must aim to live according to the precepts of Scripture — not according to the culture, even Christian culture, around us. But how can we do this if we don’t know what those precepts are? It isn’t sufficient for us to hear one or two thirty-minute sermons a week. We must be exposed to the Scriptures on a daily basis if we hope to live under their authority.
To pursue holiness, one of the disciplines we must become skilled in is the development of Bible-based convictions. A conviction is a determinative belief: something you believe so strongly that it affects the way you live. Someone has observed that a belief is what you hold, but a conviction is what holds you. You may live contrary to what you believe, but you cannot live contrary to your convictions. (This doesn’t mean you never act contrary to your convictions, but that you do not consistently violate them.) So the discipline we’re talking about is the development of convictions, not mere beliefs. Convictions, of course, can be good or bad, so we want to make sure our convictions are Bible-based, that they are derived from our personal interaction with the Scriptures.
The Discipline of Grace