How Does Sanctification Work? by David Powlison, Free for CAPC Members
David Powlison dispels the myth that there is a “key to sanctification” and then lays the biblical groundwork for spiritual growth.
There are few definitive ways to describe the modern world, but one thing is certain: We are a society that worships the empirical. We love to measure, to test, to prove, to offer concrete evidence that the world operates in a particular way. We find ourselves holding fast to the certainty of statistics, data, and peer-reviewed studies. We love constants. We love observations. This version of reality, the one grounded deeply in the philosophy of science, is what reigns supreme in our culture.Mike Cosper’s Recapturing the Wonder: Transcendent Faith in a Disenchanted World is meant to be a guide out of this chaotic disenchantment.
While much of the human experience is found in sensory perception, this constant emphasis on what can be scientifically proven often leads us to neglect the intangible: our souls. It’s challenging, almost embarrassing, to admit that our needs extend beyond physical obligations. Our world moves quickly, and it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of busyness, trading spiritual self-care for a life packed to the gills with movement and noise.
Mike Cosper’s Recapturing the Wonder: Transcendent Faith in a Disenchanted World is meant to be a guide out of this chaotic disenchantment. Using ancient, sacred practices, Cosper outlines pathways to recapturing holy wonder and finding God in the rhythms and spaces of ordinary life. His suggestions aren’t vague rhapsodies on the mystical power of prayer. Rather, Cosper offers practical steps to engage the intangible. His instructions aren’t for perfect Christians, but rather real people who occupy time and space, people with responsibilities and deadlines and abundant distractions. Cosper invites readers to join him in a journey toward peace, order, and communion with God.
With winsome stories and contemporary metaphors, Cosper explores sacred practices: orienting our time toward God through individual, corporate, and liturgical worship, intentional prayer, meditating on Scripture, seeking out regular solitude, fasting and feasting, mindful focus, and regularly communing with God. Each chapter explains the Scriptural and philosophical reasons for each practice, followed by practical ways to make room for these habits in our everyday lives.
These pathways aren’t meant to create further guilt and unrest in a believer’s life. Each exercise is saturated in grace and hope for more abundant, fulfilling spiritual formation. As Cosper writes, “If we fail to understand the gospel, then the disciplines become a means to an end—a way of trying to earn God’s attention and favor.” As Paul writes, there is nothing we can do to separate ourselves from God’s infinite love, and nothing we can do to earn it. Rather, these pathways are intended to draw us into God’s love, to connect our souls back to the wonder of God’s grace and presence in this world.
It is a good and righteous thing to advocate for human flourishing, justice, and peace. As we’re reminded in Genesis, it is also a good and righteous thing to make time for rest and reflection on the good creation that surrounds us. Recapturing the Wonder offers valuable advice for believers who feel burdened by the excess noise and weight of modern existence, who long to live in peace and gratefulness, and who seek to live in an “ordered, meaningful world,” one in which “all we have is gift.”
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