Reverse Progress?

In thinking about the prophet Isaiah for a moment, what happened to him as he saw the the Lord sitting on the throne? (See: Isaiah 6:1-7) Answer, he realized his sinfulness. In other words, something profound happens as God moves in on us and that is what John Kleinig calls "Reverse Progress." You see, this idea of progress in sanctification is not the movement of the Christian upon holiness, but the movement of the Holy One upon the Christian. As God continually moves in on us, striking us down and binding us up (Hosea 6:1), "...we move away from pride in ourselves and our own achievements to a gradual awareness of our spiritual failure and Christ's work in us as we entrust ourselves to Him. We move away the conviction that we are self-sufficient to the repeated experience of spiritual bankruptcy. We move on from delusions of our spiritual importance to a growing sense of our utter insignificance and the glory of God. We move on from delight in our own power to the painful recognition of our spiritual weakness. We are brought from our self-righteousness to the increasing consciousness that we are sinful."

Kleinig goes on to say, "In our human lives, growing up involves the gradual shift from dependence to independence. But the reverse is true for us as we grow spiritually. On our journey we become more and more dependent on Christ for everything in every situation. We do not then proceed from childhood to adulthood; we move forward into spiritual childhood as we grow in faith and become people of prayer... As we mature in faith we learn to borrow all that we need and all that we are from Christ. Only as beggars do we have access to the Father's presence and His grace. Only as we receive grace upon grace from His fullness can we praise Him in the heavenly choir."

In summary Kleinig states that this idea of reverse progress is a lifelong journey where our, "...whole life is a process of conversion from ourselves to God, a dying to self that is complete only when we die."

We are beggars, this is most certainly true. What do we have that has not been given to us? (Matthew 5:3 & 1 Corinthians 4:7)

John Kleinig quotes from above are take from: Grace Upon Grace (CPH, 2008), 34-35.

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