Possessed By God, By David Peterson

Possessed by God, A new Testament theology of sanctification and Holiness. Illinos:Apollos, 1995.

G.K Chesterton in his book Orthodoxy says “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.” I have come across many people telling the very same thing. Holiness? I cant and its not for me. Some have said, that being a Christian is so strict so there isn’t much fun in it for me. These are some of the different responses.

In contrast to a life of worldliness, there is this dashing point of being possessed by God, Holiness just the opposite of what the world says. But a life worth living. As I read this book, the focus is surely on Holiness, as being called as a people of God to be distinct.

In the introduction the author starts with our role in the life as a Christian and so he says that “Holiness is a neglected priority” and so often the church has failed to keep up-to the standards. The need is for us to look at the scripture and to find our basis in the word. The study of theology has gone to an extreme of just learning and living up to the standards that God has placed. And we fail to make sense of it. At the starting point of the book he demands for holy living. Unlike the world. The author express his concern over the fact of the sabbath day, meaning keeping the sabbath is a part of being Holy.

The author focuses on the word, ‘sanctification’ and all the entailments of that in the scripture and what it means to us. Starting from the covenant in the Old Testament, and the passage in the New Testament. The author quotes “Sanctification is about being possessed by God and expressing that distinctive and exclusive relationship by the way we live” (48) and calls that sanctification is just not a second form of grace but a process that is ingrained in the lives of the Christian. Quoting from the Calvin’s Institutes, “Christ justifies no one whom he does not at the same time sanctify” (93). So the author is not just implying aestheticism for holiness, or something completely different. But a one time experience and a continuous process of living in Christ.

Overall, it is a good academic work on the title and doing justice to it. He has stated clear arguments and the same time reasoned it out. Its a book worth reading. Because it helps us to focus on what God expects of through his grace. Living a holy life, but at the same time knowing we are possessed by God.

By : Sangster Sukumar

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