I ended the last article with a discouraging note about the futility of the steps we often employ to guard against the flesh. Steps like being accountable and placing barriers of activity between ourselves and our temptation actually have “no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh” (Col. 2:23, ESV). These steps are not worthless, but they have no effect on our true heart’s desire.
Although man-made rules are of no value, something else has power in “stopping the indulgence of the flesh” or “restraining sensual indulgence” (Col. 2:23, NIV). This issue is the spectrum of this paper: What causes sanctification? Rules of men or holding fast to Christ?
These rules of men are tempting. Paul says they have the “appearance of wisdom” in promoting religion. The Pharisees (Matt. 23:23-24), the Colossians, and those in Timothy’s future (1 Tim. 4:1-5) all succumbed to this mistake. The rules men set up can provide external, visible, apparent victory in our teens. But those minor victories are short-lived. Read more about The Spectrum of Sanctification in Youth Ministry, Part 4