Drifting or resolve?

‘One of the most striking evidences of sinful human nature lies in the universal propensity for downward drift. In other words, it takes thought,  resolve, energy, and effort to bring about reform. In the grace of God, sometimes human beings display such virtues. But where such virtues are absent, the drift is invariably toward compromise, comfort, indiscipline, sliding disobedience, and decay that advances, sometimes at a crawl and sometimes at a gallop, across generations.

People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated’. – Don Carson, For the Love of God: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Treasures of God’s Word, Volume Two, 23 January.


  1. Hmm, not sure about this. The phrase “grace-driven effort” just barely saves this passage from seeming pretty much about works-righteousness, or maybe I just find it threatening because of my own perennial downward drift. I would agree that people don’t drift toward holiness, but would add that neither can they achieve holiness at all by their efforts, grace-driven or otherwise. Holiness belongs to God and can only come from God as grace, a gift not an achievement. But maybe I am being too hard on him from just a small passage.


  2. Since our efforts are grounded in the reality of God’s grace, the exhortation to work on our relationship with God is tolerable. My tendency is to beleive/act as if I’m justifying myself with my effort, and I think most people are like this. The post definately made me stop and think.
    a recovering moralist


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