OUR very pertinent Q: What is God's role and a believer's role in sanctification? SANCTIFICATION being synonymous with growth in Christ, becoming more like Christ, being conformed to Christ. Having our inward character reflect God's character. It explains the good effects of God's work in a person's life. Sanctification is related to holiness, coming from same root word meaning holy, set apart, consecrated to God. Bible Words…The word sanctification hagiasmos occurs 8 times in the NT and is alluded to countless times. 1 Peter 1:2 in the sanctification of the Spirit. Synonyms are...grow, set apart, consecrate, be separate, be conformed, Sanctify…Sanctified…Set apart…Holy…Consecrate …Saints…Sanctify 28x… Rom. 6:19, 22; 1 Thess. 4:3; 2 Thess. 2:13.
There are 2 Common Errors...Representing the extreme positions. 1st. Thinking we do nothing at all to contribute to our growth in Christ. God does it all. PASSIVE ROBOTIC GROWTH. AUTOMATED. IT IS DONE TO YOU. You are passive in it. 2nd. Thinking we everything to contribute to our growth in Christ. JUST DO IT MENTALITY. YOU MAKE IT HAPPEN. Depends on you. You are the sole actor. You don't know them by names...but for the sake of the explanation, the old-school names are Quietism and Pietism. On one side God-centered view...Quietism says you are very passive in sanctification. You do nothing but receive it. God does it all. You put forth no effort at all. You yield, surrender. Surrender, die to self, Christ replaces us with Him, fills us with Himself. Literally. To the far extremes of this view is the idea that there is actually No more temptation, because Christ blocks it before it gets to a believer. We are passive in sanctification. It happens TO us. Everything depends on Jesus. No will of your own. Quandary...if you sin, whose fault is it? You took yourself off the altar. Mystical view. Potter and clay. Sit there. No part. Sin...clay jumps off the wheel. Huge amount of stress and anguish keeping yourself in the right spot. On the other side of the spectrum is Man-centered view...what has been called...Pietism says you are very active in sanctification. Bible reading, prayer, practical living, all progress depends on you. Can lead to pride if you succeed or despair if you fail.
SO WHICH IS IT? TRUST OR OBEY? Is it all of Him, or all of me to Him? This is a mystery. SANCTIFICATION, spiritual growth, spiritual progress...As with every biblical doctrine, there is an apparent paradox that cannot be fully resolved in the mind of mortal man. Read 2:12 Paul is a JUST DO IT pietist! Read 2:13 Paul is a PASSIVE ROBOTIC GROWTH. AUTOMATED. quietist! But what he is revealing to us is...it is both...God's role & ours. God's role...Working in...Phil. 2:13 Believer's role...Working out...Phil. 2:12. We will look at in the order it shows up in these verses. Believer's role...Working out...Phil. 2:12. 2:12 Work out (katergazomai - perform, produce) your salvation. Christ worked for it and secured it at the cross. We are to bear fruit in keeping with repentance (Acts 26:20). Work OUT...not FOR, not AT, not UP. Salvation is not by works, Eph. 2:8-9, but unto Good Works 2:10. Rom. 3:21-24 righteousness by grace. Work out is a Present Imperative… Continually making the effort to work out. Always means to bring something to fulfillment, phone is, completion.
Your salvation needs to be brought out in fullness. Takes Effort. Diligence. Work out what's been planted within. Like working a mine. Extracting richness and value of what's already there. Ability and training 1 Timothy chapter 6. Godliness. Mine out the treasure daily in holy living. Inner life evident in outward actions. Great effort. Personal effort. Rom. 6:19 Continually present your members as slaves of righteousness resulting in sanctification. Describes an aggressive pursuit. Eph. 4 walk worthy of the calling with which you have been called. 2 Cor. 7:1 cleanse ourselves from all defilement. That's how you grow. Not by passive non-effort, and not by self-sufficient willpower. But by Spirit-led and empowered wise choices. Not just a yielded life, but a yielded life that takes responsibility. Max effort. 2 Tim. 4 fight the good fight. 1 Cor. 9:24 not passive. Running. 9:27 Punching. 1 Cor. 10 we wrestle. Phil. 3:12 press on. Lay hold of. 1 Tim. 4:15 take pains. Absorbed. 6:12 fight good fight of faith. Lay hold of eternal life. AN EXTERNAL PURSUIT BASED ON INTERNAL REALITIES. IT IS PRETTY OBVIOUS THAT GOD WANTS and EXPECTS YOU TO GROW. 1 Peter 2:2 says to long for the pure milk of the word so that by it we may grow with respect to salvation. Ephesians 4 says that you should grow up in all aspects into him who is the head, even Christ. 2 Peter 3:18 says grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If your life has been changed by Jesus, you will be headed in His direction. Your motivation. Your ambition? To be pleasing to Him. 2 Cor. 5 live for Him who died for you.
& THERE'S MORE TO WORKING OUT YOUR SALVATION... Work out also has the idea of IT WILL BE BROUGHT TO ITS COMPLETION. You are to pursue full and final expression of salvation, GLORIFICATION. It's not just for now. Phil. 3:14 end goal. Someone who is has experienced true justification will go through the process of sanctification. If there is not sanctification there was no justification. Justification depends on true faith, which leads to works of obedience. There will be inward and ourwardly observable repentance. A change in your mind about you and God – not a mere change of opinion – but a complete redirection of your life. A radical turn from sin to Christ. AND THIS WILL BE EVIDENCED AS AN ONGOING PATTERN OF LIFE. If you have been truly converted, regenerated, justified by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, you will persevere to the end. If you have saving faith you won’t lose it, if you lose it you never had it. Perseverance doesn’t depend on our strength and ability to keep ourselves in Christ, but on God’s promise to keep us…Phil. 1:6, 1 Peter 1:3-7. BUT...Only half the story. Everything accomplished takes energy. What is the energy that brings about growth, fruitfulness, spiritual progress, sanctification? God's energy that works mightily in us. God's role...Working in...Phil. 2:13 God is at work (energeo - effectively work, bring about) in you. By God's doing you are in Christ (1 Cor. 1:30). What God does...work (effectively and productively, put forth power) in to will and do His good pleasure (to fulfill His good sovereign purposes).
THE ENERGY AND EFFECTIVE POWER OF GOD IN ACTION IN YOUR LIFE. Col. 1:27-29 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. 1 Cor. 1:27-31 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” ETERNAL SECURITY since Salvation is a Soveriegn act of God...and the PERSEVERANCE OF SAINTS. GOD AND YOU.
A transformed heart and life rests in faith and runs the race. Romans 8 eternal security from God and perseverance on your part. Matthew 24 endure to end...saved. Acts 13:43 urging them to continue in the grace of God. 2 Cor. 6:1-2 right after speaking of God making us the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God in Christ...working together with Him...we urge you not to RECEIVE the grace of God in vain. It's both/and not either/or. If you're saved Romans 2:7 God gives eternal life. Colossians 1:23 saved if you continue not moved from the hope of the gospel. Heb. -: 14 partakers if we hold fast. 10:38 by faith, no shrinking back. Faith to the preserving of the soul. God wants to get on the outside what's on the inside. Completion. Fulfillment. Phil. 3:7 everything as loss. 3:10 know him and the power of his resurrection conformed to his death. Persevere to the end and faith. 3:12 I haven't got there yet. But I am pressing on. With fear and trembling A deep overriding desire to please God. Anxiety over not displeasing Him. Joseph...how could I do this against God? With fear and trembling is no contradiction of the joyful tone of this letter. Christian joy is the gift of God to every believer, but holy fear of God that trembles at the thought of sin is also the attitude of the careful Christian (James 4:8–10). 2:13 Paul says the power to obey this exhortation is furnished by God himself, produces in believers both a desire to live righteously and the power to do so. With a healthy reverence for God, completely depend upon him, we act upon His indicative truth, seeking to obey the imperative commands in His power. Mining the gold that is already there. Heb. 12:2 looking to Jesus. So SANCTIFICATION is GOD + man. It won't happen without God and He won't do it without you. The answer is found in BEING BIBLICALLY BALANCED. Be faithful to what the Binle actually teaches and you will find that the way things work become more clear. Not easier to understand per SE, but clearer. Lots of out of balance believers.
BALANCE IS THE KEY WORD. This is what the Scriptures show us. 1 Kings 8:54 Solomon dedicating the temple. Verse 58 incline our hearts to Yourself. So we might walk in Your ways. Obedient. God inclines us to obedience. 2 Peter 1:3 God by His divine power has granted to us EVERYTHING pertaining to life and godliness. Peter is a Quietist! 1:5 Therefore applying all diligence...add to your faith moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, kindness, love. Peter is a Pietist! 1 Peter 1:2. Context 1 Peter 1:1-9 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. What is sanctification? A supernatural, sovereign, internal work of God; combined with regenerate man's focused, diligent effort; utilizing God's ordained means; beholding God's glory; resulting in increasing Christlikeness.
NOW LET ME FILL IN SOME GAPS...SINCE PAUL IS TALKING SANCTIFICATION, I WANT TO GIVE YOU SOME BACKGROUND ON IT. SO YOU KNOW WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT, AND WHAT WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT. Sanctification is part of the larger picture re how God saves us. Election…God chooses you before the world began. Calling…you hear the gospel. Regeneration…God causes us to be born again to a living hope. Conversion…we come to faith in Christ. Justification is an instantaneous legal act of God where a believer is declared righteous on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ. Free from Sin's penalty. Glorification is where God ultimately removes all sin from a Christian and gives him a resurrection body. Finally free from Sin's presence. Sanctification is a lifelong work of God and man where we are progressively made more like Christ and more free from sin. Becoming free from Sin's power. Sanctification is both Positinal/Perfect...and Progressive...In one sense it is positionally complete. We are sanctified in Christ. Set apart, consecrated for His use. In another sense it is conditionally incomplete. By that I mean that God is still in process of sanctifying us. Making us more and more set apart and transcript for his use, and more and more like Christ.
Our active and observable works are energized and accomplished by God almighty. Positional Sanctification which is complete in Christ and Progressive Sanctification which is a lifelong work of God & man where God frees us from sin & makes us more like Christ. Positional Sanctification...union with Christ The Sovereign work of God. Phil. 2:13. Union with Christ is the foundation, not the goal. Where much of contemporary spiritual formation ideas go wrong. Marriage...growing into your legal position POSITIONAL SANCTIFICATION…depends on justification and God claiming us once-for-all as His own. We are holy in Christ positionally, and we are being made holy in Jesus Christ on the basis of His promise, not our efforts. It is rooted in our ELECTION in Christ, which is the ultimate source of our sanctification. John 15:16 You did not choose Me but I chose you and appointed you that you would bear fruit, fruit that remains. 1 Thess. 2:17; 2 Thess. 2:13-16; 2 Tim. 1:9-10; 1 Peter 1:2. Jesus is our righteousness 1 Cor. 1:30. POSITIONAL SANCTIFICATION is The Sovereign work of God...Phil. 2:13; 1 Thess. 5:23 Progressive Sanctification...growth in Christ The Spirit-led work of man. What Phil. 2:12-13 is all about.
PROGRESSIVE SANCTIFICATION…The NT speaks very clearly of us being set apart as an ongoing work within believers that renews us inwardly and gradually conforms us to the image of Christ. We ARE holy (positional Sanctification) therefore we ARE TO BE holy (Progressive sanctification). We are saved by grace not works Eph. 2:8-9 but we are saved FOR good works Eph. 2:10. In spite of our weakness, Christ is at work in us by His Spirit 2 Cor. 12:9-10. His grace is sufficient for us. So we are to pursue holiness, purity, peace, gentleness, faith James 3:13-18. We are to offer ourselves holy in Christ as living sacrifices Rom. 12:1, living stones in a holy temple to offer spiritual sacrifices to God 1 Pe 2:4-5. PROGRESSIVE SANCTIFICATION is The Spirit-led work of man... Sanctification is a beautiful God-given gift that we must pursue with all our heart. Indicative Positional Sanctification leads to imperative Progressive Sanctification. So you need to put the two concepts together because that's what God does. In your practice let's not think that it's only God doing it and let's not think that it's only us doing it. Let's believe the biblical balance that God gives us over and over again and his work. Things just work out better when we are in biblical balance. And so let's take a look at what it might look like an actual every day life to practice these two things. Acknowledging the mystery, embracing the tension, and living unto God How will you live if you are experiencing vital, growing, progressive sanctification? You will devote yourself to God's word and prayer in reliance on the Holy Spirit demonstrating active obedience to God and living a life of worship to God.
The SOURCE of our growth in holiness is God alone. But God works through means. God-given resources... To pursue God-given Holiness… you need…to be absolutely committed to… Some very important things… 1.God’s Word and Prayer 1 Peter 2:2 long for the pure milk of the word so that you may grow in respect to salvation. Grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus via God's Word and Prayer. Put yourself in the way of truth. Let truth wash over you. Marinate in it. Past 33 years majority of my days have had times of Bible reading and prayer. It has not harmed me. Time well spent. Wish was more. I'm not saying just read the Bible and pray you will grow. It needs to be united with faith and reliance upon the Lord. But I am saying that if you seldom read the Bible and pray you will not grow as a Christian. 2. Rely on the Holy Spirit You can't do this alone, God is God, you are his instrument of righteousness.Reckon yourself dead to sin and alive to God. Rom. 6:11; 8:13. God has given you the power to say no to sin. Know that God is always with you. Carry on an ongoing conversation with him. Secret conversation between you and God. As Brother Lawrence put it…Practice the presence of God. Especially in presence of doubts. 3. Obey God Love the Truth and live it daily. Obey by Faith. Our justification and union with Christ is not just a starting point for us to take it from there…what was started in the Spirit cannot be completed in the flesh. It is the source of any progress in the Christian life. Faith in believers is given in regeneration and received in justification, and it is ACTIVE in sanctification.
TRUST GOD AND MAKE WISE CHOICES BASED ON HIS WORD. God is more concerned with your sanctification progress in holiness than He is with your career, accomplishments, appearance, and all the other things you work so hard to attain and maintain.// Paul counted everything rubbish. Good human things many people congratulated him for. Power, prestige, wealth, things people kill for. Compared to Christ they are trash. 4. Worship God. Yield to Jesus. Pour your heart out in worship. 2 Cor. 3:18 Beholding God's glory. Transformation metamorphoo... inner transformation of a person – fundamental change in character. God's work in your life will reveal itself in choices...relationships - how you choose to speak and relate; integrity - your level of honesty in matters of conscience; media - what you watch, and post; music - what you let wash over your mind: stuff - what you accumulate and how you use it; even the clothes you wear - how modesty or immodestly you present yourself and why. I don't advocate a one size fits all mentality for growing in Christ, but I believe we ought to be striving to be within the biblically balanced sweet spot where growth can occur. It won't look exactly the same in everyone's life but these things will be there. Do these things alone, with your household, with others, as part of the local assembly. If you tend to think rules reign supreme you should back off and rest in biblical indicatives, what Christ has done for you. If you tend to think rules don't matter you should take the biblical imperatives to heart, what Jesus says to do.
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