Old Doxoblogy

Friday, September 23, 2005

Bringing Out Of My Treasure What Is Old

This was originally posted way back in the month of June. I've reposted it in light of the discussions that have been taking place at Steve Camp's blog, Camponthis.

It occurs to me that the biggest problem I have with the Catholic Church (and with the New Perspective on Paul for that matter) is the confusion of the doctrine of justification by faith alone and the doctrine of sanctification. Although the two are very closely related, they are not to be fused together into one doctrine. To do so undermines the 'sola' of 'sola fide'.


Justification And Sanctification Simply Explained

In order to understand Justification and Sanctification, one must see their place in the 'Order of Salvation', commonly referred to as the 'Ordo Salutis'. The Order of Salvation as I understand it, as well as most of church history, is as follows.

These can be divided up into four categories,

1. Set Apart For Salvation-Election and Gospel.
2. Already Saved-Regeneration, Conversion, Justification, and Adoption.
3. Being Saved-Sanctification and Perseverance.
4. Future Salvation-Glorification.

In Election God chose those who would believe to salvation, not based on their belief or any goodness in them, but solely for His good pleasure. The Gospel is preached to them by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit, through the Gospel call, sets them apart for salvation.

In Regeneration the Holy Spirit wakes the dead, and imparts faith and repentance (Conversion). Upon Conversion they are declared righteous by God Himself (Justification) and as such they receive Adoption as children. All this is God's work for and in us.

In Sanctification we become co-workers with God as He makes us more holy (like Christ), and we strive for the same holiness. Perseverance is also done in cooperation with God as we are kept by God and continue in faith and repentance.

Glorification is the goal of the 'Order of Salvation' in general. Glorification occurs not at death, but at the resurrection, which takes place at the return of Christ.

Having now set the context for salvation, we will turn our attention to proper definitions of Justification and Sanctification.

Justification is the act of God occurring after conversion (faith and repentance) by which God forgives us for all sin that we have committed and declares us righteous on the basis of faith in Christ.

Sanctification is an act of God and man together by which man is conformed to the image of Christ. Not only are God and the individual Christian at work in sanctification, but also the community of believers at large are working for the common sanctification of one another.
Justification and Sanctification are similar in the respect of our standing before God.

Justification says that we are righteous and Sanctification makes us what Justification says we are. But even in this similarity there is much that contrasts the two doctrines. Justification is a legal term which states that in the eyes of the court we are not just innocent, but righteous. Sanctification is a practical term that takes into account the fallenness of each and every one of us and prepares us for the day when we must appear before the Judge of all creation. But we have this confidence, that Sanctification will be completed when we receive our new bodies.
It must be said that Sanctification does not save anyone. Sanctification is a response of our new nature to the fact of Justification. It is fed by the justified one's desire to be what God has declared him to be.

So don't confuse Justification with Sanctification. Do not depend on your Sanctification for your salvation. This is a very grievous error that will cost you your soul. Those who depend on their own works are not depending on Christ. Those who depend on their own works will never find rest. Rest is found only through faith in Christ, which results in the Judge of Heaven making the declaration, 'Justified, now be Just'.

Recommended Reading: John 3:1-21, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians 1-2, James 2:14-26


Steve Weaver said...

I'm confused. Just kidding.

Bhedr said...

This is good>Sanctification is a response of our new nature to the fact of Justification. <

The only part about Augustines earlier quote that you used in another post was power to sin. I don't believe as new creations that we have the power to sin. I believe the power to sin was broken at salvation. Now we have the power not to sin. We do have the *temptation* so sin again, but I believe the power to be broken completely.

Also I think in sanctification it is important to see that we are drawing from a huge swimming pool with a big straw with living water that gives us strength. Actually we are not drawing as a spring continues to bubble out. Anyway I think Peter said it best when telling us we are given everything we need in the Divine nature and to add to it in earnest; faith, self-control and so on.

We are Baptised with the Holy Spirits power. All the Old Testament saints though they were justified the same way we are, were not converted and Baptised by the Holy Spirit in the sense that we are. They lived in a prepatory work of being called to repentance, but did not experience the New Birth as we do. They did when Christ died and rose again, but they were kept in holding in Abrahams bossom. I don't fully understand how the Spirit worked back then in O.T. but I know he came and went and acted sporadicaly.

Israel was called to forsake sin, repentance and repentance and repentance. N.T saints are given the power now to repent by the power of the Holy Spirit. I believe this is what most today are missing. The new saints had to come to an understanding of the differance between the Baptism of repentance and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I am not speaking in the charismatic sense. I mean God gave us the power to believe as well as walk. I really believe many are missing this. It takes from us and places it on God. Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is simply saying that I don't need Him. I can do the work of God without him. It is attributing the Holy Spirit to being evil and yourself to being good.

I think people today are so paranoid of the Holy Spirit because of charismatics that they lose sight of His whole purpose of giving us what we lack.

Rose~ said...

I need to quote one of the most courageous leaders our country has ever had, "...no insignificant person was ever born." Can you name that pres.?
You might say it is not relevant to this post, but it hits BETWEEN the lines.

Jeremy Weaver said...

Sounds like something 'W' would say, but I'm still not sure what it means in this context.

Rose~ said...

Okay, okay. Deep BETWEEN the lines. Yes it is Dubya. And now let me leave you with a quote from his dad... "I have opinions of my own, strong opinions, but I don't always agree with them."