Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sanctification and Justification Part 2

Continuing from the previous post titled Sanctification and Justification Part 1...

My commenter continues:

Sanctification, on the other hand, involves the work of the person. But it is still God working in the believer to produce more of a godly character and life in the person who has already been justified (Phil. 2:13)...

Sanctification does involve the work of the person, and it is God that is working within the believer for the purpose of sanctification.  This is what scripture teaches us.  The only part of this statement that scripture does not agree with, is the person has already been justified - as if the justification is some act that has happened in the past.  In order to show that this is not what Scripture says, we only need to look at the verses that my commenter used in order to prove his point that God is the one that works within us.  Instead of starting at Phil 2:13, let us look at the verse before it:

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Phillipians 2:12-13

Continue to work out your salvation...this does not sound as though justification / salvation is a finished act in the past.  This sounds more like we are continually working out our salvation presently.  Sure, we can point to a time and place where we started to believe and started the journey of faith, but that does not mean that we have arrived.  It does not mean that we have actually attained salvation / justification.

The statement that my commenter made does accurately describe the purpose of Grace.  It is not, in and of ourselves, that is working out our salvation.  It is God working within us.  God is the cause of our salvation and He is the cause of our sanctification.  He is moving and pressing us to become more and more holy.  To think that we are doing this ourselves, would be the heresy of Pelagianism.
Sanctification is not instantaneous because it is not the work of God alone. The justified person is actively involved in submitting to God's will, resisting sin, seeking holiness, and working to be more godly (Gal. 5:22-23).
 
I agree.  Sanctification is not an instantaneous event in someone's life.  Holiness, is a high measure, and all of us have a long way to go.  Only through the God's grace can we ever become holy.
Significantly, sanctification has no bearing on justification. That is, even if we don't live a perfect life, we are still justified. 
Sanctification does indeed have bearing on justification.  The root of the confusion goes back to the teachings of Martin Luther and John Calvin.  They both taught that man is justified by faith alone in such a way that the man's sin is never removed or blotted out - instead just merely covered over.  If man's sin is not blotted out, and it is just covered over, then of course justification has nothing to do with achieveing holiness.  That is a very logical conclusion.  What I have learned is that once you build a logical conclusion on something that is completely false, then the logical conclusion also must be false as well.
Did Jesus bless the Earth with his presence merely to cover up our sins, or to take away our sins?  Are our sins and iniquities merely covered over or blotted out entirely (Isaiah 43:25)?  Are they retained, or are they swept away (Isaiah 44:22)?  Are they merely ignored, or are they completely wiped out (Acts 3:19)?
Clearly scripture is telling us, that our sins are not merely covered over, but instead they are wiped out.  If our sins are completely wiped away, then achieving a state of holiness, is in fact part of our justification.  When you consider the evidence that our sins are completely taken away and we are to be made a new creature, and then you consider that this process is not instantaneous, then justification is not a one time event, but instead it is a progressive event that takes a lifetime, whose end state is only determined at the point of death.  Are you in a state of sanctifying grace or not?  That is the final determination.
Another clear verse regarding the relationship between achieving holiness (sanctification process) and justification is:
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord Hebrews 12:14 

Without holiness, no one will see the Lord?  See how holiness and justification is in fact interrelated?  You can't have one without the other.  They are not two separate things and have no bearing on eachother.  They are interrelated and tied together, completely.

Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. Rev 21:27 
In order to enter into heaven, we must be holy.  Will everyone achieve this state of holiness while on earth?  No, of course not.  Does that mean that most of us are hell-bound?  Not at all.  God, in His mercy, has given us the opportunity to achieve holiness, to have our sins forgiven, not only in this world, but also in the next.

Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come. Matt 12:32
From the words of our Savior, sinning against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in this world or the next.  What does that imply?  It implies that other sins, may be forgiven in the next world.  I only mention this because I don't want to paint a gloom and doom picture giving the impression that if you do not achieve a state of holiness in this world, that all is lost.  Instead, this is the reason for rejoicing.  God knows us so well, and His mercy for us is so great, that He has provided a way for our sins to be forgiven, even in the next world.  For this reason, we should all thank God for purgatory.
Where justification is a legal declaration that is instantaneous, sanctification is a process. Where justification comes from outside of us, from God, sanctification comes from God within us by the work of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the Bible. In other words, we contribute to sanctification through our efforts. In contrast, we do not contribute to our justification through our efforts.
Justification, as a whole, like sanctification is a process.  I have shown earlier how salvation is not something that is attained at one point and time, but there are also aspects of it that are currently being worked out with fear and trembling.  Initial justification, through the Sacrament of Baptism, is in fact instantaneous and begins you on your journey.  The moment you are baptized, all of your prior sins are forgiven.  You are in 100% right standing with the Lord - not because He has merely covered up your sins, but because He has taken them away, blotted them out, and removed them completely.
Progressive Justification (ongoing), takes a lifetime through the work of the Holy Spirit which is also sanctifying you.  This is called sanctifying grace. If we want to enter heaven, and God says that nothing unclean shall enter, then we must have somewhere on our plan of salvation to attain that holiness.  We may start the journey in this life, and through the grace of God, completely attain that holiness while still on this Earth, or we will continue the process of attaining holiness after we die in purgatory.
God bless you all....

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Purgatory is a doctrine from Hell that serves only to fill the coffers of your Church. You can't support that one from scripture either.

1godsgal said...

Hi Carl:

I know this won't pass the screening and it's ok. I just wanted to let you know my heart just sinks in reading your last couple of posts. You have been through alot, and alot of religious experience. I really do pray for you, that you will find the "relationship" part of who God is and be set free from this treck you are on. I hope you hear my heart here and not just a Catholic bashing, that truly is not my intention. Please just seek out God, and not man's opinion of Him, and allow Him to reveal Himself to you....and draw you to Him. That's all I ask...thanks!

Carlus Henry said...

Anonymous...

I don't even know where to begin to respond to this comment, but I will try.

Purgatory is a doctrine from Hell

No, it is not.

that serves only to fill the coffers of your Church

The doctrine of buying your way out of purgatory was condemned a long time ago as a heresy. There currently is not this process any more. I am sure that is what you mean about the coffers, right? Johann Tetzel was not accurately preaching spreading the doctrine of the Church.

You can't support that one from scripture either...

I thought that is exactly what I did. However, there are plenty of scriptural evidence for purgatory.

Here is at least one article that follows a discussion between a Catholic and a Protestant.

Is Purgatory Found in the Bible?

Here is just a short overview of the doctrine of purgatory. You can skip to the section titled Purgatory Not in Scripture:

Purgatory

God bless...

Carlus Henry said...

Godsgal,

I do sense your sincerity, (and prayers), and I definitely appreciate it.

Do not automatically assume that just because I am joining to the Catholic Church that I think that somehow absolves me from having a personal relationship with Christ. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It is because of my relationship with Christ, that I am joining His Church. I want to be as close to Him as I can. I believe that the closest I can be with Him, on this earth, is through the Eucharist.

The Eucharist is the key point that is drawing me to the Church. It is exactly what He said it is. It is exactly what ALL of Christianity has said that it is since the beginning of the faith.

I will continue to seek God and avoid all of man's opinion of what God is. I will continue to pray that He will find me worthy of His Grace that will carry me to holiness and eventually to heaven.

God bless you...

Anonymous said...

I have already thouroughly investigated Purgatory, but thanks for the link. .

Anonymous said...

BTW I did click those links and they are nothing more than the Catholic 'agenda' for lack of a better word.

I have researched both "sides" and strictly "objective" sources with no agenda. My comment stands.....

Carlus Henry said...

Anonymous,

BTW I did click those links and they are nothing more than the Catholic 'agenda' for lack of a better word.

If you mean explaining the Catholic Faith when you say Catholic Agenda, then you are correct.

I have researched both "sides" and strictly "objective" sources with no agenda. My comment stands.....

Objectivity is very hard to achieve, since we always approach things from the way that we see things. In other words, we all have a lens in which we see and know the world. What we have to be sure of, is that we have the right prescription for our lenses.

The Catholic website that I pointed you to, does nothing more than explain the faith. What you do with the information after you have received it, is up to you. There is no agenda other than a proper explanation of what Catholics believe and what the Bible teaches.

Every human being on this planet deserves the truth. All of us do. Not some half baked truth or some made up truth, but the complete truth. What we do with it after we receive it, is up to us.

God bless..

Anonymous said...

"... we all have a lens in which we see and know the world."

Exactly. You have the Catholic lense, and I have scripture. they are not always the same.

"There is no agenda other than a proper explanation of what Catholics believe and what the Bible teaches."

And when they are in opposition, you go Catholic. You cannot deny it.

Carlus Henry said...

Anonymous...

Exactly. You have the Catholic lense, and I have scripture. they are not always the same.

There are plenty of Non Catholics who would claim that they have a lens based only on scripture, and still disagree about some very important facets of the faith (Eternal Security, Baptism, Holy Communion).

I do not believe that they have a scriptural lens. They have a culturally biased lens in which they view scripture.

And when they are in opposition, you go Catholic. You cannot deny it.

They are not in opposition. What is in opposition is someones interpretation of what they think the Bible says and what the Catholic Church actually teaches.

Tuesday Morning said...

Anonymous,

>>Purgatory is a doctrine from Hell that serves only to fill the coffers of your Church. You can't support that one from scripture either.<<

You're once again responsible for demonstrating the authority by which scripture is properly interpreted. That really must be answered before any criticism of another's interpretation can hold any credibility.

Without it your position is unendingly reduced to...

"I understand scripture and you don't"

It conveys a lot of conviction, but not much substance.

Tuesday Morning said...

1godsgal

>>I really do pray for you, that you will find the "relationship" part of who God is and be set free from this treck you are on.<<

It sounds like you really want what's best here, but this comes across as a back-handed prayer.

The treck he's on is one that countless others have also taken and finally found the fullness of truth they were seeking. As a Catholic, I do resent the need to be "set free," as though serving God as a Catholic represented some sort of imprisonment. I've yet to see a well-reasoned argument against the Catholic church or it's teachings posted on this blog. I've seen a lot of passion and vitriol, but nothing of substance.

Your comment suggests "this treck" will obscure a relationship with God. Asking one to "just seek out God, and not man's opinion of Him" is the root of 30,000+ denominations of protestantism in existence today, all of whom claim they only need His word, but none of whom can agree on exactly what It's saying.

God did establish a church and did so for a reason. Our need for a relationship with the divine is a part of us we cannot ignore, but without the proper authority to teach, people will search for that relationship in Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius or the new Third Reformed Apostolic church that just opened down the street.

Anonymous said...

The very idea of Purgatory and the doctrines that are often attached to it (prayer for the dead, indulgences, meritorious works on behalf of the dead, etc.) all fail to recognize that Jesus’ death was sufficient to pay the penalty for ALL of our sins. Jesus, who was God incarnate (John 1:1,14), paid an infinite price for our sin. Jesus died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 2:2). To limit Jesus’ sacrifice to atoning for original sin, or sins committed before salvation, is an attack on the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.

If we must in any sense pay for, atone for, or suffer because of our sins – that indicates Jesus’ death was not a perfect, complete, and sufficient sacrifice.

For believers, after death is to be "away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23). Notice that this does not say "away from the body, in Purgatory with the cleansing fire." No, because of the perfection, completion, and sufficiency of Jesus' sacrifice, we are immediately in the Lord's presence after death, fully cleansed, free from sin, glorified, perfected, and ultimately sanctified.

Carlus Henry said...

Anonymous,

The very idea of Purgatory and the doctrines that are often attached to it (prayer for the dead, indulgences, meritorious works on behalf of the dead, etc.) all fail to recognize that Jesus’ death was sufficient to pay the penalty for ALL of our sins.

Not at all. What your comment is suggesting is that if someone believes in Purgatory, then they cannot believe in the sufficient work of Christ. This is not true. Nothing could be further from the truth, and let me explain.

The merits of Christ is the reason why any of us is going to go to Heaven. The point of disagreement is not the all sufficient work of Christ, it is just how and when these merits are going to be applied. Will they be applied at the moment and instant of our death, or are they going to be applied in this life and the next until we reach a state of holiness where we will be allowed to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

To limit Jesus’ sacrifice to atoning for original sin, or sins committed before salvation, is an attack on the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.

No one is limiting Jesus` sacrifice.

If we must in any sense pay for, atone for, or suffer because of our sins – that indicates Jesus’ death was not a perfect, complete, and sufficient sacrifice.

In order to enter into heaven, we must be holy. Because nothing unclean will enter into heaven (Rev 21:27). Purgatory is a state of purification where God purifies the soul and makes it holy, in the case that it did not attain holiness while on Earth.

The suffering, is due to the soul realizing that it is in purgatory anxiously awaiting the Beatific Vision (being in the presence of God), because of it's own fault. God did not put the soul there, the soul put itself there because it did not reach the level of uncleaniness necessary to enter in. To be clean, would be to remove all sin and the attachment that the soul has to sin.

For believers, after death is to be "away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23). Notice that this does not say "away from the body, in Purgatory with the cleansing fire."

Paul is not telling us here that when you are away from the body, you are with the Lord instantaneously. He is saying that he would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

Think of this statement..."I would rather be away from work and at home with my family". Does this mean that when I am away from work, I am with my family? Do I somehow teleport from work to my house, in an instant? Don't I have to get in my car and drive home?

The statement does not explicitly mean that when I am away from work, I am instantly home with my family. Instead it means that I would rather be at home with my family than here at work...

What is more interesting about this quote is the following passages 9,10,11...

So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. >For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

God bless...