Sanctification: Union with Jesus by D Wadsworth

Sanctification is said to be past, present, and future.
Discuss, including the idea of “union with Christ.”

Sanctification—the act and process whereby the believer’s life is made holy. “. . .that hallowing of the Christian believer by which he is freed from sin and enabled to realize the will of God in his life” (H. F. Rall, “Sanctification,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. IV, p. 2682).

Sanctification has a commencement date and a completion date; therefore, it must have a past, present, and future tense. ―Sanctification has a definite beginning at regeneration.. Sanctification increases throughout life. Sanctification is completed at death (for our souls) and when the Lord returns (for our bodies). It can, then be said we were sanctified when quickened and indwelt by the Holy Spirit; after which we received a new nature which changed our desires and illuminated our minds.( 1Cor 6:11; Eph 2:1-6; 2Pe 1:4) The Greek expression for ―sanctified‖ in Acts 20:32 is ―a perfect passive participle that expresses both a completed past activity (they were sanctified) and a continuing result (they continue to experience the sanctifying influence of that past action).(Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, chapter 38, pg 747). Our sanctification is a progressive process, unlike justification, whereby each passing day slips further into the past while the day of our perfection, at death, slips ever closer to the present. Justification is a legal transaction/sanctification is a personal condition; Justification happens once/sanctification is continual; Justification is done for us/sanctification is done with us; Justification is complete/sanctification is gradual; Justification is identical for all/sanctification varies with all. ―The orthodox doctrine is that the Holy Spirit, by his constant influences upon the whole soul in all its capabilities, through the instrumentality of the truth, nourishes, exercises, and develops those holy principles, and dispositions which he implanted in the new birth, until by a constant progress all sinful dispositions being mortified and all holy temperaments being fully matured, the subject of this grace is brought immediately upon death to the measure of the stature of perfect manhood in Christ(A. A. Hodge, Outlines of Theology, chapter XXXV, pg 521). What blessed joy in knowing what God has begun He will finish; knowing we will grow increasingly in Christ likeness thereby tasting ever more of the fruit of the Spirit and the glory to come. Phil 1:6; Gal 5:22-23

However, it must be remembered Jesus said ―I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing(John 15:5). Our justification ―proceeds on the ground of our federal union with Christ by faith, which is the basis of that vital and spiritual union of the soul with him from whom our sanctification flows. The fruits of sanctification are good works but for an action to be good it ―must have its origin in a holy principle in the heart, and must be conformed to the law of God.. Truly good works can be produced only by a heart in living union with Christ: As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can except if you abide in me.‘ John 15:4. We can never say we are completely free of sin while in the body but neither can we say sin any longer has power over us while the sap of the vine runs thru our veins; we are neither ruled nor dominated by sin any longer (Romans 6:11-22). While sanctification is a grace, as free moral agents it is still a duty. ―The whole process of sanctification consists in the development and confirmation of the new principle of spiritual life implanted in the soul in regeneration, conducted by the Holy Spirit in perfect conformity to, and through the operation of the laws of habits of action natural to the soul as an intelligent, moral and free agent. Paul says ―work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure Peter says ―give diligence to make your calling and election sure. The Westminster Divines say ―They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them, the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified; and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.―( Phil 2:12-13; 2Pe 1:10; Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 13). In sanctification we find: we have been saved from the penalty of sin, we will be saved from the presence of sin, and we are being saved from the power of sin.

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Justification by faith alone.” Discuss the meaning of this phrase-D Wadsworth

As I continue to study for my counseling preparation here is the next entry:

“Justification by faith alone.” Discuss the meaning of this phrase.

The shed blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection provide the only ground for justification and salvation. What is justification? ―Justification is an act of God’s free grace (Rom 3:24), wherein he pardon all our sins (Rom 4:6-8; IICor 5:19), and accepts us as righteous in his sight (IICor 5:21), only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us (Rom 4:6; 5:19), and received by faith alone (Gal 2:16; Phil 3:9).

Justification is an instantaneous legal act of God in which he (1) thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ‘s righteousness as belonging to us, and (2) declares us to be righteous in his sight.( Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, Chapter 36, pg 723 ). Luther said this is the doctrine upon which the church stands or falls. The doctrinal dispute in mainstream Christianity is found in the addition of the word alone.‘ Protestantism says our justification is Forensic, or a one-time legal declaration based on the imputed righteousness of Christ. Roman Catholicism claims our justification is based on infused righteousness, or the internal change in moral character resulting from our acting upon the actual righteousness God places within us. In other words, sanctification plays a significant part in justification. They say Scripture does not say we are justified by faith alone but in James 2:24 it does say ― You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

While Paul does not say faith alone in Romans 3:20 he does say ―Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. And in Romans 3:28 ―Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. This seems to be a biblical contradiction between Apostles or at least a contradiction in the Apostle Paul who seems to quote the Apostle James in Romans 2:13 ―For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. And again in Ephes. 2:10 ―For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Context is the key to harmonizing these passages. The context of Paul is justification in his [God‘s] sight‘ while the context of James is justification in our [man‘s] sight.( Rom 3:20; Jas 2:18; 1Sam 16:7 )

Furthermore, James refers to Abraham in Genesis 22 where Abraham shows himself to be righteous, whereas, Paul refers to a younger Abraham in Genesis 15:6 where it says ―And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness. James and Paul agree ―faith without works is dead, however, Paul makes it clear works is the evidence of‘ not- the cause of‘ our justification. He declares it is the love of Christ that constrains us not our effort to merit acceptance. ―Those whom God effectually calls, He also freely justifies: not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God. .Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification: yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but work by love. Our justification does not merely entail the forgiveness of past sin as that would simply render us morally neutral requiring a second plank of salvation for future sin but it is also based on the imputed righteousness of Christ who kept the law perfectly on our behalf thereby keeping our soul eternally secure—thus, we are said to be clothed in garments of salvation and a robe of righteousness. Imputation is an important biblical and legal concept; we find Adam‘s guilt imputed to us, our sin imputed to Christ, and Christ‘s righteousness imputed to us. Without this approach we could have no assurance of forgiveness, no confidence to approach the His throne boldly, and no ability to speak of a free gift (grace vs. debt).

Justification and salvation are for all who believe.

Personal faith in Jesus Christ is the prerequisite for justification and salvation. Among the many verses of Scripture which speak of this are John 3:16 and 36, Acts 13:39, 16:31, Romans 3:21-30, 5:1, 10:9-11, Galatians 2:16, 3:24.
We should think of faith as a pipeline. It does not produce salvation; it merely connects us to God, the Giver of salvation. Faith is the pipeline or linkage through which salvation is channeled to us. For this reason it can truly be said that we are saved if we believe, but we are not saved for believing.

H. C. Thiessen speaks of this when he states that faith “. . . is the condition of our justification, not the meritorious ground of it. . . . It is not ‘for’ faith that we are justified, but ‘by’ faith. Faith is not the price of justification, but the means of appropriating it” (Lectures in Systematic Theology, p. 366).

Think of repentance, then, as the turning from sin and faith as the turning to God, and you will see that these are simply two aspects of one whole. To have one is to have the other also. You cannot turn from sin without turning to God, for God is the only alternative to sin. Nor can you turn to God without turning from sin, for the two are mutually exclusive. Thiessen again puts it well, “. . .true repentance never exists apart from faith. That is, one cannot turn from sin without at the same time turning to God. Conversely we may say that true faith never exists without repentance. The two are inseparably bound together” (H. C. Thiessen, Lectures in Systematic Theology, p. 354).

Saving faith is “repentant faith.”
Repentant faith is a gift from God. It is something which God will produce in the hearts of those who are open to His grace. Among the Scripture texts which imply that repentance and faith are gifts of God are Acts 5:31, 11:18, 2 Timothy 2:25, Luke 17:5, Romans 12:3, and Ephesians 2:8.

God uses various means to produce repentance and faith in the lives of the elect. Primary among these is His Word (Romans 10:14-17). When we read and proclaim the Word of God, we are working with God’s primary instrument for producing saving faith in people’s lives.

Even the faith to believe is a gift which precedes our justification and, therefore, is not the cause of it. ―..faith is the one attitude of heart that is the exact opposite of depending on ourselves.. This is why the Reformers from Martin Luther on were so firm in their insistence that justification comes not through faith plus some merit or good work on our part, but only through faith alone.―Were faith the ground of justification, faith would be in effect a meritorious work, and the gospel message would, after all, be merely another version of justification by works—a doctrine which Paul opposes in all forms as irreconcilable with grace and spiritually ruinous (cf. Rom 4:4; 11:6; Gal 4:21-5:12). It‘s all of Christ or none of Christ.

Are we like Jesus? by D Wadsworth

He was ―tempted in all things as we are(Heb. 4:15).

―For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 14:5

Infirmities (astheneia) means ―feebleness (of body or mind); by implication malady; moral frailty :- disease, infirmity, sickness, weakness.‖ Tempted (peirazo) means ―to test (object), i.e. endeavor, scrutinize, entice, discipline :- assay, examine, go about, prove, tempt (-er), try.

Jesus was fully (100%) human and fully (100%) God (know as the hypostatic union). Jesus was one person with two natures (human and divine). In his humanity, like all mankind, he was a dichotomy consisting of body and soul and, therefore, able to be touched by the weakness which so often touches us. Christ endured stress, pain, suffering, and sacrifice of an intensity that we will never face because he did not break. He stood strong against sin for us. He endured everything the world could throw at him.( Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer‘s Hands, pg 167)

Jesus experienced physical frailty. He was born just like we were: He had a human body just like we do; He grew in wisdom and stature just like we do; He became tired just like we do; He became thirsty just like we do; He became hungry just like we do; He became physically weak just like we do; He physically died just like we do. Jesus experienced travail in his soul just like we do: ( Lk 2:7; Lk 2:40, 52; Jn 4:6; Mk 4:38; Jn 19:28; Matt 4:2; Lk 23:26; Lk 23:46 )

He experienced a troubled spirit; He experienced sorrow; He experienced anger and grief; He marveled; He wept; He prayed with loud cries and tears . Jesus experienced social rejection just like we do: He was forsaken by the Father; He was betrayed by one of the twelve; He was deserted by his disciples; He was not believed, even by his own family; He was reviled; He was falsely accused; He was spit upon and mocked. (Mk 15:34; Matt 26; Jn 6:65-67; Matt 13:55; Jn 7:5; Matt 27:39; Mk 15:32; Matt 26:59; Mk 10:34).

He was tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sin. When reviled he reviled not again; when left alone in his most needful hour he lovingly let them sleep; when slandered he said not a word but let his life speak for itself; when crucified he prayed father, forgive them, for they know not what they do; when dreading the cross he humbly submitted to the Father‘s will.( 1Pe 2:23; Matt 26:38-45; Jn 19:9-11; Lk 23:34; Lk 22:42).

We are joint-heirs with Christ; therefore, Scripture declares after suffering with him we will also be glorified with him. ―Jesus gained an ability to understand and help us in our temptations.-Because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted‘ (Heb 2:18).

He learned obedience thru what he suffered and so shall we.( Heb 5:8-9). ―Since Christ perfectly obeyed his Father even in the face of great suffering, so our obedience, trust, and patience in suffering more fully portray what Christ was like, and so bring more honor to him. It gives us great comfort to know that we are only experiencing what he has already experienced, and that he therefore understands what we are going through, and listens sympathetically to our prayers (Heb. 2:18; 4:15-16; 12:11- Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, pg 846).

Because of what he has done death, our last enemy, is swallowed up in victory and has lost its sting; because of what he has done we know we are not uniquely tested; because of what he has done we know he will not test us above our ability to endure it and will provide a way for us to escape.155 He left us an example that we should follow in his steps.―So this is the paradigm: purposeful suffering, leading to the experience of God‘s comfort, producing the ability to comfort others, resulting in a community of hope. (Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer‘s Hands, pg 154).