Friday, November 28, 2008

A STRANGER TO HOLINESS
...victory in our daily struggle with repentance from sin






An Encore Presentation

"Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning;" -The Apostle Paul, 1 Cor. 15:34a

Though the Lord is sovereign over all His people and even in our sanctification, He is at work conforming us daily to His image. But that reality doesn't eliminate our responsibility as regenerated people to submit our lives to Him in obedience(Roms. 6; Col. 3:1-14). But do you ever feel like we live in victory one day; and the very next, we succumb again to the very thing we thought we had finally conquered? I do. So much of the Christian life seems to be one step up and two steps back. The apostle Paul relates it this way, "For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing" (Romans 7:18-19). Do you identify with the same struggle Paul just stated? I know I do.

Rob Frazier and I wrote a song several years ago that really sums this daily tension we all experience in our walk with the Lord:
"And it pounds like thunder within my breast
All the anger of my humanness;
I call you Lord but I must confess
I'm a stranger to Your holiness,
A stranger to Your holiness."
We Stand in Grace
I'm reminded daily that I can only do what is pleasing and right to the Lord and His Word by being hopelessly and continually depended on His grace. He gives grace for our salvation (Eph. 2:8-9); grace for our sanctification (Titus 2:12); and grace for our glorification (1 Peter 1:13). Grace to endure trials and testings (2 Cor. 12:9); grace for sorrow leading to repentance (2 Cor. 7:10); and He gives us the grace in which we stand (Romans 5:2). Spurgeon used to tell his congregation, "our finite sin can never exhaust His infinite grace." Isn't that comforting beloved?

As a sign of that grace, one of the foundational evidences of a truly regenerated man or woman is their repentance from sin and their hatred of it. Unfortunately, repentance is a forgotten word in the church today! That powerful, truthful word has been exiled and excused from most church pulpits, elder meetings, prayer gatherings, and worship services. It is a hard word; an unrelenting word; but a loving word that demands action not accommodation. Beloved, our Lord can never be glorified where sin is pacified; and He can never be exalted in praise where sin is entertained and practiced!

Grace Doesn't Wink at Sin
Though we have entered into our eternal rest by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8f) we must never forget that grace never winks at sin; that grace never leads to the fulfilling of further ungodliness and worldly desires (Titus 2:12); that grace never indulges the flesh (Romans 6:1f); that grace does not cherish lust or seek its pleasure (Psalm 66:18; Heb. 11:25f); but that grace hates sin and calls all who know its voice to turn from their sin and to turn to God. That is what repentance is: an abrupt about- face in the face of sin. Metonoia is the Greek term and it means a complete change of mind - literally all we believe in regards to how we behave.

Paul gives this exact idea to timid Timothy when he says, "flee youthful lust and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart" (2 Tim. 2:22). John the Baptist said, "repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand" (Matt. 3:2). Our Lord Jesus said, "repent and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:15). Paul talked of a "repentance without regret" and a "godly sorrow that leads to repentance" (2 Cor. 7:9f). And finally Peter tells us that, "the Lord...not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

Grace Doesn't Minimize Sin
Matthew Mead insightfully says, "If sin be as terrible as you say it is why then are our lives not lived more holy; and if sin is not as terrible as you say it is, why then do you preach against it with such fury?"

Sin's consequence causes the precious Holy Spirit to be grieved (Eph. 4:30); our prayers to go unanswered (1 Peter 3:7); disqualifies us from ministry (1 Cor. 9:27); causes our praise to be unacceptable (Psalm 33:1); withholds God's blessing from us (Jer. 5:25); forfeits our joy (Psalm 32:3-4; 51:12); hinders our spiritual growth (1 Cor. 3:1-3); causes our fellowship to become polluted (Ibid 10:21; 11:28f); our lives to be endangered (1 Cor. 11:30; 1 John 5:16); and most paramount, our holy God dishonored (1 Cor. 6:19f). Sin causes the whole church to suffer (1 Cor. 12:26); it provokes discipline (Matt. 18:15-20); has as its roots the "doctrine of demons" (1 Tim. 4:1); and as its father - the devil himself (1 John 3:8)!

Is it any wonder that the great Puritan preacher, Thomas Watson, said "that a sign of sanctification is a hatred of sin... one who not only leaves sin, but loathes it." That is precisely why Solomon wrote in Proverbs 28:13, "He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes [repentance] them will find compassion."

He who covers his sin, God will uncover; he who uncovers his sin, God will cover.

Grace Forgives, Covers and Restores the Sinner
May we rejoice with David this day by saying,
"How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit!

¶ When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to Thee, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; And Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin. Selah. -Psalm 32:1-5

49 comments:

John Leger said...

Our attitude needs to be:
Oh Lord let me be so torn over my sin and have such a hatred for it that all I can do is repent and turn to you!!

John Hollandsworth said...

"several years ago"??? I remember about twenty years ago playing that song over and over and over in my cassette deck, praying over every word, knowing oh how well it applied to me. Still does. Thanks Steve.

Mike Ratliff said...

This message is desperatly needed in our churches. Of course, many don't see themselves as sinful nor do they see that personal holiness is important. That is why the gospel and its relationship to the law should be preached to the Body.

By-the-way, I bought the Steve Camp Collection CD last night after hearing your song "Count the Cost" on A1 Radio.

donsands said...

In one sense it's impossible for us to repent, and yet we must live a life of repentance and faith every day. But as you teach us here, it's His grace and mercy we find at the Cross that empowers us to turn from our sin. And also, to fill that void with the good things of God.
The Lord is so gracious to allow us to repent, and then grant us the will and the fortitude to do so.
Psalm 51



Psalm 51

4given said...

Steve, you wrote: "He who covers his sin, God will uncover; he who uncovers his sin, God will cover."

Excellent truth.

I have dishonoured my holy Lord even in my attempts to live for Him; For all that I do is tainted with sin.
... and yet, He forgives, He comforts, He assures.
He covers me with His wings.

littlegal_66 said...

Another important post from you.

As I read your article, strains of Keith Green's song, "Romans VII," (which is also the biblical book & chapter you quoted some verses from in your post), played through my mind.

Keith's lines:"Lord, it seems so sad, why am I so bad--when in my heart I only wanna be like You" and:

"please take away the veil-- about how You forgive and still You live inside me when I fail," as well as your lines:

"My heart longs to serve, but wanders so aimlessly; Oh Lord You deserve every part of me" (from "Stranger to Holiness") reflect Rom. 7:18-19 well. They also illustrate the inevitability of struggling daily to walk in His holiness.

Thanks for the reminder that I'm not the only individual who struggles with this day-by-day; (some days you can feel like you're the solitary struggler in Peter's net).

SJ Camp said...

Isn't the grace of our Lord a wonderful resting place for the weary sinner?

Conviction of sin, leads to; Confession of sin, which leads to: Contrition over sin, which yields; the Compassion of God's grace to cover every sin.

SDG,
Steve

boxcarvibe said...

James 5:16 says,"Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.."

I'm so thankful for a dear brother in Christ and accountability partner of mine. We do exactly what James instructs..we confess our sins to each other, we pray for one another, we bear one anothers burdens. We meet every week when schedules allow...but we regularly drop emails into each others boxes just to check in.

Nothing in our lives is off-limits. No boundaries to questions. Of course, a friend like this doesn't come along every day. I prayed for years for a friend like this and the Lord has truly blessed.

No matter the size of the burden or its darkness-we pray for each other. We're committed. The bullets we've dodged in our two marriages is testimony to God's goodness and grace.

Terry Rayburn said...

At the risk of sounding like the "odd man out", I want to encourage you with the words of Jesus as He breathed his last:"It is finished."

Part of rightly dividing ("cutting straight") the Word of God is acknowledging what Christ has already done for the elect.

The mourning is over for the one who understands Romans and Galatians. He has turned our mourning into dancing. We are forgiven. We have died to the Law.

Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds. So where is our focus? On the sin? On our flesh? On our navels? A thousand times, "No."

Our focus is to be on Christ. Look on Him. Commune with Him. Fellowship with Him. It's Him we should be gazing at. "But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit."

Grace abounds! Should we sin because grace abounds? Of course not. We've died to sin. It's against our very heart of hearts. We're not sinners anymore in our identity, in our nature. We have a new spirit which is now one with His Spirit. We are Saints, Holy Ones, Sanctified Ones, and being sanctified.

We only sin now when we are deceived about what Christ has already done FOR us, IN us, and TO us. That's when we get back on the ground of Law, instead of Grace, and quench the Holy Spirit.

Under the New Covenant, we are not taught to agonize in our Christian lives. We are taught to rejoice. Always. Why? Because "It is finished".

Our holiness is sure. Our sanctification is sure. It better be, for it's the holiness (sanctification) without which no one will see the Lord. (Heb. 12:14)

Stop flagellating yourselves. You're not Dark Ages monks and nuns. You're free in Christ.

Tetelestai! It is finished!

"For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ." (Gal. 1:10)

Blessings,
Terry Rayburn

Bhedr said...

Terry,

I want to thank you again...so much so brother.

Luke 5 shows us where Peter after seeing and beholding the goodness of God in the catch of fish, fell to his face and said..."Go away from me Lord! i am a sinful man."

Jesus told him not to fear but from now on he would be doing a work in Him. Fear Not! There is no condemnation for those in Christ. The more we condemn ourselves..the more the Law aides us in disobeying Christ. Zecheriah said we could now serve him without fear at the birth of John the Baptist.


The Philipian Jailer was snoozing while Paul and Silas sang. He awoke to an earthquake and thought his prisoners escaped. In despair he thought he had failed his duty and would have to answer to the laws of Rome. He was ready to kill himself and commit more sin.

Enter the grace of God with Paul as his messenger. Hope in the midst of despair. He didn't tell him to keep looking down but instead gave that everblessed promise..."Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved!"

Believe men and women with the simple faith of a blessed child. How hard it is for we as Christians to keep our eyes on Christ and abide in him...let alone just getting a lost person to simply look to Him with the simplist of faith.

Metanoia will accur when once we have received the blessed goodness of God and His sweet grace. It is a gift. A blessed gift. A sweet gift from a sweet Lord that I know Steve Camp loves.

The Bluecollar has posted a wonderful Spurgeon quote over at his site.

Let us stand fast in the Liberty wherein Christ has made us free and be not again entangled in any yoke of bondage.

Shawn L said...

Brian and Terry and Steve,

What a great conversation guys. I am truly blessed tonight through you guys. May God continue to work through His Word in your life.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.

Bhedr said...

Shawn,

Thanks for being a friend to this old storm tossed believer. Your words come at a time that...well your just a guy that believes all things...and we could all learn from your hopeful spirit.

Hope folks. Death has no more dominion, for you are bought at a most precious price.

Shawn L said...

Brian,

I am so thankful to have you as a friend in Christ. I pray you and your family is well.

Steve Camp,

Thanks for bringing this up some of what you said I could definitely be reminded of today and remember Christ's forgiveness and grace and mercy.


Terry,

Blessings in Christ today.

I agree we are to rejoice always, "again I say rejoice", and I also see throughout the scriptures commands to what Steve is saying in the New Testament. Many times the church weeps and laments especially with reguard to the fact that they are waiting for the bridegroom. Also God tells us there is a godly sorrow leading to repentence, as compared with a worldly sorrow. A sorrow that puts it hope in the finished work of Christ.

I've noticed that there is such a thing as joyous grief as well in the fact that we are between two different worlds. We are aliens and strangers in this foreign land and we eagerly wait for our redemption as we inwardly groan. Romans 8:23. Yet this inward groan is not worldly sorrow or frustration with ourselves without hope, it seems to be always looking directly to Christ as can be seen in the rest of Romans 8 and you have rightly brought this up again.

Thanks so much for making the main thing important to the body of Christ.

We are to be ever joyful even when we are temporarily faithless because he is faithful, loving the Lord, and be of good cheer, always remembering and never keeping out of our minds the Cross of Christ every before us and remembering Christ's work on our behalf.

Yet we must also mourn over our sin and the sins in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 5:1-2) and be convicted of sin.

We are commanded to delight in him, hate our sin and hate evil. We also should be deeply affected and mourn by the scriptures when we commit spiritual adultery (James 4:9 and James 4 all in context). Again this is godly sorrow that always looks to Christ and His Finished work AMEN!!!

I think there is a way to be humbled by the greatness of God and the sinfulness of our sin and yet always be rejoicing in Christ's justification and in Christ Himself for his love for us.

I have found in my praying of the Psalms and other scriptures the many commands for all of our affections even if they are rejoicing and tribulation and trials and also a willingness to see our sins.

We are commanded to do all of these things however I wanted to thank you for always continually pointing people to Christ in the midst of despair or legalism.

I think you are aware of some very true problems in the body of Christ today and with all of us a tendency to not really see the scriptures as they have called us to.

There are many believers out there today who have lost their joy in Christ and can't see the awesome love God has for us.

Thank you again.

Romans 8:38-39 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

donsands said...

And we need to confess our sins, one to another, for this is the Word as well.

I complain it seems like every day, and i repent every day, and God blesses me every day. I am as saved as I'll ever be, because It Is Finished! Amen!
And I'm not complaining like I once did, because God the HOly Spirit is sanctifying me, and conforming me into the image of Christ.

And I'm able to honor God and His Word in my life more and more.

I appreciate all these good comments, and God is too good to us really.
Praise His holy name forever!

Bhedr said...

Shawn,

I heard a preacher say the other day that we need to be sensitive to how our sins have affected others and be sensitive to their need, yet we ourselves need to develope a tough skin to how theirs has affected us.

Lutzer also spoke on how we need to accept the hurt until we reach the point where wounds cannot hurt anymore as His wounds are healed so too are ours.

His wounds heal ours. Everything we find is indeed by looking to Christ...both liberty and in sensitivity to others.

I think if we are looking to him daily and listening to his still small voice...then in His chastening(as he does use the wounds from others to help us see) we will even find hope and delight and joy in Him.

As Steve so often speaks of the crucible of Grace. I am in it right now, but I am finally learning to delight in it and not condemn myself nor pet my guilt.

Lutzer also says that there is a stroking of our guilt that is Idolatry. We need to fully believe that we are forgiven in whatsoever state we are in. For it is the blood of Jesus that is our only plea. The cross where we find contentment in His death and the freedom where we live in contentment with His resurrection. His death is ours and His life is ours. This is our hope. He is alone is our hope.

I really encourage you all to listen to Lutzer for only 15 min a day. I listen to him on BBN from between 7:30-7:45 Am. Of course that is for us east coasters. He may be on at some other time somewhere and someplace else.

cyd said...

Glory to our Great High Priest!

HEBREWS 10!!

4given said...

I love that song Steve. Perfect for this topic.

Puritan Belief said...

So far I have not disagreed with anything you have said here Steve and comment and read regularly. You are much older then me in years so if it appears I am harshly disagreeing it is not my intention. Again I love your thoughts and often tell people about your blog... Here goes.

I saw more flesh focus in this grace then Spirit focus and the finished work of Christ. Here are some of my thoughts (Perhaps too verbose)

I must say Terry Rayburn said exactly what I was thinking above.

Yes we are sanctified right now. Not tomorrow or only when we die, right now. The Lord doesn't sanctify one saint more then another. How can we be sanctified and made any more holy then being taken from darkness into light? The Lord who starts a good work in us surely he will take it through to completion for we have His Spirit as a deposit.

Have a look through your bible for the word sanctified and stack up all the verses that declare the christian is sanctified right now upon regeneration. You will be pleasantly surprised.

"But Ye are sanctified, But Ye are Justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.." 1 Cor 6:11 (many many more declaring it like this.)

Yes we mortify sin daily and we take up our cross daily this is saying that we are perpetually sanctified. Not by ourselves depending on how much of the word we read but by the Spirit he is our sanctification. He is in us and the work he does in us is a good work. (The Lord of course sanctifies us through his truth and the word but by His Spirit.)

What do you think the definition of Saint is? Is it not Sanctified!! The Vines dictionary puts it like this:

"Since every believer is sanctified in Christ Jesus, 1 Cor 1:2, Heb 10:10 a common New testament designation of all believers is saints 'hagioi' ie sanctified or holy ones. Thus sainthood, or sanctification, is not an attainment, it is the state into which God, in grace calls sinful men, and in which they begin their course as Christians, Col 3:12; Heb 3:1"

The old get out the whip and try and make everybody become more sanctified with a false humbleness misses the whole point and meaning of the word and instead of sanctification being liberating for the Christian it becomes a burden that we never seem to be able to attain.

The Saint on the cross next to Jesus (who was a thief swearing at Jesus just a few hours before) was no less sanctified then Spurgeon or Whitefield or Paul/Saul.

Not only this we are glorified now. And these whom he justified he also glorified. (Rom 8) The glory is now and later not just later. There is glory in Christ to be partaken of right now.

You opened with this:
"We are all far behind in our sanctification aren't we?"

Steve the Lord never left me to my own devises but keeps me sanctified and separate from the world by His Spirit. How can any Saint be behind in their sanctification. The Lord has them perfectly placed and equipped the Saints for the good works he has prepared in advance so that they WILL walk in them. Eph 2

"repentance is a forgotten word in the church today"

I hear repentance all the time and it saved no one for they preach it outside a Savior to the uttermost. (You don't do this of course) The Christian is to confess their sins we don't need to be again going back to the basic milk and foundation of repentance. (Hebrews) When you look up the definition of repentance in a bible dictionary you will find that it is something that happens after we have turned or if you like at the same time. We repent for the Lord by His Spirit has changed us. How can someone repent if they have not been changed or the next day do the same as the day before? Upon true repentance wrought upon regeneration by Jesus Christ of course we declare that the lord has turned us around from our wickedness (repent). It is Jesus that is not being preached not repentance. John's ministry and baptism was of repentance Jesus is the one who makes it possible and a finished and complete work. Therefore we preach and lift up Him. For he will draw all men (elect) unto himself.

When someone is sanctified from the world he hates the things of the world and as a given is hated by the world for he hates sin. His sins are covered and taken away by Christ and is thus made righteous by Christ. How then can he not be sanctified? is there one sin that can be found on his account? If so he is not sanctified or holy and needs to be re-born --otherwise-- sin has been taken away/covered (Rom 4:7) and the Christian is Justified and Sanctified. The Saints naturally hate sin and love righteousness for we have a new nature.

donsands said...

If I can interject a quick response .
To repent for a Christian is a normal thing we do. Just as faith isn't a one time thing, but we live by faith. The repentance we do, which comes from godly sorrow (2 Cor 7:10), after we are regenerated is within our sonship relationship with our heavenly Father. It's never unto salvation, but because of salvation.
Godly sorrow, and regretting our sin, is a good thing, knowing all the while we are already forgiven! Praise His holy name!
There are two extremes within this teaching of sanctification I would think: the Zane Hodges extreme, and the Charles Finney extreme, if I can use these two teachers to identify the extremes.

Understanding God's grace will be an infinite study for us, His saints. Even when we are finally with our Lord in glory.

Mike Ratliff said...

Don,

I guess then the Zane Hodges extreme would be antinomian and the Finney extreme would be works or moralism. So does this make Semi-Palegainsim one extreme and Palegianism the other? Where is does Arminiansim and Reformed Theology fit into this?

:-) Sorry, just thinking through my keyboard.

Terry Rayburn said...

puritanbelief,

Good comments.

There are, however, several scriptures that indicate an ongoing sanctification, as well as the "done" sanctification. We are Saints, Sanctified Ones, Holy Ones, yet we are being "set apart" in some ongoing ways, too.

I have come to believe that ongoing sanctification is not, as is usually portrayed, a growth in sinlessness per se, but a growth in the understanding of and belief in the eternal realities of what has already been done.

When this occurs, we may very well sin less, through the sanctified understanding, but the "sinning less" is not the sanctification itself.

Example:

Romans 8:28 says that God is causing all things to work together for good to those who love Him. As I grow in REALLY understanding and BELIEVING that, as my mind is renewed, I am being sanctified. I walk less by sight and more by faith. Coincidentally, I may sin less, as I don't grumble and complain against the weather, or other Providential occurences. But the sinning less is not the santification.

Example 2: Romans 6:11 says that I am dead to sin and alive to God. I may begin by saying, "I don't really believe that. It doesn't make sense. I sure LOOK alive to sin sometimes!" But as I am sanctified and my mind is renewed with the truth, I find myself actually realizing and believing that I am a new creation, and I really AM dead to sin in the essence of my being, my spirit, which is one with His Spirit now. This gives me hope, and a goal to walk by the Spirit. Again I may sin less because of it.

I wouldn't agree that God doesn't sanctify some more than others, in the "growth" sense. In the "already done" sanctification this is true. But in the "growth" sanctification, there are those who certainly are "appropriating" the eternal truths better than others.

Legalism AFTER initial salvation is a perfect example of this unequal "growth" sanctification, and is why God has given me a burden for this area of Christian life. I have seen many people set free after understanding Grace vs. Galatianism. But until they "got" it, their growth in understanding eternal realities was stifled.

Nothing STIFLES growth (ongoing sanctification) like Performance-based Christianity that causes us to strive to gain God's love and favor. It cruelly alienates us from the close communion with Christ that is so necessary to growth, by putting us under the condemnation that comes from not "measuring up".

Nothing PROMOTES growth like understanding the radical nature of Grace AFTER initial salvation, by taking away all barriers between us and Jesus, promoting our close communion with Him.

Blessings,
Terry Rayburn

Mike Ratliff said...

Terry,

you said, "I have come to believe that ongoing sanctification is not, as is usually portrayed, a growth in sinlessness per se, but a growth in the understanding of and belief in the eternal realities of what has already been done."

I couldn't agree with you more. As we grow in grace, maturing in Christ, our sinfulness should decrease as our humility and Christlikeness increases, but the emphasis is on our spiritual maturity.

donsands said...

Mike,
Hodges is antinomian, yes. Man believes the gospel with his own faith, and even if he becomes an unbeliever, he's still a believer.

Finnyism teaches that we have our own righteousness. He taught works, as many Arminians do, and that you can become a Christian, and if you do not continue, then you can surely become an apostate.

Other Arminians teach a non-lordship salvation as Hodge, but less extreme.

Others teach you need to have a sanctified life, and if you don't you were never saved, but salvation was according to your own faith.

And the reformed view I sure your familiar with.

Terry,
Legalism is a deadly doctrine, I agree. But licentiousness is quite deadly in our day and age as well. Cheap grace, and easy believism is at epidemic preportions, and it's quite deadly as well.

Mike Ratliff said...

Thanks Don! :-)

Terry Rayburn said...

donsands,

"Licentiousness" (which basically says, "Sin is O.K.") is a biblical term and is a despicable perversion of grace. It denies the New Birth, which not only allows forgiveness for our sins, but changes our view of sins. Sin is still sin, and any truly born again person will, in their spirit, hate sin, even as they love Jesus.

"Cheap grace" and "easy-believism", however, are NOT biblical terms, and require more definition.

True grace is not "cheap", it is "free", including free of works. To add works to grace makes it no longer grace (Rom. 11:6).

True belief in Christ is not only "easy", it's "irresistable" for the regenerate. Again, no works are involved.

I think we're in agreement donsands, but I would humbly encourage you to stick as close as possible to biblical terms. "Cheap grace" and "easy-believism" are often straw-man code words that legalists use to defend legalism.

I assume you would agree that we shouldn't refrain from preaching Grace AFTER salvation, just because someone may ask, "Should we sin, since grace abounds?"

Blessings,
Terry

Puritan Belief said...

Terry:
I wrote:
"Yes we mortify sin daily and we take up our cross daily this is saying that we are perpetually sanctified."

Seperating Sanctification into 2 parts does not satisfy me. Are we set apart or not? The Lord sets us apart to Christ. There is nothing from then on that can seperate us back to the world.

Just because the Lord takes us aside, teaches us his word and chastises us because we often fall short ourselves doesn't mean at any stage I am NOT set apart for Christ. He keeps me set apart.

The fleshly man loves to hear that He is not sanctified and still needs to strive in his own works. He of course lacks faith and whatsoever is not of faith is sin.(Jesus is our sabbath rest)

Terry Rayburn said...

puritan belief,

Your sentiment is a true and good one, but not technically correct. Yes we are sanctified, set apart, utterly and irreversibly, once for all...AND we are being sanctified, being "set apart", in another sense.

Hebrews 2:11 says, "For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified..." (NKJV)

Hebrews 10:14 says, "For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified."

The NKJV correctly tranlates "sanctified" in these two verses as "being sanctified", since it's in the present tense.

That, coupled with the "grow" passages, convinces me that in addition to the more important "done" sanctification, there is a "growth" sanctification.

For example:

"...may GROW up in all things into Him..." Eph. 4:15

"...your faith GROWS exceedingly..." 2 Thess. 1:3

"...that you may GROW thereby..." 1 Pet. 2:2

"...GROW in the grace and knowledge of our Lord..." 2 Pet. 3:18

I don't want to overemphasize the point, however, since I stress how much I agree with you that we are indeed santified (past tense, done deal) once for all.

And again, this ongoing sanctification is not growth in sinlessness, as is often supposed, but growth in a knowledge and belief in the eternal realities which are settled already in heaven.

Blessings,
Terry

Cleopas said...

Hi Steve,

I like what you've shared about grace. In so many church circles today, grace is viewed as simply an attitude of God toward our sins: basically that He is merciful to our sins and polite about it.

In other circles it's even worse: grace is portrayed as an actual license to sin (as in the phrase 'the grace of God will cover it.' see Jude 4). Yet true grace is anything but that! It provides an actual propensity toward righteousness (Titus 2:11-14).

Speaking of which, I have a theory that I've been working on. When Paul describes 'the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus,' in Romans 8:2, it seems to me that for all practical purposes he is describing grace by another name. Would you agree with that, or disagree? If you have time, I would appreciate your thoughts on that.

Bhedr said...

I heard a statement the other day by Dr Jeremiah. Sanctification is God putting us in practice what we are in Position in regards to Salvation.

Bhedr said...

BTW,

We people are draining aint we Steve:-)

Bhedr said...

Also Terry,

I don't know where it all comes from...but you are such a student of the word. Truly my heart rejoices and is always given great peace in all of your comments. Its almost like it is flawless...but please don't get a big head. Somehow I know you won't.

Of course, sometimes I wonder if my endorsement may actually hurt you:-)

Puritan Belief said...

Terry:
Again I understand that we are being sanctified. However as you readily affirm which is why I enjoyed what you first wrote this is not of ourselves but by the Spirit of Christ dwelling within us mortifying sin and being renewed by the Spirit our Sanctification.

My point is this: The fact that we are "being sanctified". Does this make us.
A. Not sanctified.
B. Behind in our sanctification

The answer here is plain. Not A or B we have been set apart to Christ so much so that Sin no longer has mastery over us but Christ.

Now just because we are sanctified 100% already doesn't mean that the Spirit within us does not keep us sanctified on a daily basis or minute to minute, second to second.

He will never leave us nor forsake us for we are continually "being sanctified". by his word, by his truth, Through His Spirit.

See how Sanctification is complete both in the "being sanctifed" and "completely sanctified". I can assure you most people think this to be a contradiction however to the Saints it is a living and active truth.

Here are some verses to re-assure the Saints reading our discourse that they are indeed set apart if they be in Christ a new creature.

Otherwise to those who readily admit they are not sanctified it is to Lift up Christ and assure them that the Lords promises are true even NOW and complete and when they are born again into newness of life from which time they are of course ("being sanctified")

Acts 20:32 "and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified."

Acts 26:18 "... and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."

1 Corinthians 1:2 "to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints"

Here is some more joy for the Saints who are Sanctified.
1 Corinthians 1:30, 1 Corinthians 6:11, Hebrews 2:11, Hebrews 10:10

and my favourite.

Hebrews 10:14 "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."

Terry although perhaps you may think what I am saying is technically incorrect I believe what I have been saying is Spiritually sound.

Can I get an Amen, anyone?

donsands said...

Terry,
I suppose I was thinking the terms I used, (cheap grace & easy believism), would be understood to mean a "different grace", and a "not genuine faith", as James teaches us.
I thought they were general expressions we use within the church that all were aquainted with.
Sorry.

I suppose my point was simply that licentiousness is just as deadly as legalism, and that at this particular time in the Church, it is more rampant than legalism. I amy be wrong, but I see this so much in my sphere.

I do believe that the regenerated spirit loves the Lord, and hates sin, but also that the heart is still desperately wicked, and who can know it?
However, the Lord is greater than our heart when our heart condemns us, but we still need to deal with the sin the Father will most suredly chastise us for, and to repent of it.

"...I write to you, so that you may not sin." 1 John 2:1

May the Lord help us to live a godly and holy life for His glory. Amen.

Puritan Belief said...

Cleopas
"In other circles it's even worse: grace is portrayed as an actual license to sin"

I have never heard anyone believe and affirm that Grace is a license for them to sin. I have only ever heard people say:

"You who say you are fully under grace and not under law, you are saying that you have a license to sin"

The argument is a constant one by those who don't understand that the Christian is NOT under Law but under GRACE. For they think surely there is but some law we are under and therefore the grace they believer is titled "NO-LONGER-GRACE"

Terry Rayburn said...

puritan belief,

Very well said!

Legalism's straw men abound.

Terry

Terry Rayburn said...

behdr,

Brian, you are truly Barnabas, "Son of Encouragement". That spirit comes through in all your writings, brother. May we all learn from that.

Blessings,
Terry

Puritan Belief said...

Terry Rayburn:
It was a pleasure to read someone over the other side of the world getting doctrine from the scripture rather then backing up doctrines with scripture. (Something a bible college can never teach you)

donsands said...

"The heart is decitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, " Jer. 17:9-10

"I declare to you the gospel .... by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that Word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain." 1 Cor. 15:1-2

Ephesians 5: 1-7 "Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience."

Satan knows how to deceive. Paul says don't let anyone deceive you. Peter says make your election and calling sure.

Many will come in that Day, and say Lord, Lord.
This is what scares me. I see so many people who are either living under the law, who are trying to be good to be saved, and demand the same of others, and so many others who believe they are a Christian because they simply believe with a morality all their own.
I pray the Lord would help me bring the Scriptures upon both of these errors in the Church today, and not leave one with the impresion that they are saved because they live a good life, or because they said a sinners prayer. Help me Lord. Amen.

4given said...

I love posts and comments that cause me to dig... here is what I have found:
The role of scripture in sanctification

I also found this interesting: (after this comment, I may have the award passed on to me of the longest comment on any one post...)
"Sanctification has two aspects that theologians typically address. First and foremost, it is a setting aside as holy unto God, or what we might call "consecration." This takes place only once for each person by his or her inclusion in the covenant community, placing him or her in covenant with God (cf. 1 Cor. 7:14). For most in the Old Testament, this took place by birth (and circumcision). In the New Testament, this takes place by birth or conversion, and subsequent baptism.

The second aspect of sanctification that theologians typically identify is purification. This is a process that continues throughout a believer's life and through which the believer is made more like Christ. In the Reformed tradition, sanctification has typically been called "progressive," meaning that the generally trend in a believer's life is that he or she becomes more righteous, less sinful. A minority view in the Reformed position (which I happen to hold) is that sanctification is not necessarily a process that makes one more and more righteous over the course of his life (although it ought to be), but rather a continual process of purification required by the fact that we continue to sin. This minority view is that our sin continually makes us less pure, and sanctification continually purifies us from that sin (cf. 1 John 1:7,9). This does not deny the idea that believers ought to become more and more righteous as they live their Christian lives, but rather assigns this idea to what the Bible calls the process of "maturation" rather than to sanctification in and of itself. If believers are obedient to God, their sanctification may make them progressively less sinful, but this is not a necessary model for all believers prior to glory (in Eph. 5:26 glorification is the ultimate act of sanctification).

But whatever view one takes of sanctification as purification, the question of how believers are sanctified remains. According to Paul in Romans 6:19-23, sanctification occurs as believers submit themselves as slaves to righteousness, and because they have been enslaved to God. The first idea is that believers are active in the sanctification, and the second is that they are passive. Together, they indicate that sanctification is God's gracious work (cf. Phil. 2:13; 1 Thess. 5:23; 1 Pet. 1:2), and that it takes place by means of our cooperation (cf. 1 Thess. 4:3-7; 2 Tim. 2:21) and faith (Acts 26:18).

In the Old Testament, the process was the same, though the Old Testament does not use the same vocabulary. In the New Testament, "sanctification" comes from the word group that means "holiness" (hagiasmos), "holy" (hagios), and "to be holy" (hagiazo). But the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) does not use these terms in this way. It almost exclusively speaks of "sanctification" as "consecration."

When the Old Testament speaks of purification akin to New Testament sanctification, it often uses terms related to "purify" or "cleanse," frequently in the context of forgiveness (e.g. Lev. 16:30; Num. 8:21; Ps. 51:2; Jer. 33:8; Ezek. 36:25,33). The New Testament reflects this language in 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." In these passages it is still God who graciously sanctifies, commonly in response to man's effort. Just as in the New Testament, in the Old Testament sanctification was not earned, but it was graciously applied in response to man's submission to God."

4given said...

If "perfect sanctification: (is) to always do the will of God" as MacArthur wrote in that link I posted above called "The role of scripture in sanctification", than as Steve says, "we are ALL far behind in our sanctification..." Even the most learned theologian is far behind in his sanctification.
I have told others, that women often miss the perfect opportunity to shut-up... ("be silent" is a better way to put that)... I pray this is not one of those opportunites that I am missing.

SJ Camp said...

We are sanctified in salvation: 1 Peter 1:2, "according to bthe foreknowledge of God the Father, cin the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and dfor sprinkling with his blood: ¶ May egrace and fpeace be multiplied to you."

We are sanctified in our daily walk: Eph. 5:26-27 "that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless."

We have been sanctified in our salvation; we have not been in our daily sanctification - that would be Wesley perfectionism-- Sanctification is a process.

And grace is our teacher in our sanctification: Titus 2:12, "instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,"

Steve

Unchained Slave said...

A little late but,

Terry Rayburn quoted Romans 8:28. I love that verse, but it is the verse after it I love more because it explains the ‘good’, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

‘to be conformed to the image of His son’. We know Christ was sinless.

1 Thess. 5:22, says, “Abstain from every form of evil.”

When we sin, we need to confess it, learn to avoid the temptation that caused it (1 Cor. 10:13), resist the devil (James 4:7) and move on.

One of the biggest ‘sins’ ‘Christians’ commit is the sin of guilt.

Conviction is the Holy Spirit identifying sin in our lives that needs to be confessed and forsaken.

Guilt is Satan’s temptation to get us to ‘believe’ that Christ’s forgiveness ‘didn’t work’. (1 John 1:9). When we go back to the ‘trough’ of forgiveness for the same sin over and over - what we are saying is ‘God didn’t really forgive me!’

If we are committing the same sin repeatedly - we have a totally different problem.

The bottom line is that this life has three primary missions: Be conformed to the image of Christ (Ro 8:29). Minister to the Body (1 Cor. 12:4-7). Spread the Gospel of Christ (the ‘Great Commission’).

Bhedr said...

Brother Terry,

You are an encouragement too.

Puritan Belief?

Amen.

Puritan Belief said...

Steve:
Great to hear we are sanctified at all times. Eph 5:26-27 is brilliant.

Romans 15:16
"....that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost"

Notice something? it is the Holy Ghost doing the work of sanctification, He is the why we say we are "being sanctified". Is He a failure?

I certainly think not. If we are not completely sanctified in our daily sanctification then it would be by works and all is at a loss. But you rightly say it is by grace for Jesus is now our teacher (Heb 1:1-2), It is by the Spirit of Grace in us to do and to will according to His good pleasure :)

Kuya Kevin said...

The song you mentioned is still one of my favorites.

Steve, you were one of the first I heard sing about the struggles of the Christian life. I'll always appreciate you for that.

Blessings!

Coram Deo said...

What of those who exhibit an apparent antinomianism that seems to blind them to the gravity of their sins?

I'm still fending off Driscollites over at DefCon in a couple of metas where his smutty language and unseemly jesting about the Lord Jesus Christ have earned him a stern rebuke, and when I read your article today Driscoll leapt to mind.

Many within the broader professing church today simply don't see sin for the deeply offensive and infinitely reprehensible thing that it really is to the thrice Holy Triune One True and Living God. This is the great spiritual calamity and shame of our day.

Far too many foolish virgins are unprepared for the bridegroom's appearing.

In Christ,
CD

Psalm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patrick Eaks said...

Thanks for this balanced post Steve! It is spot on and to the point.

It never ceases to amaze me how some people always come on this blog and spread their pet doctrines!

Your point about sanctification in salvation and in our daily walk is absolutely correct.

I am grateful that the grace of God does teach us daily, “that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” Titus 2:12.

If we have positional sanctification then practical sanctification will ALWAYS follow!

1 Peter 1:15 - But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (manner of life, conduct, behaviour - Strong’s 391);

Reform said...

Thank you brother Steve for this honest and helpful article.

By His grace alone,
RR