Friday, October 31, 2008
Sanctification by Work
Popular in Christian bible studies and sermons today as in the past is to focus on our involvement in salvation. It is taught in conservative Bible believing ministers that we are saved by grace through faith alone. This is something in which to rejoice abundantly. However, it is then taught that in response we must get to work in order to perhaps show God we are serious, others that we have true faith and to comfort ourselves that we are truly redeemed. This is what is termed sanctification or sometimes progressive sanctification.
Hebrews 10:8 When he said above, "You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings" (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, "Behold, I have come to do your will." He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. ESV
What we see in the above passage is that one is sanctified, in past tense, through the perfect life, holy and innocent suffering and death of Jesus. We are saints of God due to this work of Jesus on our behalf. So the question remains what role do we play in sanctification? It is a passive role for we do the receiving only. In verse 14 the writer states that we are perfected for all time and uses the phrase “who are being sanctified.” That is passive terminology such as a person being 5’ 10” in height. That person did nothing but grow into that height neither by adding anything or even worry about how tall he or she will be.
This is a glorious reality that this too is received by us so that we do not have to worry about how to become sanctified by our own efforts. As believers we will indeed change as time goes on. This change can take the shape in our minds and sight as not progress toward being more holy but rather seeing more sin in our lives. This sin may take other forms however, it is not less sinful because one trespass of the law leaves us guilty of all the law. Through the hearing of the accusation of the law we will become more and more dismayed at our seeming lack of progress. This is why it is crucial to each week attend a worship service where Jesus is forgiving sin through proclamation of the sweet Gospel. This is truly how we receive victory over sin by repenting and receiving the gift of the forgiveness of sin anew.
We are indeed sanctified by work. Jesus did the work.
In the Name of Jesus. Amen. †