Saturday, September 17, 2011

Short Thoughts on Sanctification

I've been reading a great article on sanctification by the late Gerhard Forde, found here:

I want to write something longer, later, on this topic, which is so important, but I want to point out a few things in passing that jump out at me from the article.

First, sanctification in modern evangelical circles is largely thought of as a separet thing from justification.  You get "justified" and then it is time to get on with the work of sanctification, which is something we do.  But as Forde points out, the Bible does not separate justifaction and santification like that.  Not only is sanctification something that God does, it is something that happens in connection with justification.  It is, as Forde puts it, "getting used to unconditional justification."

Second, sanctification is not to be equated with living morally or trying to climb some kind of moral latter.  There is nothing wrong with living morally -don't miss the point.  The point is that making sanctification some kind of religious or moral ladder is essentially to hand the reigns back to the old Adam in us.  "Sin is a slavery which we escape only through death," Forde notes.  You can't escape sin through moral improvement and effort.  Only through death.  What death?  The death that has happened to us through our union with Christ.  Check out Romans 6:1-11.  We are to consider ourselves dead already.  Done.  The more we see that, the less power the old Adam in us has.

Third, in this truth, sanctification is about being made new.  It isn't about us doing.  It is about a new man being made where the old has died.  It is through hearing that faith is borne, and it is through faith in the declaration that we are "dead" in Christ, dead through free, unconditional grace and justification, that the new man rises from the grave with Christ.

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