Sanctification

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  • Sanctification

    Sanctification


    Alan D. Strange

    A friend of mine, along with several other Orthodox Presbyterians, attended a revival meeting at a local Baptist church some years ago. During the service, each person was requested to stand up on the day of the week when he was "saved," while the congregation sang, "Saved on Monday, saved on Tuesday...." The perplexed Presbyterians glanced nervously at one another, not knowing when to stand. (I later remarked that they could have stood on each day, since believers are saved all the time.) Presumably, the Baptists equated conversion with salvation.


    Full Salvation

    Many of us are unable to say when we were converted. But that should not trouble us, for we do not equate salvation in its fullness merely with conversion. Salvation is the comprehensive work of God, whereby the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit bring a chosen people from death in sin to life in glory (Eph. 1:3-14). The Father predestines us in Christ according to his good pleasure. The Son accomplishes salvation entirely by his active and passive obedience (in his life and death). The Holy Spirit applies all the benefits of Christ's work to his own people. This is salvation in its cosmic dimension.

    We may also speak of salvation in its personal aspect—not only in our past, but also in our present and in our future. If we are believers, the Holy Spirit gave us a new birth, after which we repented and believed and were subsequently justified (that is, declared righteous, because of the righteousness of Christ put to our account). We may call this salvation past, in which the penalty of sin was paid. We also enjoy salvation present, in which the power of sin is being broken. This is sanctification, the subject of this article. And, finally, we shall be delivered from the presence of sin itself. This is salvation future, the consummation of God's saving work in glory.

    Definitive Sanctification

    Sanctification itself has a twofold sense. We speak of definitive sanctification and progressive sanctification. John Murray was helpful in calling our attention to the new sphere in which the believer dwells, as a result of there having been "a once-for-all definitive and irreversible breach with the realm in which sin reigns in and unto death" (Collected Works, vol. 2, p. 279). As Paul puts it in Romans 6:2, we "died to sin." Because we have died to sin, we are commanded: "Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin" (vs. 11). Progressive sanctification is based upon the definitive breach with sin accomplished in definitive sanctification.

    Progressive Sanctification

    Sanctification in its progressive sense is what we ordinarily mean when we speak of sanctification. The Shorter Catechism, Q. 35, defines such sanctification as "the work of God's free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness." Sanctification is a work of the Holy Spirit in which the whole man is renovated, both negatively and positively. The negative aspect of the Spirit's work is dying unto sin. The positive aspect is living unto righteousness. Man was made upright, and glorified man will be upright.


    Dying and Living

    During our pilgrimage on this earth, the Holy Spirit works in us so that we might die to sin, but our dying to sin does not obliterate our personalities. Such obliteration is an Eastern mystical conception of "absorption into the One." But God, as the Trinity, has personality (three persons in one Godhead—diversity in unity). Our sanctification in his image, then, does not destroy us as persons, but brings our personalities to full development. Thus, sanctification, negatively and positively, means not that we become robots, but that we become our truest selves—not less human, but more fully human. Sanctification means dying to all that is opposed to God (sin) and living to all that is from God (righteousness).

    The Mystery of Sovereignty

    Sanctification, as a work of God's Holy Spirit, involves an element of mystery, as does all the working of the sovereign Spirit. Legalists act as if the work of sanctification were entirely up to us, thus denying the necessity of the work of God's Spirit in us. Antinomians believe that we have nothing more to do with sanctification than we do with regeneration. It is true that we are passive in regeneration. But we are not passive in sanctification. Philippians 2:12-13 sets forth a dynamic in sanctification in which God's sovereignty does not swallow up man's responsibility, nor does man's responsibility negate God's sovereignty. We work out our salvation with fear and trembling in the confidence that it is God who works in us both to will and to do for his good pleasure.

    Human responsibility and divine sovereignty do not conflict. Rather, our responsibility is meaningful only in the context of the order established by a sovereign God.

    The Means of Grace

    The work of sanctification proceeds by the Spirit's infusion of grace, through the means of grace. God ordinarily works by the Spirit's accompanying the ministry of the Word (the Scriptures read, studied, meditated upon, and, particularly, preached), the right administration of the sacraments (baptism and the Lord's Supper), and prayer, carried on in the corporate life of the church. God is sovereign here, because grace is conferred to whom it belongs among those participating in the means of grace. And man is responsible here, because he must use the means of grace faithfully, both publicly and privately.

    It is important to remember, though, that the means of grace are just that: means. They are to lead us to Christ himself. A person may be engaged in the outward exercise of these means and be devoid of the inward reality that they are intended to communicate. Religiosity does not guarantee sanctification. On the other hand, one who is irreligious and neglects the public and private means of grace is certainly lacking in sanctification. A heart fully engaged to be the Lord's in and by the means of grace is what we should seek.

    Renewal in God's Image

    The goal of sanctification is to be renewed in the image of God, which means to be renewed in righteousness, holiness, and knowledge (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10). What is the standard of righteousness, holiness, and knowledge? Where do we find these qualities defined? We do not turn to the philosophers. No, we turn to God's Word, "the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him" (Shorter Catechism, Q. 2). Since man's chief end is to glorify and enjoy God, there is but one rule to direct us—the Word of God. Sanctification is the Spirit of God conforming us more and more to God's Word, so that we enjoy and glorify God more and more. God is so gracious to his people! That which is for our own good is, in his great wisdom and love, also for his glory.

    It is only when we are conformed to the Word of God that we are renewed in the image of God. And it is only as we are renewed in the image of God that we become what we were made to be. Only then do we have true fulfillment and freedom. Sin—all that which is opposed to God's Word—is slavery and oppression. Thus, as we are sanctified, then and only then do we enjoy God. Everyone ultimately glorifies God. Unbelievers glorify his justice and wrath. Believers glorify his grace and mercy. Only they can fulfill the chief end for which man was created. Believers do not enjoy God in their sin, but God never ceases to love his children, even though he does not smile upon them when they sin any more than we smile upon our children when they sin.

    Growing in Grace

    Sanctification is not simply "getting used to justification," as some would have it. To be sure, sanctification is as much a part of God's eternal decree as is justification (2 Thess. 2:13). God has decreed every aspect of our salvation, including "good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). The same work of Christ that provides for our justification empowers us unto sanctification.

    Calvin saw clearly that sanctification involves a sensible growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, in which the believer actually is less and less in the grip of sin and more and more in the service of God. This is where Calvin's "third use of the law" came in. The law—that is, the Word of God—is the guide to living the Christian life. In sanctification, the Christian comes more and more to say, "O how love I thy law."

    Many believers admit, though, that as time progresses, they become more acutely aware of their sin, not less. Precisely. Sanctification is growth in grace, not growth out of grace. Sanctification involves believers seeing more and more the vileness and wretchedness of their natural, fallen condition, so that they flee more and more from their corruption to the Lord. Sanctification involves an ever deepening awareness of the depth and treachery of one's sin, coupled with the understanding that one was not made to live that way.

    The Reformed understanding of sanctification involves the whole man submitting himself on ever deeper levels to the God who loves his people and has given himself for them. Calvin's motto, "My heart I give to thee, O Lord, promptly and sincerely," is an apt picture of the sanctification of the believer. Sanctification is the believer ever being brought into greater conformity to the will of God, not contrary to his will, but because his will is being bent ever more toward God. Such sanctification occurs only with much fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12).

    Our Confession of Faith (5.5; 8.2, 3; 17.3; 18.3, 4) makes it abundantly clear that sanctification is no light or easy matter. Nor can we achieve it by following a simple formula. Contrary to some television preachers, there are not five things or seven things that one can do to be sanctified. It is a lifelong process.

    Roman Catholic Error

    Even more serious is the erroneous teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, which confuses sanctification with justification. Rome teaches that the believer receives grace through their seven sacraments, which, together with faith and good works, serve to sanctify. Scarcely anyone is completely sanctified in this life, and thus even good Catholics have to go to purgatory at death in order to pay the temporal penalty for whatever sins remain (the eternal penalty having been paid for by Christ). Only when a soul is really sanctified (thoroughly purged of sin) is one justified. The few who do die in a state of perfect sanctification and immediately attain the beatific vision are called "saints." In either case, however, one is justified in the Roman system only after one has been thoroughly sanctified.

    Protestants have rightly insisted upon a distinction between justification and sanctification. In accordance with the Scriptures, we must not confuse the two (cf. Larger Catechism, Q. 77), as does Rome. Justification gives us a right standing before God; sanctification produces holiness in us who have been justified.

    Our Need for Sanctification

    On the other hand, we must not divorce sanctification from justification, as though one could be justified and never subsequently sanctified. This is the error of some evangelicals. God does not justify us and then fail to sanctify us. Christ's atoning work involves both propitiation and expiation. Why do so many of our evangelical brothers propound this notion that you can have Jesus as your Savior and, as you wish, have him or not have him as your Lord?

    I believe this faulty thinking comes out of the revivalist and evangelistic practice of making a "decision for Christ" in order to become a Christian. But so many who have made such decisions give no evidence of being a follower of Jesus. The thought is that if folks claim to be Christians, then they must be Christians, even if they do not live like it, because God must save us if we are willing to let him. So, those who profess Christ, but live like the devil, must be people who have been justified, but not yet sanctified. These people, the thinking goes, must be encouraged to "make Jesus their Lord."

    But Jesus is not the Savior of all, and the Lord of just his people. He is the Lord of all, and the Savior of just his people. Salvation is a package deal, and all that God has is applied to all who are his. Sanctification, then, is that aspect of the triune God's great salvation with which all believers are now involved. It is God working in them by his Spirit to make them more like him until such time as that work is brought to completion in glorification. Lord, hasten that day!

    Mr. Strange is the pastor of Providence OPC in Glassboro, N.J. Reprinted from New Horizons, June 1997.

    Source: Orthodox Presbyterian Church

  • #2
    William, I enjoyed reading your post of Mr. Strange's writing.

    A point of question, though:

    Originally posted by William View Post
    Roman Catholic Error

    Even more serious is the erroneous teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, which confuses sanctification with justification. Rome teaches that the believer receives grace through their seven sacraments, which, together with faith and good works, serve to sanctify. Scarcely anyone is completely sanctified in this life, and thus even good Catholics have to go to purgatory at death in order to pay the temporal penalty for whatever sins remain (the eternal penalty having been paid for by Christ). Only when a soul is really sanctified (thoroughly purged of sin) is one justified. The few who do die in a state of perfect sanctification and immediately attain the beatific vision are called "saints." In either case, however, one is justified in the Roman system only after one has been thoroughly sanctified.

    Protestants have rightly insisted upon a distinction between justification and sanctification. In accordance with the Scriptures, we must not confuse the two (cf. Larger Catechism, Q. 77), as does Rome. Justification gives us a right standing before God; sanctification produces holiness in us who have been justified.

    I'm not interested in defending Catholic belief, but I'm not sure I understand his position on a "moment" of justification.

    First, he wholly denies the need for purgatory. I don't want to defend purgatory itself, but Paul mentions that in the judgment, some will be saved "as through fire" (1 Cor 3:15). This seems to point to some kind of cleansing in the afterlife for believers [before they can enter the new Jerusalem]. I would assume many who believe in Christ in this life will need a bit of cleansing before being able to live in the society of bliss that is spoken of in Rev 21 (not excepting myself).


    Then, and more to the point, consider the letters to the churches in Revelation...specifically the final line that Jesus gives to each church:

    2:7b To the one who conquers I will give the right to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
    2:11b The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.
    2:17b To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.
    2:26-28 The one who conquers and keeps my works to the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron...
    3:5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and the holy angels.
    3:12 etc (conquers...be a pillar in the temple of God, etc)
    3:21 etc (conquers...sit on Christ's throne with Him)

    and also 22:19 and if anyone takes away from the book of this prophesy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and the holy city, which are described in this book.

    It appears that it is a desirable thing to be one who "conquers". Do not these verses imply that only those who maintain an active faith until their death will have their names written in the book of life at the judgment...and therefore, only those people who will not be thrown into the lake of fire for the second death? Also, that "justification" thus is a matter of whether a person's name, by God's judgment, is written in the book of life (which is provided for only due to Christ's sacrifice on the cross)?

    Then Rev 22:19 quite implies that there are some who would be destined for the new Jerusalem, but then lose their right to the city during their lifetime (not to say that God couldn't restore that right at some point after it was lost).

    Do you know of scriptures that point to a definite "point of justification" that occurs once and only once in a Christian's lifetime...after which sanctification is sure to follow? Why would Jesus be admonishing the churches to "get right" and continue in the faith if there is a final point of justification in a person's life that is necessarily followed by sanctification?


    It would seem to me that a person's specific justification is a result of being called by Christ, accepting that call, and continuing in a life of sanctification until death.
    Comment>

    • #3
      Originally posted by andrew32 View Post
      I'm not interested in defending Catholic belief, but I'm not sure I understand his position on a "moment" of justification.
      Hi Andrew/William, I hope it's ok with both of you if I join in!(?)

      Assuming/hoping that you will say "yes", we are "justified" (IOW, "declared" just by God) from the moment we first believe. Here's a verse to consider that talks about this very thing:

      John 5
      24 “Truly, truly I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

      So, he who hears and believes, HAS eternal life .. the verb ἔχω [echo]/"has", in the present/active/indicative, carries with it the sense of "right now and forevermore". IOW, we are justified from the moment we first believe

      Now, as clear as that is, the Lord goes on to tell those who have come into possession of this particular kind of life (ETERNAL life), that they will not be judged and condemned at the end of the age, because they have ALREADY passed from death to life (the verb μεταβαίνω [metabaino]/"has passed" in the perfect/active/indicative indicating an action which has ALREADY been completed)!

      Finally, He uses the word αἰώνιος [aionios]/"eternal" or "everlasting" to describe the type of "life" He's referring to, the type of life that those who hear/believe come into the immediate possession of. Just FYI, αἰώνιος [aionios]/"eternal" NEVER means "probationary" or "temporary" life, rather, it always means eternal, everlasting, once and forever, without beginning or end, that which always has been and always will be, etc.

      I'll stop here and finish up in my next post (as this is gett'n kinda long already).

      Yours and His,
      David
      Last edited by David Lee; 05-22-2017, 01:26 AM.
      Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

      "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

      "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

      "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

      "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
      Comment>

      • #4
        David,

        Point taken to an extent, but as I think about that verse, I remember its historical context, as well as the last verse in the 'paragraph' it is contained in.

        Jesus is saying those (translated) words to those following (and then currently around) Him. Not necessarily as some kind of broad doctrinal statement for all time. They would certainly hear something to the effect that: 'anyone (speaking of those present or often present with Jesus) who listens to Jesus' words and believes in God to the point where they follow His words has aionios life; that person is not under judgment, but has come to a new sense of life.' Loaded within the statement (and the "belief") would be that that person would continue with Jesus (in some sense) because of that belief. If not loaded in the statement, how would the hearer explain the final verse of the paragraph:

        29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment


        I would assume that, while living a lifestyle of following Jesus's words in faith, believers are not under judgement....but if those believers cease believing what they have heard of Jesus, and "do evil", they can come back under judgment.



        I once believed that anyone who came to true faith would certainly walk in it until death (my belief in such being a way to preserve 'once saved always saved' doctrine). After my own falling away into unbelief [for years] and witnessing others fall away, I have come to believe that it is possible to backslide into unbelief from a "saving" faith ("saving" being in accordance with William's post).

        God's judgement of those who do fall away would seem quite unfair, however, if the lake of fire was literally eternal for everyone who enters it. At which point I realize that "aionios" has not always been translated as "eternal". See Prov 22:28 and Jonah 2:6 in the Septuagint, for example.

        Comment>

        • #5
          Originally posted by andrew32 View Post
          First, he wholly denies the need for purgatory. I don't want to defend purgatory itself, but Paul mentions that in the judgment, some will be saved "as through fire" (1 Cor 3:15). This seems to point to some kind of cleansing in the afterlife for believers [before they can enter the new Jerusalem].
          You need to look at the context of being saved as through fire.

          According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:10-15 ESV)

          This is a judgment of a believer's works to determine his reward, not a personal cleansing of the believer. There is a thread about this subject. Will you be rich or poor in Heaven? -Christforums

          There is nothing in the Bible that shows that purgatory exists.

          Originally posted by andrew32 View Post
          once believed that anyone who came to true faith would certainly walk in it until death (my belief in such being a way to preserve 'once saved always saved' doctrine). After my own falling away into unbelief [for years] and witnessing others fall away, I have come to believe that it is possible to backslide into unbelief from a "saving" faith ("saving" being in accordance with William's post).
          No one who is truly saved will ever fall away and lose his salvation. It is possible for a person to profess to be a Christian and truly believe he is one without being saved. Someone with this kind of faith can appear to fall away but in fact he was never truly saved in the first place.

          They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. (1 John 2:19 ESV)
          Clyde Herrin's Blog
          Comment>

          • #6
            Originally posted by theophilus View Post
            They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. (1 John 2:19 ESV)
            This verse is speaking of a collection of specific people who John call "antichrists". We don't know what John's broader teaching on those "antichrists" was, so it is a bit hasty to apply that collection of verses to all bodies of believers and all ex-members of those bodies.

            Originally posted by theophilus View Post
            According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:10-15 ESV)

            This is a judgment of a believer's works to determine his reward, not a personal cleansing of the believer.
            Why could it not be talking about both? In fact, possibly, that many "believers" will have a relatively quick dunking in the lake of fire before being aloud in the new Jerusalem? What else does "through fire" mean? I guess I should read that other thread, though.
            Comment>

            • #7
              Originally posted by andrew32 View Post
              Jesus is saying those (translated) words to those following (and then currently around) Him. Not necessarily as some kind of broad doctrinal statement for all time.
              Hi Andrew, there was no radio, tv or internet in the 1st Century, EVERYTHING Jesus said was spoken directly to those in earshot Then again, a few people must have thought what He said was important for you. me and others to know, because they wrote what He said down, PTL

              In John 5:24, Jesus addresses salvation. In fact, it's purely soteriological. So the question is, what did the Lord say in v24 that leads you to believe that His words concerning salvation, eternal life, and the Judgment were meant for the men who were following Him at that particular moment in time alone?

              Thanks!

              --David
              Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

              "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

              "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

              "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

              "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by andrew32 View Post
                John 5
                28 “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice,
                29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.
                Hi again Andrew, when the Bible speaks of a "good deed", what, specifically, do you believe it's referring to? IOW, what qualifies a deed as being "good"?

                Thanks!

                --David




                Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

                "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

                "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

                "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

                "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
                Comment>

                • #9
                  Originally posted by David Lee View Post
                  In John 5:24, Jesus addresses salvation. In fact, it's purely soteriological. So the question is, what did the Lord say in v24 that leads you to believe that His words concerning salvation, eternal life, and the Judgment were meant for the men who were following Him at that particular moment in time alone?
                  "Alone" is quite strong. I merely wanted the verse considered as it was heard in the minds of the original hearers before it was considered as a broad doctrinal statement for all time. That's not to say that the meaning for us is much different, if different at all, though.
                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    Originally posted by andrew32 View Post
                    I would assume that, while living a lifestyle of following Jesus's words in faith, believers are not under judgement....but if those believers cease believing what they have heard of Jesus, and "do evil", they can come back under judgment.

                    John 3
                    18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

                    John 5
                    24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

                    Roman 8
                    1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.


                    "Believers" .. under judgment?

                    Andrew, is salvation by grace through faith .. e.g. John 3:16; Romans 3:28; Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, or do you believe that our salvation is won or lost by the things we do?

                    Thanks!

                    Yours and His,
                    David



                    "If it is by grace, then it cannot be based on works;
                    if it were, grace would no longer be grace"

                    Romans 11:6




                    Last edited by David Lee; 05-22-2017, 07:38 PM.
                    Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

                    "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

                    "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

                    "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

                    "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Originally posted by andrew32 View Post
                      I merely wanted the verse considered as it was heard in the minds of the original hearers before it was considered as a broad doctrinal statement for all time.
                      Hi Andrew, the question that I was replying to of yours did not make that clear. As for considering who John 5:24 was written to, that's exactly what we're doing, isn't it? That is, in fact, the very reason I asked you the question I did a few posts up. So let's take a step back. Concerning v24 you said:

                      Originally posted by andrew32 View Post
                      Jesus is saying those (translated) words to those following (and then currently around) Him. Not necessarily as some kind of broad doctrinal statement for all time.

                      What is it about v24, specifically, that leads you to believe that might be true?

                      Thanks!

                      --David
                      Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

                      "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

                      "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

                      "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

                      "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        Originally posted by andrew32 View Post
                        It appears that it is a desirable thing to be one who "conquers". Do not these verses imply that only those who maintain an active faith until their death will have their names written in the book of life at the judgment...and therefore, only those people who will not be thrown into the lake of fire for the second death?
                        I think that you are reading a lot into these verses, and I can only imagine that it's because you are predisposed and committed to a synergistic soteriology, which is something other than Protestantism. If you are, we will get nowhere in this thread; however, if I'm mistaken I would ask of you, why did Jesus become a man, being born of a woman, live, be baptized in a "sinner's" baptism, suffer, and die? What do you understand the main reason for all of this was?
                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          Originally posted by David Lee View Post

                          Originally posted by andrew32 View Post
                          Jesus is saying those (translated) words to those following (and then currently around) Him. Not necessarily as some kind of broad doctrinal statement for all time.




                          What is it about v24, specifically, that leads you to believe that might be true?
                          We have no indication that Jesus, in making the statement of John 5:24, was primarily concerned with the statement being written down as a doctrinal statement for all generations. He doesn't say that. We can infer, though, that He is speaking those words to His then followers. That is why I would like the verse considered first as a statement to them, from which applications to us can be made.

                          An example of why such thought is important:

                          John 14:12-14
                          12 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these he will do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

                          It is clearly important to realize that these verses were spoken specifically to the apostles (although Jesus does not specify that in the context). As a youth, I certainly "tried" the verses out as if they were written to all who read them. Regardless of what you think of them, you will certainly load their meaning with your own thoughts if you try to maintain that they were written to all who read them.


                          Originally posted by David Lee View Post
                          John 3
                          18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

                          John 5
                          24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

                          Roman 8
                          1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.




                          "Believers" .. under judgment?

                          Andrew, is salvation by grace through faith .. e.g. John 3:16; Romans 3:28; Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, or do you believe that our salvation is won or lost by the things we do?
                          In the 3 verses you quote, "not come into judgment" is always in the present tense. So no one will come under judgment for things done while "in Christ". Do you have a verse that says that once a person is "in Christ", if they fall away, they still will not come under judgment?

                          James 5:19-20 speaks (quite clearly) to my point:

                          19 My son, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.


                          I don't dispute that salvation is by grace through faith. Real faith is the mechanism by which a person is changed into a new creation, capable of good works that will bear Godly fruit. Grace is what spares us from judgment. Whether we are given that grace and fully spared, though, depends on whether we allow faith to have its work in us until the end of our lives (as the verses in James 5 and Rev 2-3 imply). God does the calling and the work, but saving faith is activated only if we cooperate with Him when he calls.


                          Originally posted by thatbrian View Post
                          I think that you are reading a lot into these verses, and I can only imagine that it's because you are predisposed and committed to a synergistic soteriology, which is something other than Protestantism. If you are, we will get nowhere in this thread; however, if I'm mistaken I would ask of you, why did Jesus become a man, being born of a woman, live, be baptized in a "sinner's" baptism, suffer, and die? What do you understand the main reason for all of this was?
                          Do not Methodists (and Arminian Protestants in general) believe in a synergistic soteriology? My statements above your quote speak to my position.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by andrew32 View Post
                            We have no indication that Jesus, in making the statement of John 5:24, was primarily concerned with the statement being written down as a doctrinal statement for all generations. He doesn't say that. We can infer, though, that He is speaking those words to His then followers. That is why I would like the verse considered first as a statement to them, from which applications to us can be made.
                            There are a number of problem with these claims.

                            I. The Greek text tell us who Jesus is addressing and why.

                            (1) Jesus is speaking to the Jews. The antecedent of the word "them" in verse 19 (i.e. "So Jesus said to them...") is the word "Jews" in verse 18 (i.e. "This was why the Jews...").

                            (2) The Greek word οὖν, translated "so" in the ESV, is used as a "marker of continuation of a narrative" (See A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd Ed. William Bauer, revised and edited by F. W. Danker: University Of Chicago Press, 2000 p. 736). Therefore this section is a continuation of the narrative which began in John 5:2 and builds upon it.

                            Jesus is speaking to the Jews, the ones he had a confrontation with concerning the Sabbath. No doubt at least some of his followers were present but the Greek text point to Jews as the recipients of the message. Now the question is why?

                            II. This then brings us to your claim "We have no indication that Jesus... ...was primarily concerned with the statement being written down as a doctrinal statement for all generations." To be honest I find that asinine for two reasons.

                            (1) The context is clear.

                            This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God."
                            If Jesus making himself equal with God is not a doctrinal statement for all generations and thus Jesus' comments on that subject, I don't know what is.

                            (2) Anyone familiar with the cultural and theological situation concerning the Sabbath for both Judaism and early Christianity would know better not to claim that we have no indication it is a doctrinal statement for all generations. History itself proves that claim wrong. The Sabbath was of extreme importance to the Jews and it was a very important issue for early Christians. The N.T. abounds with teachings concerning the topic.

                            III. That brings me to my last point and it also address the same claim that we have no indication it is a doctrinal statement for all generations. First I have a question. What are the objective indications that inform us which statements are doctrinal statement for all generations and which are not?

                            (1) The Gospel authors wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Thus it is inconceivable that the authors would produce documents filled with superfluous and unimportant information. That is not in keeping with the mission of the Holy Spirit.

                            (2) Even if we remove the Holy Spirit from the equation the claim still fails. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are historians, however, they are also theologians. Thus they have recorded events and statements that are geared towards that goal. To think that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, as historians with theological mind sets, would simply records superfluous and unimportant information is unthinkable. That would be to reject the both the historical and theological intent of the Gospels.

                            (3) If we accept the claim we have no indication that Jesus is making a doctrinal statement for all generations, the we have no indication that Jesus ever made a doctrinal statement for all generations. Jesus never says he is making doctrinal statement for all generations. However, since as Christians we accept point (1), there is no problem. The Holy Spirit lead the N.T. authors to what needed to be recored, what was important, what was needed.
                            Last edited by Origen; 05-23-2017, 08:10 AM.
                            Comment>

                            • #15
                              Originally posted by andrew32 View Post
                              In the 3 verses you quote, "not come into judgment" is always in the present tense.
                              I need some clarification here.

                              Who says that the verb ἔρχομαι (i.e. to come) is always in the present tense?

                              David Lee in post 3 refers to the verb ἔχω (i.e. to have) not ἔρχομαι. And I don't see where he make the claim that it is always in the present tense.
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