Gospel-Driven Sanctification – Jerry Bridges

Early in my Christian life I heard someone say, “The Bible was not given to increase your knowledge but to guide your conduct.” Later I came to realize that this statement was simplistic at best and erroneous at worst. The Bible is far more than a rulebook to follow. It is primarily the message of God’s saving grace through Jesus Christ, with everything in Scripture before the cross pointing to God’s redemptive work and everything after the cross–including our sanctification–flowing from that work.

There is an element of truth in this statement, however, and the Holy Spirit used it to help me to see that the Bible is not to be read just to gain knowledge. It is, indeed, to be obeyed and practically applied in our daily lives. As James says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).

With my new insight, I prayed that God would use the Bible to guide my conduct. Then I began diligently to seek to obey it. I had never heard the phrase “the pursuit of holiness,” but that became my primary goal in life. Unfortunately, I made two mistakes. First, I assumed the Bible was something of a rulebook and that all I needed to do was to learn what it says and go do it. I knew nothing of the necessity of depending on the Holy Spirit for his guidance and enablement.

Still worse, I assumed that God’s acceptance of me and his blessing in my life depended on how well I did. I knew I was saved by grace through faith in Christ apart from any works. I had assurance of my salvation and expected to go to heaven when I died. But in my daily life, I thought God’s blessing depended on the practice of certain spiritual disciplines, such as having a daily quiet time and not knowingly committing any sin. I did not think this out but just unconsciously assumed it, given the Christian culture in which I lived. Yet it determined my attitude toward the Christian life.

Performance-Based Discipleship

My story is not unusual. Evangelicals commonly think today that the gospel is only for unbelievers. Once we’re inside the kingdom’s door, we need the gospel only in order to share it with those who are still outside. Now, as believers, we need to hear the message of discipleship. We need to learn how to live the Christian life and be challenged to go do it. That’s what I believed and practiced in my life and ministry for some time. It is what most Christians seem to believe.

As I see it, the Christian community is largely a performance-based culture today. And the more deeply committed we are to following Jesus, the more deeply ingrained the performance mindset is. We think we earn God’s blessing or forfeit it by how well we live the Christian life.

Most Christians have a baseline of acceptable performance by which they gauge their acceptance by God. For many, this baseline is no more than regular church attendance and the avoidance of major sins. Such Christians are often characterized by some degree of self-righteousness. After all, they don’t indulge in the major sins we see happening around us. Such Christians would not think they need the gospel anymore. They would say the gospel is only for sinners.

For committed Christians, the baseline is much higher. It includes regular practice of spiritual disciplines, obedience to God’s Word, and involvement in some form of ministry. Here again, if we focus on outward behavior, many score fairly well. But these Christians are even more vulnerable to self-righteousness, for they can look down their spiritual noses not only at the sinful society around them but even at other believers who are not as committed as they are. These Christians don’t need the gospel either. For them, Christian growth means more discipline and more commitment.

Then there is a third group. The baseline of this group includes more than the outward performance of disciplines, obedience, and ministry. These Christians also recognize the need to deal with sins of the heart like a critical spirit, pride, selfishness, envy, resentment, and anxiety. They see their inconsistency in having their quiet times, their failure to witness at every opportunity, and their frequent failures in dealing with sins of the heart. This group of Christians is far more likely to be plagued by a sense of guilt because group members have not met their own expectations. And because they think God’s acceptance of them is based on their performance, they have little joy in their Christian lives. For them, life is like a treadmill on which they keep slipping farther and farther behind. This group needs the gospel, but they don’t realize it is for them. I know, because I was in this group.

The Gospel Is for Believers

 Gradually over time, and from a deep sense of need, I came to realize that the gospel is for believers, too. When I finally realized this, every morning I would pray over a Scripture such as Isaiah 53:6,” All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all,” and then say, “Lord, I have gone astray. I have turned to my own way, but you have laid all my sin on Christ and because of that I approach you and feel accepted by you.”

I came to see that Paul’s statement in Galatians 2:20, “The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me,” was made in the context of justification (see vv. 15-21). Yet Paul was speaking in the present tense: “The life I now live ….” Because of the context, I realized Paul was not speaking about his sanctification but about his justification. For Paul, then, justification (being declared righteous by God on the basis of the righteousness of Christ) was not only a past-tense experience but also a present-day reality.

Paul lived every day by faith in the shed blood and righteousness of Christ. Every day he looked to Christ alone for his acceptance with the Father. He believed, like Peter (see 1 Pet. 2:4-5), that even our best deeds — our spiritual sacrifices — are acceptable to God only through Jesus Christ. Perhaps no one apart from Jesus himself has ever been as committed a disciple both in life and ministry as the Apostle Paul. Yet he did not look to his own performance but to Christ’s “performance” as the sole basis of his acceptance with God.

So I learned that Christians need to hear the gospel all of their lives because it is the gospel that continues to remind us that our day-to-day acceptance with the Father is not based on what we do for God but upon what Christ did for us in his sinless life and sin-bearing death. I began to see that we stand before God today as righteous as we ever will be, even in heaven, because he has clothed us with the righteousness of his Son. Therefore, I don’t have to perform to be accepted by God. Now I am free to obey him and serve him because I am already accepted in Christ (see Rom. 8:1). My driving motivation now is not guilt but gratitude.

Yet even when we understand that our acceptance with God is based on Christ’s work, we still naturally tend to drift back into a performance mindset. Consequently, we must continually return to the gospel. To use an expression of the late Jack Miller, we must “preach the gospel to ourselves every day.” For me that means I keep going back to Scriptures such as Isaiah 53:6, Galatians 2:20, and Romans 8:1. It means I frequently repeat the words from an old hymn, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”

No “Easy Believism”

 But doesn’t this idea that our acceptance with God is based solely on Christ’s work apart from our performance lead to a type of “easy believism”? In its most basic form, this is the notion that “Since I asked Christ to be my Savior, I am on my way to heaven regardless of how I live. It doesn’t matter if I continue in my sinful lifestyle. God loves and will accept me anyway.”

By a similar way of thinking, the claim that God’s acceptance and blessing are based solely on Christ’s work could be taken to mean that it really doesn’t matter how I live right now. If Jesus has already “performed” in my place, then why go through all the effort and pain of dealing with sin in my life? Why bother with the spiritual disciplines and why expend any physical and emotional energy to serve God during this earthly life if everything depends on Christ?

The Apostle Paul anticipated such “easy believism” in Romans 6:1 when he wrote, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” His response in Romans 6:2, “By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” answers the question, “Why bother?” Paul was not responding with “How could you be so ungrateful as to think such a thing?” No, instead he is saying, in effect, “You don’t understand the gospel. Don’t you realize that you died to sin and if you died to sin, it’s impossible for you to continue to live in it” (see Rom. 6:3-14).

We Died to Sin

Now, however, we come to a big question. What does Paul mean when he says we died to sin? It’s fairly obvious he doesn’t mean we died to the daily committal of sin. If that were true, no honest person could claim to be justified because we all sin daily. None of us truly loves God with our whole being and none of us actually loves our neighbor as ourselves (see Matt. 22:35-40). Nor does it mean we have died in the sense of being no longer responsive to sin’s temptations, as some have taught. If that were true, Peter’s admonition to abstain from the passions of the flesh would be pointless (see 1 Pet. 2:11). So what does Paul mean?

Some Bible commentators believe that Paul means only that we have died to the penalty of sin. That is, because of our union with Christ, when Christ died to sin’s penalty we also died to sin’s penalty. Well, it certainly means that, but it also means much more. It also means we died to sin’s dominion.

What is the dominion of sin? In Romans 5:21, Paul speaks of sin’s reign. And in Colossians 1:13, he speaks of the domain of darkness. When Adam sinned in the Garden, we all sinned through our legal union with him (see Rom. 5:12-21). That is, because of our identity with Adam we all suffered the consequence of his sin. And a part of that consequence is to be born into this world under the reign or dominion of sin. Paul describes what it means to be under this dominion in Ephesians 2:1-3. He says we were spiritually dead; we followed the ways of the world and the devil; we lived in the passions of our sinful natures and were, by nature, objects of God’s wrath.

This slavery to the dominion of sin then is part of the penalty due to our guilt of sin. Through our union with Christ in his death, however, our guilt both from Adam’s and from our own personal sins was forever dealt with. Having died with Christ to the guilt of sin, we also as a consequence died to the dominion of sin. We cannot continue in sin as a dominant way of life because the reign of sin over us has forever been broken.

This death to the dominion of sin over us is known theologically as definitive sanctification. It refers to the decisive break with, or separation from, sin as a ruling power in a believer’s life. It is a point-in-time event, occurring simultaneously with justification. It is the fundamental change wrought in us by the monergistic action of the Holy Spirit (that is, by the Spirit acting alone without human permission or assistance) when he delivers us from the kingdom of darkness and transfers us into the kingdom of Christ. This definitive break with the dominion of sin occurs in the life of everyone who trusts in Christ as Savior. There is no such thing as justification without definitive sanctification. They both come to us as a result of Christ’s work for us.

Consider Yourselves Dead to Sin

 So we are free from both the guilt and the dominion of sin. But what use is this information to us? How can it help us live out a gospel-based pursuit of sanctification? Here Paul’s instructions in Romans 6:11 are helpful: “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

It is important we understand what Paul is saying here because he is not telling us to do something but to believe something. We are to believe that we are dead through Christ to both sin’s penalty and its dominion. But this is not something we make come true by believing it. We simply are dead to sin, whether we believe it or not. But the practical effects of our death to sin can be realized only as we believe it to be true.

The fact is that we are guilty in ourselves, but God no longer charges that guilt against us because it has already been borne by Christ as our substitute. The sentence has been served. The penalty has been paid. We have died to sin, both to its guilt and to its dominion. That is why Paul can write, “Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin” (Rom. 4:8).

But the question arises, “If I’ve died to sin’s dominion, why do I still struggle with sin patterns in my life?” The answer to that question lies in the word struggle. Unbelievers do not struggle with sin. They may seek to overcome some bad habit, but they do not see that habit as sin. They do not have a sense of sin against a holy God. Believers, on the other hand, struggle with sin as sin. We see our sinful words, thoughts, and deeds as sin against God; and we feel guilty because of it. This is where we must continue to go back to the gospel. To consider ourselves dead to sin is to believe the gospel.

This doesn’t mean that we just believe the gospel and live complacently in our sin. Absolutely not! Go back again to Paul’s words in Romans 6:1-2. We died both to sin’s guilt and its dominion. Though sin can wage war against us (hence our struggle), it cannot reign over us. That is also part of the gospel. But the success of our struggle with sin begins with our believing deep down in our hearts that regardless of our failures and our struggle, we have died to sin’s guilt. We must believe that however often we fail, there is no condemnation for us (Rom. 8:1).

William Romaine, who was one of the leaders of the eighteenth-century revival in England, wrote, “No sin can be crucified either in heart or life unless it first be pardoned in conscience…. If it be not mortified in its guilt, it cannot be subdued in its power.” What Romaine was saying is that if you do not believe you have died to sin’s guilt, you cannot trust Christ for the strength to subdue its power in your life. So the place to begin in dealing with sin is to believe the gospel when it says you have died to sin’s guilt.

Progressive Sanctification

Warring against our sinful habits and seeking to put on Christlike character is usually called sanctification. But because the term definitive sanctification is used to describe the point-in-time deliverance from the dominion of sin, it is helpful to speak of Christian growth in holiness as progressive sanctification. Additionally, the word progressive indicates continual growth in holiness over time. The New Testament writers both assume growth (see 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Eph. 2:19-21; Col. 2:19; 2 Thess. 1:3); and continually urge us to pursue it (see 2 Cor. 7:1; Heb. 12:14; 2 Pet. 3:18). There is no place in authentic Christianity for stagnant, self-satisfied, and self-righteous Christians. Rather we should be seeking to grow in Christlikeness until we die.

This progressive sanctification always involves our practice of spiritual disciplines, such as reading Scripture, praying, and regularly fellowshipping with other believers. It also involves putting to death the sinful deeds of the body (see Rom. 8:13) and putting on Christlike character (see Col. 3:12-14). And very importantly it involves a desperate dependence on Christ for the power to do these things, for we cannot grow by our own strength.

So sanctification involves hard work and dependence on Christ; what I call dependent effort. And it will always mean we are dissatisfied with our performance. For a growing Christian, desire will always outstrip performance or, at least, perceived performance. What is it then that will keep us going in the face of this tension between desire and performance? The answer is the gospel. It is the assurance in the gospel that we have indeed died to the guilt of sin and that there is no condemnation for us in Christ Jesus that will motivate us and keep us going even in the face of this tension.

We must always keep focused on the gospel because it is in the nature of sanctification that as we grow, we see more and more of our sinfulness. Instead of driving us to discouragement, though, this should drive us to the gospel. It is the gospel believed every day that is the only enduring motivation to pursue progressive sanctification even in those times when we don’t seem to see progress. That is why I use the expression “gospel-driven sanctification” and that is why we need to “preach the gospel to ourselves every day.”

Jerry Bridges is a staff member with the Navigator collegiate ministry group. A prolific and best-selling author, his most recent book is The Gospel for Real Life (Navpress, 2002).

The quotation from William Romaine comes from his The Life, Walk and Triumph of Faith (Cambridge, England: James Clarke and Co. Ltd., 1793), p. 280

© 2003, Modern Reformation Magazine (May / June Issue, Vol. 12.3). All Rights Reserved

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19 responses to “Gospel-Driven Sanctification – Jerry Bridges

  1. This article seems fine to me. I’m so confused. Looks like an exercise in defining terms like the Lordship Salvation thing is. Would the Presby’s say this was heretical or no? At any rate, I can’t find anything I disagree with in this article. I think this is one of the first ones I read on the subject and didn’t see a problem with it then either, so I just don’t know what to think about this all.

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    • I think some of the men being called antinomian heretics by their brethren are merely trying to explain that even our sanctification is connected to the same grace that provided for our justification, NOT that they are saying that sanctification and justification are both accomplished at the cross. Justification for all who believe certainly is, and in a sense we are positionally justified IN Christ already, but we grow experientially into becoming more like Jesus as we grow ‘in grace’, as Paul encourages us to do. I’ve read that some of the way they explain it can be perceived as ‘antinomian’, but it isn’t, really. It’s a hard thing to explain.

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  2. See, that’s where I am confused. I can’t tell if it’s just the antinomianism that people are solely concerned with or if there is more to it. It seems there is also a concern on the opposite end of the specturm where justification and sanctification are being blended into the same ongoing process, which would be Roman Catholic and maybe even Wesleyian type doctrine.

    I’m sure part of my misunderstanding has to do with reading through filters and the other part is that I just don’t care enough to look deeper into it I suppose.

    I do wonder however if different teachers are presenting this differently and if this is a “label” problem.

    Using the Lordship Salvation example…people are called heretics for using the word, but not all Lordship Salvation is created equal. Some present it as a true works based salvation while others are just describing the process of sanctification.

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    • I think the enemy is busy trying to cause division where we should be uniting in the gospel. I’m more concerned with thousands upon thousands of self-deceived ‘professors’ of Christ who never confronted the issue of sin when they trusted in Christ for their ‘best lives now’, and think they are saved. Those who think justification and sanctification are wrongly being ‘blended’ just might be wrong in their thinking. I also see how they arrive at their ‘possibly’ wrong headedness. I’m interested enough to look into the issues being discussed and even collect a few files of information. I’ve actually found some that aren’t filled with pejorative terms and name calling, which should NOT be seen among believers. Antinomianism is ‘license’ to sin, not seeing grace as big enough to empower our striving for holiness. Truly, the enemy is busy.

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  3. In what you’ve collected for your files, have you noticed differences in presentation or no?

    When I studied the Lordship Salvation issue, it was easy for me to pick out who was teaching works and who wasn’t and I saw that men were being accused of something that wasn’t happening and it did cause division between me and a friend of mine. But, even with myself being able to explain that not all Lordship Salvation is the kind that teaches salvation by works, it didn’t matter to that person. I was labeled as someone who didn’t believe I was saved by faith alone because I believe in sanctification and therefore I must believe in salvation by works…

    The reason I’m asking is when I read some of that gospel sanctification stuff, again, I read through filters of my own understanding I think. So when a statement is made, I understand it in a way that I understand scripture. So when things are said like sanctification and justification happened at a point in time…I say, well yeah. That’s what 1 Corinthians 6 says. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. I assume that’s all the writer is trying to say. And then when they say the gospel is what sanctifies, I say, well yeah…because it is the gospel that saves and once I am saved through the gospel, the Lord completes what He has done and sanctification is part of the “being saved” process…and it makes sense to me because I think of salvation as I am saved, I am being saved and I will be saved. When I’m told I need to preach the gospel to myself, I say well yes, I do. I have to remind myself everyday that my strength is in His death and resurrection, not in myself. But then I read something that says, no, that’s not what is being said and I think wow Dawn, you must be really dense because you didn’t catch that and it makes me think that I’m the one who’s just not getting it or something and so I just go back to what I know is true and just stop reading commentary because it’s discouraging.

    Usually, I can pinpoint where the error is, and I’m having a really hard time with this one. When I read the presby statement that said that justifcation and sanctification were being blended, it made sense what the problem was, and I thought, well, these guys are pastors who are dealing with this in their own denomination, so they must know right?but then when I read an article like the one you posted in this post, I think, well…that’s not what is being said here.

    Sometimes, I wonder if confusion comes with putting a label on something and then grouping anyone who uses the term under the same umbrella whether they are all teaching the same thing or not. Would you mind sending me what you have already…for if I get to the point where I do care? I really would appreciate it.

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    • We all have our filters, some of them good and some not so. It’s an opportunity to do a ‘filter’ check and make adjustments if needed. 🙂 Your speaking of our filters just made me think of that. I’ll bet that the same accusers tossing out the ‘antinomianism’ label are probably the same ones (or like them)that would toss out ‘legalism’ labels toward those who believe that Jesus as Lord is part of the ‘package. I’m really familiar with the folks who will believe what they want to believe regardless of how much food for thought you give them.

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  4. I can do that. Send me an email. I remember I used the one that hits my blog and I think you said you don’t use it much. I have additional documentation from some of the ‘accused’, and some great advice from John MacArthur to the YRR types.

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  5. When i was learning about Diaprax and the reason it was so successful was that people filter what’s being said through their understanding that they already have. It is one of the reasons why Rick Warren appeals to so many people because apparently the stuff he speaks about can apply to whoever…it’s worded in such a way that anyone can agree with it depending on how they already think. So if he just quotes half a bible verse, someone who knows the whole verse will just finish off the verse in their head and say yeah…ok, great point. I get it. Someone who doesn’t, can say…oh yeah, I get it…and the two folks get a totally different message than what is actually said and maybe totally different that what is actually intended but everyone is happy. lol. I guess that’s just how the brain works when interpreting information.

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    • Then there is the matter of the immediate and larger contexts being necessary to get at what the author intended to say. The original author’s intent is at issue with both reading and understanding scripture, and most everything we read, I think. In addition to our filters, we always have presuppositions of some sort and something we ‘want’ to believe that we have an uncanny talent for ‘finding’ even if it might not be there. And that talent has much to do with our flesh, I think.

      I’m really glad you’re talking about it.

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  6. Context! Yes. That’s another thing I think we forget about. Who is being spoken to and what exactly is being addressed? What is societal culture at the time of the writing? What is the background of what is being written? What is the mindset of who is being spoken to? What prompted the writing? How did the writer or speaker mean to define the terms that are used at the time they were spoken?

    Part of the problem is also that we are all very engrained in tradition and what others say or teach us and it’s something that none of us can get away from…and never will. We assume that our definition of things is the same as another persons forgetting the tradition behind what is being said.

    For example…if I want what other folks call a soda or pop, I say, I want a coke. When I say that, I then decide what kind of a coke I want….lower case c. My husband will respond…what color? I say orange or clear or sometimes will give the brand name versus flavor…well that’s not really a “coke” then is it? If another person from another part of the country says they want a coke, they mean brand name Coke with a capital C.

    In addition, what we choose to believe or not also has to do with the person saying it and even our own experiences. But the truth is, take the Trinity for example…the catholic church teaches it…so does that mean I should automatically throw it out? No. That part is true about what they teach. God is 3 persons, yet 1 God. I can accept that part as true. Yet, I know through study that other terms they use are distorted from what I understand them to mean. In the same way here, the same Christ who atoned for my sins through His death is the same one who changes my heart though the Holy Spirit and that is the Good News. It does’t matter if Driscoll, Mahaney, Piper, Mohler…pick your poison are teaching it. Yet, because of the other problems I’ve seen in all of their teachings, affiliations, actions etc., I have to remember that terms need to be defined. I might find that each of these men are using the same words, but that only 1 of them actually means what I think he means. It could be very possible that 2 of the 4 (just random numbers here for example only) are preaching antinomianism and 1 of the 4 is mixing justification with sanctification. So then we go back to what does the person saying it really mean? For me to know that, I would have to be good about knowing the teachings of all of these men, and honestly, I have no interest in doing that.

    If I talk to someone from say a Wesleyian church, they will say we are saved by grace through faith alone…but when I probe a bit further, I find that they don’t really mean that. They mean our initial salvation is from Christ, but keeping our salvation is based on our works and eventually, we can have a second filling of the Holy Spirit if we’re good enough that will enable us to be just about sinless…and we can lose that too. Our terms might be spelled the same and pronounced the same way, but the meanings implied are totally different. Again, filters. If I use the term meditate…again, another example…I mean to think about and ponder the meaning. Whereas when someone else uses the term…they actually mean DON’T think about, empty your mind. If we speak of generic terms like the rapture…we all know that there are different meanings of what is being said, same with Antichrist or temple or whatever. Again, just an example.

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    • You bring up another great topic – definitions. I’m always asking about definitions and meanings. I deal with words daily and meanings must be really clear and definitions precise. I am developing a keeper appreciation for the best interpretation of any passage of scripture is what the ‘author’ intended within all the levels of context. Makes Bible study a bit more work, but well worth it. Good exegetical preaching and teaching Resolves a lot of the issues we face that you so aptly described, but where can you find it these days? It’s out there, but rare, I fear.

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  7. It would just be nice if people said what they meant and used smaller words so my bird brain could understand. I’m weary of reading between the lines and I really really like to do yard work and other hobbies! More time spent trying to interpret what could be written clearly means less time for hobbies and more frustration. My husband is currently working on getting another degree and I spend alot of time editing his papers. In addition, I volunteer at the State Board of Pharmacy clarifying laws and rules…editing. Anyway, the point is that one of the first things we both learned and had burned into our brains in this program was about writing. If something is difficult to read, it’s the writers fault, not the readers. A good writer should be clear, concise and easy to understand. The reader should not spend a lot of time scratching their head and re-reading sentences. Large words and convoluted sentences are generally used when the writer is unsure himself about what he is talking about, or they are used to make himself appear brighter to his audience. Basically, the simpler, the better. Of course, topic matter is a whole different bear. The topic can be difficult, but the writing should be simple and clear. 🙂

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  8. Dawnmarie,

    Since I did not read your entire discussion here, I don’t know whether this was mentioned or not. Perhaps, you are no longer involved in this discussion and have moved on. I don’t know if this will help or not, but it is helpful to me. Not everything that Jesus accomplished on the cross has been applied and thus realized in the believer’s life. I believe he accomplished not only the reconciliation and redemption of his people, but also the reconciliation and redemption of the physical universe. Eventually, all futility will be eliminated. Sickness and death will be forever banished. There will be no more pain and sorrow. All this results from his redemptive accomplishments.

    When Jesus died, the believer’s sanctification no less than his justification was accomplished. Not only did he die for us; we died with him to the reigning power of sin. At the point of initial faith, God declares believers righteous in his sight based on Jesus’ obedience [active and passive]. Thus, the application of his death for us has occurred when we first believed. That is a declaration that will stand for all of time and eternity.

    Our death with him is also an accomplished fact. In God’s reckoning it occurred when Jesus died and begins to be applied when God unites us to Christ by the work of effectual calling. But he who began this good work in us goes on performing it until that day when he finally consummates all things. He enables us to account ourselves really dead to sin and alive toward God. In other words, he enables us to live in the light of that which God has declared true about us. In other words, he enables us to live in character with what we already are as believers. That is a work of faith. That life long work of enabling us is the application of Jesus’ accomplishment on the cross. Believers are not passive in the work of sanctification, but we are not faithless either. Sanctification is not by faith alone as is justification, but it is alone by faith. That is, we are not sanctified apart from faith.

    I hope that didn’t confuse you even more.

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  9. DM,

    You wrote:

    “Sometimes, I wonder if confusion comes with putting a label on something and then grouping anyone who uses the term under the same umbrella whether they are all teaching the same thing or not.”

    I thing that is an extremely insightful statement.

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  10. ” If something is difficult to read, it’s the writers fault, not the readers. A good writer should be clear, concise and easy to understand. The reader should not spend a lot of time scratching their head and re-reading sentences. Large words and convoluted sentences are generally used when the writer is unsure himself about what he is talking about, or they are used to make himself appear brighter to his audience.”

    Agreed!

    Like

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