Friday, February 29, 2008

A Deeper Understanding of Sanctification

More on my ongoing vacation in Lutheranism,
a place that I do like to visit,
through Eric's shared links posted at

Here's a topic that I always assume needs no explanation for the Protestant and the Reformed, and, then, I realize that this is a false assumption. 

This is a subject of great debate within many circles in Evangelical Christianity, far beyond my wildest imagination. Though I rejoice in our commonalities in Christ and know many Catholic brethren that share a deep love for Jesus and the deep love of Jesus in their hearts, on the topic of sanctification, we do not agree. From my traditional understanding, it was just this issue of justification and sanctification that moved Martin Luther to hang his famed Ninety-Five Theses on that famed door in Wittenberg in protest of Catholic Doctrine. The Catholic church essentially sold salvation through indulgences and works, teaching that sanctification was a process of "infusion" of grace into the life of the believer over the course of his life through compliance with the law and through obedience to the clergy. Salvation depended more upon compliance with standards and works than it did with faith, but one day, Luther had an epiphany. Reading that we were saved by grace through faith and not by works or PIETY in Ephesians chapter 2, Luther realized that salvation was of God and not through man's merit nor through the merit of his works.

This is truly a miraculous thing to understand, because I believe that comprehending this in our human understanding is truly impossible. Salvation by grace through faith is impossible, and God works this miracle of impossiblity into our hearts through faith in Him! Not of works do we boast, and we don't maintain our sanctification or the process of being made holy in Christ through our own effort but by the inner work of the Holy Spirit.

I was overjoyed to read the following. I will hope that you will click on the link and read the entire passage because it is wonderful, though I especially loved the lyrical statement, copied here from that blog entry on Weedon's Blog:

On Sanctification

The danger is in thinking that the holiness given you in Christ is not whole, perfect, complete. * It IS. *
It is not at all so much the case that holiness grows in you, but that you grow in holiness.
The gift is given: now we make progress in learning to live from it, so that love becomes ever more our life.