Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Sanctification - The P, Q, R, of S

Sanctification, or growing in grace, is the supreme way and measure of our thanks to God through Jesus Christ.

We are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ, and this will ultimately happen at the coming of the Lord, but in this life, we cooperate with the Spirit. As Paul says in Romans 12:1-2, we are not to be conformed by the world but transformed by the renewing of our mind to think and act like Jesus.

This is a dual effort with God and us as Paul says in Philippians 2:12-13. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. We act in accordance with His decrees.

The problem we see in the church today is the nature of how this works, and we see three examples of how it can be done wrong, how we can drift one way or another into error.

The P, Q, R, of S (Understanding the Two Sides of Sanctification)

P = Pietism

Pietism is the notion that sanctification (holiness) is a purely human work.

Produced by too much emphasis on the human side of the equation.

Pietism is a totally active approach to sanctification. It is up to you to defeat sin.

This is manifest in various forms of legalism and asceticism, like the religion of the Pharisees, and the monasticism of medieval Christianity.

Operative phrase: Go and get God

Q = Quietism

Quietism is the view that sanctification doesn't occur until we give up striving for it.

Produced by too little emphasis on the human side of the equation.

Quietism is a totally passive approach to sanctification; it is an attempt to become holy by abandoning all effort and simply "trusting" God to remove the temptation to sin.

This is manifest in the Deeper Life movements.

Operative phrase: Let go and let God

R = Riotism

Riotism is the idea that sanctification is an unnecessary focus.

Produced by no emphasis on the human or the divine side of the equation.

Riotism is a totally careless approach to sanctification. Because we teach that one can be saved without sanctification, masses of unconverted church members are lulled to sleep and end up in hell. The Bible teaches, "without holiness, no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14).

This is manifest in seeker sensitive movement, and sections of prosperity teachings.

Operative phrase: Don’t go – forget God

T = Truth:

The truth brings the knowledge that sanctification is an ongoing struggle where we ask God to give us the will to win (Ephesians 4:22-24 / Colossians 3).

Produced by a proper emphasis on both sides of the equation.

Truth is the proper approach to sanctification. We are simultaneously justified yet sinful.

This is manifest in the giants of the faith, and their struggles with each of the other ways.

Martin Luther was clearly involved with pietism first, being a monk.

John Wesley taught entire sanctification, but never achieved it in his own life.

We see both pietism and quietism as having failed, and of course riotism isn’t even a consideration, not that those who practice it are even considering anything anyway.

Operative phrase: Don’t let go of God

Fear and trembling is to understand that we will always have to be fending off our old man, but understanding that God will give us both the increased will and the deeds of holiness as we become closer to Him.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

1 comment:

Even So... said...

Don't let go of God, indeed.