Our Role In Sanctification: An Imperative

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Reformed, Jun 30, 2014.

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  1. Reformed

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    2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty." Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

    Paul begins this passage by telling the Corinthians that they are not to be bound together with unbelievers. The meaning behind this is that we are not to have intimate dealings with unbelievers that would place us in a position to compromise our faith. He expands on this by comparing Christ with Satan and the temple of God with idols. The conclusion is that we are to live separate from them. This does not mean we are to have no dealings with unbelievers, but rather we are to not have intimate dealings with unbelievers. Paul then says, "then I will welcome you, and I will be a father you, you shall be sons and daughters to me". Because of these promises Paul tells the Corinthians to "cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God."

    Cleansing ourselves from bodily and spiritual defilement is an imperative. It is something we are commanded to do. It is not optional. The purpose is to "bring holiness to completion in the fear of God." This is really a description of our sanctification. As we yield to the Spirit of God, avoiding sin and pursuing righteousness, we become more mature in our faith. We push forward to holiness. This is evidence that we are children of God.
     
  2. convicted1

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  3. kyredneck

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    Holiness is subjective. Period. Who decides/judges among you 'Lordshippers' that one is providing the evidence that they are among the redeemed? The preacher? Deacons? A special appointed board? Who decides?
     
  4. Iconoclast

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    kyredneck

    Holiness is a command not an option.

    There are no "holiness police". Holiness of life is taught in the context of progressive sanctification.


    Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.

    7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,

    8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

    9 Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;

    10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

    12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

    14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
    15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
    God in sanctification is purifying unto Hinself a people zealous of good works.
    There has always been in scripture a call for the covenant people of God to keep a difference between the holy and the profane....

    26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.

    14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
     
  5. Hermeneut7

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    I tend to agree with you. I believe sincere Christians can fall into the trap of the Pharisee of old by helping God define his law further than what God did. I find the following an example that is heading that way, from the Larger Catechism of the Presbyterian Church. I love Presbyterians and attend a Presbyterian Church, but I think the following opens the door for much mischief.

    "Q. 139. What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment?
    A. The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are, adultery, fornication, rape, incest, sodomy, and all unnatural lusts; all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections; all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto; wanton looks, impudent or light behavior, immodest apparel; prohibiting of lawful, and dispensing with unlawful marriages; allowing, tolerating, keeping of stews, and resorting to them; entangling vows of single life, undue delay of marriage; having more wives or husbands than one at the same time; unjust divorce, or desertion; idleness, gluttony, drunkenness, unchaste company; lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancings, stage plays; and all other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others."

    The latter part of that answer gets into pretty subjective territory.
     
  6. Reformed

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    The Word of God is the standard by which all believers are bound. There are some things we know for certain:

    1. Jesus Christ condemned sin in the flesh (Rom. 8:3).
    2. As a consequence of Jesus' condemnation of sin, believers are to walk according to the Spirit and not the flesh (Rom. 8:4).
    3. The mind set on the flesh is death, whereas the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace (Rom. 8:6).
    4. If you live according to the flesh (the deeds of the flesh) you will die (Rom. 8:13).
    5. If you live according to the Spirit (the deeds of the Spirit you will live (Rom. 8:13).

    These things I just shared are incontrovertible.

    Who makes the rules as to what are the deeds of the Spirit, and what conclusions can we draw if these deeds are not present in the life of a professed believer? Well, let me address the latter first. I am not saying that a believer will not sin, or even fall into an extended period of sin. Believers do sin, and sometimes they sin in extreme ways. David was guilty of adultery, conspiracy, and murder. He was also a lousy father. But he was also subject to the spirit of Romans 8 centuries before it was penned by the Apostle Paul. The deeds of the flesh beget death. David's son born of Bathsheba died. His son Absalom died. He tempted God by taking a census and, as a result, 70,000 men were killed. So, God's people are not immune from sin, nor are they immune from sin's temporal penalties. I state temporal penalties because, if they are truly believers, they will still inherit eternal life even though they may suffer loss in this life. We see this in 1 Cor. 5:1-5 where a church member was turned over to Satan for the destruction of his body, yet his spirit would be saved.

    The "rules" of what constitutes living by the Spirit is all over the Bible. The moral law contained in the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20) is a starting place. "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2). Flee sexual immorality (1 Cor. 6:18). Walk by the Spirit and not according to the flesh (Gal. 5:1-25). Put on the new man (Eph. 4:24). Do not lie; speak truth (Eph. 4:25). Use you speech to build up, not to destroy (Eph. 4:29). Be doers of the word, and not hearers only (Jas. 1:22). Submit to lawful authority (1 Pet. 2:13-15). Love you brother (1 Joh. 2:7-14; 3:11).

    Lastly, 2 Peter 1:3-15:

    His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

    I can provide an exhaustive list of passages, but if these are not convincing then neither will they be.

    Let me briefly address your skepticism about ecclesiastical authority (you cited pastors, deacons, and appointed boards). Pastors and elders are responsible for spiritual oversight of the flock of God. If they are not abusing their position (for there are false shepherds), then you are under obligation to submit to them.

    Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

    1 Peter 5:1-5 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders.

    Ephesians 4:11, 12 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ,
     
    #6 Reformed, Jun 30, 2014
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  7. Aaron

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    Everything is an imperative. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" is an imperative, but it's God's grace that works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

    Love is an imperative, and love is the fulfillment of the law. Can't get more sanctified than that.

    So, what's your point?
     
  8. Reformed

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    I am not defending or opposing the Westminster Larger Catechism, but did you take the time to look at the scriptural basis for its claims on what sins are prohibited under the 7th commandment?

    adultery, fornication

    Hebrews 13:4. Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

    Galatians 5:19. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness.

    rape, incest

    2 Samuel 13:14. Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her.

    1 Corinthians 5:1. It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.

    sodomy, and all unnatural lusts

    Romans 1:24, 26-27. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.... For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

    Leviticus 20:15-16. And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast. And if a woman approach unto any beast, and lie down thereto, thou shalt kill the woman, and the beast: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

    all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections

    Matthew 5:28. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

    Matthew 15:19. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.

    Colossians 3:5. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

    all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto

    Ephesians 5:3-4. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

    Proverbs 7:5, 21-22. That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.... With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks.

    For the sake of brevity, I'll stop here. Certainly no one would argue that these behavioral prohibitions are acceptable in the life of a professed believer.
     
  9. Reformed

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    The point is that we cannot approach the Christian life as though these imperatives are just suggestions. A large segment of evangelicalism stops the imperative at the verse you partially quoted, "Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." After that they embrace a form of functional antinomianism, while all the while denying it.

    When I was entrenched in fundamentalism I saw this first-hand this functional antinomianism. I attended a very well known bible college in New York State. It is known for its multi-faceted evangelism programs directed mostly at youth and teens. The students who are the foot soldiers in these programs are taught to lead people in the sinners prayer and to assure them they are now part of the family of God. They are not taught how to live. They may or may not be directed to a local church. If it turns out their "decision for Christ" did not stick the first time, they can come back for a rededication ceremony where they can throw their stick in the fire and sign a dedication card to go along with the spiritual birth certificate they were originally given. I wish I could say this view was limited to just this one organization, but sadly, it's not.

    If our churches are not calling on Christians to live like Christians, and holding them accountable when they don't, how are they any different than modern feel-good psychology or the self-help movement? We may take three steps forward and two steps back in our Christian walk, but Christian maturity is not measured by leaps and bounds, it is measured sometimes in inches. The battle is often proof that the Spirit is working as it wars against the flesh. When a church accepts a Christianity less than that, at best it is doing its members a disservice. At worse it is culpable in allowing unbelievers to believe they are part of the fold.
     
  10. Hermeneut7

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    I cut to just your last sentence because what you listed I believe we would agree on. But the latter part of that Catechism Q&A then lists:

    "unjust divorce, or desertion" Who is going to determine that here below?
    "idleness" I think some of those in Europe working 30 hr weeks are idle louts, does God think so?
    "gluttony" We going to use the medical BMI guide to judge that sin?

    I embrace God's sovereignty with his children in sanctification:

    "So you too, my friends, must be obedient, as always; even more, now that I am absent, than when I was with you. You must work out your own salvation in fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you, inspiring both the will and the deed, for his own chosen purpose." (Phil 2:12-13, REB)

    "May God himself, the God of peace, make you holy through and through, and keep you sound in spirit, soul, and body, free of any fault when our Lord Jesus Christ comes. He who calls you keeps faith; he will do it. (1Thess 5:23-24, REB)

    I am not criticizing the intent of your OP, but we sinful humans can err when we focus too much on other men's sanctification when we need to stay focused on our own. I surely know I do!
     
  11. Reformed

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    But that is not the cast here. This is not a matter of evaluating the sanctification of others. Paul told the Corinthians to examine themselves to see if they were in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). But we are also our brothers keeper.

    Matthew 18:15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother."

    Hebrews 3:12, 13 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

    I am also writing from the position of being a minister of the gospel, who has shepherding responsibilities (1 Peter 5:1-5).

    We live in a fallen world where our enemy, the devil, roams around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). As members of the church of God, we desperately need one another.

    But I agree that there is always the risk of turning genuine concern about a brother or sister into excess; something it is not supposed to be.
     
  12. JonC

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  13. kyredneck

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    OK. But it's also my position eternally due solely to His imputed righteousness, regardless of my omissions or commissions.

    Lol, OK. ....so you say...

    Icon, most of the above is subject to varying interpretations and degrees.

    Zactly. But in this case it would fall into 'Puritanical' more so than 'Pharisaical'.

    Zactly what I'm talking about. :)

    Actually I'm not near as skeptical as you may think I am; I agree wholeheartedly with the function of the church in attending to the needs of the flock, and I personally have 'submitted' more times than I could even begin to remember and benefitted immensely from it.

    I'm honestly beginning to think that their 'point' is to present salvation through Christ to be as harsh and hard and difficult and rigid as possible with the intent to keep/scare false professors/easy believers away, or sumthin like that.
     
    #13 kyredneck, Jun 30, 2014
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  14. Aaron

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    Sure doesn't sound like Matthew 11:28-30.
     
  15. kyredneck

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    .....you nailed it....
     
  16. Reformed

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    Is the gospel really that difficult to comprehend? I am asking you honestly, not with any hidden agenda. At least give me that. I do not participate on this board in order to obfuscate my opinions.

    The gospel is freely preached to all, and all are called to receive it. It is required that one repent of their sins and place their faith in Christ. If someone confesses that they have done so, I am not going to grill them on the technical aspects of soteriology. To suggest otherwise is to misrepresent my position and that of others who share my view. However what happens after they confess Christ is vitally important.

    The matter at hand is not how one becomes saved, it is about the duties of a Christian. There is a teaching/preaching vacuum in Western churches in regards to this topic. People get bent out of shape and throw out accusations such as "Pharisee", "Legalist", "Fear-Monger" among other things. Instead of engaging on the topic they resort to pejoratives; either because they lack the ability to debate or because they already know their position is on shaky ground. If you cannot refute what I wrote by presenting your own biblical argument, then have you really added anything of value to the conversation? Is sanctification that unimportant of a subject, so as not to be discussed rationally?
     
  17. Reformed

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    Does anyone know why the Puritan movement dissolved? It had nothing to do with their Calvinism. It had nothing to do with their theology in general. The Puritans strayed into legalism. I am very much aware of their error. That is why we cannot present obedience to Christ as somehow achieving God's favor. Ephesians tells us that we have already been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, in Christ (Eph. 1:3). The degree of our obedience does not add or subtract from God's mercy and grace towards us. I fervently pray that I will be kept from any excess in theology that would cause me to believe otherwise. But the opposite extreme of legalism is antinomianism, and antinomianism has a stranglehold on the Western evangelical church.
     
  18. Aaron

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    We are given the commandment to love one another, but no one can work up love on his own. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which is given unto us.

    Our justification, sanctification and glorification have all been accomplished and given to us in Christ. It is finished, but these things work themselves out in our lives in exactly the same way that a bean turns into a flowering vine—by nature, the Divine Nature.

    We are begotten of God. We don't beget ourselves, and what is begotten is of the same substance and nature of Him that begat. We are partakers of the Divine Nature, and as such are incorruptible. It is impossible to become un-begotten, and it is impossible to die.

    These things are given to us for the asking, and even the asking is given to us by the grace of God. Salvation is unconditional.
     
  19. Reformed

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    Agreed. But just to clarify, do you therefore reject progressive sanctification?
     
  20. Aaron

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    I reject the notion that we have a role in it.
     
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