Progressive Sanctification

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Gina B, Mar 6, 2006.

  1. Gina B

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    Not progressive redemption...I was discussing the idea of this with someone else earlier and my mind went blank and I called it progressive redemption. :eek:

    Anyhow, will someone here please offer a simple explanation of what it is, and how it differs from the immediate sanctification of a person?
     
  2. Calvibaptist

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    Good question. I'll try to answer it and not bring up Calvinism ;) ;)

    Very simply, progressive sanctification is the view that true believers in Christ go through a process from the time they are saved up until the time they are glorified. This process is the forming of Christ in them. Being a process, it progresses. It moves forward. There are ups and downs in the process (based on our obedience/disobedience and the work of the HS) but the process moves on.

    I'm not sure what progressive redemption, but it sounds like a Catholic teaching, like "progressive justification" which they do believe. They believe that you are more and more justified before God as perform the sacraments. This was one of the major sticking points for Martin Luther and one of the teachings that prodded him to seek reform.
     
  3. Calvibaptist

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    I'm sorry, I didn't talk about "immediate sanctification." Sanctification is used a few ways in Scripture. The Greek word has the basic meaning of "set apart." In one way it describes us as having been set apart at the moment of salvation. This would be immediate sanctification.

    In another sense it talks about us being more and more set apart as we grow in our faith. This would be progressive sanctification.
     
  4. Craigbythesea

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    No, the Roman Catholic Church does not teach “progressive justification,” and they never have. They teach that progressive sanctification is the most common experience, but that instantaneous sanctification is preferable and attainable. Unlike most Protestant groups, they do not make a sharp distinction between salvation and sanctification.

    Among the very many Protestant groups that we have today, we find two very different views of sanctification based primarily upon the experiences of the individuals that make up these groups. Individuals who have experienced, at a point in time in their Christian walk, instantaneous and complete (or nearly complete) sanctification generally fellowship with like believers in groups that teach instantaneous sanctification, often as a second work of grace separate and distinct from salvation. See the theology, for example, of the Church of the Nazarene and the Church of God, Cleveland Tennessee.

    Individuals who have not experienced, at a point in time in their Christian walk, instantaneous and complete (or nearly complete) sanctification but a gradual, progressive sanctification generally fellowship with like believers in groups that teach progressive sanctification.

    My denomination, Conservative Baptist Association of America (CBAmerica), teaches progressive sanctification, but they place more emphasis on sanctification than some other Baptist denominations.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Helen

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    Trying to use layman's terms, what the Bible says is that a believer is born again. That is a total change in the person as he or she becomes dead to sin and alive to righteousness through the change of heart and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. That is a one-time done deal.

    But we are babes in Christ at first and must be raised up. The thrust of the Great Commission at the end of Matthew is that we are to make disciples (not believers -- that is the job of God Himself in concert with the person involved), teaching them to obey what Christ has commanded. This means that the more mature Christians are to reach out to the new ones and walk with them for awhile, teaching, praying, showing Christ in their own lives and faith, and thus encouraging the new believer through his or her first initial run-ins with pain and disappointment and trials of different kinds.

    Maturing in Christ is a gradual process spiritually just as maturing in the body is a gradual process. We will be disciplined (Hebrews 12), but also encouraged, and the Holy Spirit will finish the job He has begun in us.
     
  6. mima

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    Helen; does this statement- ( not believers-that is the job of God Himself in concert with the person involved) implied that we should not be involved in direct witnessing?
     
  7. npetreley

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    I think that is a very astute observation. I am really glad to see that you noticed that the "great commission" is not to go out and make believers, but to go out and "make disciples".

    I know we disagree on election, but I believe we are commanded to preach the Gospel, so we must. It is up to God who "hears" and believes.

    Regardless, I weary of hearing preachers teach "the great commission" as a command to go out and "win souls for Jesus", so I'm really glad to see that you recognize the distinction.
     
  8. Helen

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    We are told to always be ready to answer for the hope that we have. This implies that someone will ask a question. If we look and act and speak like the world, then no questions will be asked. In short, it is our daily lives which are our witness, and our knowledge of Christ Himself in our lives and of His Word, the Bible, which equips us to answer the questions.

    Of course missions are important. But, again, it is not the words they speak nearly as much as the lives they live when with other people that will cause those seeking the truth to stop and ask questions.

    I am NOT Calvinist/Reformed, nor am I Arminian. I know people have a choice about which road they will follow. That choice is made when they choose to follow the truth they are made aware of or reject it (Romans 1). Those who want the truth will be led by the Father to the Son (John 6). Thus the missionary will never 'win' them all, but he will be able to connect with those who want the truth.

    The Lord has told people to seek Him. And He has promised to reveal Himself to those who seek Him with their whole hearts. Missionaries -- and, indeed, all of us -- are the instruments He often uses to reveal Himself to others. Therefore it is, again, our lives which will tell the truth of Christ and His power or not.
     
  9. OldRegular

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    The Holy Spirit continues to sanctify those whom He has regenerated and finally prepares them fully for the service and enjoyment of life in the presence of God. Sanctification has two aspects, positional and progressive. In each case the Holy Spirit is the instrument of sanctification. ‘Positional’ sanctification, being ‘set apart for God’, occurs with regeneration. ‘Progressive’ sanctification occurs as the believer grows in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ [2 Peter 3:18]. Both positional sanctification and progressive sanctification are indicated in the prayer of Jesus Christ for His Church:

    John 17:15-17, KJV)
    15. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
    16. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
    17. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.


    Progressive sanctification can only occur when the believer is obedient. Just as the life of Abraham shows that obedience flows from faith so the New Testament teaches that obedience is a corollary or outgrowth of faith. We most frequently quote Ephesians 2:8,9 that deal with conversion. Unfortunately verse 10 that deals with obedience is often neglected:

    Ephesians 2:10, KJV
    10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    The Apostle Paul defines the believers responsibility in sanctification as follows:

    Romans 12:1-2, KJV
    1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.
    2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.


    The beloved Apostle John is very blunt concerning the believers responsibility:

    1 John 2:4, KJV
    4. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
     
  10. Calvibaptist

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    You are right that they don't make a sharp distinction between salvation (I assume you meant justification) and sanctification. But they most certainly do teach progressive justification. They even call it that.

    Taken from "Catholics United for the Faith"
    http://www.cuf.org/Faithfacts/details_view.asp?ffID=86

    "Catholics use the words “justification” and “sanctification” interchangeably, but for two different phenomena: initial justification/sanctification (inner or intrinsic transformation) and progressive justification/sanctification (ongoing spiritual growth)"

    Taken from "Catholic Apologetics International"
    http://www.catholicintl.com/epologetics/dialogs/justification/horton-rebutal6.htm

    "Both Abraham and David are prime examples of the Catholic concept of progressive justification. Abraham increased in his justification (just as the Council of Trent stated in Canon 24, 32); and David lost and regained his justification (just as the Council of Trent stated in Canon 29)."


    From the Council of Trent, Session Six

    "CHAPTER X.
    On the increase of Justification received.

    Having, therefore, been thus justified, and made the friends and domestics of God, advancing from virtue to virtue, they are renewed, as the Apostle says, day by day; that is, by mortifying the members of their own flesh, and by presenting them as instruments of justice unto sanctification, they, through the observance of the commandments of God and of the Church, faith co-operating with good works, increase in that justice which they have received through the grace of Christ, and are still further justified, as it is written; He that is just, let him be justified still; and again, Be not afraid to be justified even to death; and also, Do you see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. And this increase of justification holy Church begs, when she prays, "Give unto us, O Lord, increase of faith, hope, and charity."
     
  11. saturneptune

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    Old Regular and Calvibaptist,
    Very good posts and amen [​IMG]

    [ March 06, 2006, 10:17 PM: Message edited by: rsr ]
     
  12. Gina B

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    Ok, you got right to the heart of the inquiry, and I hadn't even said it. You're good! [​IMG]

    Will you please define what you believe to be the difference between salvation and sanctification?

    Actually, everyone reading this can do that. I'd be interested in hearing your views.
     
  13. Calvibaptist

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    Good question. I have tried to say this in most of the posts involving Calvinism/Arminianism (and there seem to be a lot of those right now!). I believe the Bible teaches salvation is a process.

    Now, before people pick up stones to throw at me, let me explain. The Bible uses the term salvation to cover a boatload of things regarding our eternal destiny. It encompasses God's work in eternity past - Foreknowing, Electing, Predestinating. It involves God's work in time - Crucifixion of Christ, Convicting, Calling, Regenerating. Man's response - Repentance and Faith. God's work in response to faith - Justification, Baptism of Spirit, Indwelling, Sealing. God and Man's partnership - Sanctification. God's final work - Glorification.

    Out of all of these steps, only one involves a process. Everything else is something that takes place once at a single point in time. The one that is a process is sanctification. If, by salvation, most people mean justification, then I do not believe that part is a process. But the Bible talks about Sanctification as salvation as well. But it is only a part of the entirety of the biblical definition of salvation.
     
  14. Helen

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    Well, you are either saved or you are not saved. You cannot be a little bit saved! You are either born again or you are not. You are either adopted into the family of God or you are not. These are A/non-A choices/propositions.

    And whatever you want to call being raised up to spiritual maturity and transformed into the likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ, that is a life-long process.
     
  15. Craigbythesea

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    You are right that they don't make a sharp distinction between salvation (I assume you meant justification) and sanctification. But they most certainly do teach progressive justification. They even call it that.

    Taken from "Catholics United for the Faith"
    http://www.cuf.org/Faithfacts/details_view.asp?ffID=86

    "Catholics use the words “justification” and “sanctification” interchangeably, but for two different phenomena: initial justification/sanctification (inner or intrinsic transformation) and progressive justification/sanctification (ongoing spiritual growth)"
    </font>[/QUOTE]No, I did not mean “justification—I meant “salvation.” However, I did not word my post as accurately as I should have. Roman Catholics do not teach progressive justification in the sense of one progressively becoming less guilty before God. Roman Catholics teach that as Christians mature, they have more of the righteousness of Christ and they call this, as you have pointed out, “progressive justification.”

    “Progressive justification doesn’t make us any cleaner, but it gives us a greater capacity for righteousness and virtue. It’s like trading a four-ounce glass of pure water for a 12-ounce glass of pure water. We may never approach Jesus’ infinite quantity of righteousness, of course, but we can possess more righteousness than we currently have.”

    Source: "Catholics United for the Faith"
    http://www.cuf.org/Faithfacts/details_view.asp?ffID=86

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Craigbythesea

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    Ok, you got right to the heart of the inquiry, and I hadn't even said it. You're good! [​IMG]

    Will you please define what you believe to be the difference between salvation and sanctification?

    Actually, everyone reading this can do that. I'd be interested in hearing your views.
    </font>[/QUOTE]When I tell people that I was saved on May 2, I do not mean that on May 2 I attained to the righteousness of Christ nor that on May 2 I stopped doing everything that was wrong or inappropriate and that I began doing everything that was right and appropriate. What I mean is that on May 2 I confessed to God that I had sinned and asked Jesus to save me. Here is my testimony of salvation,

    I didn’t get saved until I was 25—because I didn’t need to be saved. I had never smoked a cigarette, I didn’t drink, take drugs, or swear—and I was a virgin because I knew that sex outside of marriage was immoral. I was studying to be a teacher because I loved people and enjoyed helping them learn.

    One night when I was almost 25, four teenagers—a 14 year old boy named Gary, a 15 year old girl named Jeanie, and two others—invited me to come with them to a Christian youth service. I felt very badly for these kids, since they were Christians, and I went to the youth service with them believing that if I could help just one kid to escape the snarls of Christianity it would be worth my time.

    I had never been to a Christian youth service before, and boy was I surprised when I walked in the door! There were about 75 kids packed into the living room of an old house next door to the church—and they didn’t even have the courtesy to provide chairs—we all had to sit right on the floor. I found a spot along a wall where I could at least lean back and get some comfort, and I looked around the room. There was a fat lady about 40 years old sitting in the one chair in the room, and there was this guy about 37 years old standing up talking to some of the kids. I learned later that his name was Ken and that he was in charge that night.

    After a few minutes, Gary and Jeanie and some of the other teenagers got into a little group with some guitars and tambourines and began to sing a song that went something like this:

    Shackled by a heavy burden,
    'Neath a load of guilt and shame;
    Then the hand of Jesus touched me,
    And now I am no longer the same.

    He touched me! He touched me! And O, the joy that floods my soul. Something happened, and now I know; He touched me and made me whole!

    Since I met this blessed Savior;
    Since He cleansed and made me whole,
    I will never cease to praise Him
    I'll shout it while eternity rolls.

    He touched me! He touched me! And O, the joy that floods my soul. Something happened, and now I know; He touched me and made me whole!


    It was a cute song, but I certainly wasn’t underneath a load of guilt and shame because I was not guilty of anything, and I had nothing to be ashamed about.

    They sang some more cute songs, and since I loved kids, I enjoyed their performance—but then they quit singing and began giving their testimonies—and that was a bit much—especially when they cried half way through them. They testified how sin had wrecked their lives and Jesus had saved them and put their lives back together—and I could tell that they were so brainwashed that they really believed the stories they were telling. As it turned out, I didn’t get a chance to say anything, and my being there was a waste, except that the refreshments were good and I enjoyed being in the company of the kids.

    I started going to a Baptist coffee house several night a week where during the Bible studies I could occasionally express my ideas. I was very embarrassed to be in such a place, however, and when they asked me my name, I told them it was none of their business—and they named me “Charlie Brown.”

    I continued going to the Christian youth services at the Assembly of God church and began to get acquainted with the kids there. This one 17 year old girl, Laurie, was really nice, but I could tell that she was damaged goods. We got to talking one night and she told me that sometimes she can’t come to church because her parents punished her by forbidding her to go to church. I stood out like a freak, but the kids were really nice to me, except that I found out that they were praying that I would get saved.

    This went on for a few months—the kids were really nice to me, but some of the adults were beginning to show definite signs of hostility—and then it happened. On a Sunday night I found myself being physically escorted out the door.

    However, the associate pastor, who was also the leader of the youth group, came to my rescue and brought me back inside and told the others to pray for me. Before I knew it, the whole church was praying for me, and they continued to pray for me until a few minutes after midnight. Then the associate pastor asked me if I would like to accept Christ as my savior. I had enjoyed all of the attention, and listening to their prayers was a lot of fun, but as for getting saved—nuts to that idea. Jesus was no more real to me than the Easter Bunny or Santa Clause.

    A man and his wife with five kids gave me a ride home, and on the way home one of the kids said to her parents, “We have never stayed at church this late before!” I suddenly realized that the whole church had done something for me that they had never done for anyone else, not even one of their own. I was very much impressed by this, but I was not at all impressed about Jesus.

    Another Sunday night came (I had better things to do on Sunday morning than go to church) and there I was again. And then another Saturday night youth service, and there I was, but after the service the youth director/associate pastor named Ken took me into the sanctuary and sat me down on the front pew and told me that he was going to read to me something from the Bible. Ken read a few verses from Romans, and I stopped him and told him that I had already read it (which was a lie), but he began reading again from Romans and made me a little angry.

    Gary, a blond-haired boy and one of the four teenagers who had invited me to the youth service months before, walked past us and I pointed to him and told Ken that Gary was one of the reasons why I was not a Christian, because Gary was a hypocrite. Ken replied, “You mean my boy?” and I answered, “No, Gary,” and pointed to him again. Ken told me that Gary was his boy. Both Ken and his wife had dark hair, and both of Gary’s brothers had blond hair like he did, and this all came as a very embarrassing surprise to me. To top it off, the senior pastor’s wife overheard my comments about Gary, and brought him over to me and told me to tell Gary what I said about him.

    I was trapped by my own mouth, and I told Gary that I said that he was a hypocrite. Gary, just 14 years old, looked at me for a moment, and then began to speak. He told me that he was not a hypocrite, that he got to school every day an hour early so that he could witness to the others kids as they got off the buses. Gary went on to tell me that because he did that, he didn’t have even one single friend in school, but that he loved his schoolmates and wanted them to get saved. And then Gary invited me to go out with him and some of the kids from the youth group to their Saturday night hamburger joint—Bob’s BigBoy.

    I had thought that Gary was a hypocrite because he invited me to the youth service but from that point on had ignored me. And now that I told his father that he was a hypocrite, he was reaching out to be my friend. The three letter word “sin” had never been a part of my vocabulary because I didn’t believe there was such a thing, and especially not in my case, but there was Gary sitting at the table with me, and I knew that I was a sinner.

    This guy sitting across the table from me, Jeanie’s boyfriend, started to witness to me and I became so angry that I picked up my full glass of ice water and through it into his face. That was the first time in my life that I had committed an act of violence—and I was absolutely shocked that I had done such thing—and in a crowded restaurant at that.

    A couple weeks later, on my 25th birthday, I struck up a conversation with a young man and learned that his name was Ricky, that he was a marine, and that he was a backslidden Baptist. We became friends and Ricky really wanted me to get saved—and he witnessed to me and witnessed to me—and one Saturday night he pressed me and pressed me to pray with him and ask Christ to be my Lord and my Savior. I didn’t want any part of it because I didn’t believe it, no, not really, but Ricky pressed me so hard that I told him that I would go to church the following night and answer the altar call.

    Ricky wasn’t going to church anywhere, and I went to the Assembly of God that I had been going to for a few months now. When the pastor gave the altar call, I realized that I had made a terrible mistake—I had made a very foolish promise—but I had given my word to Ricky and I crept toward the altar full of embarrassment for doing something so foolish.

    The senior pastor’s wife came over to me and asked me if I wanted to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior, and I told her the promise that I had made to Ricky. I had less faith in Christ than Abraham had in electric light bulbs, but the pastor’s wife said a sinner’s prayer and asked me to repeat the words after her—and I did so—and the people in the church began to shout “Praise God! Thank you Jesus!” But I was just glad to get that over with.

    But while I was “praying” I felt a tender hand on my shoulder, and when I finished praying I looked up and saw that it was Gary by my side. He told me that he had been praying for me ever since that first day that he had met me, and then he took off. He came back a few minutes later looking like he had been in a windstorm—his blond hair was all messed up and his shirttail was out—and he handed to me a King James Bible and explained to me that the door to the church office was locked and that he had to climb in through a window to get the Bible for me because he didn’t want me go home without one.

    I didn’t drive, and the senior pastor drove me home, a very rare thing for him to do, and on the way he told me that he was very blessed by my accepting Christ. I told him that I was “going to try it for a few weeks,” and he dropped me off at my house.

    For the next three weeks I continued going to church and the Baptist coffee house, but my life had not changed at all, nor had I changed at all. One night at the Baptist coffee house, a young man asked me if I was a Christian, and I told him that I was not. He took out of his pocket a “Four Spiritual Laws” Bible tract and began to share it with me while I didn’t say a word; but all of a sudden he stopped and looked at me and said, “I don’t know why you lied to me about not being a Christian, but I can tell that you are.” I was caught off guard, and I told him about what had happen three weeks ago. Someone overheard and shouted out, “Charlie Brown got saved!” I was absolutely shocked and more embarrassed than I thought possible, and I got up and got out of that place.

    A few nights later I was walking down the main drag in downtown San Diego—Broadway, and as I stepped up onto the curb from 4th Avenue and began walking down the sidewalk along the edge of Horton Plaza, I noticed a young sailor standing near the corner. I had seen him there before, and I sensed that he was propositioning himself to other men, but that was very common on Horton Plaza so I hadn’t given any thought to it. But that night, something was very different—not about him—but about me! I wanted to just keep on walking, and even forced myself to do so for several steps, but I felt something inside of me forcing me to turn around. I tried to resist, but I couldn’t, and I walked right up to him and asked him if he was prostituting himself.

    He told me that he was, and he began to cry, and then he took off like a rocket running down Broadway toward the bay. And there I went—running after him. He ran right through the red traffic lights dodging the cars, trucks, and buses; and I ran after him, right through the red traffic lights dodging the traffic. He finally took cover behind a large pillar on the front of a building, but I saw where he went, and I ran up behind him and felt my right hand being lifted up onto his shoulder—and I heard Bible verses coming out of my mouth as he leaned up against the pillar with his face in his hands, crying.

    After a few minutes, the young man turned around and told me that his name was Bob, that he was a Christian, that he was in the Navy, and that he was married and that his wife was expecting a baby, but that he was getting ready to go on a West Pacific cruise for several months and would be out to sea when the baby was born. He was extremely lonely, confused, and hurting inside—and he told me that he began to run because he was embarrassed, but that as he was running, he was hoping that I would care enough to pursue him and help him.

    Up to that point in my life, servicemen had been little more than scum in my sight, but here I was holding in my arms a serviceman, and loving him more than life itself. And then I knew,

    the hand of Jesus touched me,
    And now I am no longer the same.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Bluefalcon

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    Thanks for this longer version, Craig. I read a shorter one several months ago when someone questioned your salvation. To God be the glory Great things he hath done!
     

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