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Sanctification according to Adolf Schlatter

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by jonathan.borland, May 28, 2012.

  1. jonathan.borland

    jonathan.borland Active Member

    Nov 15, 2008
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    Just a few excerpts from a great article: Michael Bräutigam, "Good Will Hunting: Adolf Schlatter on Organic Volitional Sanctification," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 55:1 (March 2012): 125–143.

    According to Schlatter: "Justification and sanctification, gospel and obedience, love and morals, faith and works are two dimensions of the one single gift of grace" (129–30).

    Since in light of Paul's writings one should neither separate nor isolate justification from sanctification, "Schlatter does not find the classic notion of an ordo salutis particularly helpful" (129 n. 27).

    "The performance of Gottesdienst [worship/service to God] is therefore not only an indication of the possession of grace, as classic Reformed dogmatics describes it, but de facto possession of grace" (130).

    Instead of seeing sanctification as the Reformers merely negatively as the continuous mortification of sin, "the extinction of sinful volition and action works only through the establishment of godly volition and action" (131).

    Schlatter (Das christliche Dogma, 470): "We can only stop sinning by doing what is right" (131).

    Because sanctification unites relationally the human will with the divine will, "God neither overpowers nor short-circuits or replaces the human will. Sanctification does not happen automatically . . ., without or even against the human will" (140).
  2. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Nov 4, 2011
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    Though I do not agree with some of the statements, he is correct (IMO) that Justification and Sanctification are inseparable; I do not, however, see them as the same.

    Sometimes it is missed that when God saves and implants the new nature, He does not do any partial work; there is no partially sanctified folks. God's salvation is complete - that includes both justification and sanctification. Yet, the believer is still residing in a sin filled and sin conditioned form; though not of the world the believer is still in the world.

    Some would view the work of cleansing and anointing as sanctification; such is incorrect. Sanctification is the final declaration following and as a result of the performance of the cleansing and anointing.

    Consider the OT example shows that before the priests were "sanctified" there were ceremonial washings and anointment(s)that had to be done; these where finished before the sanctification. Such washings and anointing were not in themselves sanctification, but were in preparation and to the purpose of sanctification. These are examples of what takes place in the very core of the believer.

    The believer is to be holy, just as holy as God. The true believer also fully understands that no matter how much washing and anointing takes place, no Godly perfection can be attained through human effort. No matter how much or often the priest in the OT washed and was anointed that priest was in fact still full of sin and deceit. The sanctification is mysterious in this matter.

    Any true believer knows and is ashamed of how extremely wretched and unworthy they are both before and after salvation. They are in awe and humbled that the God of all creation would consider them worthy of any favor. Yet, God has given the believer a "new nature;" they are "in Christ Jesus a new creature." Within that "new creature" is God's perfect conduit of holiness (sanctification) in which He establishes the benchmark of purposed cleansing and anointing.

    Just as the temple (and all that pertained to it) called people to be holy, God through sanctification makes that same call for we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because God is holy, the believer is called to "be holy," yet any measure of man effort is worthless in attaining the holiness of God, therefore in salvation is also complete sanctification.

    That is the mystery of sanctification. That very mystery, that spurs the believer to confess, repent, seek cleansing, earnestly desire the sincere Word and work of the Holy Spirit, all the while knowing perfection is never fully attained, is that very mystery that such perfection is already attained because the believer has that conduit of confidence in what God has begun is never incomplete.

    Just as the OT priests were washed, anointed and clothed in holiness yet sin filled, so is the believer justified, anointed with the Holy Spirit and clothed in sanctification to the full glory and praise of the grace of God.