Progressive sanctification vs. biblical sanctification for the believer!

There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding the issue of sanctification; but it has been my experience that there are only two camps surrounding the subject. The first of course being a progressive sanctification whereby the believer is set apart incrementally by the things he or she does or does not do in regards to either pleasing or angering the Father. The second approach or belief is the past tense or finished view which I believe is the only valid conclusion in regards to our sanctification.

I think one of the biggest challenges one faces in this matter is the fact that the word sanctification has more than one definition in the bible. For instance, I Cor. 1:30, 31 states the following: ‘But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and, redemption – that, as it is written, he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’ Notice in this verse the words wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption are all listed in the past tense; and are of Christ, whom the believer is in! In other words, the definition of sanctification in this passage denotes a finished work, not a progressive one.

There are other verses however, that speak of sanctification as being something other than set apart in Christ for salvation. For instance, I Cor. 7:14 states that an unbelieving spouse will be sanctified by the believing spouse; which simply means that the unbelieving person will at least superficially experience God’s presence in their believing spouse through hearing the word; thus being set apart by at least hearing truth. There are of course many more examples of the word sanctification being used in different ways; but for the believer it always designates one condition, which is salvation. The final finished work of being made alive in Christ eternally; and thus set apart to God.

Authors note:

The legalist sets himself apart in an attempt to be holy by what he does or does not do. The New Covenant believer rests in the One who has set him apart and made him holy! The former stands in his own righteousness, the latter in Christ! What does sanctification mean to you?

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

 

The bible is not God!

Over the course of the past five years, I have been involved in countless debates over the scriptures regarding their proper interpretation on various subjects. And what I have found through it all is this: There are two approaches in regards to the observation of the bible. The first approach is to consider it a moral compass or guide for life. The second is to discern through it that we as believers have apprehended the actual giver of life. The first approach will produce a never ending barrage of rule keeping and unfinished business; while the second will produce a life of rest and peace. The bible is not God, and it was never intended by God to be the source of life. The word of God is all about and directed towards the only true life giver – the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus put forth the following words to the unbelieving:

You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. ~ John 5:39-40

Jesus put forth these words to the believing:

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. ~ John 17:3

The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. ~ John 14:17 (Side note: This statement was before the cross! It has been fulfilled! Christ dwells with us and in us!)

Authors note:

My friends, the bible did not make God real to me; the Father made Himself real to me! Remember, Abraham had no bible! Melchizadek had no bible! The apostles had no bible! The early church had no bible! Yet all these people remained in a relationship with God. My point is not to bash the bible; it is simply to point relationally and directly at the author! God bless!

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

 

 

What if?

The following is an offshoot from a recent teaching by Andrew Farley titled – You DO know Him. What if it were possible to know God better in five minutes, than an entire lifetime of biblical examination could produce? What if what we were looking for in terms of knowing God was as simple as realizing that the word of God actually says we already do know Him?

Enter Hebrews chapter 8, verses 10 and 11: For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, know the Lord, for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.

Now with that said, let’s capitalize on four major points within these two passages. Number one: Notice that this new deal, this new covenant is established by God Himself. Number 2: Notice that God said I will put my laws IN their minds, and ON their hearts. Please pay close attention to the two words highlighted, IN and ON! Number three: Notice how verse 11 opens by explicitly stating that there is something we don’t need to teach one another. The Lord Himself plainly stating, ‘For all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest.’ Finally, here is number four which I actually believe to be the most profound. Notice the last statement in verse 10 and set your mind on the words I WILL and THEY SHALL! This is God Himself declaring us to be His; I will be their God and they shall be my people. My friends, what this says and means can be stated in four words: WE DO KNOW HIM! And all we have to do is believe and listen.

Commentary by:

George L Miller

P.S. I want to give special thanks to Andrew Farley for once again delivering an excellent message concerning the purity of the gospel and our knowing Christ. Praise God!

Link to Andrews teaching:

You DO know Him?

B.I.B.L.E. – Basic instructions before leaving earth….Really?

Unfortunately, most of us are taught from an early age that the 10 commandments were given by God to man as a standard for living. And sadly enough, we are pretty much given this instruction concerning the bible even as believers. Chanting statements like, ‘The bible is God’s basic instructions before leaving earth.’ We are told by our pastors and teachers that our main ambition should be that of holiness and moral purity; citing the righteous standards of God’s laws as our rules of conduct. Now while all this may sound right in terms of what is noble, nothing could be further from the truth when considering the gospel of Christ.

To illustrate this point, let’s take a quick, yet profound look at what the gospel actually is; or rather what it really means and represents to us as believers. To gain a proper understanding of the Good News, it is paramount that we know what that news is first; which I believe can be summed up by the following. Please allow your spirit to bathe in the true meaning of these passages, and note with care the contrary structure between these verses, and the teachings and belief systems of those which claim God’s laws as a standard for living; and His recorded word not much more than an instruction manual for life.

But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, ‘It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the Law of Moses.’ Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: ‘Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.’ ~ Acts 15:5-11

And we have such trust through Christ toward God, not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the New Covenant, not of the letter but of the spirit; for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life. But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech – Unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is spirit; and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with un-veiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as the spirit of the Lord. ~ II Cor. 3:4-18

Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. ~ Galatians 3:21-25

For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit. ~Romans 8:2-4

Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical Priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another Priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. For he testifies: ‘For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.’ ~ Hebrews 7:11-19

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of mutilations! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection. ~ Philippians 3:1-10

Authors note:

We are taught that the law is intended to produce holiness in man, but this was never God’s intention in giving the law. The law was given that we would see sin for what it is, and in that our hopeless inability to overcome it by merely following certain sets of principles or moral laws. That we would inevitably turn to God in Christ for salvation. If righteousness or life could be gained through using God’s word as a simple standard for living, then Christ died in vain. God’s word in its entirety is about the redemption of man, and is designed solely to lead us into His loving arms through and in the life of Christ.

O’’ foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? ~ Galatians 3:1-3

Commentary by:

George L. Miller