Archive for the ‘Sanctification’ Category

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Upon which side of the watershed a raindrop falls determines into which ocean – Atlantic or Pacific – it eventually ends up.


Roman Catholics

Protestants (particularly Reformed)


Old and New Testaments: Their relationship to each other Nearly absolute continuity. Illustration: Leviticus serves as the model for the priesthood and worship. Therefore, in conformity with Leviticus, Jesus is perpetually sacrificed in the mass. Strong continuity. The Law remains in effect with some substitutions: The church replaces Israel and, in effect, is equivalent to the Kingdom. For example, children enter the Covenant on the basis of their parents’ faith. Infant baptism, then, replaces circumcision, and confirmation replaces the bar mitzvah. Ideally, as with Israel, church and state are one. So, Christians seeks to reform government and the broader society. Discontinuity: The OT testified of Christ, which he fulfilled, including the Law—Christ is the end of the law to all who believe; the grace of Christ replaced the grace of Moses; the Old Covenant has faded while the New Covenant has become more glorious. Therefore, the starting point for ethical instruction is the New Testament, specifically, the life and teaching of Jesus.
Gospels and Epistles: Their relationship to each other The Gospels are favored and become the basis upon which to interpret the epistles. This has led, in some cases, to the accusation by certain theologians that Roman Catholic theology blurs the distinction between justification and sanctification. The practical result in the eyes of these critics is a form of works salvation. The epistles are favored, especially Paul’s. The epistles may even be viewed as giving unique revelation that supersedes Jesus’ teaching.  Obedience may or may not be a necessary outcome of justification, but it is not a necessary component of faith. The Gospels testify foremost to the active and passive obedience of Christ, primarily the latter, both of which are imputed to the Christian. The mission of Christ, then, primarily was to die for our sins. The apostolic mission was to provide authoritative instruction. The Gospel is the Gospels, both in event and in the proclamation they contain. As such they are discipleship manuals. In other words, the life, teaching, and work of Jesus are all important parts of the Gospel. The epistles explain, interpret, and apply the Gospel to particular people, places, times, and situations. One’s starting point is the Gospels, especially their summary in the Sermon on the Mount. Insofar as epistolary instruction can be applied to the current situation, they are authoritative. Obedience is inseparable from faith.
Example Implications
Story of the Bible The satisfaction of the sovereign God’s honor The promotion of the glory of God through the justification of the elect and the damnation of the lost The creation, loss, and restoration of Shalōm, wherein humans are reconciled to God and one another
Kingdom Two cities—separate but functionally equal—and to which the Christian must submit The believer submits both to the Kingdom of God and human kingdoms (on the basis of Rom 13: 1–7). Since the ideal is one Kingdom, the believer attempts to bring human kingdoms into conformity with God’s. Christ has inaugurated God’s reign which brings peace and reconciliation. The Christian renders exclusive obedience to King Jesus and seeks neither to interfere with the affairs of human kingdoms nor to receive favors from human kingdoms.
Community The body is invisible and universal. No salvation occurs apart from membership in the body. Although the body is invisible and universal, the body has little practical impact on salvation. Since the believer is a priest, individualism, and, therefore, individual rights and autonomy, are emphasized. The body is made up of believers who assemble physically. Salvation accrues to the individual, but faith, through which salvation comes, is nourished by means of community life, which entails mutual obligations stemming from Kingdom values and principles.
Atonement: The metaphor used to explain how God and people are reconciled through the work of Christ Satisfaction (Anselm, 11th century philosopher and Archbishop of Canterbury): Jesus is the perfect sacrifice that satisfies the infinite debt incurred by humanity’s dishonoring the sovereign God. Penal substitution (development of Anselm’s theory by 16th century theologians): Jesus bore the punishment of God’s wrath deserved by humanity for breaking his Law, thus satisfying God’s demands for justice. His resurrection is evidence that God accepted the sufficiency of this punishment. The emphasis of the Gospel, then, is placed on the death of Christ. Christus Victor (classic view up through the 11th century): Through his substitu-tionary sacrifice and resurrection, Jesus redeems or frees people from slavery to the Law, sin, death, and the devil by giving his life as a ransom and by rising from the dead in victory over the enslaving system of the Powers. The emphasis of the Gospel is placed on both the death and resurrection of Christ, but primarily the latter.

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Jesus Addresses the Universal Desire for Celebrity

JESUS SAID TO THE CROWDS AND TO HIS DISCIPLES, Do not do as the scribes and the Pharisees do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.

They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi.

But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one father—the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted. (Matthew 23:1–11)

A DISPUTE AROSE AMONG THE DISCIPLES as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. But Jesus said to them, The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. (Luke 22:24–27)

I HAVE COME IN MY FATHER’S NAME, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? (John 5:43–44)

Access my previous post on this topic here.


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Jesus Addresses the Universal Desire for Celebrity

Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Taken from Matthew 6:1 – 19

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Menno Simons

True evangelical faith is of such a nature that it cannot lay dormant; but manifests itself in all righteousness and works of love; it dies unto flesh and blood; destroys all forbidden lusts and desires; cordially seeks, serves and fears God; clothes the naked; feeds the hungry; consoles the afflicted; shelters the miserable; aids and consoles all the oppressed; returns good for evil; serves those that injure it; prays for those that persecute it; teaches, admonishes and reproves with the Word of the Lord; seeks that which is lost; binds up that which is wounded; heals that which is diseased and saves that which is sound. The persecution, suffering and anxiety which befalls it for the sake of the truth of the Lord, is to it a glorious joy and consolation.

Taken from “Why I Do Not Cease Teaching and Writing,” by Menno Simons, 1539.

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  • Pledge (n): a binding promise or agreement to do or forbear. Pledge (vt): to promise the performance of by a pledge. Synonym: commit.
  • Allegiance: devotion or loyalty to a person, group, or cause. Synonyms: faith, fidelity, commitment. Faith: allegiance to duty or a person: loyalty. Belief and trust in and loyalty to God.
  • Anthem:  a song or hymn of praise or gladness.
  • Vote:  a usually formal expression of opinion or will in response to a proposed decision; especially: one given as an indication of approval or disapproval of a proposal, motion, or candidate for office. Approve:  to give formal or official sanction to. Synonym: endorse
  • Indoctrinate:  to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle
  • Imbue: to cause (someone or something) to be deeply affected by a feeling or to have a certain quality. Synonym: inculcate.
  • Inculcate:  to teach and impress by frequent repetitions or admonitions


  • Millions of children every day, before the commencement of their school work, hand over heart, making a binding promise of trust and loyalty to a worldly political entity.
  • Millions of people every week, before the commencement every athletic contest, singing a hymn of praise to a worldly political entity.
  • Millions of people, the first Tuesday after the first Monday every even-numbered year, endorsing rulers of a worldly political entity.


  • From Jesus of Nazareth:2

Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only. No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. My kingdom is not of this world. Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

  • From the first-century missionary, Paul of Tarsus:3

Our citizenship is in heaven. God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.

1Source for all definitions: Merriam-Webster, publisher of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary—America’s best-selling desk dictionary—and Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged.  Merriam-Webster is the direct lexicographical heir of Noah Webster, owning the rights to Webster’s magnum opus, An American Dictionary of the English Language, Corrected and Enlarged, including the rights to create revised editions of the work.

2The contents of this paragraph are taken from the Holy Bible, New Testament (NIV) at Matthew 4:10; 6:24; John 18:36; and Matthew 7:22.

3The contents of this paragraph are taken from the Holy Bible, New Testament (NIV) at Phil 3:20 and Col 1:13.

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