Justification by faith alone; Sanctification by works?

December 24, 2008

I need to be taught more. I need to read up more. But my gut reaction tells me that sanctification, is by faith alone, just like justification. (I actually remember hearing my friend Chung talk about this my last year in college. It was sort of an epiphany.) It just fits in perfectly with rest of my theology. It’s never the case that we do 50% and God does the other 50%, or even that we do 1% and God does 99%. It’s always that we try and try and try, but end up with 0%, and God does 100%, in justification, as well as sanctification. We can never get to second story if we go forwards, back, left and right. We can only get there by going up. It’s too easy to view these things as two separate processes. But in reality, those who are justified are inevitably, irrevocably, sanctified – for it is God who does these things. If we are to live our Christian lives trying to get a higher place in heaven, we’ll be sorely disappointed when we get there. It is God’s to give; or will we be discontent because He is generous with His gifts? If we try to achieve more than other Christians, we’re saying not all glory goes to God. It falls apart.

But if this is the case, why should we ‘work out’ our salvation? Why should we not go on sinning that grace may abound? It is foolish to ask these kind of questions. It just shows that we have not understood the true nature of God’s work. Justification, Sanctification, Glorification. They are not three different processes. They are one. If we say we can go on sinning, we’ve misunderstood the very nature of His work. When we are justified, we have become a wholly different creatures. We are no longer the beggar girl, but the bride. Totally different standing, title, identity. We still sin and sink into old habits because we have not recognized this; we have forgotten who we are instead.

We all agree that justification is by faith alone. I hope I am right in thinking that sanctification is by faith alone as well. For all glory belongs to God.


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