Saturday, February 25, 2012

Print Page Sanctification - God's Work or Our Effort?

Most Baptist would agree that salvation is by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). The problem lies in the fact that many believe sanctification is by works. Ryle, in his well known book Holiness says:

I ask, in the first place, whether it is wise to speak of faith as the one thing needful, and the only thing required, as many seem to do now-a-days in handling the doctrine of sanctification?—Is it wise to proclaim in so bald, naked, and unqualified a way as many do, that the holiness of converted people is by faith only, and not at all by personal exertion? Is it according to the proportion of God’s Word? I doubt it.

Time and time again Ryle tells us how we must work for our sanctification. This works based theology goes contrary to scripture. Our works are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). If we are going to use self effort we will fail time and time again and become frustrated to the point of giving up trying to live a holy life. This can lead to us doubting our salvation and others us telling us we might not be saved! What we need to do is have faith in what Jesus already did for us when he died on the cross for us. We are new men and we are in union with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We need to surrender our all to Jesus and allow him to live through us. This is the opposite of us relying on our own efforts.

When temptations come it is common to ask God for a way to overcome. This is no different than asking God daily for salvation. Salvation is a one time occurrence. It would be an insult to ask God for something he has already given you. Same goes with protection from sin. We have already been given a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). Our problem is when we do not claim the protection Jesus has delegated to us on this throne. We are never tempted beyond the point where we have to sin. It is a matter of yielding to God and his will or yielding to Satan and his will.

Once you understand this great Biblical truth you will see wonderful things Jesus can do through you. You will not feel the frustration of failing time and time again when trying to be holy. If you would like more information I highly recommend reading the articles at Revival Focus. Better yet, read the excellent book The Faith Response by John Van Geldren.

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