First Person Life


Sanctification - the REAL deal.

Since approximately the time that I decided to go back to school, finish my Bachelors and go on to seminary, I've been trying to understand what "sanctification" is about. That was about the same time that Rick Warren's "PURPOSE" drivel became a big deal in my area as well.

At first it was a quest to write a book that addressed the issue of Sanctification from a Lutheran perspective.

I had only 1 semester (20 credits) to complete to get my BA, and for a portion of that I had to do a "project." I used my interest in this topic as the basis for that project. I read over 4000 pages -- Luther's Galatians commentary, all but Volume V of "Sermons of Martin Luther," numerous Concordia Theological Monthly and CTQ articles, Weingren's "Luther on Vocation" (man I hate that book), J.M. Reu's Ethics... and a bunch of other stuff -- all during that Semester. I have a bound 200 page annotated bibliography with citations.

It all finally came together tonight during my involvement in the debate on sanctification that recently made the rounds.

I think I finally "get it."


I turned my project in about 13 months ago. I've been thinking about the topic for around 18 months. But I think all the pieces finally fit together.

Here is my latest post in that debate. Perhaps someone out there can tell me I'm all wet or on the right track in my thinking... anyway --- have at it.

dm42 said...


"if the music offends me, as a christian, are you still free to continue listening? am i offended by it without cause?"

Yes, I am free. I may be being unloving if I flaunt that freedom by continuing to offend you. By being unloving I would be exhibiting a contempt for Christ for whose sake I should love everybody - even those offended without cause. By showing contempt for Christ I jeopardize my salvation.

Note carefully, however, there are a lot of steps between listening to the music and jeopardizing salvation. It is not the listening itself which jeopardizes it. It isn't even the unloving attitude shown by listening in spite of the offence to the neighbor. It is that in maintaining that unloving attitude, contempt is shown for Christ because the love that Christ has for that neigbor is mocked.

Whether you are offended with or without cause is ultimately irrelavent.

However, my freedom remains.

"are we not bound to please god with our behavior, knowing we fall short, of course, but bound nonetheless?"

We are bound by the Law of Love to do everything that we can in this life to befriend and help our neighbor. In terms of "pleasing God with our behavior," everyone is bound by that -- Christian and non-christian alike. We are creatures, He is the creator. We must obey Him because He is the Lord of the Universe.

The problem is, because of the fall and the sin which has so currupted our being, there is NO WAY that we can. EVERYTHING we do is as filthy rags in God's sight.

There is no action we can perform that can "please God." "simmul iustus et pecator". We are fully sinner, yes, even the Boy Scout who helps grandma across the street is sinning in doing so. Yes, even the converted Christian is FULLY sinner, even as for Christ's sake he is FULLY saint.

The fact is that the only way we are acceptable "Coram Deo" is through Christ. None and I mean NONE of our actions are acceptable "Coram Deo" until they are sanctified by Christ. Through His sacrifice and His perfect life, he takes the filthy rags and makes them white as snow.

I am "bound" by the Love of Christ to love my neighbor but this is not a Law of Love.

Because Christ loves my neighbor and I love Christ, I am bound to love my neighbor. Christ, by His death made my neighbor worth loving because by that death, He -- the Son of God and Creator of the Universe -- declared my neighbor worth loving -- worth dying for.

If I do not love my neigbor, I call Christ a liar.

I am not bound by any law, rule, command, etc. to love my neighbor, but I am bound to love my neighbor for the sake of Christ. We love because He first loved us.

Not this "namby pamby" -- "He fills me with love so I can love others" junk that we hear... but because HE has declared the neighbor worth loving.

It then becomes not MY love being shown toward the neighbor -- for my love means NOTHING. Rather, it is an extension of Christ's love for the neighbor. I become Christ's instrument to show His love to my neighbor.

THAT is the sanctified, Christian life.


  • The bigger question is this:

    Which came first, Justification or Sancification?

    One things that separates us from other Christian denominations is our belief that Justification takes place before sanctification.

    PS ~ it would help posters if you did not moderate your comments. Just my 2 cent's worth. You can use the "flag" option if you are worried about offensive posters out there.

    God Bless,

    By Blogger Sola Gratia, at 1/19/2006 5:41 AM  

  • Certainly justification comes first. There is no "earning" grace or favor from God through our works. And you're right, that is one of the distinctively Lutheran tenets.

    In this case, however, the discussion was in the context of the life of a believer. I thought my statement:

    The fact is that the only way we are acceptable "Coram Deo" is through Christ. None and I mean NONE of our actions are acceptable "Coram Deo" until they are sanctified by Christ. Through His sacrifice and His perfect life, he takes the filthy rags and makes them white as snow.

    made that clear (apparently not -- sorry).

    Thanks for the comment!

    Re: moderation - that got turned on during some other changes I was making.. I just failed to change it back. It's back to unmoderated. Thanks for pointing it out!


    By Blogger dm42, at 1/19/2006 10:26 AM  

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