Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sanctification: Living the Life

Sanctification, if it is to be spoken of as something other than justification is perhaps best defined as the art of getting used to the unconditional justification wrought by the grace of God for Jesus' sake.  It is what happens when we are grasped by the fact that God alone justifies.  It is being made holy, and as such, it is not our work.  It is the work of the Spirit who is called Holy.  The fact that it is not our work puts the old Adam/Eve (our old self) to death and calls forth a new being in Christ.  It is being saved from the sickness unto death and being called to new life.

In German there is a nice play on words which is hard to reproduce in English.  Salvation is "Das Heil" which gives the sense both of being healed and of being saved.  Sanctification is "Die Heiligung" which would perhaps best be translated as "being salvationed."  Sanctification is "being salvationed," the new life arising from the catastrophe suffered by the old upon hearing that God alone saves.  It is the pure flower that blossoms in the desert, watered by the unconditional grace of God.

Sanctification is thus simply the art of getting used to justification.  It is not something added to justification.  It is not the final defense against a justification too liberally granted.  It is the justified life.  It is what happens when the old being comes up against the end of its self-justifying and self-gratifying ways, however pious.  It is life lived in anticipation of the resurrection.

Gerhard Førde

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