RSS

Holiness. What does this mean? (The Christian’s sanctification as measured by God) – part I

06 Aug

A = justification ; B = sanctification

Note: Due to the lack of explicit “Gospel-in-the-narrow-sense” content – which I acknowledge should pervade our conversation (post is already quite long) – some [Lutheran] theologians reading this may want to supplement this post with a reading of Luther’s Large Catechism (the third part of the Apostle’s Creed)

We think some people are better than others.  Every kid knows it.

We all do it.  Can’t say we don’t.  And there is nothing wrong with this, even as we also assert that all persons, without exception, are loved by God who desires the salvation of all.  And, as many a parent of multiple children knows (and hopefully many a child), to say this is not to say that one is loved more than another.  So our statement stands: we certainly do think some people are better than others.  For example, women might prefer the company of the “bad boy” for a brief season, but the wiser of them, sensibly, end up thinking that when it comes to a long-term prospect, other qualities need to be sought in a man (these are the better women).  Likewise, we will seek out certain persons for particular jobs – when we are having automotive difficulties, we look for a mechanic who knows what he is doing – we trust them regarding that area (perhaps we also think they would overcharge us on their own, but we trust their supervisor!).  On the other hand, when it comes to choosing a roommate, for example, we generally will seek someone who we think is a better person overall according to our standards, which may be more or less in accordance with God’s.  This is not done according to quantitative criteria – although a “pros” and “cons” list may be produced to aid in the decision – but qualitative criteria – we “measure” the whole person.  Can’t say we don’t – and if we do, that is false humility.

Not only this, but God also measures the whole person.

What?  Yes.  Not as it has to do with our justification of course.  That must, as respected Lutheran teacher Dr. Rod Rosenbladt has said, remain in “column A. ” We cannot bring our love born of strong faith, our good works, our holiness, or our conformity to Christ’s image into that column.  We cannot even bring our godly suffering and our “deep” repentance into that column.   All of that belongs in column B, which pertains to our sanctification.  When it comes to our standing before God – when  it comes to the either/or question of truly being His child or not – there are only these things we must look at: Christ, grace, and faith (which also is a gift He provides).  And column A is to remain column A until we breathe our last.

But sanctification?  Different story.

Now it is true that Jesus Himself dwells in our hearts by faith, and He is perfectly righteous before His Father in Heaven.  And it is also true that those with faith are completely new creatures in Christ – with “new desires, attitudes, and dispositions to align [our lives] with God’s design”* – albeit ones that are immature.  Still, when it comes to justification, even these things are all column B stuff (see Hebrews 10:14), for God justifies the wicked when they look to him in desperate, groping, and loveless trust – via the alien, or external righteousness of Jesus Christ given in His Word!  Regarding our being new creatures, it is therefore true that we have a new nature – even if we don’t feel it – who is not Jesus.  In other words, it is we who are new men, not Jesus, and it is we who cooperate with Him – or not – in our sanctification.  As such, God does judge some of us to be more in line with his designs, desires, thoughts, words, and deeds than others (even as each are conformed in distinctive ways) and rewards them as such.  Of course they won’t care about the fact that they will certainly be in charge of many mansions in heaven (note: not on earth!) – but they will be nonetheless.  And of course, those of us with only one mansion or so (I guess) will be nothing but happy for them by that point (I’m guessing there will be some great “commons” areas : ) ).

*Kolb and Arand, “The Genius of Luther’s Theology”, 126 – note that their view seems a bit different than the one expounded on here.

(please note, post has been slightly revised for clarity)

Part II coming tomorrow

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
Sense & Reference

libraries and philosophy

Reliable Source (This is a)

Overcoming "Fake News" and Beyond

The Jagged Word

"What the Hell is going on!"

ROUGH TYPE

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Meditationes Sacrae (et Profanae)

A blog concerning theology, faith, the humanities, and Interesting Things

Pyromaniacs

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Proslogion

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Blog – AlbertMohler.com

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Worldview Everlasting

Christian Television for an Age in Decay

De Profundis Clamavi ad Te, Domine

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Mercy Journeys with Pastor Harrison

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Abide in My Word

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Blogia

The Blog of LOGIA: A Journal of Lutheran Theology

Gottesdienst Online

Just another WordPress.com weblog

GetReligion

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Todd's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

theologia crucis

Just another WordPress.com weblog

The Boar's Head Tavern

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Glory to God for All Things

Orthodox Christianity, Culture and Religion, Making the Journey of Faith

Eclectic Orthodoxy

"I'm a blogger, dammit, not a theologian!"

Jonathan Last Online

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Steadfast Lutherans

An international fraternity of confessional Lutheran laymen and pastors, supporting proclamation of Christian doctrine in the new media.

www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/

Just another WordPress.com site

Surburg's blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Beggars All: Reformation And Apologetics

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Weedon's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

First Thoughts

A First Things Blog

Pastoral Meanderings

Just another WordPress.com weblog

%d bloggers like this: