When Doctrine Divides the People of God– Part Seventeen

When Doctrine Divides the People of God– Part Seventeen September 17, 2020

BEN: Let’s talk about Ephes. 2.8-9 which you cite as a first-tier doctrine (p. 221). If one compares all the Pauline statements on salvation, it is certainly clear that he thinks that initial salvation (i.e. justification and the new birth) is indeed by faith alone. But Paul uses the salvation language to also refer to sanctification which involves our working out what God is working in us to will and to do, and then too there is glorification by which is meant final salvation when we are fully conformed to the image of Christ by means of resurrection etc. Salvation is not a finished work until we are fully conformed to the image of Christ. It seems to me unhelpful to say that sanctification is by faith alone, when frankly it is not. We have a role to play in our own sanctification though obviously it does not happen at all except by God’s grace working in us. Put another way, sanctification does not happen automatically, it involves synergism, it involves both the Holy Spirit and us. This doesn’t make our actions a matter of self-salvation. But it is also doesn’t mean that sanctification is by faith alone. I like to say there are three tenses to salvation— I have been saved, I am being saved, I shall be saved. Comments?

RHYNE: Agreed wholeheartedly. The language should probably be “justified by faith alone” there. And I affirm the cooperation of the believer in sanctification as well, along with these three tenses.

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