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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Sanctification is an Active Race and Pursuit

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Yes and amen, murrcolr and bearmaster.

 2013/9/16 17:34

Joined: 2012/5/13
Posts: 2936


Bearmaster wrote : //Lose sight of Jesus in the race. Then it is legalistic ascetism.//

very well said.

wounderful discussion, very much insight by every one!

 2013/9/16 22:46Profile

Joined: 2004/7/4
Posts: 1014
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa


by yuehan on 2013/9/16 17:49:00

TrueWitness posted a very good exposition of Romans on this topic of sanctification by faith some time ago. He also offers a perceptive discussion on some of the common distortions of this truth in his second post:

Loved this from the second post:
The first error ignores what the Scripture says about the flesh, the second ignores what it says about the new creation.

Powerful stuff!!!

Zeke Oosthuis

 2013/9/17 2:14Profile

Joined: 2011/8/20
Posts: 1884


Bear I agree with you. There is a danger of not actively pursuing Sanctification because one believes in a theology that you are already sanctified or everything is already accomplished. One has to turn blind to so many scriptures if they believe in such theology. It is possible to have their spiritual life in standstill position.

Apostle Paul first called himself least of Apostles, then least of saints, finally chief of sinners. God was working in him to show his sins by revealing the life of Jesus. The more Jesus was revealed to him the more he identified that he was a sinner.


 2013/9/17 2:56Profile



I've noticed a real rise in "try harder theology" in the messages I've been listening to. What do I mean by "try-harder theology?" I mean that line of teaching that would tell us that a holy life is the result of will power and effort. I suppose we might use terms like "law" or "legalism" too. I refer to it as "try harder" theology, because it seems we always need to try a little harder. That's because it fundamentally doesn't work: you can't actually try hard enough.

People who teach this sort of thing like to offer advice that should work, but it doesn't. They'd tell us what we need to do is make covenants, perhaps we need to exercise our will more, or maybe what we really need to do is to fast and pray. But in the end, we find what Paul found:

I find then the law upon *me* who will to practise what is right, that with *me* evil is there.
For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man:
but I see another law in my members, warring in opposition to the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which exists in my members.
(Romans 7:21--23, JND).

Good word thanks yuehan. "Try harder" is usually disguised and folk do not recognise it at first. It is rife on this site. If we would only keep our flesh down, we would succeed. If we would only "run the race" then we would succeed.

Or the opposite of this is presumed ie that we do nothing. The answer is in the middle - it is by faith that we are sanctified, but there is a step required after we first come to the Lord. We must cease to depend on the flesh, that is, religious flesh that seeks Jesus, and reads scripture and has its prayer times and attends church services, and is even devoted to Christ, but is not walking in the Spirit because it values the feeling it gets from working in the flesh and using its will power and it will not believe that Christ's power delivers us from all sin.

Instead it must trust that the Lord has achieved our sanctification through manifesting the life of Christ in us, and repent of its fleshy workings, submitting itself to absolute rule by the Holy Spirit and turn away from sin completely, even this hidden sin, instead of pleading for it.

 2013/9/17 3:37

Joined: 2007/4/25
Posts: 1569
Scotland, UK


Quote: There is a danger of not actively pursuing Sanctification because one believes in a theology that you are already sanctified or everything is already accomplished.

The three most important in history are - IT IS FINISHED.

The most dangerous theology is one that says it's not accomplished. Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them,not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. Heb 4:1-2

All the prophesies, all the law, all the prophets, terminate in that saying, everything that he has for you is already accomplished by Christ but do we believe it?

Colin Murray

 2013/9/17 8:00Profile

Joined: 2012/5/13
Posts: 2936


RE: ///Apostle Paul first called himself least of Apostles, then least of saints, finally chief of sinners. God was working in him to show his sins by revealing the life of Jesus. The more Jesus was revealed to him the more he identified that he was a sinner.///

The context for all three where speaking of Pauls pre conversion actions the old Saul of Tarsus.
Even though the shell was the Same, the old Saul of Tarsus
(which to look at the past actions committed with that shell caused Paul to say what he did about himself)
but the old Saul of Tarsus was put to death with Jesus,

Saul of Tarsus did not need to crucify himself because Saul of Tarsus was indeed dead. And by that Death he was sanctified.

Paul says:
I am (he did not say , I am pursuing to be.)crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

All religions teach pursuing God by voluntary asceticism, The Bible on other hand teaches us to look and live and to believe.

 2013/9/17 8:08Profile

 Re: The Focus of Christ in avoiding two extremes

Our faith is an active pursuit of Christ. Our eyes are fixed on Jesus. But I see too extremes to be avoided.

The first extreme has already been discussed in this thread. That is a pursuit of sanctification without looking to Jesus us ascetic legalism.

The second extreme is equally dangerous. That of assuming a complete work of santification has already occurred and all we do Is rest on our blessed assurance and do nothing. Indeed those who advocate this view will say that any attempt on the part of the believer to pursue Christ through prayer, scripture reading, felliwship, witnessing is legalistic effort. Sometimes this position is known as let go and let God.

Saints the New Testament does not teach the above position. The believer in Jesus Christ does not enter into some Zen, Buddhist state and chant a mantra that makes him immune to the sin of this world.

Anyone who denies the reality that the believer is in a holy war against the devil need to consider carefully Eph 6:10-17. The believer in Christ Jesus is always on a war footing against Satan until the day Christ takes him home.

One need only to look to those brethren in restricted nations to see that their faith is an active faith. The verses in Hebrews 12:1-2 follow the role call of faith. Those verses that exhort us to run a race of faith are set against a background of persecution.

Our faith in Christ is active. It is an active faith energized by the Holy Spirit. Our faith in Christ is not passive but again active. Indeed the believer in Jesus Christ is called to live actively for Christ. All one needs to do us to look to Paul to see this reality. All one need to do is look to the oersecuted and see this reality.


 2013/9/17 8:54

Joined: 2005/5/19
Posts: 718

 From the champion of grace himself

Paul's instruction to Timothy:

" but Exercise YOURSELF towards godliness."

Whatever our views on passive sanctification may be, godliness is no passive pursuit. "Exercise" is ACTIVE, AGRESSIVE, like going to the GYM (gumnadzo) in the Greek.

Literally "GYM yourself towards godliness."

I want to be sanctified and godly.


Alan and Dina Martin

 2013/9/17 9:45Profile


Bear brother,

The active part is not towards sanctification as that has been achieved for us on the cross, as it is Christ who is our sanctification living His life in us. There is a fight however to keep it and Satan will do whatever he can to tempt us to fall and sin. We are never immune to sin and must keep vigilence otherwise we will fall by depending on our flesh again. There is no letting go and letting God as this is warfare.

The error is in striving to improve the old man who evidences himself as still alive because the struggle with sin is still present. Once that battle is won there is a greater battle awaiting against Satan. He is content to leave us alone when we continue to disbelieve the gospel and continue to sin.

 2013/9/17 10:15

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