Monday, January 19, 2009

Legalism in Sanctification

One of the most frustrating things to deal with is people who understand that justification is by faith through grace and therefore believe there is no possible way that they are legalistic though they believe that they must follow laws in order to be sanctified. It's frustrating because the book of Galatians was clearly written specifically to deal with those who began in the Spirit by faith but were trying to 'be perfected' (hello, sanctification!) in the flesh. 'In the flesh' is clearly connected to 'under law' if you read on in chapter 3. So I was happy to find that Steve McVey addresses this very thing briefly in one of the 101 lies videos, Christian lies #30 "legalism is salvation by works".

If you are one of those who believe that salvation is from faith to works, I hope you are able to re-read Galatians keeping in mind that their problem was not beginning right but not continuing in faith. Don't worry! I'm not saying grace is a licence to sin! True sanctification will only happen if you believe God enough to totally abandon any hope in your obedience to the law and live by his Spirit. Do you think he will lead you into sin???????????


Bino M. said...

It reminded me of the post by Joel, Sanctification is the living out of a love affair and the great discussion following it...

You are right, it is even difficult to deal with people who believe salvation itself is by grace, but sanctification (life after that) is based on what we 'do'...

...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

He is initiates and he carry it on, we only respond.

lydia joy said...

Good one!! I recently went back and reviewed some of that series, 101 lies - they are so chockful of great stuff, what an awesome resource! Steve will do!!

I think you summed this up so really is frustrating because it is so simply clear in Galatians....funny how people can turn the bible into whatever they want it to mean, sheesh!!!

RJW said...

If you took a cup of my spirit out and went to heaven and took out a cup of Jesus' spirit, guess what???? THEY WOULD BE THE SAME!! Please tell me how I can improve on that? The believer is fully justified, qualified, and sanctified in Christ. We will live out of who we believe ourself to be so...we need to understand who we are as New Creations!

jul said...

Jamie, are you preaching at me???

Haha, maybe I can give you some ideas for improving on that like you asked:

1. Read your Bible more

2. Pray more (especially using lists)

3. Do not drink any alcohol whatsoever. (if you do this you will actually be holier than Jesus!)

4. Do not wear any inappropriate clothing or wear anything out of vain conceit.

5. Tithe.

6. Fast.

7. Work on strategies to produce the fruits of the Spirit more, this will take a lot of effort on your part and probably at least one accountability partner.

8. Consider arising before dawn in order to meditate on the Word.

9. Go to church every Sunday, remember the Sabbath you know.

10. Respect and submit to your husband.

11. Love God more and consider how you turn loving him into more of a duty.

12. When you sin, consider ashes and sackcloth, shaving your head might be good too. You should demonstrate godly sorrow, and sometimes guilt is appropriate if you have disobeyed God you know, a sign of true repentance without which you will not receive forgiveness from God.

13. Read a lot of theological books with big words, especially valuable if the man who wrote it is now dead and his imperfections have been either reverenced or forgotten.

I think that's enough for now, please check back for more ideas once you have those down.

SLW said...

I just preached that text last Sunday! ... although not from the viewpoint of sanctification, but of being filled with and moving in the Holy Spirit. The point, of course, is the same: it's not by works but by faith in the promise of God. Human, fleshly pride would rather suffer loss and do without than admit it's powerless, skillless, virtueless and unable. So those depending on the flesh end up unsaved, unsanctified, unfilled and unable.

Great post, you're on a roll!

RJW said...

::snicker, snicker::

Ursula Kuba said...

Julie, thats all got it all wrong.
Point 8 cannot be consider, that gives you a choice you MUST rise before dawn...


Tony Yu said...

Thanks Julie, you raised a very good point that in the back of my head I still think like that sometimes.

Jesus said to the pharisees(legalist) who didn't believe in Him (read in context) in John 5:39-40,

"You study the scriptures thoroughly because you think in them you possess eternal life, and it is these same scriptures that testify about me,but you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life."

Q: How do we read the bible?

The Pharisees saw the bible as a set of laws do's and don'ts and if they obey it they will be blessed, they have missed it. They thought that by obeying these SCriptures they can ever improve upon their life to obtaining everlasting life- sanctify themselves.
Actually the SCriptures tell them to come Jesus and depend upon Him for everlasting life.

We are not supposed to see the bible as a set of laws but that it points us to Jesus. Life is in Him, not in the Scriptures although it is God-breathed (2Tim 3:16)

How many Christians today still read the bible like the 1century Pharisees do?
When we read the bible, do we see a set of rules sucking life away or do we see Jesus The Life giving One and put our faith in Him?

It's time we read it differently, and see Jesus in everything.

"but you are NOT WILLING to come to ME so that you may HAVE LIFE."

What do you think?

Tony Yu said...

Life is in God, not in a book. The gift of righteousness is in God, not in the Scriptures; Sanctification is in Jesus- in a Person, not in the Written Word.

1 Corinthians 1:30
He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption,