What is the Truth about Our Sanctification?

IntroductionAll the false religions in the world teach in one manner or another that a person becomes righteous and earns his salvation by his own good works and efforts.  God, on the other hand, teaches us that we are justified by faith without any works on our part.  The righteousness that saves and eternal life are God’s gift to us through Jesus Christ.

We might wonder, then, where do good works fit into our spiritual life under God?  Surely God’s forgiveness of sins cannot be a license to sin all the more.  The purpose of this discussion is to learn what God teaches us about our life of good works, and about his law.

1. What does God’s justifying us by faith move us to do in return?

Ps.118:1  Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his love endures forever.

  1. God’s justifying us moves us to thank him.

1 Jn.4:19  We on our part love, because he first loved us.

  1. God’s justifying us moves us to love him.

Ro.12:1,2  Therefore, I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

  1. To express our loving thanks to God for justifying us, we will give our bodies and lives to God to serve him.
  2. Having our minds spiritually renewed by God’s good news of justification and salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, we will serve him by living holy lives that are pleasing to him and carry out his moral will for us.

Jn.14:15  If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

  1. God’s justifying us moves us to love him by obeying his commandments.

Ro.6:11  And so consider yourselves to be dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

  1. God’s justifying us moves us to stop doing sinful things and to live for God by doing the right things that he wants us to do.

2 Cor.5:17  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away, behold new things have come!

1. God’s justifying us moves us to be a new person spiritually.  We do not live in sin as we formerly did, but we live holy lives as God’s holy people.

2 Cor.5:14,15  For the love of Christ impels us, . . . he died for all, in order that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised again.

1. Christ’s love for us, and his sacrificial death to save us, move and urge us to serve him.

Js.2:17,18  And so faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. . . and I will show you my faith by my works.

1. This new, holy life of loving service and thanksgiving is the fruit of our faith, the good work we do in response to God’s justifying us.

The Truth Is:

1. God’s justifying us moves us to love and thank him by serving him with holy lives which obey his will and commandments.
2. This new life of loving service and obedience is a fruit of our faith.
Note:  Our Christian life of loving service and of the good works of obedience to God’s commandments is called our sanctification.  Sanctification follows justification, not in the sense of time, but in the sense of a logical sequence, like a cause and its effect.

2. What is a good work?

Gal.2:20  . . . and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered himself up for me.

  1. A good work is whatever we do by faith in Jesus, the Son of God.

1 Jn.5:3  For this is love for God, that we keep his commandments.

  1. A good work is whatever we do in keeping with God’s commandments to express our love for him.

Ps.33:8  Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world revere him.

  1. A good work is whatever we do to fear, meaning to honor, God.
The Truth Is:

A good work is whatever we do by faith in keeping with the commandments to fear and love God.

3. Can we be saved by the good works we do according to God’s law?

Mt.5:48  You shall be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

  1. God’s law demands perfection from all of us.  It does not permit the slightest sin.

1 Jn.1:8  If we say that we do not have sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

  1. God’s law demands that we be perfect, but we are sinners who fail to do what God’s law requires.

Gal.3:10  For as many as are of the works of law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED ARE ALL WHO DO NOT ABIDE BY EVERYTHING THAT HAS BEEN WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW IN ORDER TO DO THEM.”

  1. Our failing to do everything demanded in God’s law perfectly puts us under God’s curse of eternal punishment in hell.

Gal.2:16  . . . because we know that a man is not justified by works of law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of law, because by works of law no person will be justified.

  1. From the Bible we know that no one is justified and saved by doing works to keep God’s law.  Rather a person is justified and saved by faith alone in Jesus Christ.
The Truth Is:

Our good works cannot save us, for:
1. We are sinners who fail to do everything God’s law requires perfectly.
2. Our failure to carry out all of God’s law perfectly puts us under the curse of God’s punishment in hell.
3. No one is justified by their works of obedience to God’s law but through faith in Jesus Christ.

4. What, then, is the purpose of God’s law for us?

Ro.3:20  . . . for through law comes a consciousness of sin.

  1. The chief purpose of God’s law is to show us our sin.

Gal.3:24  Therefore the law has become a supervisor to prepare us for Christ, in order that we may be justified by faith.

  1. By showing us our sin and God’s threats of punishment God’s law shows us our need for a Savior and prepares our hearts for the good news about Jesus Christ.

1 Tim.1:9,10  . . . knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and rebellious, the ungodly and sinners, the unholy and worldly, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, fornicators, homosexuals, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, . . .

  1. God’s law with its moral demands and threats of punishment was made for sinners who would disobey its commands.

Ps.119:120  My flesh bristles with terror of you; And I am afraid of your judgments.

  1. So another purpose of God’s law with its threats to punish all who disobey its commandments is to make us afraid of God’s punishment, so we hold our sinful nature in check and do not sin against his commandments.

Ps.119:9  How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to your word.

  1. This verse and the next teach us that another purpose of God’s law is to guide us in living a holy, God pleasing life according to his commandments.

Ps.119:105  Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path.

The Truth Is:

The purpose of God’s law is threefold.
1. It serves as a mirror to show us our sin and our need for the Savior Jesus.  This is the chief purpose of the law.
2. It serves as a curb to hold our sinful nature in check, which otherwise would lead us into sin.
3. It serves as a guide to living a holy life which is pleasing to God.

5. When was God’s law given?

Col.3:10  . . . and have put on the new self that is being renewed in the knowledge according to the image of the One who created it, . . .

1. When God created Adam and Eve, he created them in his own image, which included having a perfect knowledge of his law written in their hearts.
2. We Christians are being renewed in this knowledge.

Ro.2:15  . . . since indeed they (the Gentiles, unbelievers) demonstrate the demands of the law written in their hearts, . . .

  1. Even the unbelievers in the world show that the demands of God’s law are written in their hearts.

Ex.34:28 And he (the Lord) wrote upon the tablets the words of the covenant – the Ten Commandments.

1. Since our natural knowledge of God’s law was darkened by sin, God gave his law a second time, writing it down, first in stone for the Jews, and then in the Bible for us all.

The Truth Is:

God gave his law,
1. First writing it in our hearts.
2. Then writing it in the Bible.

6. How has God’s law been summarized for us?

Isa.28:13  So the word of the Lord to them will be: Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, law upon law, law upon law, a little here, a little there, . . .

1. The wayward priests and prophets of the Old Testament had mocked God’s Word as a great many laws of do’s and don’ts and rules.  God said this is just what his Word would become to them as his judgment on them.
2. God’s law does consist of many moral do's and don'ts for our learning and for our Christian life of faith.

Ex.34:28  And he (the Lord) wrote upon the tablets the words of the covenant – the Ten Commandments.

1. God summarized the do’s and don’ts of his moral law into ten, simple commandments, so we may better remember what his law forbids and demands.

Mt.22:37-40  And he (Jesus) said to him, “LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it, LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOUSELF. On these two commandments hang the whole Law and the Prophets.”

1. Jesus further summarized the moral law of God’s ten commandments into but two commandments: Love God above all, and love your neighbor as yourself.

The Truth Is:

1. God’s moral law contains many do's and don'ts for our learning and life.
2. God summarized his moral law in the ten commandments.
3. Jesus further summarized God’s moral law into but two commandments: Love the Lord our God above all, and love your neighbor as yourself.