I was writing this post on a theological page with other pastors, and figured that it would be good to open up the conversation on my own wall to my peers. If we believe in a living Word, He will continue to refine our understanding of it. Here are some thoughts as to the process of sanctification. They are just that, raw, open, seeking thoughts.
The topic is the process of sanctification. In laymen’s terms. God calls us to be Holy. How does that take place? What is the process? So crack your Bibles and prepare for loving, open, seeking of Truth… PS, this is not a Nazarene thread, but many Nazarene’s will be posting. OK, Play nice…Open theological thoughts… After reading about the Day of Atonement, Communion, and the Book of Hebrews, I am starting to consider that at the very center of time, all unintentional sin was dealt with forever at the cross.
For those who lived before Christ, the blood sacrifice delayed the penalty for sin as an act of faith as we understand that no animal sacrifice can cleanse sin. And for those who live after the cross, we (in faith) take communion to point us back to receive and accept that same sacrifice for our unintentional sins. Now with a clean slate, we have the power to respond to God through the Holy Spirit in obedience to His will. However, the more I study, the more I see that willful sin was dealt with in a totally different way.
From what I see in scripture, the Old and New Testament calls for repentance and confession of willful sin in order to receive forgiveness. In fact, the Gospel that John the Baptist preached seemed only focused on confession and repentance of willful sin. I think the concept of continual repentance was a way of life in the early church. The Didache, (early church manual for pastors) even had a huge emphasis on the need for confession before prayer and worship.
Therefore, if we no longer have to worry about unintentional mistakes and we are only outside of perfection when we rebel against a known law of God that has been revealed to our hearts, the new convert as well as the seasoned saint can flow in and out of the state of perfection throughout his or her life. Sanctification then becomes a continual and daily surrendering of one’s self as God continues to reveal areas of His will and our sin. We either daily repent and confess of the sin that the Spirit has revealed or we actively rebel and take sovereignty over our lives.
This also explains the scripture of Hebrews 10:26. Jesus did not die for us to remain in our sins. Therefore, eternal life is not pointing to an amount of time we receive life, (as in forever once we receive it), rather it is a person (or His nature). If we remain on the highway of holiness, we remain in Christ and possess eternal life. If scripture is true that there is no darkness in light, our willful disobedience fully separates us from eternal life once it is allowed to manifest itself fully. Now as Lukewarm Christians, I can see how this would not work, yet there is no grey area in Holy.
Praise the Lord that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. By the way, if that verse is true, I can’t see how any sin can remain in the believer after conversion outside of willful rebellion.
Please be gentle, these are just the thoughts that are flowing out as I seek the Lord through His Word. I am not perfect, yet in Him I am…This post is meant to show a different thought outside of a second work of grace that is found in holiness denominations founded before 1911. All holiness denominations founded after that believe more like this argument. As one who was born in and have pastored in the former, I would like nothing more than to solidify my personal theology so that I may truly know if what God is revealing in the present can help to reconcile my past so that I can stand with those I love in the future. For no matter how much I love my former denomination, I will always stay true to the Word of God as it is revealed on my heart. And I will always be open to correction from those who do it in love. Is there a second work of grace? I just can’t see it, no matter how hard I try.
Oh how I wish our holiness denominations could focus less on the process and more on unity in holiness. For if we could put these differences of process aside, and have fellowship centered in taking on God’s nature, I believe we could do great things in a country that is falling apart without it. May our discussions reflect the love of Christ as we sharpen each other in the Word. Holiness unto the Lord…