Five Views on Sanctification

Some people have requested I upload my Love Ethics paper, so here it is. It was my attempt to relate the content I learned in the class to the book. I was pleased with the result.

Five Views on Sanctification

The Five Views on Sanctification presents a wide interpretation of biblical scriptures. None of the views present a 100% accurate depiction of biblical sanctification, but each one contributes to a full understanding. It was moderately confusing trying to pick out the scripture-supported truths about becoming more Christ-like. All five views agree that the bible is authoritative and stresses a faith relationship with the almighty.
The Wesleyan view on sanctification provided much insight into the human condition. I agree fully with his definition of sanctification and how it is progressive. I disagree, however, with his theology of total sanctification being available in this life. Wesley implies that willful sinning can be taken away eventually through sanctification. I infer this from his comment that one’s “bent to sinning” is taken away and the “war within oneself” is over.
The definition of entire sanctification is the entire renewal of oneself in the image of God. This is contradictory because one is still able to fall again because nobody can be absolutely perfect. To understand this, one must have a clear definition of sin. We must distinguish if it is the voluntary disregard for the will of Christ or any act that falls short of God’s glory. David in the book of Psalms clearly defines sin as the latter of the two; Who can discern {his} errors? Acquit me of hidden {faults.} (Ps 19:12). Because David defines sin as any shortcoming of God’s glory, it is impossible for anyone to reach the state of total sanctification in the life.
Sin continues to be a barrier throughout the life of a believer. 1 John 1:8 says If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. The conclusion here is that sin continues to be a barrier throughout our life and we must be sanctified through a continuous process.
The Reformed view denies the teaching of total sanctification. Sanctification in this view is possible through union with Christ. This is made possible by the truth presented in his word and faith in him; faith that he died on the cross for our debt, sin no longer has mastery over us and the power of the Holy Spirit enables us to overcome sin and live for God. Faith is an operative power that produces fruit and enables us to love, which is the goal of our instruction (1 Tim 1:3). Faith is energized by loving others and forming relationships. Sanctification is a process by which we must be active. Not that God has a role and we have a role, rather, we work because God works.
One point the reformed view stumbles upon is the issue of pre-chosen believers. Traditional Calvinists believe people are chosen by God to be saved. If this were true, the need for overseas missions would be eradicated. Calvinists would then say; God will find a way to expose them to the gospel because they are already chosen to receive it. I must reject this notion because the verse is describing believers chosen based on the foreknowledge of Christ. He knew the choice anyone would make and based his plan off that.
The importance of keeping the law seems to be held above loving others in this view. Hoekema states that in order to fulfill the law, one must love, as if the goal is to fulfill the law. Rather we should make the goal loving others, and that subsequently fulfills the law.
The Pentacostal view also stresses sanctification through progression. They also hold the belief of positional regeneration. One’s position is either saved or unsaved, and one can work from there. One belief Pentecostals hold is that we can be entirely sanctified but not absolutely perfect. The indication here is that we can achieve relative perfection in this life. The problem here is the standard of perfection is lowered. There are now different degrees of perfection one can achieve. The distinction to be made is we are either perfect or we are not. God is the standard of perfection that no man can live by.
Pentecostals stress the importance of a second experience that comes after regeneration. This second experience involves baptism into the Holy Spirit and the evidence of speaking in tongues. This is needed in order to be filled with the spirit. This conclusion has no support in the bible. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul explains tongues is a gift given to a few, but not all Christians. This would mean that only a small portion of the Christian community can participate in this second experience! Paul also explains Tongues is not an important gift to have. If it was as important as the Pentecostal view makes it, Paul would have stressed it more heavily. The main issue with this view is the lack of scriptural support for its claims.
The Keswick View offers an excellent point about today’s culture. Christian spirituality is weak in the modern day church. The average Christian family is no different than an uptight non-Christian household. Most churches are centered around convenience for its members. They try to shove God into one part of the week that is convenient for them and place no importance on his kingdom. Keswick offers a solution to this issue.
This view is not doctrinal and has a wide use in many denominations. I have used much of this material, such as five means of growth, in my teachings. The biggest problem I have with this view is its self-focused five-day rehab guide. This guide is all about serving your own needs and not the needs of others. It is almost like a Christian diet. While the content is indeed refreshing and righteous, it is very me-centered. By taking the Love Ethics course, I was able to identify the selfish way the material was presented. Loving others was not a priority.
Like the Reformed view, the Augustinian-Dispensationalist view agrees that Born-again Christians are new creatures. While we are not yet totally new, we are genuinely new, and sin no longer keeps us in bondage. As new creatures, we still experience a tendency to sin, which is called our “flesh” according to Ephesians 2:3.
Our position of regenerated eternal creatures is an irreversible one that does not mean perfection right away. It is very obvious someone is saved when we can see the spirit working inside them. That is to say, they are spiritually empowered, and the Lord is using them to accomplish his will. Not all Christians are filled with the spirit. Those are the people who are not fruitful in ministry.
In conclusion, sanctification is a process by which we are made more like Christ. It is an ongoing process that finishes with glorification. The most important aspect that should be stressed is love relationships with Christ and others. That is the ultimate goal of this process. By becoming more Christ-like, we are becoming more successful in love.

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