A Guide to Christian Theology - Lesson 41

Sanctification (Part 2/2)

Gerry Breshears
A Guide to Christian Theology
Lesson 41
Watching Now
Sanctification (Part 2/2)

  • In this lesson, explore the significance of systematic theology, blending academic insight with personal devotion. Learn to interpret biblical texts, understand how theology shapes beliefs, and fortify your faith against deception. This study fosters personal, biblical, and responsible theological growth, vital for spiritual development and discipleship.
  • Learn diverse ways to tackle theological questions, focusing on Holy Spirit baptism. Understand deductive, inductive, and retro-abductive methods. Acts 17:11 and Acts 15 show how community perspectives contribute to nuanced theological discussions, promoting unity amidst differing viewpoints.
  • This lesson provides insights into theological certainty levels, categorizing beliefs into "die for," "divide for," "debate for," and "decide for," highlighting essential doctrines, divisive issues, passionate debates, and less crucial matters, while underscoring the significance of understanding diverse perspectives and theological terms across different Christian tribes.
  • Explore general revelation through creation and conscience (Psalm 19, Romans 1). Responding leads to God, though not salvation alone. Special revelation possible. Diverse salvation views, favoring knowing Jesus. Seared consciences don't always void salvation.
  • Gain deep understanding of special revelation: history, divine acts, and communication revealing God's character and redemptive plan via Messiah. Lesson highlights Bible's key role, conveying God's nature, guidance, and transformative power, emphasizing ongoing divine-human communication.
  • This lesson delves into the concept of divine inspiration in Scripture, citing 2 Timothy 3:15-16 and 2 Peter 1:16-21. It explains "God-breathed" as a term highlighting God's creative influence on words, rejecting mere concepts or dictation. Inspiration involves human authors, their personalities, and styles, conveying God's message to the entire church.
  • In this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of God, including their definitions, biblical support, and implications and applications.
  • In this lesson you will gain insight into the Bible's clarity, sufficiency, and authority, and the Canon.
  • In this lesson, you'll grasp a deep understanding of God's character. His foremost quality is compassion, like a mother's love. He's gracious, patient, loving, faithful, and forgiving, extending favor even to the undeserving. Yet, He's just, not sparing the persistently rebellious. This lesson dispels misconceptions, urging contemplation of God's profound blend of love and justice.
  • This lesson delves into holiness via Isaiah 6, emphasizing dedication over separation from sin. It challenges misconceptions and calls for church reform.
  • This lesson delves into the fundamental characteristics of God, particularly the Trinity, emphasizing God's essential relational nature within Himself and its biblical implications, while also addressing theological controversies and highlighting the complexity of the Trinity.
  • This lesson explores different approaches to knowing God, inspired by Thomas Aquinas, discusses the doctrine of immutability, and highlights how God can change in his attitude and actions based on biblical evidence, emphasizing the value of in-depth Bible study and open dialogue in understanding God's nature.
  • This lesson covers key theological concepts: sovereignty, election, and free will. It explores differences between Calvinist and Wesleyan-Arminian views on God's sovereignty, impacting God's plan and human responsibility. Emphasis on defining terms to prevent disputes. Speaker is a "Calminian," blending Calvinism and Arminianism for a balanced perspective. Valuable insights into theological complexities and scripture interpretation.
  • Exploring various theological views and problematic issues surrounding the concept of providence, we will gain a comprehensive understanding of the role of prayer in providence, as well as the compatibility of God's sovereignty and human responsibility.
  • You will gain knowledge about anthropology and its biblical foundations, creation of human beings and the image of God in humans, fall and sin and their implications on human nature, redemption and sanctification, and human destiny and eschatology, including views on heaven and hell and the return of Christ.
  • This lesson offers valuable insights into the multifaceted nature of providence and its profound implications for our comprehension of God's role in the world.
  • The lesson touches upon various types of suffering, categorizing them into six different types: moral evil (e.g., rape), natural evil (e.g., cancer), persecution, sharing the suffering of another, punishment for sin, and suffering caused by the devil.
  • Learn to discern God's will by cultivating a Christ-like character, living by moral principles, seeking counsel, embracing uniqueness, and praying. It's about aligning with your long-term happiness and godly desires, offering a balanced approach to life decisions.
  • Explore Jesus' nature and incarnation. Learn how He balanced divine and human attributes, challenging traditional views. Reflect on His mission and ours, empowered by the Holy Spirit, bridging divinity and humanity.
  • This lesson delves into the incarnation of Jesus, explaining his dual nature as both God and man during his earthly mission, supported by Old Testament, Gospel, and epistle references. It acknowledges the complexity of his divinity and humanity, even after his ascension.
  • This lesson explores Jesus' dual nature, divine and human, delving into emotions, knowledge, sin, and his role as the Second Adam, offering theological insights.
  • Learn about Jesus' life and mission, challenging traditional beliefs like the virgin birth. Explore his spiritual journey, resurrection, and more, fostering critical thinking and alternative perspectives.
  • This lesson provides a comprehensive examination of atonement, its various dimensions, and the theological concepts surrounding it.
  • Learn about the Holy Spirit, baptism, and its role in Christian faith. Understand diverse perspectives on its workings in believers' lives, emphasizing its incorporation at conversion and empowering influence, supported by biblical insights.
  • Gain insight into the relationship between spirit baptism and conversion, the various terms used in Scripture, and the importance of ongoing fillings with the Holy Spirit for special ministry tasks, character, and as a command for all believers.
  • This lesson explores the role of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. It challenges traditional definitions, proposing that any ability empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in ministry is a spiritual gift. The primary gift is the Holy Spirit himself.
  • Learn about the theological debate on spiritual gifts like prophecy and miracles. Explore four perspectives: cessationism, continuationism, functional cessationism, and word of faith. The instructor, a continuationist, emphasizes discernment and scripture while promoting respectful dialogue among believers with differing views.
  • This lesson explores the Bible's view of humanity, emphasizing humans as God's unique creation, made from dust and breath, in His image. It delves into human origins, our role as covenant partners, and the interaction between spirit and body, supported by biblical passages, offering a holistic perspective on being human in God's eyes.
  • This lesson redefines humans as image-bearers of God, emphasizing the role of reflecting divine attributes in all work, gender equality, and growth in Christ-likeness. It promotes dignity for all, with potential for deeper reflection as faith matures.
  • In this lesson you will explore the origin of sin, rejecting dualism in favor of a Christian perspective where sin arises from the choices of morally responsible creatures. The lesson introduces the idea of a pre-creation rebellion by Satan, emphasizing that humans are called to engage in spiritual warfare by doing good and promoting Shalom in the world.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the nature, marks, purpose, structure, and sacraments of the Church and learn about the different views and definitions used to define it.
  • This lecture discusses the leadership offices of a church, including eldership, deacons, and church members, and how they function according to biblical principles of polity, which prioritize following what the Bible prescribes, closely following what it describes, and using wisdom and being Spirit-led in matters it is silent about, all with the aim of effectively sharing the Gospel and achieving unity and focus.
  • In this lesson, you will explore baptism's significance, modes, and theological perspectives, and learn its role in church membership, unity, discipleship, and spiritual growth.
  • This lesson provides an overview of the historical, biblical, and theological aspects of Communion, including practical considerations for its practice.
  • You will gain a good understanding of death and its theological implications, including the biblical view of death, consequences of death, and resurrection and the afterlife. The lesson covers the definition of death, cultural views, and the portrayal of death in the Old and New Testaments. You will also learn about the physical and spiritual consequences of death, as well as the Bible's teachings on resurrection and the afterlife.
  • From this lesson, you gain insight into the biblical concept of God's Kingdom, its significance in Christian theology, and its impact on eschatology, social justice, and the Church's role.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into eschatology, examine biblical perspectives, explore key events like the Rapture, Tribulation, Millennium, and Final Judgment, and learn the significance of eschatology for today's believers.
  • By studying the eternal state, you gain insights into the new heaven and earth, resurrection, judgment, and eternal life, deepening your understanding of Christian hope and assurance.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into the crucial role of church leaders, their essential qualities, and the challenges they face, while discovering the importance of support and encouragement for their growth and effectiveness in ministry.
  • In this lesson, you gain an understanding of the nature of Scripture and learn to interpret the Bible within its historical, literary, and canonical contexts while addressing challenges in biblical interpretation.
  • This lesson delves into the structure and authority of a church, examining different leadership models and emphasizing the overarching role of scripture as the final authority, while also highlighting the need for congregational involvement in decision-making processes and the unique nature of the apostles in early church leadership.
  • Learn Dr. Breshears' local church leadership principles: focus on equipping, inspiring, empowering, unifying, exemplifying, caring for, overseeing, and shepherding members. Rooted in biblical teachings, emphasizes servant leadership. The lesson discusses congregational decision-making, women in church leadership roles with respect for differing views.
  • Learn about church leadership principles, roles of elders and deacons, active membership, mutual commitment, gift utilization, and clear processes in this comprehensive lesson.
  • This lesson explores sacraments, focusing on baptism and diverse theological views. Baptism signifies a profound commitment to Christ within a believer community, emphasizing understanding and promptness post-conversion.
  • In this lesson, you'll grasp the essence of baptism, its questions, and debates. Discover belief's role, its confession, and the link to repentance and faith. Explore diverse views on baptism performers, methods, and locations. Gain insights and wisdom for informed baptism decisions in your faith community.
  • From this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of Communion, also known as the Lord's Supper or Eucharist. It will provide you with insights into the controversy surrounding its terminology and the theological background of Communion, primarily focusing on 1 Corinthians Chapters 10 and 11. You will learn about various theological perspectives on the real presence of Christ in the Communion elements and explore different viewpoints on the frequency, leadership, eligibility, and practical aspects of Communion. Overall, this lesson will equip you with the knowledge to better understand and participate in the Communion meal.
  • This lesson delves into two ends: individual death and the end of the age. It explores human death, material and immaterial aspects (Ecclesiastes 12:7, Genesis 3), fear, loss of autonomy, cremation, death determination, rewards, and urges preparation to meet Jesus, facing the undeniable reality of death.
  • Learn about the Kingdom of God, its aspects, Christ's return interpretations, and key concepts like inaugurated, Messianic, and millennium kingdoms. Emphasizing humility and mission in theological debates, it prepares you for insightful discussions on Christ's return and tribulation.
  • Learn about Christian views on heaven and hell. Hell is punishment for those who reject Jesus; heaven is eternal bliss with Him on a renewed Earth. Explore differing views respectfully.

Understand the core topics of systematic theology, from what we know about God to the future state of humankind. Special emphasis is given to such topics as Christ, salvation, the church, and the future.

A Guide to Christian Theology
Dr. Gerry Breshears
Sanctification (Part 2/2)
Lesson Transcript

Okay, let me unpack this new covenant view. And again, there are some things I need to unpack a bit here. One is the difference between a positional that is a member of the family, and the other is a condition, the status of my behavior in the family.

So what I'm going to suggest is that positionally, that I am holy because I'm dedicated to God. And the picture, the definition of holy in scripture is 'dedicated to.' But then coming out of that dedicated to is a getting rid of the things that degrade the relationship and adding the things that enhance the relationship. And that's the progressive, ethical, moral, cleansing.

So when you think of sanctification, there's an initial consecration or dedication or acceptance. "I am a member of the family, and because I'm a member of the family, there are some indicatives that I have." Then coming out of that is the progressive call to ethical and moral conformity to Christ, and that's an ongoing thing.

The distinction of those two is really important.

Let me show you where this comes up.

1 Corinthians 1. Some of the translations come out different ways, but 1 Corinthians 1: "To the church of God in Corinth to those sanctified in Christ Jesus", it says here in the NIV, "Called to be his holy people."

So if you look in some of the translations, it talks about saints in Christ Jesus. So that's the argument. Well, we're consecrated to Christ, so we are accepted in the family. But the second phrase there, we're 'called to be his holy people', that is his Christ-like people, together with people everywhere. So 1 Corinthians 1-2, I think has that distinction. We're positionally in Christ, but we're called to be more Christ-like, and that's the ongoing.

So let me unpack this a bit.

The indicative imperative, which is absolutely foundational to this. The indicative imperative is absolutely foundational.

Now I've got some stuff here.

It's positional, the once and for all definitive dedication to God. That's the consecration. And then conditional, the progressive cleansing from sinful acts and character and deepening love for God and his ways; that's the new covenant view.

So first of all, this is a blank, there is the indicatives, and that's regeneration, justification, [inaudible] of Holy Spirit, is the basis for the imperative, God's encouragement and command to live like Christ.

So indicative, that's the things that are true because I'm a Christian, and that's the basis for the imperative to become Christ-like. And so God encouraged that, but also God commands it. And that's what we're talking about in this new covenant model.

There are absolutely some indicatives. And when I think about those indicatives, I'm thinking about stuff that I've already talked about; justification. I have that new identity as a child of God; regeneration, born again. I have that new heart, I have the [inaudible] Holy Spirit; I have a new community around me. Those are indicatives. That's who we are simply because we're Christian. And we always begin from the indicative.

The imperative, frankly, it's a categorical of Christlike perfection. When I think of Matthew 5:48, I mean, it's an incredible call. Jesus just says, in so many terms, "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." You can say, "Well, that's [inaudible]." It's complete true. So be complete. Be a person of integrity. That's what he's calling us for, is to be a person of Christ-like integrity. And it's a categorical command, demand really, for Christ-like perfection.

Hebrews 12:14. Again, I want to get these commands in front of us because they're really important. Hebrews 12:14. Here's what he says. Hebrews 12:14. Look at what it says. Look at what that thing says. Hebrews 12:14: "Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy. Without holiness, no one will see the Lord. See to it no one falls short of the grace of God, no bitter root grows up and causes trouble and defiles many", and so on.

"Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy. Without holiness, without sanctification, no one will see the Lord." That's a demand, and it's a big demand.

Those commands, Jesus's command to have that kind of integrity that our Father in heaven has, that demand that we pursue holiness, which no one will see God, are very, very strong demands. And there's a lot of places like that, a lot of places like that.

The two come together at passages like Philippians chapter two. Philippians chapter two. It's a passage we know. Philippians 2, where he's saying here, 2:12, "Therefore my dear friends, you've always obeyed not only in my presence but now much more in my absence. Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose."

So there's the conflation. On one hand, I'm called to work out my salvation, but always the indicative, "For it's God who works in you to will and to do in order to fulfill his good purpose." That's what we're talking about.

So the imperative always rests on the indicative. I cannot reverse them and I cannot separate them.

The imperative, of course, is not just about the actions that I do, it's the heart relationship with the Father based on my new person and my new identity. And the what I do flows out of who I am.

Gosh, there's so much here I want to do.

Look at one more passage. Ephesians. Ephesians 2 ... Ephesians 5. Ephesians, chapter five, verse eight. One of my 74 life verses. Ephesians 5:8. "For you once were darkness." And that's where we were. "But now you are light in the Lord." And it says, "Live as children of light."

See, the indicative is you are light in the Lord. It's not me by myself, it's me along with the Father, with the Lord. But then the call is, "Live as children of light." So this is saying you are light, therefore live who you are.

So it's calling me to live a life that's consistent with my identity, child of God. And I just can't say it strongly enough is there is a command to do that.

So that's the base new covenant model.

Some [inaudible] Colossians, chapter three. Colossians, chapter three. This whole chapter is unpacking, I think, the new covenant model.

So Colossians, chapter three begins with, "You've been raised with Christ." That's an indicative. "Therefore, set your heart on things above, for Christ is." Set your minds on things above, not an earthly things. So what do I focus on? What do I ponder? What do I let my imagination work through?

And this then becomes a spiritual discipline. The evil flames up in front of me and demands that I look at it. And one of my disciplines is I try not to ponder, look at the grubby, gross stuff of this world any more than I absolutely have to. I want to spend my time and imagination looking at those things that are good, right, true, beautiful, real, and live in those things. Let my imagination be filled of what can be.

[inaudible] talking about, "You died?" Verse three, "Your life is now hidden with Christ", and I think, "I died? I appear to be fairly alive." But see, 'I died' is my adamic life, my darkness life. That's gone. I now live a new life, this life in Christ.

But then he says in verse three, "You died", past fact; verse five, "Put to death." Am I dead or do I got to die? Well, yes. Both. See, that you're dead is I'm dead to that old way of life, the darkness kingdom, the dominion of darkness. I'm alive in the kingdom of Christ. I am light, I'm a child of God. Therefore, put to death everything that belongs to your earthly nature, it says, "Habituated back here in darkness": sexuality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, wrath, envy, malice, slander, filthy language. Those are things of darkness. It doesn't mean all of those are true of every person, but this is the way of darkness.

And the worship of other gods is being very, very narcissistic. It's being very, very violent oriented: "You offend me and I'll take you down." And it's very much [inaudible] indulgence for the sake of self-satisfaction. That's the way of darkness. And he's saying, "Put that off, put on the new thing." And now it's power, but power for the sake of service. It's love your enemy, do good to your enemy, be kind to your enemy, while still pointing out they're enemies, and using focus passions for the sake of relationship.

So the 'put off' is the malice [inaudible] filthy language and so on, lying, because my old self is dead, my old man is dead. And I put on the new man, the identity in Christ.

And then what he says in verse 12, and here it's so important, "Therefore as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved", those are identity statements. I am chosen by God. No matter where you come out on the Arminian Calvinist scale, that's still true. I'm chosen by God to be a part of his family, I am wholly dedicated to God, and I'm dearly loved.

Therefore, "Clothe yourself with," and here's some things to add to my life, "Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiving one another, forgiving as the Lord forgave you. Put on love which binds them all together. Let the peace of Christ rule your heart", and so on. These are things I'm called to put on because my deepest desire is I want to be like that.

And see, the thing here, and what I always want to do, is I focus on what I am in my identity, what I want to be in my life. That's the focus because I have this dedication to God and I want to do things that enhance that relationship and stop doing the things that degrade that relationship. And that's a 'want to' thing when I go to the deepest desires in this model of sanctification.

So what I appeal to people in discipleship is what can be that I want to be, and I try to make those connections. And then from that, put off the bad stuff, whatever that is, stupid [inaudible] in my case, put on the good things; blessing people with my words instead of cutting people with my words. That's the new covenant model of sanctification. Always focus on who I am, who I want to be, and therefore, stop doing the bad things and start doing the good things.

So in the handout here, this last sentence here, "Maturity in the family of God depends increasingly on my faithfulness and living out the life he has given me. He gives me his spirit, his body's encouragement to help me do that." So I'm pursuing maturity, which I think is what that Matthew 5:48 just says: "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is." It's maturity.

And my base approach to this ... And I try to think we bring things down to concrete. So let me try this. My thing is, when I'm faced with a temptation, my thing is when I'm faced with a decision, because I think my deepest desires are godly, but I've got really strong ungodly desires, if I stop and think ... See, the Satan thing is, "Just act, just do it", impulsiveness. "You want it? Do it." If I stop and think and then prayerfully connect with Jesus ... Remember I'm a child of God, so I prayerfully connect with him. And I do it in a community of grace, so I reach out to other people who are gracious people where I have a trust relationship; and then do what would make me most deeply happy, I'll almost always do the right thing.

Somebody says, again, there are words to fill in your blanks there.

If I stop and think, and I've got to do that, stop and think, "What is going on here? Lord Jesus, help me. Holy Spirit, show me the way. I need your help right now." Pick up my phone, call a friend, "Hey, I'm facing this thing [inaudible] just as perplexing. Can you help me?" And then stop and think, "What would make me most deeply happy?", I'll almost always do the right thing.

That in very concrete terms is my model of sanctification, because I really believe at heart I want to be like Jesus. That's this new covenant model.

So John Piper is well known for his desiring God. He spent his whole career unpacking this new covenant model of sanctification. And I just applaud him for what he's done. I think he's spot on with the way he does things in this whole model of sanctification. Because based on 'I really do want to' as opposed to 'I am a redeeming, sinful, get me out of the way, I have no righteous of my own', we have increasingly Christ-like maturity, it seems to me. But my deepest desire is godly.

So if I stop and think, prayerfully connect with Jesus, connect out with other grace-filled Christians to help me, and do what would make me most deeply happy, I'll almost always do the right thing. That's the model of sanctification that I work on. That's the base of the model of discipleship I work on. And I think at the end of the day, I will do things increasingly that are Christ-like and deeply satisfying.

Just a test case. You're doing something, say you've prepared a teaching or something like that, and somebody comes up and says, "Man, that was great. That just was so helpful for me. Thanks for doing that", what do you say to him? You were kind of like, "Well, thank God. That was him," or something like that.

But see, if you have this new covenant model of sanctification, when somebody thanks you for doing well, what you should do is say something like, "Ah, yeah, that was so fun to be able to serve Jesus like that. I just love doing this for Jesus. I'm glad it was helpful for you too."

See, and the thing is, don't take credit for the indicatives. Don't take credit for the indicatives, the stuff that God did to you. Don't take credit for that stuff. But yes, do take credit for what I do.

So in The Parable of Talents, for example, he gives some money and says, "Go do business." And when they come back and your five talents made five more, Jesus doesn't say, "Well, I'm glad for what I did." He says, "Well done, good and faithful servant. [inaudible] of your master."

I think we should take credit in a humble sense, to be sure, but not for what God does, but for what I do, and, "Thanks. I was able to serve with Jesus, and it's fun, I love it."

See, that, to me, is the reality of the new covenant of sanctification.


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