Project: Your Statement of Faith - Lesson 8

Article Seven: Sanctification (doctrine of holiness)

This lesson focuses on the doctrine of sanctification and its importance in the life of a believer. It explains the definition of sanctification, the distinctions and degrees of sanctification, and the progressive nature of sanctification. It also explains the means of sanctification, which include the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and prayer. The goal of sanctification is transformation, holiness, and glorification. The significance of sanctification is living a life of obedience, experiencing joy and abundance, and representing Christ in the world.

Bill Mounce
Project: Your Statement of Faith
Lesson 8
Watching Now
Article Seven: Sanctification (doctrine of holiness)

I. Introduction

A. Definition of Sanctification

B. Distinctions and Degrees of Sanctification

C. Progressive Sanctification

II. The Means of Sanctification

A. The Word of God

B. The Holy Spirit

C. Prayer

III. The Goal of Sanctification

A. Transformation

B. Holiness

C. Glorification

IV. The Significance of Sanctification

A. Living a Life of Obedience

B. Experiencing Joy and Abundance

C. Representing Christ in the World

  • You will learn the definition, purpose, and components of a statement of faith, as well as how to create one by considering a set of questions and following a process.
  • You will gain an understanding of the Bible, its authority, interpretation, and its relationship with science, as well as an exploration of contradictions in the Bible and how to resolve them.
  • This lesson teaches you about God's nature, character, and activity, including his oneness, triune nature, attributes, holiness, love, sovereignty, and his activity in creation, providence, and redemption.
  • This lesson explores the person and work of Jesus Christ, providing a comprehensive understanding of His divine and human natures, humiliation, exaltation, redemption, and resurrection.
  • You will gain knowledge about the nature, work, and experience of the Holy Spirit from this lesson, including its definition and names, its relationship to the Father and the Son, and its baptism, filling, and gifts.
  • Gain insight into the doctrine of man and its implications, including the Biblical anthropology, the image of God, and the consequences of sin, and how it affects our daily lives and understanding of the human condition.
  • You will gain an understanding of the doctrine of salvation and its implications in this life and afterlife.
  • You will gain a better understanding of the doctrine of sanctification and its importance in the life of a believer. You will learn the definition of sanctification, the distinctions and degrees of sanctification, and the progressive nature of sanctification. You will also learn the means of sanctification and the goal of sanctification, which is transformation, holiness, and glorification. Finally, you will understand the significance of sanctification, which is to live a life of obedience, experience joy and abundance, and represent Christ in the world.
  • This lesson examines the doctrine of the church, exploring its definition, purpose, and mission. It also examines the relationship between the church, the Kingdom of God, and the Bible.
  • This lesson explores the Doctrine of Last Things, helping you to understand the theological implications, events, and applications of Eschatology.

Now that you have listened to the lectures it is time for you decide on the three things enumerated above: What you believe; What your church needs to believe; What is primary and secondary.

The best way to for this is to write out and then explain your own statement of faith. In this class you will see how Bill Mounce, the President of BiblicalTraining, does this for himself and his church. After listening to what he has to say, then your project is to do the same for yourself.

Dr. Bill Mounce
Project: Your Statement of Faith
Article Seven: Sanctification (doctrine of holiness)
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:01] Okay, Our next article of faith has to do with the issue of sanctification, which is a doctrine of holiness. And this is the doctrine of basically the Christian life, of maturing in Christ, of growing up in Christ. And if there's any article in this statement of faith as controversial, I need to tell you it's this. Now, what I'm going to say in one sense is not controversial. The reformers taught this, Wesley taught this. It's all over the place. And yet it's where there's a lot of conflict in the American church right now. So just heads up, I'll tell you that. Maybe a big controversy here. And I've actually laid the groundwork for this, that if you have a biblical doctrine of man, that I was dead in my trespasses and sin. And if you have a biblical doctrine of what happens in conversion, that I am fundamentally altered and changed, then this article on sanctification is just going to be very natural and it's going to flow from that. So if you struggle with this, we need to talk about these issues. But you may also want to go back and look at the other articles and make sure you believe them or not. Let me just read it. God's will for every believer is His sanctification. This is a verse out of Thessalonians. And let me just stop right there. This is an easy one. When I was a college teacher, there were four or five questions that you were asked over and over and over and over again. Is it a Christian school? And one of the number one or number two questions was, well, what's God's will for my life? And I always used to say, be holy. I mean, nothing else really matters.

[00:01:46] So do I marry Susie or Jeanie? I go, You know, in one sense, it almost doesn't matter. God's will for your life is you be holy. Why do I go to this graduate school or that graduate doesn't matter. I mean, it just so if you can get that God's will for your life and my life is that we be holy, that we be changed from one degree of glory and to the next first Corinthians, that we start more and more to look like his son, Jesus Christ. ROMANS And first, John, you know, almost nothing else matters. So let me just say that up front, God's will for your life is that you be holy, that you grow up in Christ, mature in him. And then the statement of faith continues. It is the necessary and certain and that's the key phrase. It's the necessary in certain fruit of salvation. Yet it's not meritorious. It's God alone who saves. Through the work of the spirit. Saints are called and enabled to live lives of holiness, verse and Philippians two. We are in, but not of the world. John, 17, Fully dedicated disciples of Jesus Christ, persevering to the end. Disciples are declared to be sanctified. So the work of Christ is called positional sanctification and are also called to become sanctified in the experiences of life called experiential sanctification. You and I are saints, and yet we are called to live like saints and to become like saints. The disciples life will be characterized among many. And then I just have a list here. And I want you to I want you to know how I got this. I went to Thessalonians and some of the other passages in Scripture where the church is brand new.

[00:03:35] I love knowing. First things first. What were the things that were most important to Paul that are brand new church or a brand new Christian would understand? And as I looked at those passages, that's what made it into this list. So the disciples life will be characterized among many of the things by a battle to sin. We continued about it was sent. Its mastery is broken. We no longer have to sin. Satan can't make us do anything. And yet we still battle was characterized by repentance, by sexual purity, gracious speech, no slander, no gossip, prayer, suffering. God never promised us the Rose Garden. In fact, it's in suffering that we grow to be more like him. Persecution. Jesus said that the world hated me. It's going to hate you. And we're going to be persecuted for it. That we are different from the world living for the glory of God. Growth towards holiness brings with it assurance of salvation and a desire to share the gospel with sinners. Okay, let's go back to the beginning. In this church, we emphasize that God has called every one of us to be a fully devoted disciple of Jesus Christ. There is no place in this church to think that it's okay to sit on the fringe and just get just kind of close to life. There's no such concept as a front seat in heaven in the back, I mean, a front seat on earth and a back seat on heaven. These ideas that are passed around, we just do not believe are true. God's will is for all of us to be fully devoted disciples of Jesus Christ. You remember the Great Commission gone to all the world making disciples. How do you make disciples? Will you baptize them? This is the evangelism.

[00:05:23] Baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. And just as equally making fully devoted disciples, teaching them to obey everything that I have taught you. So what we want to see in this church, because we believe it is biblical and I preach on it a lot. It's in the Sunday school programs a lot. You will not be able to be in this church very long without hearing this, that God doesn't want us just through the gate, but God wants us to be saved and to be changed and to live changed lives and to become more and more like his son. Jesus Christ. That's the heart of this statement of faith. The phrase necessary and certain are the really hard ones that some people struggle with. And it's okay if it's a struggle. There are a lot of verses that are listed in here, especially the one on Perseverance later on in the Statement of Faith. There's a lot of passages that talk about the absolute necessity of living out your Christian life. Jesus says in Matthew, it is those who persevere to the end that will be saved. Paul tells the Chlorians that by this faith you have you have been saved, you have repented. If you hold fast, if you continue. There's warning passages all the way through Hebrews that if you do not hold true to your Christian commitment, you will not end up in heaven. And I know there's a lot of culture, a lot of baggage, whatever you want to call it out there. Well, I raised my hand at camp. I you know, I got my get out of jail free card. I can live any way I want. It doesn't matter. That's kind of a harsh way to put it, but that's how some people view salvation.

[00:07:14] What we wanted to make sure that was very clear is that that's not a viable option. We're not going to talk about want saved. Always save stuff right now. But what we wanted to say is that in conversion. You were changed in conversion? I was made into a new creation, a new creature. I was fundamentally altered. And God expects that changed. People live changed ways. Now, that's the heart of what we're saying here. Now we go on with this qualification. What's not meritorious is God alone. Who saves another minute? You start preaching or teaching that God expects change. People to live in change ways that the legalistic among us are going to start thinking, Yeah, well, this is what I do in order to make myself acceptable by God. And that is wrong. It's heresy. There's nothing that you and I can do to make ourselves acceptable to God, because before the work of the Spirit in our lives, we were dead. There was nothing that we could do, right? But rather when God does work in us and we respond because he's enabled us to respond. He changes us and he expects us to go out and live change lives. Now, if this is a new idea to you, you need to spend some time in the footnotes. And there's a lot of verses listed there that will show you the verses that we're struggling with working with to make this statement. Now, here's my qualification. My younger brother David, when he was about 16, was pretty fed up with. Our family and with our families. God. And he wasn't well known. She wasn't fed up with our family. We always maintained relationships with them. But he left. And he didn't run anything to do really with Christianity or religion.

[00:09:16] And I spent a lot of time as I watched my younger brother going out there, wanting to know whether he was going to get in heaven or not. And it was really important to me. He was my brother and I wanted to say, well, did he really? Was he really a Christian? And the answer that came to me was, That's not your decision, Bill. That's not what you have to worry about because you don't make the decision. I do. God speaking. And that my job was not to get involved in theological arguments. My job was to love my brother, was to pray for my brother and to earnestly seek his restoration with his God. Now, the story is a very happy ending. When David was 22. He was sitting in the middle of his apartment and as he tells the story, he said. This isn't working. God, if you're out there, maybe I'll try you. And God honored that. And David is living a vital Christian life right now. I desperately wanted to know in those six years whether my brother, if he had died, was going to go to heaven or hell. The answer is that's not my job. And I can't make that decision, and neither can you. And so if we have friends or parents or children whose lives haven't shown any change. The answer is not to sit around and have theological discussion about whether they're saved or not. The answer is you build relationships with them, you love them, you care for them, and you witness to them and you tell them that their way of living is wrong and it's not acceptable and they have to repent of it. Whatever is appropriate in your situation. Now, the corollary question that often comes up is.

[00:11:10] Well, how many works? How many good things does David have to do to convince me he's a Christian? Again, the answer is wrong question. Wrong question. You don't do any works to get right with God. You respond in faith and recognition that Christ did on the cross for you, but you can't possibly do for yourself. And God changes you and you go out and you live your lives. How many works do you have that? It's the wrong question. And in this church anyway, none of us are the Holy Spirit, and none of us are going to walk around and look at your life and say, Well, you know what? You don't you're not doing enough good work. So I'm not really sure you're a Christian. And in fact, if anyone says that to you, I want you to come and tell me who they are and I will take care of the situation or the elders will take care of it, because that's just not acceptable. Practice is not biblical. It's the Holy Spirit's job to convict and to insure and all that kind of stuff. It's not ours. So we believe that when God changes us in conversion, we are fundamentally changed and that change is going to show itself how much? Not my job, not my job. The little ditty that is often used is the faith that saves is faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone. Now, I don't think Calvin said that. I don't know if Calvin said that, but that is an accurate reflection of his theology and it's an accurate reflection of Wesley's theology. So you have kind of both sides of the evangelical spectrum. We're saved by faith and faith alone, and there's nothing that we can do to find favor with God.

[00:12:53] And yet that faith that saves us is never alone. It always shows itself and works. And that's what the Book of James is all about to help us understand that. So you may want to talk about that amongst yourselves, but that's the statement of faith at that point and what it means. A couple of the things we have the phrase here, persevering to the end. I don't believe in want saved always seemed. And the reason why is because every time I've heard that phrase used, it was used as a license to sin. Now, I'm not saying that everyone uses it means it that way, but in my experience, in the years I've been in church, every time I heard someone say, Well, I believe it once saved, always saved, what they were saying is I raised my hand at camp. I made the magic prayer or however you want to characterize it, and I can go live any way I want because I might get out of jail free card. That isn't in Scripture. And I know it is preached from some pulpits, and I often think that all preachers, as part of their judgment, should have to stand next to the judgment seat of God and have watch all the people they preach to come through and either go to the left or the right, sheep or goats. And what I don't want to do is to be standing there and to watch you come. And have God's sake depart for me. I never knew you. And have you say, what a minute I did what Bill told me to do. I raised my hand. I said the prayer. I don't want that to ever happen. And so I preach with that image in my mind a lot.

[00:14:36] And so I'm trying to be honest with you and saying. I want to watch you stand before the judgment seat of God. And I want to hear well done, good and faithful servant. I want to see people come through that line who are fundamentally changed. And it showed in their lives. And I'm not the one who has to see it show. God is the one. I have to think of the Thief and the Cross as a powerful example. They're hanging on the cross. Jesus is evidently witnessing to the thieves one of the thief. Continue to make fun of them and laugh at him. And the other thief repented. He became a Christian and he said as his certain and sure fruit. Remember me when you come in your kingdom. What a marvelous what a powerful affirmation of faith that he is looking at a man. Jesus, God, hanging on the cross, almost dead. And he's saying, I believe you're the king. I believe you're coming in your glory and I want to be in your kingdom. And so he makes this wonderful affirmation of faith. Well, that's a great example of this change in our lives, where it is the certain and sure fruit of our salvation. So anyway, that's what we believe on sanctification, that it happens and that it can Oh, I know they get to the end to the point. So I don't like one saved always said I just don't like the language. But I believe that once a person well, we believe that once a person becomes a Christian. And I would say it this way. God continues to instill in them their faith in God and continues to enable them to respond properly. And so in response to God's enabling and God's love.

[00:16:29] They continue in their journey as a Christian. Well, does that mean that you can or can't lose your salvation? I don't like those like that terminology. I don't like it because it's not biblical. The Bible doesn't talk about losing or not losing your salvation. And and it is so important that we be biblical on this issue that I want to really stick to the right biblical language. And the language is one of perseverance. And you can see the verses and you can deal with them as you want. But we believe that God changes us and that change is fundamental. It's altering. It shows itself in our life. And it continues to the end of our lives. And, you know, again, I can hear your questions. Well, what about someone who's I got a friend who was a missionary for 20 years and then he abandoned the faith. He didn't persevere to the end. Is he saved? I don't know. It's not my job to know. But I do know that a person who claims to become a Christian and is living outside of a walk with Jesus Christ who's not living in obedience, has absolutely no assurance of their salvation. And that's why the doctrine of assurance is here at the end. The doctrine of the assurance of our salvation is that we are sure that we're going to go to heaven. And as you look at all the verses, you'll see that there are several ways in which God assures us that we are His children. The Holy Spirit Witnesses whispers in our ears, so to speak. He He ministers to our Spirit, confirming and assuring us that we are his children. The assuredness of our salvation is based on the veracity of God that God said God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in him will not perish, but of everlasting life.

[00:18:14] So I believe that God keeps his word. And so my assurance and my salvation is tied up in that. But my assurance of salvation is also tied up in the fact that my life has changed and I am not capable of changing my own life. You, through all the words you could use, are not capable of changing my life. Only God's spirit is capable of changing my life. And so the fact that while I was a pretty good kid when I was ten, that my life has still fundamentally changed as I've grown in my Christian walk. That is another part of my assurance that I'm a Christian. Again, the verses are all in here and you can read them if you want. If someone claims to become a Christian. Maybe he lives as a Christian for a while, and then when we say, falls away from his Christianity. I don't know whether a Christian or not, it's not my call. But what I do know is this They have absolutely no assurance that they're going to heaven. And we dare not give them any assurance that they're Christians. If even our children or our family members or our good friends are living completely apart from Jesus Christ, will be it unto any of us that says, Well, you're going to get in heaven, because I remember you raising your hand when you're in camp. That's just bad theology and it's not as bad. So I would encourage you to use the doctrine of assurance in talking with people and saying, you know, without this growth in your Christian life, you just don't know where you're going because that's where our assurance is tied up with. And finally, I just want to mention this is the end.

[00:19:58] I really think that. Evangelism needs to be tied in to the fact that we're saved. And that's why it's here. Telling people to go witness on the corner or knocking on doors or talking to people who sit next to them on a bus out of some sense of obligation. It just doesn't work. Doesn't work with me. I tried it. I couldn't do it. That's just not how it works in evangelism. The way it works in evangelism is that I understand that while I was a sinner, Christ died for me. That I was on my way to hell and not because of anything that I have done, but because God is a God of love and mercy and grace. He picked me from the pit of hell and brought me into his wonderful kingdom and has made me a priest so that I can come and do his very presence. And my job now is to declare the excellences of him who brought me out of darkness into his marvelous light verse. And first, Peter, this is where evangelism come. Evangelism should be just the natural outflowing of someone who understands they were on their way to hell, and now they're on the way to heaven. I know it's not that simple, and I know it's scary and frightening and evangelism and all that kind of stuff. But at its heart, we have to understand that Jesus loves the world, He loves people, He loves me. He didn't die for things. He didn't die for churches, he died for people. And therefore, our heart also in reaction and in reflection of the mercies of God that I've experienced, I too will share this wonderful message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the lost and a dying world.

[00:21:38] This is where evangelism belongs in our statement of faith.


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