Sunday, August 25, 2013

Justification and Sanctification

This message is part of a sermon series. For the rest of the sermon series go to Dead to Sin

The Walking Dead Meme

Romans 6:1-10
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.   For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,  knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.  Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.” (NKJV)

The word sanctification does not occur in the King James Version but was rendered holiness in many places. The word in Greek is best translated “sanctification”. It occurs first in the Book of Romans and appeared twice in Romans 6.

What to do with the sinner in relation to the penalty for sin is the first problem God faced in saving men. The next problem concerned the power and pollution of sin that dominates his life. First of all, how does God deal with the sinner and his sins? Justification is the answer. God declares him to be righteous, and treats him as such. Second after a man is justified, declared not guilty, he discovers that he has a sin nature which gives rise to sinful acts. What will God do about that? The answer is sanctification, that aspect of the work of God which deals with the power and pollution of sin.

I wish to point out that sanctification is used in the Scripture in various aspects. The only reasonable translation of the word both in the Old Testament and New Testament which rightly fits into all the verses is “set apart”. In this message we are only going to use the word in this sense as it applies to the saved or justified sinner.

Justification deals with the guilt of sin. When a man sins he is guilty, and therefore; he deserves to be punished. In justification, God declares that man righteous by virtue of the death of Christ, in his behalf. By that act, He, God removed the guilt forever. Because Christ died in his stead, the sinner goes free. Thus justification is the declarative act of God. Justification does not make man righteous. It never means that. It means that God declares the sinful man to be righteous. God weighs the guilt, gets rid of it, and the sinner gets immunity from punishment.

What does Sanctification do? In sanctification God takes the same man, still a sinner, but also a justified man, and makes him holy (separate). In sanctification God deals with something that is actual, the power of sin. Whereas justification deals with the guilt of sin, sanctification deals with the power of sin.

Justification cannot be separated from sanctification except for the purpose of study. No man can experience sanctification unless he first has been justified in the sight of God. Our human minds can deal only with one aspect at a time but God never works that way. Justification and sanctification are two aspects of the one work of God in saving man. This is where those who propagate the doctrine of a second and later baptism create a problem they are unable and will never be able to solve.

In chapter 5:20 the Apostles wrote “Moreover, the law entered that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” No matter how great sin was grace was greater than the sin. The worst sinner in the world can find grace sufficient.

That is Paul’s conclusion on the section on justification, that wherever sin appeared grace came to the rescue in an even greater measure and covered it. “Grace did much more abound” It super-abounded. Someone will say, “Then if that is the case, it does not matter how much we sin. If our sin, no matter how great it is, only causes us to see that the grace of God is greater than our sin, let us go on and sin in order that we may see more of the grace of God.” On the other hand, there are those who say, “The doctrine of justification is a dangerous doctrine; if you teach that, you will have a sinning people. People will say sin does not matter and they will go on in their sin."

Paul met this first charge that was brought against the doctrine of gratuitous justification- “they will rejoice in sin because it only magnifies the grace of God” Paul does not hedge the slightest bit. He does not say, “Well, I know that I said a man is justified apart from works and character, and after all, that is not quite it. He has to be good, or he will go to hell” Paul will not retract one inch from what he said in Chapters four and five. He has insisted that believers are justified freely, that “by grace you are saved.” But now he shows that once justification has been received sanctification follows logically and naturally.

“What shall we say then?” Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” (Verse 1) Paul anticipates the very thing that man will protest. No matter how great sin is, grace is greater. If that is the case, what shall be our response? Shall we say that we shall continue in sin? That is the first question.
In verse 15 there is another question which must be faced. “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace?” There is the other question. We might paraphrase both questions them like this; “Shall we continue in sin in order that grace may abound, or shall we sin because grace does abound?”

Everything between verse 1 and verse 15 is the answer to the first question and everything from verse 15 to the end of the chapter is in answer to the second question. There are two distinct phases – two aspects of sin:
1. Continuance in sin “Shall we continue in sin?”
2. Committing single acts of sin – “shall we commit sin so that grace may abound?”
A comprehensive view of the chapter is necessary before we, at a later date, consider the chapter in greater details.

In considering verses 1-14, the first question is “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” What in two words is Paul’s answer to that? “God forbid!” The very thought of it is abhorrent to him.

Then he asks a question to show how impossible it is to do it. It is impossible for a Christian to continue in sin, which is implied in this question. “we who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein?” (6:2) And of course, if we died, we are dead. How shall we continue in sin if we died to sin? There is no answer to that. Paul does not attempt to answer it. It is impossibility. Dead men do not sin. 

There are two views that fall short of the truth in dealing with sanctification. One view is that there is nothing at all in the Cross of Christ that sanctifies, so when dealing with the question of the Christian sinning, an attempt is made to place the Christian back under the law. But this is contrary to the word of God.

The other view admits that believers come short and do not live the high type of Christian life they should. So mysticism is advocated. The proponents of this view are earnest and sincere, and they talk about “dying to self”. But the Bible does not teach that either. They say “we must die to sin” But the Bible does not teach this. What does the Bible teach? The Bible teaches that we have died to sin.

Confirming this teaching is this verse in 1 John 3:9 we read “Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin.” The verb means to continue in a course of sin. It does not mean committing an act of sin. He that is born of God cannot continue in sin. It is an utter impossibility. God will break it off sometime.

How can a dead man sin? There is not a Christian who does not face this problem. You know you do things that are wrong. You know you do not have victory over the sin in your life. This is a serious problem as we have been released from the guilt of sin, how can we be released from the power of sin. There is a way out. Here are three Key Words – KNOW – RECKON – YIELD/ OBEY

We shall make these three words the subject of our discussion next week.

God bless you all.

This message is part of a sermon series. For the rest of the sermon series go to Dead to Sin

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