Home > Hermeneutics > When interpreting scripture we must sharply distinguish between justification and sanctification, nevertheless they are never to be divorced from one another

When interpreting scripture we must sharply distinguish between justification and sanctification, nevertheless they are never to be divorced from one another

Arthur PinkWhile justification and sanctification are to be sharply distinguished, nevertheless they must not be divorced (1 Corinthians 1:30; 6:11).

“Christ never comes into the soul unattended. He brings the Holy Spirit with Him, and the Spirit His train of gifts and graces. Christ comes with a blessing in each hand: forgiveness in one, holiness in the other” (Thos. Adams, 1650).

Yet how rarely is Ephesians 2:8, 9, completed by the quoting of verse 10! Again, the twin truths of Divine preservation and Christian perseverance must not be parted, for the former is accomplished via the latter and not without it. We are indeed “kept by the power of God,” yet “through faith” (1 Peter 1:5), and if in 1 John 2:27, the apostle assured the saints “ye shall abide in Him,” in the very next verse he called on them to “abide in Him”; as Paul also bade such work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, and then added “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Balaam wished to die the death of the righteous, but was not willing to live the life of one. Means and ends are not to be separated: we shall never reach heaven unless we continue in the only way (the “narrow” one) which leads thereto.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

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  1. nl
    April 6, 2016 at 7:23 am

    [Means and ends are not to be separated: we shall never reach heaven unless we continue in the only way (the “narrow” one) which leads thereto.]

    Agreed. So, is continuation a cause or an effect?

    So, was God’s covenant with ancient Israel bi-directional such that the Babylonian Captivity was God’s response to their covenant unfaithfulness (as taught by prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah)?

    So, is God’s covenant with the Church(es) really unilateral such that covenant unfaithfulness is impossible?

    • April 9, 2016 at 6:21 am

      [Means and ends are not to be separated: we shall never reach heaven unless we continue in the only way (the “narrow” one) which leads thereto.]

      Agreed. So, is continuation a cause or an effect?

      If you mean ‘continuation’ as being: continuing in the narrow way until we reach heaven, then the cause is God’s regenerating us and persevering with us until the end, by giving us the gift of faith, and our obedience or our continuance (good works) are the effect of what has been wrought in us.

      So, was God’s covenant with ancient Israel bi-directional such that the Babylonian Captivity was God’s response to their covenant unfaithfulness (as taught by prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah)?

      The Babylonian captivity was God’s response to Israel’s covenantal unfaithfulness. God’s purpose of dealing with Israel and not destroying them, before Christ was born, was in order to fulfill his promise to Adam concerning the seed of a woman and to fulfill his promise to Abraham that all nations would be blessed. Had God destroyed Israel prior to Christ’s birth, then his promises would have went unfulfilled. All through the Old Testament we see God telling Israel that they had broken his covenant. The covenants were conditional, yet they contained an unconditional promise.

      So, is God’s covenant with the Church(es) really unilateral such that covenant unfaithfulness is impossible?

      Covenant unfaithfulness is impossible in the New Testament if one belongs to the covenant of grace and not everyone within the churches belong to this covenant. This is what separates Paedo-baptists from Reformed credo-baptists. Westminster Federalism views all the covenants from Abraham to Christ as the covenant of grace. They say that these covenants contain the same substance under different administrations. The substance of the covenants would be grace. The administrations would be the old and new covenant or the Old Testament and the New Testament. So to Westminster Federalists (those that hold to the Westminster Confession of Faith) all the covenants from Abraham to Christ are the Covenant of Grace. Since the Old Testament covenants were breakable, then the New Covenant must also be breakable; as they believe what was true in the Old Testament is also true in the New Testament. Also since infants were circumcised in the Old Testament, then infants should be baptized in the New Testament. Yet, if these covenants are different, then all this falls apart. God promised Israel that he would make a new covenant with them, not like the Old Covenant he made with their fathers and all those in that covenant would know him.

      Reformed Baptists or those holding to 1689 Federalism (1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith) view the covenant made with Abraham as one covenant containing a duality within the covenant. The covenant of grace was manifested in promises, types, and shadows, but was not made with Abraham, Moses, David or anyone in the Old Testament. It was an overarching covenant. The covenant of grace was made with Christ. This is why it is called a new covenant and will not be like the covenants God made with Israel. The duality of the Abrahamic covenant consisted of a promise to the spiritual seed of Abraham, manifesting in Christ, and a conditional covenant to natural or unregenerate Israel. In order for Israel to continue to dwell in the land, they had to keep the conditional aspects of the covenants given to Abraham and Moses. They did not keep them and therefore were cast away. Therefore the Old Covenant stated: ‘If you keep whatsoever I command you…” The New Covenant contains no such conditions. Christ has met all the conditions and therefore the Holy Spirit applies to the elect, what Christ wrought on their behalf. So we do not baptize babies because babies are not in the covenant until they are regenerated by the Holy Spirit and profess faith in Christ.

      • nl
        April 10, 2016 at 10:02 am

        God will judge the works of both believers and non-believers. Many Bible verses indicate this. We must ALL stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ.

        Even the last chapter of the Bible talks about a judgment according to works (Revelation 22:12)

        Not everyone who calls out to the Lord Jesus will enter the kingdom of heaven.

        “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. – Matthew 7:21

        Matthew 7:22 refers to “many” who may be in for a surprise. Lord, have mercy.

      • April 16, 2016 at 5:21 am

        I am not sure where you are going with this. We first began talking about faith and now we have jumped to the final judgment. The only thing I can conclude is that you are trying to prove that believers can lose salvation. But your own comment shows that this is impossible, as you state that believers and non-believers will both be judged. When someone who is a believer is judged, then they will be judged based on their works. Their works may not stand the judgment, nevertheless they will still be saved because they are a believer. The very definition of the term believer carries with it the concept of one who believes in Christ. Hence that is why they are called believers. Those who know Christ are saved. We are not saved based upon our works, but based upon the works of Christ done in our place.

        Here is scripture proving that a believers judgment is based upon the works done once they have come to know Christ. They are saved, even though their works do not stand in the judgment. This is because salvation is not dependent upon our works, but the works of Christ. We are saved by faith alone, by grace alone, by Christ alone, to God alone be the glory.

        1Co 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
        1Co 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
        1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
        1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
        1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

  2. nl
    April 6, 2016 at 7:29 am

    Faith in the head is a start but saving faith must be in the heart. (Romans 10:9-10)

    • April 9, 2016 at 7:18 am

      Faith in the head is a start but saving faith must be in the heart. (Romans 10:9-10)

      This is a false dichotomy as it forces a wedge between knowledge of the object of which one is to place their faith and the heart, in which man must trust in the object of which he has the knowledge of.

      Calvin defined faith as this: “We shall now have a full definition of faith if we say that it is a firm and sure knowledge of the divine favour toward us, founded on the truth of a free promise in Christ, and revealed to our minds, and sealed in our hearts, by the Holy Spirit.”

      The Heidelberg Catechism, on the other hand, also brings in the element of confidence when it answers the question, “What is true faith?” as follows: “True faith is not only a sure knowledge whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in His Word, but also a firm confidence which the Holy Spirit works in my heart by the gospel, that not only to others, but to me also, remission of sins, everlasting righteousness and salvation are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits.”

      The 1677/89 London Baptist Confession of Faith defines faith as this: 1. The Grace of Faith, whereby the Elect are enabled to beleive to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts; and is ordinarily wrought by the Ministry of the Word; by which also, and by the administration of Baptisme, and the Lords Supper, Prayer and other Means appointed of God, it is increased, and strengthned.

      2. By this Faith, a Christian believeth to be true, whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the Authority of God himself; and also apprehendeth an excellency therein, above all other Writings; and all things in the world: as it bears forth the Glory of God in his Attributes, the excellency of
      Christ in his Nature and Offices; and the Power and Fullness of the Holy Spirit in his Workings, and Operations; and so is enabled to cast his Soul upon the truth thus beleived; and also acteth differently, upon that which each particular, passage thereof containeth; yeilding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatnings, and embracing the promises of God, for this life, and that which is to come: But the principal acts of Saving Faith, have immediate relation to Christ, accepting, receiving, and resting upon 244him alone, for Justification, Sanctification, and Eternal Life, by vertue of the Covenant of Grace.

      Thus the Reformed defined faith as noticia, assensus, fiducia.

      Noticia refers to the content of saving faith. Faith has an object. It is not empty or a faith in nothing. Christianity rejects the maxim, “It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere.” Though sincerity might be a virtue nevertheless, someone can be sincerely wrong and place faith in someone or something which cannot save. Certain information must be known, believed and received in order to have saving faith.

      Assensus is mental assent to the information which one has received. One has to mentally assent to the data, as being correct and true, in order for them to have faith.

      Both of these two elements of saving faith deal with the knowledge that has been acquired through the mind or intellect. The devils have this type of knowledge, yet they cannot be saved. They are missing the third aspect of saving faith.

      Fiducia is a personal trust and reliance on Christ and Him alone. By the power of the Spirit the believer sees, embraces, and acquiesces in the sweetness and loveliness of Christ.

      All these elements together constitute saving faith. This is why scripture states that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. One must hear the gospel….this is the information or data, one must mentally accept that the data they have received is true, and they must place full assurance and trust in Christ. The first two elements deal with the mind and will. The third element deals with the heart.

      Finally, only believers have saving faith. Saving faith is a gift of God. In the unregenerate state, a man by nature, does not possess faith. The Holy Spirit working in the heart of an unbeliever, regenerates him, thus giving him a new nature; which nature possesses saving faith. Ephesians 2:8 declares that faith is a gift of God.

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