Archive for the ‘Christ’s Death’ Tag

Christ’s Death and Sanctification

Romans 6:15-23

John Owen says that Christ’s death effects our sanctification.  So what is “sanctification”?  Wayne Grudem‘s definition of sanctification – “a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives.”  Now, how does Christ’s death effect the progressive work of God and man making us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives?  To see how Christ’s death effects our reconciliation and justification is obvious.  However, it is not immediately obvious how Christ’s death effects our sanctification.  Spending some time in Romans 6 is helpful in trying to understand this connection though.

As I had been struggling with this for a few days, the Lord providentially brought it together for me on Sunday morning as I listened to the preacher.  He spoke of an individual’s perpetual state of enslavement – the preacher said, “We never stop being slaves.”  This thought does not occur to many Christians.  Yet this is the word picture Paul uses in Romans 6.  Either you are a slave to sin or to righteousness but you never stop being a slave.  It seems that many “Christians” love to speak of the freedom we have in Christ and, as a result, conveniently forget that when we were granted freedom from sin we became slaves of righteousness.  That is the key here to understanding why John Owen says that Christ’s death effects our sanctification.

Though I’m not at all familiar with the details, I’m aware that some believe a Christian to be sinless once they are regenerate.  From what I understand of the false-teaching is that when someone is saved from their sins, they no longer sin.  That kind of theology doesn’t fly when you consider what Paul writes in Romans 6 and 7.

Yes, the Christian is set free from sin by Christ’s death.  But the Christian doesn’t get set free from sin so that he/she can be in a state of spiritual anarchy.  We are set free from sin so that we can be free to obey God.  Christ’s death purchased our freedom from sin and made us slaves to righteousness when, by faith, we trust in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as sufficient to pay the penalty for our sins.  Without this freedom from slavery to sin, the process of sanctification can never start.  I used to serve sin but God saved me from that fruitless way of life so that I could serve Him, as I was created to do, for all eternity.  So once we are saved from sin, we spend the rest of our lives proving it by living according to the Spirit and His sanctifying power at work in our lives.  Verse 22 sums it up for us – “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.”  Christ’s death effects our sanctification.

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