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Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
John 17:17

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians  6:11 

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:23

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
2 Thessalonians 2:13

For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
Hebrews 2:11


What is "Salvation?"
according to the Bible

Quite a few people seem to want it; some of them claim to have it. Those who don't want it probably know more about what it is than many who claim to have it.

The Angel announced that Jesus would be born and would "save His people from . . . . "

. . . from what?

Ask the average church-goer from what it is that Jesus came to save His People (cf. Matthew 1:21). The most likely answer: "from hell." There are two problems with this definition of "salvation" as "going to heaven when I die."

First, Matthew 1:21 does not say that Jesus came to save His people from hell.

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.

If I constantly commit adultery,
or just can't seem to stop shoplifting,
what does it mean to say that I can be "saved from my sins?"

Does that mean I get to go to heaven when I die, but have to spend the rest of my life unable to experience true happiness because of the destruction in my own life and the lives of those around me caused by my powerlessness to free myself from my slavery to sinful habits?

How many families experience "hell on earth" because of the
drunkenness, infidelity, domestic abuse, and financial anguish caused by "addictions" to drugs, sex, shopping, and power,
while their church pastor drones on about "salvation"?

Must this misery continue till we die?
Why keep on living? Let's all go to heaven NOW!!

This is wrong. There is an answer to earthly misery.

A previous generation knew these "addictions" were sinful and their painful consequences wrong. Today's relativist generation is not even sure Adolph Hitler was wrong ("He was acting according to his own standards"), but previous generations knew these things were wrong, and a measure of consolation could be obtained by trusting in God to bring repentance in the life of the adulterer, abuser, or alcoholic, even if repentance never came. Moral standards give hope. But today we have lost touch with God's standard of holiness, and "dysfunctional" behavior is assumed to be normal, and is sometimes protected by law as an "alternative life style." Many people today live their entire lives engulfed in a sense of meaninglesness and moral confusion. This weakened state leaves them vulnerable prey for the politically powerful.

The Bible promises more than "heaven." In fact the Bible says very little about heaven, and far more about being "saved from our sins" in this life. These promises are summed up in the term "sanctification."

Webster (1828 edition) defined "salvation" as, "The redemption of man from the bondage of sin and liability to eternal death, and the conferring on him everlasting happiness."   

In the 1640's the Westminster Larger Catechism was painstakingly crafted by some of the greatest theologians in the history of the Church. They knew the benefits of the New Covenant were not limited to the life hereafter. After teaching about the first covenant God made with Adam, which Adam blew, Question 32 focuses on the New Covenant, and asks

Q. 32. How is the grace of God manifested in the second covenant?
A. The grace of God is manifested in the second covenant, in that He freely provideth and offereth to sinners a Mediator,[t] and life and salvation by Him;[v] and requiring faith as the condition to interest them in Him,[w] promiseth and giveth His Holy Spirit[x] to all His elect, to work in them that faith,[y] with all other saving graces;[z] and to enable them unto all holy obedience,[a] as the evidence of the truth of their faith[b] and thankfulness to God,[c] and as the way which He hath appointed them to salvation.[d]

The Scripture prooftexts provide amazing promises from God's Word. Let's break the question down into its components.

A. The grace of God is manifested in the second covenant, in that He freely provideth and offereth to sinners a Mediator, (Gen. 3:15; Isa. 42:6; John 6:27)

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel. "Enmity" means "hostility" or "hatred." There should be a conflict between good and evil, between the descendants of the woman and the descendants of Satan. In a struggle against evil, the only thing better than being on the side of good  is having "inside information" that your side is going to win. God has given us both.

And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 3:29

Isaiah 42:6 I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles, Over and over again, the Prophets declared that the Messiah would be "a light to the Gentiles," and the New Testament says Christ began to fulfill these promises at the First Christmas (Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47; 26:23)
John 6:27  Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him. Jeremiah 15:16 Your Words were found, and I ate them, And Your Word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.

The grace of God is manifested in the second covenant, in that He freely provideth . . .
life and salvation by Him; (1 John 5:11-12)

1 John 5:11-12 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. {12} He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. It is common to hear preachers emphasize that Christians HAVE eternal life RIGHT NOW. But they only mean we have a promise of heaven right now. But what the Bible says is that our present life can have an "eternal" character.

John 17:3 "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Jeremiah 22:15-16  did not thy father do judgment and justice? {16} He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him: was not this to know me? saith the LORD.

Are we free to "establish justice at the gate" (Amos 5:15) if we haven't been set free from our own sins?

and requiring faith as the condition to interest them in Him, (John 3:16; John 1:12)

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  
John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power [exousia] to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name: Hosea 1:10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.

promiseth and giveth His Holy Spirit (Prov 1:23)

Proverbs 1:23 Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out My Spirit on you; I will make My Words known to you. Isa 32:15 Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.

Isaiah 45:8  Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it
[Notice that "salvation" and "righteousness" are equated.]

with all other saving graces; (Gal. 5:22-23)

Galatians 5:22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Surely this is what was promised by the Prophets. Not a life of misery followed by eternal harp-playing, but an end to a temporal life of vanity and the beginning of an eternal life of righteousness and the treasures and fruit of the Spirit.

Love, joy, peace, etc., are called "saving graces." They are part of our salvation.

and to enable them unto all holy obedience (Ezek. 36:27)

Ezekiel 36:27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Because our age denies the Spirit-authored Standard of Righteousness in the Bible, our age distorts the work of the Spirit. In our day we escape bondage to sin by claiming that uncontrolable laughter and babbling is the "work of the spirit."

The Bible says the Spirit's work in the believer is the gut-felt joy of the freedom to obey God's commands and mend the torn fabric of life. In the Bible the word for "liberty" (exousia) means both "freedom" and "power."

Romans 8:4-6 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. {5} For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. {6} For to be carnally minded is death, but to be Spiritually minded is life and peace.

We don't wait until "we get to heaven" to walk in the Spirit. This is an issue of great importance, and we have discussed it elsewhere.

as the evidence of the truth of their faith (James 2:18, 22)

James 2:18 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. {22} Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? "Works" are not defined by Popes and Councils. They are defined by God's Word. If we seek to conform our lives to God's Word, we give evidence that the Spirit is truly at work in our hearts, and that our faith is genuine.

and thankfulness to God, (2 Cor. 5:14-15)

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; {15} and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. "The Love of God Compels Us." This is not a message that many in our day want to hear. Ours is not an age of gratitude, but of self-centeredness. "Salvation" means we can do whatever we want and still go to heaven.

Being "compelled" by God is a wonderful thing. The Greek word (sunecho) can also be translated:

Matthew 4:24 Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.

Luke 4:38 Now He arose from the synagogue and entered Simon's house. But Simon's wife's mother was sick with a high fever, and they made request of Him concerning her.
But in our case the love of God is like a vaccine which renders us immune to addictive and harmful behavior.
Luke 8:37 Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. And He got into the boat and returned.
But in our case the love of God paralyzes us with joy.
Luke 8:45 And Jesus said, "Who touched Me?" When all denied it, Peter and those with him said, "Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?'"
But in our case a crowd of "witnesses" inspires us to Godly faith (Hebrews 12:1)
Luke 12:50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!
But in our case our focus is on the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness (Matthew 6:33)
Luke 19:43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side,
But in our case we are surrounded by God's ministering spirits (Hebrews 1:14) who push us on toward our high calling (Philippians 3:14).
Luke 22:63 Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him.
But in our case we are guarded by the Spirit, given a safe-haven in a Secular Humanist world.
Acts 7:57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord;
But in our case the Spirit jams the transmisions of sinful enticements broadcast by the "New World Order."
Acts 18:5 When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.
In our case, the love of God directs and empowers us to live for Him. We follow God's "compulsion" with great gratitude.

and as the way which He hath appointed them to salvation (Eph. 2:18)

[My edition of the Larger Catechism contains a misprint. It cites Ephesians 2:18 but verse 10 is printed out in the footnotes. Both texts fit. I am researching to find the original intent of the Westminster Divines.]

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. God has predestined us to walk in Good Works.
Ephesians 2:18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.  

Continue reading:

Part 2: Sanctification, Question 75

The Christmas Conspiracy


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Paradigm Shift


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