Salvation vs. Sanctification

I missed the last couple of STLS-one due to Shavuot and then the next week I just plain forgot about this carnival. I’m back now and when I saw the topic this week was our choice, I decided on this one.

Truthfully this has been on my mind the past few months, because it has been coming up quite a bit on some boards I read. The most recent instance is a conversation about a certain preacher. I also know people that get the “you are working for your salvation” comment frequently, due to the holidays they celebrate.

Let me be clear-there is nothing any one of us can do to earn our salvation form a holy, perfect righteous God. We can come to Him just as we are. Salvation has always been by faith something the Old Testament (OT) has proven time and again. Remember that in Yeshua and the Apostles time, the only Scripture they had was the OT. The NT was not in existence when they walked the earth and did their miracles. The Scriptures the Bereans sought to see if what the Apostles said was true was the OT.

How did Abraham receive his righteousness:

Galatians 3:6

“Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

He believed God-nothing else.

There is however a difference between salvation and sanctification. Most believers seem to have their focus only on salvation and not sanctification.

Sanctification should be the result of salvation. Sanctification means making ourselves more like Yeshua and Jehovah every day. Seeking to be their image of holiness and righteousness. Sanctification takes work. One will not and can not be sanctified-becoming holy-without work.

In the New Testament (NT) there are times when salvation is equalled with sanctification:

Phl 2:12

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

This is a NT verse, not an OT one so it does contradict the thought that one does not work at salvation, does it not?

When we go to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, we have numerous entries for salvation-this is one of them:

“(c)…this present experience on the part of believers is virtually equivalent to sanctification;”

It is also equated with gaining wisdom and is not something to be neglected. Gaining wisdom is also work and we know that the wise man is to be blessed.

When we go to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, here is what it says for sanctification:

“involves more than a mere moral reformation of character, brought about by the power of the truth: it is the work of the Holy Spirit bringing the whole nature more and more under the influences of the new gracious principles implanted in the soul
in regeneration. In other words, sanctification is the carrying on to perfection the work begun in regeneration, and it extends to the whole man ( Rom 6:13; 2Cr 4:6; Col 3:10; 1Jo 4:7; 1Cr 6:19). It is the special office of the Holy Spirit in the
plan of redemption to carry on this work ( 1Cr 6:11; 2Th 2:13). Faith is instrumental in securing sanctification, inasmuch as it ( 1) secures union to Christ ( Gal 2:20), and ( 2) brings the believer into living contact with the truth, whereby he is led to yield obedience “to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life and that which is to come.”

Perfect sanctification is not attainable in this life ( 1Ki 8:46; Pro 20:9; Ecc 7:20; Jam 3:2; 1Jo 1:8). See Paul’s account of himself in Rom 7:14-25; Phl 3:12-14; and 1 Tim. 1:15; also the confessions of David ( Psa 19:12,13; 51), of Moses ( 90:8), of Job ( Job 42:5,6), and of Daniel ( Dan 9:3-20). “The more holy a man is, the more humble, self-renouncing, self-abhorring, and the more sensitive to every sin he becomes, and the more closely he clings to Christ. The moral imperfections which cling to him he feels to be sins, which he laments and strives to overcome. Believers find that their life is a constant warfare, and they need to take the kingdom of heaven by storm, and watch while they pray. They are always subject to the constant chastisement of their Father’s loving hand, which can only be designed to correct their imperfections and to confirm their graces. And it has been notoriously the fact that the best Christians have been those who have been the least prone to claim the attainment of perfection for themselves.”, Hodge’s Outlines.”

Indeed, that is work. We should be encouraging this work not slapping people who are doing and preaching this with “you’re preaching salvation by works”.

And if salvation does not have work attached to it let’s not forget the words of Yeshua himself in Revelation 3:16-19:

“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need
of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”

Being tried in the fire-is that not work? And if salvation is not work, why would Yeshua say he would spit those out of his mouth that are lukewarm?

Because salvation in these passages I quoted is being equated with sanctification. Once one has received Yeshua as Lord, then the work is just beginning. There should be a change and if there is not, then people are not working out their salvation with fear and trembling, which is one of the NT scriptural demands.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Daiquiri
    Jun 23, 2008 @ 21:19:05

    An excellent post! I’ve never heard sanctification defined so clearly. It’s unavoidable, both in life and in Scripture…there is a “work” associated with being a Christian. It’s an important distiction to be made; is it work for salvation or for sanctification?

    One of the best ways of describing how unlikely it is that we can work to *save* ourselves goes something like:

    “It’s like someone who is flailing around in the ocean without a chance of swimming to shore. He’s fading fast. He drops under the water, and pops back up, gasping for his last breath…when at the very last second, a fisherman throws him a rope and pulls him onto the boat. The near-drowned man coughs out some water, stands up, shakes himself off, and says “Hey, did you see that? Did you see how I saved myself?!””

    It’s just as prideful and arrogant for us to assume that we can stand before God a saved person by our own works.

    And sanctification? Yes…definitely work. Painful work. Even though all the work we sometimes have to do is to cling to Him through trials…still very painful indeed.

    Some days I look so forward to Heaven, when I’ll be able to say “Whew! Glad that’s done with!”, and just enjoy being with Him.

    Sorry to go on and on. Just a really wonderful post. Thank you for contributing this week 🙂


  2. Mrs. C
    Jun 24, 2008 @ 12:24:36

    I do not wish to offend you, but I’m asking for clarification. I was given to understand that you were Jewish? But you are talking about “Old” and “New” Testaments which I have heard is more offensive to Jewish people.

    Please forgive if I have not been delicate in my phrasing. I like you and would not want to offend you. :]


  3. abrianna
    Jun 24, 2008 @ 22:19:18

    Thanks Daiquiri for your response.


  4. abrianna
    Jun 24, 2008 @ 22:26:37

    Mrs. C,

    I have no idea if I am Jewish or Greek or Spanish or… People have ideas though and it is very interesting to hear what they think I am and why they think I am the nationality they chose, lol!

    It is true that some Jewish people can be offended by using the words New Testament, but some of them can also be offended by using the name of Jesus or Yeshua. You have to decide what terms to use and when on a case by case basis, just as you would with anyone else.


  5. goodmuyis
    Sep 15, 2008 @ 09:23:50

    Salvation is by Grace; and grace is the gift of God at christ expense. therefore at salvation there is cleans of sin, at sanctification there is total cleanliness. at salvation there is joy, at sanctification there is everlasting joy and so on.


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