Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Trinitarian Process of Sanctification

It is common to think of the process of sanctification (I'm not referring to the instantaneous forensic sanctification that happens at conversion) as the the work of the Holy Spirit in us. And it certainly is that. The problem is that Scripture does not credit it to the Holy Spirit alone. Rather, it is a cooperative effort of all three Persons of the Godhead working in the heart of a believer.

First, it is true that we are sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Scripture does, indeed, say so: "According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood" (I Peter 1:2). I find it interesting that, even asserting this role for the Holy Spirit, Peter does not allow us to neglect that our salvation is a Trinitarian affair.

Next, the Apostle Paul credits our sanctification to God the Son: "Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word" (Ephesians 5:25-26). See also Romans 15:16.

And Moses repeatedly shows the role of the Father in sanctifying His people: "Keep My statutes and do them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you" (Leviticus 20:8).

We have such an impoverished view of the spiritual life, being unaware of the level of divine involvement that, not only has saved us, but continues to work in us to bring us more and more into conformity with the nature of our God (Romans 8:29).

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