sanctification · Theology · Uncategorized

Sanctification, Monergistic, or Synergistic?

Simply put, monergism is work that is done by one agent, while synergism is work that is done by two agents.  If you are a Christian you’ve probably heard of, and  perhaps thought about sanctification.  Sanctification is the effect of being set apart by God, for God.  In this process, He progressively conforms your will and behavior to His.  He does this work by the power of His Holy Spirit, who indwells the believer.  As an effect of this conforming work, the believer thinks and behaves differently than he did before God worked in him.  

I think part of the problem with this question is that people associate monergism with Calvinism.  Calvinists believe justification to be completely monergistic.  So when a Calvinist starts talking about sanctification tons of people just stop listening.  You might be surprised to know that many Calvinists think sanctification is synergistic.  

Having said that, I think if we consider where sanctification finds its origins we can be helped.  Think about the Bible for a moment.  It was written by God.  No Christians doubt this.  We know that He wrote it by using individual men.  These men had their own lives, with their own personalities, and experiences.  They made real choices and lived the consequences.  We also know that they wrote exactly what God wanted them to.  We also know that unless God determined for them to have the experiences, and lives that they had, we wouldn’t have the same Bible.  

We wouldn’t say that a pencil was synergistically responsible for a written work because it is not at all an agent equal to the author.  The literature did not find its origins in the pencil but in the mind of the author.  We would say that the author monergistically created the work of literature.  The problem is that our man-centered theology and thought process gets in the way of seeing how sanctification is no different.  Of course, we are used in the process of sanctification and it is being worked out on us and in us, thanks be to God.  His glory should be the primary focus of our lives because God is perfectly glorious.  We can’t equate ourselves with God.  When we elevate our stature and lower God’s, is when we assume synergism.  We are simply His creatures, part of His creation, that has sprung from His mind, that He is using to bring glory to Himself, which is the most loving thing He could do for us and to us.

So much like a baby in a crib, given that all things it needs are provided by God, it will grow according to the plan that God has laid out for it.  No force of its will can make it grow faster or slower.  Sanctification is like that process.  We are growing in faith, holiness, and knowledge of our own personal sin.  We are producing works in keeping with the Spirit.  Let’s not equate ourselves in err to God.  We are made in His image, but nonetheless, we are made.    

forgiveness · love · Uncategorized

Our lives will end.

Our lives will end. The time we have, we are spending. It is up to us how we spend it, but once it is gone we cannot get it back. We can spend it being angry, sad, or hurt by our loved ones, or we can love them more than being angry, sad, or hurt. Nonetheless, the time will be gone and we will be remembered. If God is our master, wash the feet, endure the suffering. Jesus left the majesty of Heaven, to seek and save the lost. He washed the feet of sinful men whose sins He would suffer for on the cross. Our sins, on the cross of His suffering. Surely our loved ones have sinned and hurt us. We have sinned and hurt Jesus. What is our suffering compared to His? Forgive the broken sinful people in our lives, and love them more than we love our own anger, sadness, hurt, pain, and being victims. We are more than that, through Christ we are conquerors. He has won the victory in the war. Dear Christians, just keep fighting the battles. When we fall to the enemy’s tactics, remember Jesus. Repent, and get back in the fight against sin. We must give grace and mercy to our loved ones and all people who hurt us or make us feel like victims. Our time will be well spent, loving well.

1 Peter 4 (NASB) 1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 4 In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.
7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Share the Sufferings of Christ
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? 19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.