Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!
Sanctification and Vocation
I’ll admit at the outset that I have read very little on the topic of sanctification. Thus, Sanctification: Explorations in Theology and Practice was a kind of blessing–a book that introduced some major topics and debates related to the doctrine of sanctification. Among the many insights, one offered by Oliver O’Donovan was particularly striking. He notes that Christians often see sanctification as a process-over-time and thus assume that believers will come to be more sanctified over time. Against this, he argues:
Sanctification understood biographically has given encouragement to a belief in progressive and incremental moral improvement, to be attained with maturity and age… The map [of constant progression towards final sanctification over one’s life] was indeed wrong. It confused the work of God, who sanctifies old age as he sanctifies childhood, youth, and maturity, with the more attractive features that may decorate the progress of years through unaided nature… why, one wonders, has indulgence been accorded to the doctrine that the elect commit only venial sins after the age of fifty? (155)
I think this question is spot-on. The notion that we as Christians simply are automatically on a linear path to complete sanctification does not match reality and indeed can be extremely damaging to the life of faith. We are sinner-saints who struggle with sins throughout our lives and we must cast our cares on God, ever trusting in the blood of Christ and work of the Spirit to cleanses us from sin and unrighteousness.
What thoughts do you have on sanctification in the life of the believer? How might we be sanctified?
Whatever your views, Sanctification: Explorations in Theology and Practice was a very insightful read well worth the time. I recommend it highly.
Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)
“Sanctification and Ethics” by Oliver O’Donovan in Sanctification: Explorations in Theology and Practice edited Kelly Kapic (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2014).