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2
 Thessalonians 
1:3-12


We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.
 
This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering- since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)
Throwing Out Sanctification
Perpetua and Felicitas, Martrys
7 March 2016
Sanctification has gotten a bad name. Otherwise faithful preachers will claim that they never preach "sanctification," fearing, I suppose, the threats of perfectionism, legalism, or synergism. This is quite simply "throwing the baby out with the bath water." Abuses, misrepresentations, and incorrect definitions of what sanctification is do not make illegitimate the work of the Holy Spirit who makes holy. This is what sanctification means, "to make holy."
 
Sanctification itself isn't the problem; the problem is in the claims made about the Author of sanctification and the means by which He brings holiness into the church. Unfortunately, many people falsely think that humans make themselves holy. However, the consistent testimony of Holy Scripture is that God the Holy Spirit makes holy. The author of sanctification is none other than God Himself.
 
The means by which he works such holiness among the saints are the means of grace; the things that actually bring forgiveness of sins to the people of God. In this sense, the Holy Spirit is always working in the world to increase the holiness of the people of God and through this work the people counted holy through the righteousness of Christ are growing in personal holiness. Will they ever be perfect? No. That is why the Holy Spirit until the end of time works in the church to bring holiness into it. That work of making holy will only come to full and complete fruition when human flesh is dissolved at death. Then the hope that we have in the work of the Spirit will be complete within us. Until then we walk in the Spirit by faith.

 

Martin Luther

"While sanctification has begun and is growing every day (2Thess 1:3), we expect that our flesh will be destroyed and buried with all its uncleanness (Rm 6:4-11). Then we will come forth gloriously and arise in a new eternal life of entire and perfect holiness. For now we are only half pure and holy. So the Holy Spirit always has some reason to continue His work in us through the Word. He must daily administer forgiveness until we reach the life to come. At that time there will be no more forgiveness, but only perfectly pure and holy people (1Co 13:10). We will be full of godliness and righteousness, removed and free from sin, death, and all evil, in a new, immortal, and glorified body (1Co 15:43, 53).
 
"You see, all this is the Holy Spirit's office and work. He begins and daily increases holiness upon earth through these two things: the Christian Church and the forgiveness of sin. But in our death He will accomplish it altogether in an instant (1Co 15:52) and will forever preserve us in it by the last two parts [of the Creed]."

Martin Luther, Large Catechism, 2.57-59
 
Prayer
Almighty and everlasting God, by Your great mercy in Jesus Christ, Your Son, You grant forgiveness of sin and all things pertaining to life and godliness. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that He may so rule our hearts that we, being ever mindful of Your fatherly mercy, may strive to mortify the flesh and overcome the world and, serving You in holiness and pureness of living, may give You continual thanks for all Your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
For Paul Lodholz, as he moves into a new home, that the Lord would be with him as he moves
 
For all those who mourn the loss of children, that they would find comfort in Christ and His gifts
 
For Leslie Roch, as she continues to undergo therapy, that the Lord Jesus would continue to strengthen her

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias Isenheim Altarpiece (1515)

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