Advent, December 15, 2010
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson
Mid-Week Advent, Thursday, 7 PM Central
The Hymn #81 Gerhardt Thy Manger Is 3.60
The Order of Vespers p. 41
The Psalmody Psalm 100 p. 144
The First Lection
The Second Lection
The Sermon Hymn #90 Gerhardt Come Your Hearts 3.83
Sanctification Follows Justification
The Prayers and Lord’s Prayer p. 44
The Collect for Peace p. 45
The Benediction p. 45
The Hymn # 93 O Lord We Welcome 3.40
KJV 2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. 16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
KJV Luke 1:1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, 2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; 3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, 4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
The whole clause expresses one thought: “God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in connection with sanctification of spirit and faith in truth.” There is no other choice or election save this one for salvation in connection with sanctification and faith. Some think only of final salvation (heaven), i.e., of the “glory” mentioned in v. 14; but sanctification and faith point to “salvation” both here and hereafter.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Paul's Epistles to the Colossians, to the Thessalonians, to Timothy, to Titus and to Philemon. Columbus, O. : Lutheran Book Concern, 1937, S. 439.
Today I would like to emphasize the ongoing work of the Gospel Word in our lives, which is often called sanctification.
When people understand the Holy Spirit’s work in creating faith and justifying us, the continuous work of sanctification is also clear.
Sanctification is a long, Latin word for “making holy.” We do not make ourselves holy. The Gospel Word does that.
Lutherans often emphasize and talk about justification, even when they are abusing the term and twisting its meaning.
This is really simple and plain, easy to understand. The Gospel Promises create faith in our hearts and sustain that faith. Faith receives God’s declaration of forgiveness. That begins with conversion when we are first unbelievers, whether as babies or later in life. Receiving forgiveness in faith means trusting in God’s work in Christ on the cross. Both the creation of faith and the declaration of forgiveness are God’s work (monergism).
Obviously, many have rebelled against this simple message, building all manner of hedges, traps, sinkholes, and barriers. In a few words, they add works to faith.
This forgiveness is a continuous action for believers, but that is not all that happens. The Gospel Word is like good yeast, which continues to permeate our lives, slowly having more effect
Justification is God’s action through the Word, and sanctification is also His action through the Word.
Forgiveness is just the beginnings of God’s blessings through the Word. The New Testament uses the term “saints” for believers, which literally means “the holy.” Believers are holy because God has made them holy.
No one is a saint without faith. Giving someone the status of a saint, without faith, is absolute absurdity, but that is the official opinion of the Wisconsin Sect and the ELS. To make matters worse, they like to say that everyone in Hell is a saint. That only makes sense if one subscribes to their notion of grace without the Means of Grace, forgiveness without faith, without the Word of the Gospel.
Universalism pops up in many ways today because it is a symptom of rationalism, subjecting the Word of God to human reason, that is, subordinating God’s Word to man’s opinions.
Modern Roman Catholics have a version of this, which is called The Anonymous Christian. That little deviation is enormously popular among the moderns and is widely repeated by liberal Protestants. It came from the Jesuit Karl Rahner, who said that when missionaries come to pagan lands, they find people who are loving, kind, and generous. They have the attributes of Christians without knowing who Christ is. Hence they are anonymous Christians. Taken a little farther, it makes someone ask, “Why are we going there? We only bring our own sins there.”
The statement quoted in Wikipedia is almost identical to a passage in C. S. Lewis.
Ultimately, faith is the stumbling block, because faith means complete, child-like trust in God’s Word.
Our Old Adam rebels against faith. For instance, any time we object to bearing the cross, the pain and complaining mean that we do not trust it is for our own good.
Whenever we doubt the goodness of God and His gracious will for us, our faith is being submerged by the Old Adam, which will never go away while we are alive.
That is why it is comical when people pretend to be holy through their works when this inherent selfishness remains in us and must be fought against with the weapon of the Word.
The Holy Spirit in the Law slays our self-righteousness and convicts us of not believing on Jesus Christ.
Lenski likes “believing on” and I think I know why. The term is a bit foreign for me, but I think he takes it to mean “total trust in.”
WELS church lady mentioned “hating on” someone, and we know what that means. Everyone piles on and there is nothing but malice and revenge. That goes with shunning. Sometimes the hate is most eloquently expressed in silence and making someone invisible.
“Loving on” is a Southern expression I hear in Arkansas. One woman said, “I was just loving on my little niece…” I knew exactly what she meant. When we are with a small child who is a relative (like a grandchild, niece, or nephew) we give total love to that child and show it in many ways, with words and hugs and kisses.
So I would translate the famous passage in John 16 this way:
KJV John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
Jackson Living Bible – The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, because they do not trust completely in Me for their salvation.
KJV Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. [GJ – This utterly destroys UOJ in one verse.]
Luther often exchanged justification and sanctification when he wrote, because the two go together. Justification brings sanctification, and sanctification presumes justification by faith.
Following justification is the life of the believer – sanctification. Whatever we do in faith glories God who created this faith through the Gospel. Works of faith follow salvation. The fuel for these works is the Gospel Word. Its effect moves us to be generous, patient, kindly, willing to speak about our faith.
If those attributes are lacking, we should look at whether we trust completely in Christ for our salvation.