Sanctification: Permanency and Time Factors – Pt. 7

PERMANENCY

It is accordingly resolved that the seal of the Spirit is the means of the Christian’s permanency (Ephesians 1:13). It is the indwelling of the Spirit that is a symbol of God’s ‘pledge’ (2 Corinthians 1:22) to keep one until the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). Furthermore, this pledge is not contingent upon the one whom is called; rather, God promises it at the time of faith – or ‘belief’ (Ephesians 1:13). Again one is reminded of the emphasis of the ‘Promiser’ above the promise – the ‘Blesser’ above the blessing. In the same fashion that God initiates the basis of one’s sanctification, so He also carries it unto its completion and glorification (cf. Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Even philosophically, this notion is in accordance with God’s character. If God indeed justified a man, and it could be lost or forsaken, what is that to do to the concept of God’s faithfulness? It is simply incongruous to the nature of God. Moreover, ‘seal’ has come to possibly connote that of a ‘sign of possession’ in relation to God’s kingship. God’s seal then marks His children under His ownership. “The concept of sealing includes the ideas of ownership, authority, and security. Since God has sealed us, we are His possession, secure until the day of redemption.”[1] While this comparison is true and valuable, the seal, in relation to sanctification, ought to be better thought of as the empowering indwelling of the Spirit and not merely a stamp of approval.[2] For sanctification’s permanency is better stated as a promise of progression – a permanency of process.

 TIME FACTORS

Of sanctification’s distinctions of justification, one of its foremost is that of its progressive description. While justification is one time reckoning of righteousness unto one’s account, sanctification is process of progressive growth into holiness. Abstractly, “justification does not admit of degrees… it is instantaneous and complete”, whereas sanctification is never perfected in this life.[3]Time in the life of the believer on earth grants no means unto completion. The holiness of the consecrated Christian can never exceed that which was reckoned at justification or will be granted at glorification. Yet, sanctification certainly begins at justification, and can thus be said to have a precise beginning. This principle is clearly seen in the already elucidated analytical study, but beckoned corroboration as to grant utmost clarity.


 

[1] Charles Caldwell Ryrie, A Survey of Bible Doctrine (Chicago: Moody Press, 1972).

 

[2] This proposition does not negate ‘seal’ as it is regarded as a sign of ownership, but rather wishes one to steer closer to the first proposal of the indwelling Spirit. If this were a study on justification, it might be better suited to assign the recognition of adoption as the seal of permanency, but in the observance of sanctification, one must emphasize the permanence of one’s progression.

 

[3] Brown, The Meaning of Sanctification, 28.

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