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Connecting the Bible, faith, and theology to our real life difficulties

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THEOLOGY

                          Spiritual Growth

Theology describes our understanding of Christian doctrines we have gathered from surveying the whole bible on specific topics. Fore example, what does the Bible as a whole say about humanity. Understanding theology supports a healthy view of God, yourself, and the world

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Sanctification vs. Salvation

THE PROBLEM


So you're just not sure that you belong to Christ. You worry all the time about this. You keep recommitting your life to God in hopes it will finally stick. First, let me say this is a valid concern. In fact, I would argue it is the most important thing to be concerned about. After all, to live and not know God is crushing and to die without Him is terrifying. So, "how can I know," you ask? Well, let's solve your spiritual dilemma with good ole fashion theology. This is where understanding theology and doctrines of the Christian faith actually have a direct impact on you spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Distinguishing between salvation and sanctification can free you from a life-time of spiritual burden. Think about the anguish of never knowing if you really belong to God-- perhaps because you keep sinning or you just do not feel God would accept you....and too feel that every day for the rest of your life. Spiritual anguish! So let's talk theology.


SALVATION VS. SANCTIFICATION


There are two realities in the life of believer(s) or Christians known as SALVATION and SANCTIFICATION. First, you experience Salvation through God's justification of you at the moment of conversion or rather at that point you repent and commit your life to Christ. This is a legal action conducted on God's part. Just like a judge (or jury) in a courtroom declares you innocent so it is with God. This is nothing you can do for yourself. God does this. So you are positionally made holy before God. That never changes. Sanctification is the supernatural work of God in the life of a believer making him/her bear an actual likeness of Christ. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed into the image of his Son, that he math be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters (Romans 8:29.) This is the aim of sanctification. So, you are either justified or not, whereas one may be more or less sanctified. More simply, one may be a Christian but may not be acting like one much like those Corinthian believers in 1 Corinthians 6. Though Paul rebuked them, notice that he addressed them as "brothers." They had not yet grown spiritually so they behaved like non-believers which caused so many problems. So, for clarity then, salvation is unilaterally a work of God. Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit in your life AND it requires your participation. Did you get that? You have to do some work, you won't just accidentally look more like Christ everyday nor even morally evolve. It takes work!


THE PROCESS

Salvation is a point in time but sanctification is a life-long process. It is a process of bringing your moral condition into conformity with your legal status before God. It is the process of becoming more like Christ in your thinking, desires, volition or will, speaking, and doing. Galatians 5 commands us to walk by the Spirit so as to not gratify the flesh. "Walking" gives us the very picture of "a process." It also bespeaks, in this passage, a communing with God or relating with Him. I do not tend to walk with strangers but deliberately choose to walk with those I enjoy spending time with. Walking by the Spirit feeds our souls and aids us in not indulging the flesh. In other other words, what you feed will grow. Being fed by the Spirit will grow you spiritually--being fed (or feeding) your fleshly desires--those desires and subsequent actions will grow. Philippians 2:12, says to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." This demonstrates both God's role and our role in this process of sanctification. So walk and work!


THE SOLUTION

So, let's do an evaluation to help you to focus on areas that will aid your spiritual growth.

First, have you repented and committed your life to Christ? Do you intend to live your life for Him?

Second, if you have done the above you may be struggling with sin and guilt. If this is true evaluate whether you are bathing in your sinful life or battling sin in your life. There is a difference. If you are bathing in it--well that's a problem that won't go away and I cannot help you. But if your battling, there are many things you can do to overcome these difficulties. God did not ask you to become sinless in this world--He asked you to sin less and less (particularly in those areas where we are weak.) "For He knows our frame, He is mindful that we are dust" (Psalm 103:14.) So, the case may be you do not need to worry about your salvation but rather to work on your sanctification. If you want more reading on how to overcome sin(s) leave a comment. Check out my youtube channel on this as well. Just click the icon at the bottom.

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