Focusing Two Doctrines Together! Romans 6:22-23
“22) But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭6:22-23‬ ‭
Many believers believe in God for eternal life, but they fail to believe in Him for freedom from sin in this life. But notice in verse 22, they are linked together. The moment a person is born-again the sanctification process begins. All of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and through His resurrection are placed on the believers account and they start now.
According to Romans six, all the benefits of salvation start here and now and not merely after we die and go to heaven. It took several years for the blinders to fall off and I was able to understand and embrace the truth of Romans 6:22. Let me say it again, Salvation is not only for then and there, it is also for here and now.
This is where two theological terms meet and embrace. Sanctification is the daily work of the Holy Spirit in this life to cleanse, free from sin, empower and fill the believer with amazing fruit and gifts for spiritual service.
Justification is the eternal state of the Christian in a standing of acceptance and favor with God for all eternity based on the work of Christ imputed by faith at the moment of salvation. Let me try to compare the two.
Justification places us in the family of God; whereas sanctification keeps us in fellowship with God. Justification relates to the baptism of the Holy Spirit placing us into the body of Christ; whereas sanctification relates to the filling and empowering of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. Sin in the life of a believer does not remove us from the family of God, but it does grieve the Holy Spirit and interrupts our fellowship with God. Justification is God declaring us righteous in Christ; whereas sanctification is the Holy Spirit washing and making us righteous.
This may sound confusing, but these two precious doctrines work together to bring freedom and fruitfulness in this life and guarantees eternal life as a free gift from God to all those who are born-again through faith in Jesus Christ. I embrace both of these doctrines.
Romans 4-5 establishes the doctrine of Justification by faith. Romans 6-7 wrestles through the doctrine of Sanctification through the Holy Spirit. Romans 8 weds the two together in perfect harmony.
This is very simplistic, but Calvinists generally see the Christian life through the lens of Justification, while the Armenians generally see the Christian life through the lens of Sanctification. The Sovereignty of God and the idea of eternal security are consistent with the doctrine of Justification. Human Responsibility and the idea of falling from grace are consistent with the doctrine of Sanctification. The tension disappears when both lenses are places together and brought into focus with each other. Similar things could be said about the evangelical and charismatic divide.
Let me challenge your thinking a bit. The science of eye glasses and contact lenses are based on one lens. They are very helpful, but have limitations. By comparison, the technology of microscopes, binoculars and telescopes are based on two lenses focused together. The potential is amazing.
Here is the take away, God intends for us to focus both of these doctrines together. It opens amazing new insights into the mystery of salvation while erasing all kinds of confusion. I have been a two lens follower of Jesus for the past 35 years. That gave me the freedom to be a Kingdom Builder rather than riding one particular theological horse.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global