What confusion would many churches have today with these kinds of Scriptures?
“Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14 NASV).
“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” (1 John 3:7 KJV).
“To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.” (Romans 2:7 NIV).
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21 KJV).
Most scholars agree that the words sanctify, sanctification, holiness and holy come from Hebrew and Greek words which basically mean “to set apart” or “to separate” (Sanctification, p. 12, Robert D. Brinsmead). (1) It means separation from. The church is called to separate from the world (2 Cor. 6:17). (2) The church is called to separate from apostate doctrine (2 John 1:10). (3) The church is called to separate from sin (2 Cor. 7:1). (4) The church is to be separated to a new life. Those that are justified by faith also became servants of righteousness (Romans 6:18) and serve in the new way of the Spirit (Romans 7:6).
The New Testament often uses other expressions to describe sanctification such as: Following after righteousness (1 Timothy 6:11). Being transformed (Romans 12:2). Pressing toward the mark (Philippians 3:14). Partaking of the divine nature and escaping the corruption that is in this world (2 Peter 1:4). Cleansing ourselves from filthiness of flesh and spirit (2 Cor. 7:1), etc.
Sanctification – Its Scope. It was the whole man that sinned, and it is the whole man whom God wants sanctified.
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23).
Any view of sanctification that does not include the whole man falls short of Bible sanctification. The Greeks taught that the body was a prison to temporarily incarcerate the human soul, Paul taught his Grecian converts that their bodies were the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19). But the Corinthian church did not easily abandon the Grecian outlook. They were prone to interpret the Christian message in terms of Grecian philosophy. They thought sanctification was only a thing of the spirit so that what they did with the body was a matter of indifference (Ibid. p. 17). One of the most dangerous heresies of the first two centuries of the church was Gnosticism. Its central teaching was that spirit is entirely good and matter is entirely evil. The reasoning was that, since matter – and not the breaking of God’s law (1 Jn. 3:4) – was considered evil, breaking his law was of no moral consequence. In Colossians and in John’s letters, acquaintance with early Gnosticism is reflected in 1, 2 Timothy, Titus, and 2 Peter and perhaps 1 Corinthians. John’s readers (in 1 Jn.) were confronted with an early form of Gnostic teaching of the Cerinthian variety. This heresy was also libertine, throwing off all moral restraints. Consequently, John wrote the letter of 1 John with two basic purposes in mind: (1) to expose false teaching and teachers (1 Jn. 2:26) and (2) to give believers assurance of salvation (1 Jn. 5:13). In keeping with his intention to combat Gnostic teachers, John specifically struck at their total lack of morality ( 1 Jn. 3:8-10) (NIV Study Bible, p. 1906).
There is some grace teaching today that makes the same mistakes. Arthur Pink, in his book Practical Christianity states, “The terrible thing is that so many preachers today, under the pretence of magnifying the grace of God, have represented Christ as the Minister of sin; as One who has, through His atoning sacrifice, procured an indulgence for men to continue gratifying their fleshly and worldly lusts. Provided a man professes to believe in the virgin birth and vicarious death of Christ.” (See Jude 1:4).
Obedience to God’s commandments cannot be separated from our love for Him in either the Old Testament or the New Testament (See John 14:15, 21). Righteousness is both relational and ethical. Righteousness can be defined as right relationship that is reflected in right conduct. (See Matt. 25:37-40). The concern is not whether a man or his deeds are ethically sinless but whether those deeds are evidence of his faith and loyalty to Jehovah. Sanctification is not optional for believers. They are not saved by it, but they cannot be saved without it. Since they are saved to holiness, they know that a stranger to holiness may very well be a stranger to salvation (See 2 Cor. 13:5; Jas. 2:14) (Righteousness by Faith, pgs. 43,130; Robert D. Brinsmead).
Salvation has two aspects. (If clearly understood this would cause a revolution in many evangelical circles where people are resting on a salvation devoid of holiness). It means salvation from something (Rom. 3:24) and salvation to something (Rom. 6:18). The to is just as much a part of being saved as the from. So salvation means being saved from sin to righteousness, from death to life, from guilt to innocence, from condemnation to justification, from disobedience to obedience, from defilement to purity, from pollution to holiness. The Bible declares we are rescued “from the hand of our enemies” to serve God “without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days” (Luke 1:74). This means if we receive God’s salvation in faith, a new life of obedience and holiness should be a part of it. As a train must operate on twin rails, so it is with a sound soteriology (the doctrine of salvation). And just as a train cannot jump one rail without jumping both, so it is with justification and sanctification (Sanctification, pgs. 38, 125-130, Robert D. Brinsmead). The New Testament keeps these two together. In 1 Corinthians 1:30 Christ is said to have been made “our righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (RSV); we cannot, in other words , have Christ as our justification without at the same time having Him as our sanctification (also 1 Cor. 6:11) (Sanctification, p. 83, Anthony A. Hoekema).
Let’s get our Message Straight: The proclamation of the gospel of the Kingdom was the only gospel preached by Jesus (Mk. 1:14-15), John the Baptist (Lk. 16:16), commissioned to the twelve (Lk. 9:1-6; Mk. 6:7-130), then to the seventy sent out by Christ (Lk. 10:1-12,16), Peter (Acts 2; 2 Pet. 1:10-11), Philip (Acts 8:5-8, 12), the apostle Paul (Acts 14:19-22; 19:8-10; 20:20-27; 28:23-31), James (Jas. 2:5), John (Rev. 1:9; Jn. 3) and all Christians throughout the end of the age (Mt. 24:14). Within that message is the proclamation of Jesus as Lord and King and his redemptive work (Rom. 10:9-10). The teaching of the “gospel of the kingdom” is the only teaching that I am aware of that emphasizes both justification and sanctification together. “King” = “absolute Ruler.” “Dom” = “Those who have accepted his rule (also known as repentance towards God, Acts 20:21-25).”
Those preachers who tell sinners they may be saved without forsaking their idols, without repenting, without-surrendering to the Lordship of Christ are as erroneous and dangerous as others who insist that salvation is by works and that Heaven must be earned by our own efforts (Arthur Pink). Any professed faith in Christ as personal Saviour that does not bring the life under plenary obedience to Christ as Lord is inadequate and must betray its victim at the last (John MacArthur).
Some final words of thought: The words “king or kingdom” or its equivalent is used 3274 times in Scripture. 285 times it is used in the New Testament. The word “Christ” (“anointed” to rule, a king) is used 571 times in the New Testament. The word “Lord” is used 728 times in the New Testament. The word “Saviour” is used 24 times. The word “disciple(s)” is used 272 times in the New Testament. The word “Christian(s)” is used only 3 times. The phrase “ask Jesus into your heart” is used 0 times. The phrase “receive Jesus as your personal Saviour” is used 0 times. The example of having someone repeat a prayer after someone else is found 0 times in Scripture. The idea that grace allows me to do whatever I want to do, is found 0 times in Scripture (Titus 2:11-12; Jude 1:4).
John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church said, “Listen to the typical gospel presentation nowadays. You’ll hear sinners entreated with words like, ‘accept Jesus as personal Saviour; ‘ask Jesus into your heart’; ‘invite Christ into your life.’ You may be so accustomed to hearing those phrases that it will surprise you to learn none of them is based on biblical terminology.”
It’s time to cast off the error of the modern day church. For “Some godless people have sneaked in among us and are saying, ‘God treats us much better than we deserve, and so it is all right to be immoral.’ They even deny that we must obey Jesus Christ as our only Master and Lord. (Jude 1:4 CEV).
A message of justification without sanctification is a message that denies the heart of our King, for a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of His kingdom. For He loves righteousness, and hates iniquity (Hebrews 1:8-9).
This article was taken from COMMON ERRORS IN THE CHURCH TODAY by Don Krow