The Bridge Between
Neither the obedient-loving legalists nor the grace-sufficient once saved, always saved (OSAS) crowd are going to easily accept that progressive sanctification is the narrow bridge of God’s mercy and patience that ques all true born-again justified believers towards the Kingdom of Heaven in glorification, which is the final step of salvation, where mortal is made immortal and corruptible is made incorruptible, when we are delivered from the very presence of sin.
Jesus saved us all from the penalty of our sins, which is death. Jesus Christ is the common thread of the tapestry of the true Christian faith, without which, we would all die in our sins and be forever separated from our Father, who created us in His image and likeness.
We experience Grace through: Faith in the atoning blood of Christ Jesus, who washed us clean of our sins and imputed onto us, His righteousness. We live because He lives. We are reconciled to the Father because we believe and confess Jesus (His only Begotten Son whom He sent as the propitiation for our sins) as Lord and Savior.
God is not done with His plan of salvation – because justification through the wholly sufficient work of Jesus Christ is the first step.
Jesus did not leave us after His death and resurrection, but He sent us the Holy Spirit, and God, through progressive sanctification will bring diversity of true Christian belief and conviction (16,000+++ denominations + Messianic Jews) through one narrow gate of being made more holy, that leads us to One-in-Christ.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” — Galatians 3:28.
The mark of progressive sanctification is the fruit of the Spirit:
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” — Galatians 5:22-23
Without progressive sanctification, the legalist has not sufficient love for his brethren, and the OSAS has not sufficient love for God….and maybe not sufficient love for the legalist either!! It seems that OSAS is only true for those who believe in OSAS! But to be fair, there are not only two stark beliefs, but gradations of each, which brings us back to the diversity of Christian belief and conviction — that God will que back into ONE!!
We can hang our hats on this —
Jesus gave us the clearest and simplest of Truths in Matthew 22:37-40:
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
If you love God, you will obey his commandments, ordinances and statutes, as Abraham did. These perfect and holy instructions on how to live in a still sin-natured mortal body are for each of us, so that we can live blessed, holy, peaceful, and righteous lives on earth, even as our spirit is regenerated.
If you love your neighbor as yourself, there will be no anger, strife, jealousy, conditionality, or hesitation towards our brethren and we will give every good thing in heartfelt generosity to every brethren in need — even our own coat! Notice that Jesus did not say love everyone as yourself — but to love your neighbor…meaning your brethren.
God is clear that His people are set apart from the world and apart from earth-dwellers (not yet born again-believers.) Yes, we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but if the gentile and pagan do not come to Christ, we shake the dirt off our feet and move on. We do not cast our pearls to swine…
“Do not give that which is holy to the dogs, nor cast your pearls before the pigs, lest they shall trample upon them with their feet, and having turned, tear you to pieces.” — Matthew 7:6
By their fruits you will know them: If scripture makes clear that murder is a sin, then those who advocate murder are not true born-again believers. If scripture makes clear that homosexuality is an abomination, and they advocate for gay marriage, then they are not true born again believers. We can love the sinner, but hate the sin.
These fake believers in Christ WILL tear us to pieces, if we allow them to abuse the commandment to love, for their warped purposes. It’s occurring in the apostate churches even now.
For more on progressive sanctification, this article by Got Questions is as clear and succinct as it gets!
Answer: The word translated “sanctification” in most Bibles means “separation.” It is used in the New Testament, according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, of the separation of the believer from evil, and it is the result of obedience to the Word of God. Progressive sanctification is what gradually separates the people of God from the world and makes them more and more like Jesus Christ.
Sanctification differs from justification in several ways. Justification is a one-time work of God, resulting in a declaration of “not guilty” before Him because of the work of Christ on the cross. Sanctification is a process, beginning with justification and continuing throughout life. Justification is the starting point of the line that represents one’s Christian life; sanctification is the line itself.
Sanctification is a three-stage process – past, present, and future. The first stage occurs at the beginning of our Christian lives. It is an initial moral change, a break from the power and love of sin. It is the point at which believers can count themselves “dead to sin but alive to God” (Romans 6:11). Once sanctification has begun, we are no longer under sin’s dominion (Romans 6:14). There is a reorientation of desires, and we develop a love of righteousness. Paul calls it “slavery to righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18).
The second stage of sanctification requires a lifetime to complete. As we grow in grace, we are gradually – but steadily – changing to be more like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). This occurs in a process of daily spiritual renewal (Colossians 3:10). The apostle Paul himself was being sanctified even as he ministered to others. Paul claimed that he had not reached perfection, but that he “pressed on” to attain everything Christ desired for him (Philippians 3:12).
The third and final stage of sanctification occurs in the future. When believers die, their spirits go to be with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:6-8). Since nothing unclean can enter heaven (Revelation 21:27), we must be made perfect at that point. The sanctification of the whole person—body, soul, and spirit—will finally be complete when the Lord Jesus returns and we receive glorified bodies (Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:35-49).
God’s work in sanctification involves all three members of the Trinity. God the Father is constantly at work in His children “to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). He changes our desires, making us want to please Him, and He empowers us to do so. Jesus earned our sanctification on the cross and, in essence, has become our sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30) and the “perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). The Holy Spirit is the primary agent of our sanctification (1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2), and He is the one who produces in us the fruit of sanctification (Galatians 5:22-23).
Our role in sanctification is both passive and active. Passively, we are to trust God to sanctify us, presenting our bodies to God (Romans 6:13; 12:1) and yielding to the Holy Spirit. “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified” (1 Thessalonians 4:3), and God will have His way.
Actively, we are responsible to choose to do what is right. “Each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable” (1 Thessalonians 4:4). This involves putting to death the “misdeeds of the body” (Romans 8:13), striving for holiness (Hebrews 12:14), fleeing immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18), cleansing ourselves from every defilement (2 Corinthians 7:1), and making every effort to supplement our faith (2 Peter 1:5-11).
Both the passive role and the active role are necessary for a healthy Christian life. To emphasize the passive role tends to lead to spiritual laziness and a neglect of spiritual discipline. The end result of this course of action is a lack of maturity. To emphasize the active role can lead to legalism, pride, and self-righteousness. The end result of this is a joyless Christian life. We must remember that we pursue holiness, but only as God empowers us to do so. The end result is a consistent, mature Christian life that faithfully reflects the nature of our holy God.