On Sanctification

Okay. Fine. I’m going to break down and do something that I don’t normally do; indeed, something that I actively avoid.

I’m going to quote from the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

Behold, question 35 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism states:

Q. What is sanctification?
A. Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.

A simple thought, and one that is probably not controversial among Christians. I especially like that bit about sanctification being a work of God’s free grace. Yep, God renews His people in the whole man. Gives one hope, doesn’t it? Almost an audacious hope, you might say. Change, sent as a free gift from God.

So, if change is a work of God, then why do we act like the government can effect change? This isn’t just a shot at Obama, by the way. Republicans also act as though the government can create positive, permanent social change. Just implement the right policies, appoint the right justices, and fill the right Congressional seats, and we will be able to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

But government cannot change society, because government cannot change the hearts of men. Government can inspire, affirm, threaten, browbeat, and execute, but it cannot bring true change to the hearts of men. Only God can do that.

And what are His methods? The Holy Spirit, the waters of baptism, the preaching of the Word, the communal breaking of bread. These were not given to the government, but rather to the Church, the emissaries of God upon the earth.

So why do the emissaries of God in this country now look to the sons of men for the strength and power to change the hearts of men? The Scriptures are clear: “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.” (Psalm 146:3-4)

Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans nor any other political figure or party can give us the change that we need. Yet we persist in throwing what is sacred to the dogs. Our judgment is just.

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4 responses to “On Sanctification

  • dlr

    It is surely a sign of the apocalypse that you have quoted the Founding Fathers and the WSC in the last couple days.

  • Andrew

    Before you read any further, bear in mind that this is a clarifying question, nothing more. We’ve had our disagreements in the past…

    You wrote:
    “So, if change is a work of God, then why do we act like the government can effect change?”

    You seem to imply here that change is the exclusive domain of God. Do you mean that nothing else can effect change? Does that mean that humans are static?

    I see that the overall intent is to tell people that even though you’re getting a new president, he’s not the hope of the world or to answer to all problems. Nonetheless, if the potential to effect change is exclusively that of God, who takes responsibility for the actions of a non-God individual?

  • Seth Ben-Ezra

    Hey, Andrew. Yes, to clarify, when I’m talking about “change” in this post, I’m referring to the renewing work of the Spirit where He removes sin (be it personal or corporate) and replaces it with joyful obedience.

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