FROM THE PASTOR
living the sanctified life
Christians, those who profess to be, and are baptised, are called to be disciples of Jesus Christ. Because Christians have been made right with God (justified) by Grace through faith in Jesus Christ, God declares them to be righteous and holy. God also makes them holy in Christ, through the Holy Spirit. And this result means that we share in God’s Holiness, and we have access to the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Sanctification is a lifelong process where Christ, through the Holy Spirit, makes Christians more and more into the people God created them to be. Justification and Sanctification is all God’s work; they are two sides of the same coin. Some people regard Justification as God’s work and Sanctification as the work of the Christian. In other words, the response to God’s grace (through faith in Christ), means you now live the life as a disciple (Christian). However, Sanctification is the work of God the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian. It is important to understand this because popular Christianity today basically says, now that God has saved you, it is all up to you now to live as a Christian; in the way you show that you worship, serve, your obedience, your giving, etc., which really is a fall back into justification by works. Another example is the spiritual discipline of prayer. The following is a quote from Dr. John Kleinig’s book, “Grace upon Grace, spirituality for today” (pg. 161):
“Much of the popular Christian literature and current Protestant teaching on prayer reinforces the notion that improvement in prayer depends on us - our knowledge, faith, discipline, attitudes, and expertise. These teachings are popular for many reasons. They are practical, helpful, and superficially empowering. They feed on our guilt and for a while seem to allay our sense of spiritual dissatisfaction. Because they concentrate on what we need to do to become prayer warriors and victors in prayer, they boost our self-confidence and overlook our spiritual impotence. The basic assumption of popular Christian literature and current Protestant teaching is that prayer is something that we do by ourselves. Success in prayer depends on our willpower and capacity for spiritual self-improvement, our persistence, and our performance. These teachings then, disconnect prayer from Jesus and his atonement. They seldom teach that prayer is God's doing, something that the triune God produces in us”.
So, we don’t separate Justification from Sanctification. There are weaknesses and failure in us, that remind us that disciples only LIVE BY GOD’S GRACE!!! And God’s forgiveness. The more disciples live close to Jesus, the more we draw from Jesus; as Jesus says, I am the Vine, and You are the branches”, so as we draw life from Jesus, the more we become like our Father in Heaven; showing love and mercy and forgiveness to others.
Although Christians are justified alone, by grace through faith and not by works, faith is always accompanied by works which God commands; the Christian strives to live a life of love, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Christian serves, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Christian is enlightened by the power of the Holy Spirit. Even though the Christian is justified in the eyes of God, the Christian life continues to be one of tension and struggle – it is a life of, as Luther puts it, drowning the old Adam every day, a returning to baptism. Daily repentance against sin which still lives within; we are “Simul Uistus et Peccator”; simultaneously justified and sinner.
We Pray For:
† The church, that it may reflect the communal love of God.
† The Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand, that the Spirit may guide us all into truth.
† Wisdom to be proper stewards of God’s creation.
† Governments and industries, that they may use God’s creation wisely.
† All who have been baptised in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
† Parents, that they may teach faith in the Triune God to their baptised children.
† All who suffer, that they may be strengthened by hope in God.