At present, we are working with the light of truth presented by Dr. Francis Schaeffer from his book True Spirituality where we are discussing the basic considerations of the Christian life, or true Christianity.
Salvation: Past-Future-Present (Con’t from yesterday)
In sanctification there are degrees. We have said that there are no degrees of justification, because the guilt is absolutely gone. But in the question of our relationship to our Lord in the present time, there are degrees. (Let’s say that again…our relationship to our Lord in the present time..) There are degrees between different Christians, and we must also acknowledge degrees in our personal lives at different times. The Christian life is not an unbroken, inclined plane. Sometime it is up, and sometimes—we must all acknowledge if we are not deluding ourselves—it is down. While it is not possible to be more or less justified, it is possible to be more or less sanctified. Justification deals with the guilt of sin; sanctification deals with the power of sin in the Christian’s life, and there are degrees in this.
Salvation is not just justification and then a blank until death; God never meant it to be so. Salvation is a unity, a flowing stream, from justification through sanctification to glorification:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8: 28-30
It is made plain, in the tenses that are used, that salvation is to be seen as an unbroken stream. There are examples of the same truth:
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5: 1-5
Or we may take the keynote verses of the first half of the book of Romans:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith. Romans 1: 16-17
Now the word ‘salvation’ here is not justification. The word ‘salvation’ encompasses the whole: justification, sanctification, glorification. ‘For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith.’ This is not just the ‘once for all’ faith at justification, but faith ‘from faith to faith.’ ‘As it is written, the just shall live by faith’—not just justified by faith: the just shall live by faith.
In certain ways, sanctification is the most important consideration for the Christian now, because that is the point where we are. It is the present portion of salvation, and in this sense it is the most important consideration of the Christian now. Justification is once for all; sanctification is continuous, from our acceptance of Christ right up to our death. This study of the Christian life and ‘true spirituality’ falls within the present portion of our salvation. That is, this whole study is, in reality, a study of the biblical teaching of sanctification. (con’t tomorrow)
Thoughts developed or used directly from the work of Schaeffer, Francis. True Spirituality . Tyndale House Publishers, Inc