Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Sin & Redemption Part IV: Sanctification

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on August 10, 2008

Whew!  Who knew Romans had so much depth?  We’re only really skimming the surface!  A quick recap of what we’ve covered thus far…

Sin entered the world through man’s disobedience.  Sin brought death – both a spiritual death and a physical death (Hebrew Translation: “death death”).  With this also came disharmony between man and nature, man and man, man and God.  We became wounded and in need of healing.

In the fullness of time, God sent His only Son to be a living sacrifice, to die for the sin of mankind.  It is because of Christ’s obedience that life was restored, friendship between God and man was restored, and all things were made new.  God became man, taking on human flesh, dieing for our sins, and restoring us to new life.

Because of this act of Obedience and Love, WE WERE MADE RIGHTEOUS.  Through baptism we were crucified with Christ, buried, and raised anew by the glory of the Father that we too might walk in newness of life (cf Rom 6:4b).  Our old self no longer lives so that we are no longer slaves to sin (cf 6:6), We have been brought from death to life, and as such we are God’s instruments of righteousness (cf 6:13b).  Sin has not dominion over us, since we are not under law but under grace. (cf. 6:14).  Sanctification!: to be made holy, set apart for God’s purposes.  A gift from God infused into our hearts. His PERFECT MERCY.

This is where we begin today: Sanctification!
1) Sanctification, what is it?
2) When does it occur?
3) How does it affect me?

Again, one at a time, let us answer each in turn.

Sanctification is actually something that goes back to our primary existence, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness... (Gen 1:26).  Continuing on with Noah, Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord…”Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this Generation.(Gen 6:8; 7:1).  And again with Abram (Abraham), “And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing… Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them… So shall your descendants be”… and [Abram] reckoned it to [God] as righteousness (Gen 12:2; 15:5b,6).  Expanding that with Moses and the nation of Israel, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob… I have seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt…and I have come down to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians… You shall keep my sabbaths, for this is a sign between Me and you… that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you Exodus 3:7, 8; 31:13).

This perfection of the ongoing Sanctification of God’s people comes to a head when God becomes man.  Sanctification is made perfect in the God-Man, Jesus Christ.  Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to HImself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation; 2 Cor 5:17-18.

Sanctification made perfect in the God-Man, Jesus Christ, is then carried out to His Body by the Holy Spirit, For you did not receive the spirit o f slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship.  When we cry, Abba!  Father!  it is the Spirit Himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God… ~Romans 8:15-16

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of His own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification. ~ CCC 1999

Received in Baptism!  Remember… way back when … I began this series with a post “So I was at this conference…” ?   Well, in it I address Baptism and its significance with us, as we are baptized into the death of Christ which also means that we are baptized into His Resurrection and the newness of life, as given to us from the Father (cf Romans 6:3-4).  Go figure that Sanctification would go all the way back to Baptism?  But that’s precisely how it works!

When does Sanctifying grace occur?

At the moment we are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we are washed,… sanctified,… justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God (cf 1Cor 6:11).  We are BOTH Sanctified AND Justified simultaneously (Good Theology), which means in a nutshell, that:

Sanctifying grace is a habitual gift, a stable and super-natural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by His love. Habitual grace, the permanent disposition to live and act in keeping with God’s call… ~CCC 2000

Okay.  So, how does this affect me? This next part is probably the most perfect demonstration of how God’s Ways are not our ways.

God’s free initiative demands man’s free response. ~ CCC 2002

When God gives us this gift, He expects our response… He demands our response BUT He DOES NOT FORCE our response.  His Ways are not our ways.  Remember the key :  Listen and Respond… If you give someone a gift, don’t you expect them to respond with something like, “thank you” ?  And if they don’t, we pursue the issue until they do… don’t we?  We pretty much force a response.  God does not.  His patience is limitless!  However, your time on this earth, is not.  God will wait for you, but you might not wait for Him.

… for God has created man in His image by conferring on him, along with freedom, the power to know Him and love Him. The soul only enters freely into the communion of love. God immediately touches and directly moves the heart of man. He has placed in man a longing for truth and goodness that only He can satisfy. ~ CCC 2002

By accepting God and His free gift of  Sanctifying grace, we become even more intimately connected with Christ than we were at our Baptism by the power of the Holy Spirit and in our cooperation with Him:

Grace is first and foremost the gift of the Spirit who justifies and sanctifies us. But grace also includes the gifts that the Spirit grants us to associate us with His work, to enable us to collaborate in the salvation of others and in the growth of the Body of Christ, the Church… Whatever their character… charisms are oriented toward sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. They are at the service of charity which builds up the Church. ~ CCC 2003; LG 12; 1Cor 12

This is why St. Paul was more than correct when he claimed, I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. ~Gal 2:20

So much more true is it for us!  We have received deification in that the Divine life now indwells within us.  We have received a Divine Adoption, and are called by the Father as sons and daughters.  But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.  If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus … will give life to your mortal bodies… For all who are lead by the Spirit of God are sons [and daughters] of God. ~ Romans 8:9, 11, 14; cf 2 Cor 6:18

Listen and Respond.  This truth resounds over and over again.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us:

Since it belongs to the supernatural order, grace escapes our experience and cannot be known except by faith. We cannot therefore rely on our feelings or our works to conclude that we are justified and saved.  However, according to the Lord’s words – “Thus you will know them by their fruits~CCC 2005; James 2:14-17

Or as St. Paul remarked to Titus, but when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by His grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

The saying is sure.  I desire you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to apply themselves to good deeds; these are excellent and profitable to men.  But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels over the law, for they are unprofitable and futile. … a man who is factious, … is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned. ~ Titus 3:4-10, 11

Good Advise.

Summary: Justification is the declaration of God that removes sin and re-establishes us as sons and daughters of God, by grace and through our baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ, the Divine Son, He bestows on us His divine nature, Sanctifying us and indwelling within us.  This is the PERFECT GIFT of God given to us: HIS PERFECT MERCY!  Merited not by us, but by Christ who was obedient, obedient even unto death, death on a cross (cf Phil 2:8).

Listen (shema) and Respond! He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. ~ Rev 2:29

For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, no principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separated us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:38-39

Re-visit and refresh as needed : 🙂
Sin & Redemption Part I : Romans 5 & 6
Sin & Redemption Part II : Fulfilling Gen 3:15
Sin & Redemption Part III : Justification

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One Response to “Sin & Redemption Part IV: Sanctification”

  1. Carol said

    The articles on justification so far have been great – inspiring and educational. I’m learning and re-learning a lot by reading your posts.

    I also like the way you have highlighted the different points with different colors, makes the posts very readable.

    Keep up the good work!

    God bless,
    Carol

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