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Wednesday, August 09, 2006 

Sanctification


Recent musings have landed my thoughts on the process of sanctification. Sanctification is the process by which we are made holy. John Wesley likened Christian Perfection to holiness, saying that Christian perfection. . .is only another term for holiness." ( Sermon on Christian Perfection).

One of the things I hear often in ministry is the phrase "nobody's perfect" or "we all sin" or "I’m only human." On the outset, all these things are true. Taking a large perspective of our landscape, humans, and indeed humanity, are sinful, are not perfect, and are finite. But I wonder if these descriptions mask a larger, spiritual issue: that of perfection. I will show my Methodist under-girding here, but I find those types of excuses (and they are ones that I make on a daily basis!) limiting on the grace God offers us. Indeed, if we are really encapsulated by the grace of God, and through Jesus we can be made whole, then it stands to reason that we too can become "perfect" in this life.

The Apostle Paul said that he hadn't attained perfection yet, but that he was striving to that goal. While he hadn't attained it at that moment, perhaps he thought it could be attained in this life. If for some reason we think that it can't be attained in this life, then it will not be attained in this life. God's realized eschatology will never come into fruition simply because we have limited God's grace in our lives. So maybe the point of this post is simply to see if we can't strive for perfection, with the goal being perfection in this life and the next. Maybe it's just a self-fulfilling prophesy. If we think it can be done, imagine how much harder we would work at it.

Paul, I am SO with you on this! It is very difficult to get people to hear that one is merely trying to get us off the cop-out of "Christian's arent' perfect, just forgiven," and onto learning to live in the transforming hands of God.

Perhaps our emergent cohort (being all Wesleyans, right?) should open a discussion of holiness, sanctification, and how it can and will look in the vibrant church of the next generation.

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