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Monday, January 24, 2005

Biblical Basis for SBF

Scripture repeatedly attributes sanctification to God, not man: “I am the LORD who sanctifies you” (Lev 20:8; cf. Ex 31:13, Lev 21:8, Ez 20:12, etc).

Jesus is said to be the author [justifier] and finisher [sanctifier] or our faith (Heb 12:2), and this truth is placed in the immediate context of the importance of faith (Heb 11), followed by a call to personal faith in Christ (“looking at Jesus…” in Heb 12:2). It is important to note that the author of Hebrews is speaking here to people who already believe. As believers, the way we draw near to Christ is “with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb 10:22), and our own confidence is repeatedly grounded in the faithfulness of Christ (Heb 10:23).

We see this exemplified in Jesus’ high priestly prayer of John 17 – he calls on God to sanctify believers (17), he claims his own consecration as the basis for their sanctification (19), and then he sends them missionally to the world just as he himself was sent to them (18).

Paul demonstrates the only proper response: “The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God” (Gal 2:20). Clearly, we are called not only to believe, but also to live by faith.

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