You are sanctified

This is the 10th in a series of excerpts from the new MBC resource, “What Every Christian Should Know About Salvation,” available at mobaptist.org/apologetics.

__________

Sanctification is the work of God making Christians more like Jesus.

As Millard Erickson puts it, “Sanctification is a process by which one’s moral condition is brought into conformity with one’s legal status before God. It is a continuation of what was begun in regeneration, when a newness of life was conferred upon and instilled within the believer. In particular, sanctification is the Holy Spirit’s applying to the life of the believer the work done by Jesus Christ.”

Sanctification may be understood in two ways. First, there is positional sanctification, the state of being separate, set apart from the common, and dedicated to a higher purpose.

The Hebrew word qados literally means “separate” and is used to designate particular places (like the Holy of Holies), objects (such as Aaron’s garments and the Sabbath Day), and persons (especially priests and Levites).

Positional sanctification finds its place in the New Testament as a work of God occurring at the beginning of conversion. John Frame, who prefers the term definitive sanctification, calls this “a once-for-all event … that transfers us from the sphere of sin to the sphere of God’s holiness, from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God. It is at this point that each of us joins the people of God.”
Continue reading

The Last Apologist: A Commentary on Jude

The epistle of Jude may be one of the most neglected New Testament books. Bible readers are tempted — in part by its brevity and in part by its similarity to 2 Peter 2 — to skip over Jude on the way to Revelation, or to give this short epistle little more than a glance.

That’s unfortunate, because Jude speaks volumes about the value of Christian apologetics. The Last Apologist: A Commentary on Jude for Defenders of the Christian Faith, is more than a verse-by-verse study. Each chapter explores key words and phrases, and poses thought-provoking questions that make this a handy resource for personal or group study.

Order your soft-cover copy from the MBC, or get a print or Kindle version from Amazon.

Last, you might want to check out the short video below.

Paul and James in Thunderdome

One of my favorite scenes in the Mad Max trilogy, starring Mel Gibson, comes when Max squares  off against a brutal, masked bodyguard named Blaster in Thunderdome, a caged orb in which the only rule is: “Two men enter … one man leaves.” A fight to the death. Pass the popcorn.

Sometimes I think Christians favor the Thunderdome approach for determining proper interpretation of difficult Bible passages or theological issues. Let’s pit Calvinists against Arminians, young earthers against old earthers, and premillennialists against amillennialists. Toss them into Thunderdome. Two men enter … one man leaves.

But consider what happens when two Christians holding seemingly conflicting views actually have a great deal in common.

A case in point: Paul and James on the subject of faith and works.
Continue reading

What Every Christian Should Know About Same-sex Attraction

Christians are in the crosshairs of today’s culture, which celebrates sexual freedom and accuses those who stand on biblical convictions of engaging in a new brand of McCarthyism.

We should not despair, however. This is a God-ordained opportunity for followers of Jesus to love our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning friends, and for the church to minister to those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction.

What Every Christian Should Know About Same-sex Attraction offers a brief overview of the Bible’s clear teachings on homosexuality, and how Christians can express Christ-like love for our LGBTQ friends.

Order your copy now from the MBC, or get the book in print or Kindle editions from Amazon.

 

You are baptized in the Holy Spirit

This is the ninth in a series of excerpts from the new MBC resource, “What Every Christian Should Know About Salvation,” available at mobaptist.org/apologetics.

_________________________

Baptism in the Holy Spirit is the means by which God places new believers into the body of Christ. As the Holy Spirit regenerates and indwells our human spirits, bringing us new life and ensuring our everlasting fellowship with God, the Spirit also immerses us into the universal church.

New believers share the common bond of the indwelling Spirit with every other person  who has been born of the Spirit (Rom. 8:9). All followers of Jesus are given “one Spirit to drink” (1 Cor. 12:13), regardless of our denominational affiliation, language, nationality, ethnicity, or culture. We truly are the recipients of “one baptism” (Eph. 4:5).
Continue reading