The Most Important Overlooked Doctrine?
definitive sanctification.1 It was the late Professor John Murray who first articulated and popularized this doctrine. As he studied the exegetical statements of the New Testament that spoke of believers having been sanctified through the death of Christ (e.g. 1 Corinthians 1:2; 6:11; Heb. 10:10, etc.), Murray suggested that "it is a fact too frequently overlooked that in the New Testament the most characteristic terms used with reference to sanctification are used not of a process but of a once-for-all definitive act," and that "it would be, therefore, a deflection from biblical patterns of language and conception to think of sanctification exclusively in terms of a progressive work." Still many tend to think of sanctification as something entirely progressive, and, therefore, miss out on understanding one of the richest and most spiritually impacting Gospel truths. In order for us to understand why this is the most important overlooked doctrine, it will help us to consider what definitive sanctification is, why it has frequently been overlooked and how it ought to impact our Christian lives. What is Definitive Sanctification? As he unfolded the meaning of definitive sanctification, Murray explained that certain portions of Scriptures, such as Romans 6:1-23, teach that "there is a once-for-all definitive and irreversible breach with the realm in which sin reigns in and unto death," and "that our death to sin and newness of life are effected in our identification with Christ in his death and resurrection." In further explaining how union with Christ makes definitive sanctification a reality, Murray wrote:
It is by virtue of our having died with Christ and our being raised with Him in His resurrection from the dead that the decisive breach with sin in its power, control, and defilement had been wrought...Christ in his death and resurrection broke the power of sin, triumphed over the god of this world, the prince of darkness, executed judgment upon the world and its ruler, and by that victory delivered all those who were united to him from the power of darkness and translated them into his own kingdom. So intimate is the union between Christ and his people that they were partakers with him in all these triumphal achievements and therefore died to sin, rose with Christ in the power of his resurrection...When the Apostle Paul said of Christ that "the death that He died, He died to sin once for all" (Rom. 6:10) he was referring to something that happened to Jesus in His death, and which subsequently has had an impact on us by virtue of our faith-union with Him. While Jesus knew no personal sin, as our representative He subjected Himself to the guilt and power of sin. When He died, He died to the power of sin's dominion. This is how we are set free from the power of sin's dominion in our lives when we are united to Him by faith. Distinct from the blessing of justification--which deals with the guilt of sin--definitive sanctification deals with the power of sin... Read the whole post the Christward Collective