Edward E. Dudek, M.A.
Theology in a Christian context is “a discipline of study that seeks to understand the God revealed in the Bible and to provide a Christian understanding of reality” (Erickson 1998:17).
In the area of sanctification, the discipline seeks to understand God’s redemptive work of holiness in relation to humankind. Sanctification refers to a state of being set apart from the ordinary or mundane and dedicated to a particular purpose or use.
The Holy of Holies, the priests and Levites of the Old Testament illustrate such separation.
From the Christian New Testament perspective, sanctification is the instantaneous work of God whereby the Christian consciously embraces the fact of being separated from sin and the law. He then cooperates with the Lord in the progressive outworking of becoming more like Christ in daily living. The apostle Paul wrote to the Romans that a real Jew is one inwardly and that true circumcision involves spiritual circumcision of the heart (Rom.2:28-29; cf. Dt.30:6).
Three Aspects of Sanctification
The Scriptures show that for every believer, sanctification on earth has three aspects:
The first is positional sanctification where every true Christian, independent of his own spiritual condition, has been separated in the new birth from the power of sin, the law and the world and has been set apart unto God (I Cor.6:11; Heb.10:10).
The second aspect is instantaneous whereby the believer comes consciously to know in his heart that he was once-and-for-all crucified and resurrected together with Christ the moment he was born again. He thereby sees himself as separated once-and-for-all from sin and the law as the ruling forces in his life and considers himself to be in living fellowship with God. Though this practical knowledge can be gained at the moment of the new birth, it has been the writer’s experience when presenting international conferences on the victorious Christian life that in the majority of people’s lives, this instantaneous moment occurs after conversion.
The third aspect of sanctification involves spiritual growth in holiness and purity. This facet is known as the progressive aspect of sanctification. The terms “freedom in Christ” or “deliverance and inner healing” normally refer to this third aspect. Both the second and third aspects of sanctification are expounded in this thesis.
Misunderstandings, Aberrations and False Teachings
Misunderstandings, aberrations and false teachings can occur in any movement or ministry.
The apostle Paul says that Christians should bring “everything to the test” (I Thess.5:21). Though this verse refers to what a prophet utters, it is true that a Christian must scrutinize carefully and put everything to the test of Scripture until he or she can finally approve or disapprove the teaching or experience (cf. I Tim.4:1-2). The Holy Spirit is the all-efficient means of enabling believers to possess knowledge of the truth (I Jn.2:20,26-27; Vine 1985:29).
One would not speak against God’s work or upset Him if a Christian sincerely questions a prophecy given or a doctrine taught, or query a strange experience that another believer attributes to God. Such questioning should not be credited to spiritual immaturity or a lack of discernment in how God works. It would be immature to be tossed back and forth and carried about with every changing wind of new doctrine (cf. Eph.4:14). The Scriptures, therefore, affirm that one is to test doctrine against the Word of God.
God’s prophet, Isaiah, was to proclaim messages of comfort to his people. He had been called to announce “the favorable year of the Lord” to those in exile (Isa.61:1-2). In a broader sense, the proclamation of the servant applies to the ministry of Jesus Christ (cf. Lk.4:17-21). Jesus further preached the good news and focused on Himself as the One bringing in the era of restoration. He applied the acceptable year of the Lord to His healing of the blind, deaf, and lame that showed God’s concern for one’s whole well being (Elwell, ed. 1989:511-512).
Freedom in Jesus Christ: Our Lord’s Ministry
A. The Commissioned Public Ministry of Jesus by the Father
After His temptations in the wilderness and journey to Nazareth, Jesus read the Scriptures from Isaiah 61 in the synagogue (Lk.4:1-16): “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord” (Lk.4:18-19). From the four gospel accounts, one can deduce that the words read from Isaiah summarize Christ’s public ministry, which included teaching, preaching, salvation, freedom from sin and demonic oppression, healing and deliverance. Having been anointed with the Spirit of God, there are four main areas of His public ministry.
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Edward E. Dudek, M.A.