Doing flows from being.

This side of heaven, there is still sin in me. I am a wretched sinner.

Born again, I am a new creation and the Spirit of Christ resides in me. I am a saint.

As Cornelius Plantinga writes in Beyond Doubt:

As a result, all Christians need to say two things. We admit that we are redeemed sinners. But we also say boldly and joyously that we are redeemed sinners (89).

Here in this tension is the perfect storm for the mortification of sin by the power of grace. If I hold only that I am a wretched sinner, I trudge against sin, pursue holiness as one through quicksand, motivated perhaps only by self-pity. And if I hold only that I am a saint, I shield my eyes to my pride and egotism, become passive about sin, claiming victories under my own legalistic power that don’t exist.

But if I put the vinegar of the acknowledgment of my indwelling sinfulness together with the sodium bicarbonate of my eternal standing in God by the grace of Jesus Christ and his righteousness credited to me through faith — look out! Only in the grasping of this double-reality can I fight against my flesh with the holiness God commands through the power of the holiness he has already imputed to me.

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9 thoughts on “The Perfect Storm for Gospel-Driven Sanctification”

  1. Steve says:

    And often not much fight. Daily forgiven as we fail in our attempts, unencumbered by guilt, so easily trying daily again, we look back and notice we’ve changed; when did that happen? There’s a formula here somewhere… Guiltless = Graceful? Hmmm. I’ll have to check with TT. Both his and your books were awesome; I read them together and they complimented each other nicely. Looking forward to your next.

  2. Anonymous says:

    amen. Search me,God,and know my heart;test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Ps 139:23-24

  3. so good, God’s grace is so good, so sweet. We can intimate fellowship and hear from heaven for all our steps and all our works because of and through the sweet sweet grace of God!

  4. Amen Jared, Not I but Christ who lives in me…Darrell

  5. Zach Hoag says:

    I have a MAJOR issue with your blog, Jared. It says all the posts are posted in Central Time. Tell Collin to change it to EST – give the East Side some love!

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Hmm. I thought I fixed that already.

      I’m a tech imbecile.

  6. Moe Bergeron says:

    Jared, But does God call those washed in the blood of his Son sinners? Did not God say in the prophetic word his new covenant people would be faithful to this new covenant and would be not like those who failed to keep the old covenant? Is God a liar? Does not Paul write that we are more the conquerors? Did not Paul say we uphold the Law? Has the Conquering King not empowered his people with the giving of his Spirit to walk in the Spirit? I’m not denying that we do still sin. God forbid. I am saying because of the glorification of Christ and the inscription of his Spirit we, his blood bought ones, are living letters that God placards before the world as his holy ones. – Enjoying your blog at the Coalition.

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Moe, you make an excellent case for our standing in Christ as saints, which my post does not deny. Indeed and in fact, I’m grateful for the imbalance towards the gospel in the New Testament. But as you mentioned, “we do still sin.” This alone logically necessitates that we are sinners still. I also draw from Romans 7, 1 John 1:8, Colossians 3:5, Titus 2:11-12, and others in my affirmation of “Simul justus et peccator.”

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Jared C. Wilson

Jared C. Wilson is the pastor of Middletown Springs Community Church in Middletown Springs, Vermont. You can follow him on Twitter.

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