Declaring You Are “Weak on Sanctification” is Not Something to be Proud About
There has always been a problem among Christians, and Lutherans, with how we view the place and role of good works in the life of the Christian. It is a very old problem, indeed, for even St. Paul had to combat the attitude that as long as we are believers in God’s grace, we need pay little heed to our behavior. Paul says, in Romans 6:1 “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means!”
We must continue to resist any attitude that would mislead us into thinking that we are not to be concerned about living according to God’s commandments, letting our light shine before others and thus bringing glory to God through our good works. As Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:14-16: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
When we witness examples of falling away from the way Christ would have us go, our reaction should be one of humble repentance. As St. Paul urges in 1 Corinthians 10: “These things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:11-13)
It is time to put an end to irresponsible and anti-Biblical attitudes about sanctification. It is time to stop excusing sin and lazy attitudes about good works. The Gospel does not excuse sin, it forgives it, and sets us on the path we are called to walk. Let’s keep straight what we sing about in the great hymn Salvation Unto Us Has Come: “Faith clings to Jesus’ cross alone, and rests in Him unceasing. And by its fruits true faith is known, with love and hope increasing. Works serve the neighbor and supply the proof that faith is living.” And when we fail and once more fall into sin, we cling to Jesus Christ alone. “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16).