Paul's Passing Thoughts

What is the Race of Faith? Justification or Sanctification? Or Both? A Biblical Evaluation: Introduction

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 3, 2015

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.”

~1Corinthians 9:24

One can focus on all of the white noise of denominationalism, but most either proclaim or unwittingly function according to the idea that salvation is a process instead of an instantaneous and complete transformation. In fact, any example to the contrary is nowhere to be found among religious institutions. The institutional church, or simply “Church,” is founded on the idea that salvation is a process; it has a beginning and an end.

If salvation is a process with a beginning and an end, the Christian life must be treated as a salvation process. Hence, you are saved by salvation, you continue to be saved by salvation, and there is a final salvation. Therefore, the Christian life isn’t so much about holy living, but salvation. Who will deny the salvation centrality of the church since the Reformation? “Make[ing] disciples” (Matt 28:19) is understood as learning more and more about salvation, not Christian living. After all, salvation is still in process. We hear it constantly: “Sanctification is the growing part of salvation.” Does salvation grow?

If a different direction is to be taken in order to please the Holy Spirit resulting in His unleashing of heavenly power, it must be started outside of the church because the church is not going to give up on a 500-year tradition. Said another way: the church is not going to admit it has been wrong for 500 years. If the case is made here, nothing can be done about it within the church.

The theses of this series is fairly basic: salvation is a gift, but there are rewards for Christian living. A gift is not a reward because a reward is earned. Because the focus of the church (this includes all stripes of Catholicism and Protestantism) has been salvation, and salvation is a process, the race of faith is the process. God began the process, and we are involved in the process which is a race ending in the reward of final salvation.

Be sure of this: ALL church denominations represent differing beliefs on the proper way to run the race and thereby receive the reward of salvation.  And granted, there are many Scripture texts that seem to say just that, but it is the contention of this series that those texts seem to say that due to the church’s narrow salvation-centered approach to the Bible. The aversion to a studied theology among the laity is therefore prevalent. It is a tradition and way of life. No person should become incredulous at the suggestion that theology is even disdained among the laity. Reason is nothing more than demonic musings, and blind faith pure as the wind-driven snow.

But what are the consequences? Is there danger in seeing salvation as a reward? Or is the danger in the freedom of once saved always saved (OSAS)? Is there some kind of guardrail that keeps Christians from wanton libertinism that is both gift and reward, or is the confusion due to the omittance of theological training among the church’s laity?

This series will approach these questions from the viewpoint of Scriptures that call for perseverance. These same texts are used by many to make the case for perseverance in salvation for the purpose of receiving the reward of final salvation.

One such biblical text is 1John 1:7-9. That is where we will start in part one.

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