This past weekend I attended a local church and ended up in a Sunday School class that was new to me, but had been recommended as one I might find interesting because, I was told, the teacher was extremely knowledgeable and knew his doctrine and theology. To say that I was disappointed is an understatement. I was mortified at the doctrine he was teaching. While I agree that we live under the covenant of grace and not the covenant of law, I had to disagree that all we have to do is “let go and let God” in our Christian walk. While justification is a one time pronouncement upon the truly regenerate heart, sanctification is an on going process whereby we learn to strive for holiness by the help and leading of the Holy Spirit. This particular teacher did not agree with that assessment and basically taught the class that all one needed to do was “ask Jesus into their heart” and they were good to go. Basically, without saying it, he was teaching and encouraging a 3rd class of people, the carnal Christian. Yet, he said that there were only two classes, the lost and the saved. The following quote by Walter Marshall makes it clear that there is a work of sanctification that we are involved with. Read on and let me know what you think.
“What a strange salvation it is, if people who are saved do not care about holiness! In this case, people want to be saved, but they want to stay dead in sin, alien from the life of God, without the image of God, deformed by the image of satan, and in slavery to satan and to their own filthy lusts. They seem to prefer to stay totally unfit to enjoy God in glory. Christ never purchased such a salvation as this by His own blood. Those who think they have received a salvation such as this abuse the grace of God in Christ, and turn it into license for sin. They want to be saved by Christ, but apart from Christ, so to speak. They want to be saved, but they also want to remain in a fleshly state, with a fleshly lifestyle. This is simply not how salvation works! The only people Christ frees from condemnation are those who are ‘in Christ’ who do not walk according to the flesh but according the Spirit’ (Rom. 8:1-4). If this were not the case, people would divide Christ. They would take one part of his salvation, and leave out the rest. However, ‘Christ is not divided’ (1 Corinthians 1:13). You cannot have half a Christ!”
Walter Marshall, The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification (1692)