Some Preliminary Musings on Sanctification
WHOSE WORK IS SANCTIFICATION?
Pieper and the Lutheran Confessions affirm that it is God who works sanctification in us. However, they both also affirm that we cooperate with this work. Yet, certainly we do not participate in our sanctification as an equal or even junior partner. Rather, God works in us to cause us to cooperate with Him in His work of sanctification within us. In other words, the entire work of sanctification, including our cooperative part in it, is utterly and entirely dependent upon God and His work. Here is Pieper, again:
However—and let this be dearly understood—the working of God and the working of the new man are not co-ordinate, “as when two horses draw a wagon,” but the activity of the new man is always and fully subordinated to God’s activity; it always takes place dependenter a Deo [dependent upon God]. In other words: it is the Holy Ghost who produces the activity of the new man; the new man remains the organ of the Holy Ghost.
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