Sunday, January 08, 2006

Holiness Terms of Reference

I once heard a sermon at camp meeting years ago by Rev. Stephen Manley. In that sermon he dealt with the notion of many Christians that there are two kinds of Christians. There are Christians like you and me. And then there are "super Christians" like Paul, Peter and John. He said, and I agree, there are not two levels of Christianity. There are not two levels of Holiness. There is only Christianity and Holiness. To claim that we can never achieve or attain the level of what the Apostle Paul did is to deny the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

In order to properly have a dialog about Holiness, we must have a common set of terms and definitions. I am not saying that these terms and definitions are completely authoritative. (Although I do agree with them and find them to be wholely Scriptural.) I believe you must go back to the Bible for ultimate authority. But I think these terms are great source to call upon.

The following terms were taken from the Wesleyan's website. I have modified them a little for clarity and to conform to this format. But I have kept them intact and true to the authors of these definitions.

God does not have a double standard—one for the new Christian and one for the mature Christian. His standard is one: "Be holy, because I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16 NIV). Holiness is based on the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit draws, woos, and convicts us as sinners. After we become Christians, the Holy Spirit leads and directs us in godly living. It is helpful to understand the terms associated with this process of allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our lives.

Adoption - When we enter into a personal relationship with God through Christ, God makes us His children, to which the Holy Spirit bears witness.
John 1:12-13; Romans 8:14-23; Galatians 3:26; 4:1-7; Ephesians 1:5; 2:19; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Titus 3:7; 1 Peter 1:3-4; 1 John 3:1-2; 14, 16-18; 5:1-2

Arminian - This term describes the school of theology that teaches that salvation is offered to everyone and that we have the free will to decide whether or not to enter into a relationship with God (both salvation and sanctification). Arminianism is named for James Arminius.

Born Again, New Birth, Regeneration & Initial Sanctification - These terms describe another part of salvation—what God does in us. It is newness of life, the beginning of a holy life; "the old has gone, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17b)
John 3:3, 5-7; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:4-5; 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9-10; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Titus 3:4-6; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:3

Christian Believer - This is one who has experienced repentance, confession of sins, and salvation / justification—has been born again—and who continues to obey God.
Romans 8:1-2, 10:9-10; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 2:9-10

Christian Perfection - This is the completeness of Christian character and the exercise of spiritual gifts in a life of holiness. The motive of one’s heart and life is to love God and love others. While Christian perfection does not mean that the Christian is without flaw or weakness, it means that the Christian can be free from intentional sin.
2 Corinthians 13:9, 11; Matthew 5:48; Ephesians 4:13; Hebrews 10:14; 2 Corinthians 7:1

Confession - An awakened sinner must confess sins committed and admit the need of a Savior and forgiveness for sins.
Psalm 51; Romans 10:8-9; 1 John 1:9

Conviction, Awakening, Quickening - These are terms for the work of the Holy Spirit in alerting a sinner to the need for forgiveness and in drawing the sinner to repentance.
John 16:7-11; Romans 13:11; 1 Corinthians 15:34; Ephesians 5:14

Entire Sanctification, Baptism of the Holy Spirit, Second Blessing - This is a distinct, second work of divine grace following initial sanctification. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in cleansing the Christian from all indwelling sin, including original sin. It is a purifying of a believer’s life. It is something that Christ has done for us by His death on Calvary. There is a cleansing of original sin or the carnal nature. Also, the Holy Spirit takes complete control of the believer’s inner nature. The Spirit fills, empowers and indwells the believer whose body is God’s temple. The believer invites Jesus to be Lord of his or her life.
Matthew 3:11; John 17:17-19; Acts 1:4-5, 8; 2:1-4; 15:8-9; 19:1-6; 26:18; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 6:11; Ephesians 4:24; 5:25-27; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 4:3a, 7-8; 5:23-24; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 12:14; 13:12; James 4:8; 1 Peter 1:2; Jude 24

Full Salvation - This term means that Christ has provided a full and complete remedy for all sin, and His death on the cross is adequate for the entire sin problem.
Ezekiel 36:29a; Romans 8:3-4; Hebrews 10:14; 2 Peter 1:3-4; 1 John 1:7, 9

Holiness - Holiness is the process of becoming more Christlike. Holiness is a moral and spiritual purity, in which one is so full of God that there is no desire to sin although there may be temptation to sin. The believer’s desire is to obey God’s will. Taking on the image of God and a Christlike love reflects in one’s actions.
Romans 6:19, 22; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 4:22-24; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 4:7; Hebrews 12:14

Justification - This is the part of salvation when the repentant sinner, responding in faith and obedience, is forgiven of acquired, personal sins. Justification is what God does for us. Guilt and blame are gone, and the past is forgiven because Jesus Christ suffered our punishment through His death on the cross. Justification is undeserved, unmerited, and cannot be earned.
Isaiah 6:1-6; Acts 13:38-39; 15:11; 16:31; 26:18; Romans 1:17; 3:23-26, 28; 4:2-5; 5:1-2; 1, Corinthians 6:11; Galatians 3:6-14; 5:1-5; Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 3:9; Hebrews 10:38; 1 John 3:8-9

Perfect Love - This term emphasizes the nature of the moral life of those who are entirely sanctified. It means that a believer loves the Lord with all of his heart, mind, soul and strength and loves his neighbor as himself.
Matthew 5:48; John 13:34-35; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 1 John 3:1-3; 4:16-19

Progressive Sanctification - This is the work of the Holy Spirit making the believer more like Christ; progressive sanctification is the process that leads up to and follows the moment of entire sanctification.
James 1:4; Philippians 3:12-14; Hebrews 10:23-24, 36; 2 John 4-6

Repentance, Remorse, Godly Sorrow, Forsaking of Sins - These terms refer to the response of an awakened sinner to the ministry of the Holy Spirit leading to salvation. To repent or forsake sins is to be sorry enough to quit sinning.
Psalms 34:18; 51:1-6, 17; Isaiah 55:7; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30; Romans 6:1-2; 2 Corinthians 7:9-10

Restitution - This is part of repentance, often overlooked, and involves clearing up one’s past and keeping things right with others through God’s help.
Exodus 22:1-15; 2 Samuel 12:6; Proverbs 6:30-31; Luke 19:8

Salvation, Conversation - These are terms used for entering into a personal relationship with Christ.
Psalm 51:12-13; Ezekiel 36:25-26; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 John 5:1.

Sin, Original Sin, Carnal Nature - These terms are used to describe the sinful nature that remains in a believer’s life even after salvation. It has been inherited though the human family from Adam to the present. Its primary evidence is rebellion against God and selfishness exhibited in anger, strife, jealousy, envy, and in any attitude or disposition unlike Christ.
Psalm 51:5; Romans 7:14-25; 8:1-11; 2 Peter 1:3-4

Sinner - This is one who has not experienced repentance, confession of sins, and salvation / justification—one who has not been born again.
Romans 8:6-8; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:17, 19-21

Sins - These are any thoughts, words or actions that do not measure up to God’s standard. They are also any conscious, willful disobedience of God.
Galatians 5:19-21a; James 4:17; 1 Peter 4:3

Wesleyan - This is the school of theology that comes from the teaching and preaching of John Wesley. Wesley emphasized living a holy life by faith, and he was careful to distinguish between two gifts of grace from God—conversion and entire sanctification.

Witness of the Spirit - The Holy Spirit gives to the believer inner assurance of salvation or entire sanctification.
Hebrews 10:14-17; 1 John 5:6-12

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am not indicating that this is a complete list of terms necessary to carry on a dialog about Holiness of Heart & Life. But, I believe that these provide a great base for a common understanding of terms.

6 comments:

  1. These definitions seem to work for me too. I hope that there are people out there who will be willing to change their opinion so that they can be more effective in helping to spread the Kingdom of God. I really appreciate the definition you provided for "Christian Believer"

    ReplyDelete
  2. I took the quiz and believe it or not, I scored as a Holiness/Wesleyan Evangelical too! Who would have thought!?

    Now, for the first question to start a discussion. Is Entire Sanctification an instantaneous experience or gradual?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would have to say gradual. Or why else would we still have trouble w/ our carnal nature? I think that progressive sanctification and gradual sanctification are essentially the same idea w/ different words.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Let's elevate the discussion to a full post. I'll pose the question and let's see what kind of response we get.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sounds good to me!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Kevin,
    Thanks for stoping by my blog, I appreciate your comments. I just started browsing your blog, and I will return.

    ReplyDelete