Spoiler alert: I’m about to ask some questions because: 1) questions are cool, 2) questions are a postmodern virtue. However, they may not be as cool as Beatles fans not liking Yoko or hipsters with bow-ties.
Is sanctification a progressive work or a definitive event? If it is a progressive work, can this work be completed before the Lord’s return? Further, how are we to reconcile the fact that we have remaining sin in our lives with passages like:
No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. (1 Jn 3:6-9)
We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. (1 Jn 5:18)
How we answer these questions can influence things like our view of the purpose of “devotionals” and whether there’s such a thing as biblical assurance (to name a few). The perennial question, however, is how does the NT describe sanctification? John Murray wrote, “But it is a fact too frequently overlooked that in the New Testament the most characteristic terms used with reference to sanctification are used not of a process but of a once-for-all definitive act.” I think he’s right. Inquiring minds can find the article here.