Monday, December 6, 2010
Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Believers are saved and justified through the instrument of faith that is a gift from God. Therefore, no one can boast about his participation in being saved and justified. In the passage above boasting is excluded from justification because man responds to the God’s grace ONLY after God’s gift of regeneration. It is a work of God, not man. Since progressive sanctification also flows from God’s work of regeneration, how can it be said that sanctification is a synergistic work of God and man? If this were so, then there would be reason to boast. A believer could think that he was saved [justified] by grace alone but that his sanctification was by grace plus works. These works would be reason to boast. I think Paul rejects such thinking in the following passage: 1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
I think Paul is clearly excluding his own effort in his works. He credits it all to God’s grace and this closes the door on any boasting resulting from his works. Certainly believers are to be active and respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit [Rom. 8:14], and I am not asserting a let go and let God approach to sanctification. I am only saying the same thing that Paul says in the passage above and that is believers do not produce any deeds or works that are not caused by God. Therefore, in the same manner that justification is considered monergistic I think sanctification is as well.