Discipleship, sanctification, and the fullness of the whole gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ that extends beyond justification and forgiveness have been recurring themes for me recently. I touched on all these this past Sunday with our congregation as we uncovered Jesus’s admonishment to make disciples and teach them all that had been commanded by our Lord.
The idea of sanctification has gotten lost in the dominant narrative of the American evangelical church, taking a backseat to justification, forgiveness, and reconciliation to God – all good and wonderful things, of course, and certainly a part of the gospel. When we stop here, however, we fail to both be and make disciples and embrace the sanctification available to us all as we learn to submit our lives to God and His will.
Dr. Kevin Watson authored a wonderful piece earlier this week that explores John Wesley’s idea of entire sanctification, which is well worth a few minutes of your time.
Entire sanctification is …radical change. It does include freedom from sin and sin’s power in one’s life. But it is far richer and deeper than simply avoiding sin. It involves a radical and often surprising transformation.
One of Wesley’s favorite definitions of entire sanctification is a summary of the greatest commandment to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” And to “love your neighbor as yourself.” [Matthew 22:34-40]
At our best, this is a glimpse of what Methodists are called to offer:
God is in the business of rescuing people who are lost, desperate, hurting, hopeless, or abandoned. The Lord freely offers forgiveness and pardon through the gift of faith in Jesus Christ. But God does not only wipe the slate clean. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of sin is broken in our lives so that we are free and made pure…
Here is the good news of the full gospel: God is coming after every part of us. The Lord is not interested in merely helping us manage our sin better. Not at all! The gospel is the good news that we can not only be forgiven of our sin but be set free from it. This means that we can be made new so that our hearts no longer yearn for sin.
To read Dr. Watson’s entire blog, click here.