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Is Sanctification God’s Effort or Our Effort?

January 25, 2011

I’m beginning to like questions like these about life as the Bible describes it because many times the answer is “both/and”. Here, for example, Romans 8:13 describes a “both/and” answer:

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

I put to death the deeds of the body; yet not I, but the Spirit of God who lives in me ultimately enables me to do this necessary killing. He doesn’t do it alone, and I certainly cannot. It is a work done by the believer in the strength of the Holy Spirit.

Michael Johnson outlines much the same thinking in his blog article over at Desiring God when he cites Piper who says “God’s work in us does not eliminate our work; it enables it. We work because he is the one at work in us. Therefore, the fight for joy is possible because God is fighting for us and through us. All our efforts are owing to his deeper work in and through our willing and working” (emphasis mine).

You can read the rest of the article at DG here.

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