The S’s of Sin, Salvation, & Sanctificiation

by John Holbrook Jr.
A Biblical View, posted January 2, 2017

I have always enjoyed using alliteration in my writing. In June of 2002, I decided to put man’s predicament and God’s solution to it in alliterative form.

Sovereignty is the issue. Who is in charge? Who makes the rules?

Sin is the problem. Sin involves a refusal to recognize and acknowledge God’s sovereignty; the sinner believes that the self (or some being other than God) can be sovereign. Sin seduces, beguiling the sinner into sinning, and swindles, blinding the sinner to his own sinfulness and to his subservience to Satan. Indeed, the sinner is a slave and stuck in bondage – that is, the sinner is helpless and cannot escape from this situation through his own efforts. Sin is both systemic – that is, it characterizes everything that a person thinks, says, or does – and sweeping or universal – that is, it is embedded in every man, woman, and child excepting Jesus. Finally, sin separates the sinner from God.

The sentence or penalty for sin is death.

Only the death of a satisfactory substitute can save the sinner from the sentence of death (what cannot save him is the attempt to be good or otherwise earn his way into God’s favor, because he will always fall short; he cannot be good enough).

Only the Sinless Sheep, “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world,”[1] can provide a satisfactory substitute. He is both divine (the Son-of-God) and human (the Seed-of-the-Woman), and therefore He – and He solely – can bridge the gap between an infinite, omniscient, omnipotent, holy Creator and a finite, ignorant, impotent, and sinful creature. He does this both in His person and in His works.

Only the Spirit-of-God can enable a sinner to see his sinfulness and his need for salvation and then sanctification.

Salvation (deliverance from the consequences of sin) requires sorrow and self-reproach for one’s sins, repentance (a turning away from one’s sins), faith in the finished work of the Sinless Sheep on the cross, and surrender to the Sinless Sheep as one’s Savior and Sovereign. It costs nothing excepting damage to one’s pride; it is a free gift from the hand of a loving and merciful God. It results in safety – that is, the believer enters God’s sanctuary, where he is sheltered and shielded from the depredations of the Devil.

Sanctification (deliverance from the power of sin) requires constant struggle against temptation, constant study of and submission to the Scriptures (the Word of God Written), and frequent suffering (the most overlooked and least understood aspect of a disciple’s walk with the Lord). It therefore costs something – the greater the sanctification, the greater the cost – but also the greater the reward.

A saint is a sinner who has been saved and is undergoing sanctification.

© 2016 John Holbrook Jr.


[1] John 1:29.

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