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Registered user
Username: Grace2

Post Number: 49
Registered: 8-2013
Posted on Thursday, October 13, 2016 - 3:01 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi all

I listened to a FAF presentation by Dale ( As I was reflecting about whether I could show this to some SDAs I ran into the following issues:

- he criticises the "How" of the SDA sanctification-model (obedience to all the law; bringing ourselves into harmony with God, rendering obedience to the commandments wrought by divine power trough faith; sanctification = obedience)

- he also criticises the "Why" because it's rooted in a requirement for salvation.

Here's the issue: Isn't this biblical - at least to a large extent? If I present this to SDAs they will claim that this is entirely biblical:

"...strive for holiness without which no one will see the Lord." He 12:14 or "...let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement... bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God." 2 Cor 7:1
Or again: "because God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." 2 Thess. 2:13. There are other texts as well. --> we must strive for holiness just as EGW said.

I have found EGW to be wrong on many counts but staunch SDAs will incessantly go back to her and claim that she's perfectly balanced and that we formers just take her out of context. Moreover, they claim that the Bible does exactly the same, having one position in a verse and a different angle to it in another. Their bottom line: EGW and the Bible are perfectly compatible and she's a true prophet.

How do you counter that claim, particularly as it refers to sanctification?
Registered user
Username: Colleentinker

Post Number: 15439
Registered: 12-2003

Posted on Thursday, October 13, 2016 - 4:36 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Grace, this sanctification argument is rooted in the same hermeneutical problem as is the Adventist view of death: proof texts are used out of context and separated from the full teaching of the New Testament and the Old...and applied to the Adventist view as "proof" that they are right.

First, the sanctification question makes no sense to a person who doesn't understand or believe in the new birth that Jesus taught Nicodemus and that the epistles describe so clearly.

Let's take Hebrews as the place to start, since Hebrews is one of the sources of proof-texting for this issue.

The Bible teaches two types of sanctification: "positional" sanctification which occurs when one believes and is born again, and "progressive" sanctification which continues throughout life—but only AFTER being born again and declared sanctified.

The word "sanctified" mean "set apart for holy use". Somehow that understanding has helped me see that "sanctification" does NOT mean "perfectionism".

Here are some texts that demonstrate the two sanctifications:


For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers,
(Hebrews 2:11 ESV)


When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:8-10 ESV)


Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:28-29 ESV)

Here's one from 1 Corinthians:


To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:2-3 ESV)

Notice that all of these texts (and these are not ALL the texts we could look at) declare that the believer is already sanctified. When we are born again, we are placed in Christ and we are sealed by His Spirit. We pass from death to life (Jn. 5:24), and we are sanctified, set apart for the holy use of the Lord Jesus whose we now are.

These texts do not teach a progressive perfection; they declare that God sanctifies us the moment we hear and believe the gospel. We are "positionally" set apart and made alive and saved.

Once we are saved, the Holy Spirit continues to teach us how to submit and to trust God and His word. Here are a few texts that teach progressive sanctification...not perfection, but a process of growing in faith and trust and in overcoming the temptations that come to us:


And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified (Hebrews 10:11-14 ESV).

Notice that the above passage calls the saved "those who are being sanctified," but at the same time the verse says His sacrifice has "perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." In other words, God counts us perfectly righteous in Christ when we trust His sacrifice for our sin, and concurrently, we are perfected (past tense, a condition credited to us by the Father when we believe) and we are being sanctified, or we are growing in holiness by learning to trust God more and more deeply.


Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 ESV).

Again there is a reference to God sanctifying completely, but this prayer does not negate the fact that when we believe, we are already sanctified "positionally"—we are already in Christ and the recipients of eternal life and the new birth. We are completely secure and completely His, but He continues His work in us.

We absolutely continue to put away defilements and lusts of the flesh, but we now are ABLE to say NO to temptation because we have the Spirit of God indwelling us. We now have Life and are directly, eternally connected to the Triune God. This ongoing spiritual growth and putting aside of sin is not for the purpose of salvation. Salvation is entirely a gift from God; even our faith in Jesus is a gift (Eph. 2:8-9).

What we do after we are saved is to flourish in good works as we learn to trust God and His word and use our new life to discern what we must avoid. Before we are born again, we have absolutely no ability to avoid sin or to please God. Only after we have been born again by trusting the Lord Jesus and His sacrifice can we lean on Him instead of being deceived by temptation. We don't do it perfectly because we have a "law of sin" in our flesh (read Romans 7), but we grow in our ability to trust Jesus and to live for Him.

This ongoing process is the progressive sanctification the Bible teaches, but it is not the process needed to be saved. Rather, it is the RESULT of being saved. This ongoing process cannot even occur until AFTER a person is born again. Prior to being born again, we are dead in our sins. Any choices we make come from our will power and darkened hearts that know how to rationalize truth. Only AFTER we are saved can the process of slowly learning to trust Him and avoid temptation even begin.

Does this help at all?

Registered user
Username: Grace2

Post Number: 50
Registered: 8-2013
Posted on Friday, October 14, 2016 - 8:00 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks a lot, Colleen!

I am on the same page with regards to positional and progressive sanctification and agree with your view that the ongoing process occurs after the new birth.

These are great Bible verses.

Where I still struggle is that some will say: You see, even the Bible says "...strive for holiness without which no one will see the Lord." He 12:14

They will deduce from that that EGW was right all along since the Bible itself unambiguously says that without holiness we won't see the Lord (= sanctification is a prerequisite to salvation) and since positional sanctification isn't something that can be striven for, it's most likely talking about progressive sanctification in that verse.

or "...let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement... bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God." 2 Cor 7:1

We know what they will say here: It says "cleanse yourselves" showing the human factor in it. And with "bringing holiness to completion" it will be argued that perfect holiness (= completed holiness) is possible (and necessary).

Lastly: "because God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." 2 Thess. 2:13. This will be interpreted that salvation is through sanctification, i.e. we must strive to remain saved.

I am aware it may sound like the devil's advocate. My overall take would be to argue that proof-texting won't get us far and that the large picture doesn't support their view.

Again, thanks a lot for all these verses!
Registered user
Username: Colleentinker

Post Number: 15442
Registered: 12-2003

Posted on Friday, October 14, 2016 - 4:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes. Adventists proof-text. They do not study in context. Contextually, it is clear that we do not sanctify ourselves to be saved. Contextually it becomes clear that those who refuse to submit to God's word and trust Him as we put off sin have probably not been born again.

The parable of the soils (Mt. 13) is really helpful to me. It shows two bad soils that nevertheless produce "gospel plants". The rocky and weedy souls both sprout plants, but the rocky soil can't sustain the plants whenvthe heat is on. The plants had no roots, and they never produce fruit before they die. The weedy soil sprouts plants, but they are chiked to death by the cares if the world. Again, they bever produce fruit. Onky the good soil produces plants that mautee and. Ear fruit.

Many people are attracted to the gospel and even hang around the church, but they evetyally fall away becauase, as John says in 2 John 2, they "were not part of us."

Ongoing Sanctification only occurs in those who are already saved. It is not a process that gets people ready for salvation.
Registered user
Username: Grace2

Post Number: 51
Registered: 8-2013
Posted on Monday, October 17, 2016 - 3:42 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

These are good examples, Colleen. Thanks a lot!
Registered user
Username: Animal

Post Number: 1052
Registered: 7-2008

Posted on Monday, October 17, 2016 - 6:56 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The problem with SDA is that the cross wasnt enough to secure salvation for sinners. Saying yes to Christ wont get you thru the pearly gates. Membership needs to be earned thru hard labor. Therefore, we can have no assurance of salvation until God decides the good works we do outweighs the bad we have done. Of course Adventists wont admit to this.


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