When the Spirit of God comes into a man in salvation, there is a change that occurs to his nature on account of the fact that the Spirit lives in him. In that changed nature one loves righteousness, because it has been revealed to him and in that revelation of righteousness one loves the Truth and knows all things, because the Spirit of Truth lives in him (he is now a slave to righteousness). And so we grow in the Christian experience into what we fundamentally know, more and more putting away the contradictions that we naturally assume for the Truth that we have been made to love. One whose nature is changed is made to do good works (yes, the will is fully engaged here). Such a one not only repents intellectually, but repents by changing behavior that is contrary to righteousness, and more and more. Such change is accounted for as the work of God alone.

Some who believe that sanctification is monergistic, would agree with what I just wrote about sanctification, as would many who say that sanctification is synergistic. The good news here is that our differences can and should be worked out in discussions like this, because I think we can easily talk past each other. But those who have a monergistic view of sanctification, who say they are as totally depraved now as they were prior to their salvation, who say that only the intellect changes in sanctification and not one's life...I have to ask you, whoever you are, what life of sin are you hiding? Because God who has imparted to us faith has said that if we willfully sin after having received the knowledge of the Truth, that we have no claim to being Christians at all (Heb. 10:26ff). I am not saying that Christians don't sin... But I am saying that Christians are not characterized by sin, whose lives will more and more conform to the righteous character of God (Heb. 2 and 4). And if that is not happening, one only can have a fearful expectation of judgment that will consume the enemies of God....lest, God grant repentance. Let me put it another way, if you have been committing adultery for years with another man's wife, you can't say that you can have assurance of eternal life simply because you know that what you are doing is wrong. That's just hog wash! It makes a mockery of the power of God in sanctification. Nor can such a monergistic view claim Christ does it all, as they go on to say, because the only thing one can do is sin... whereby, there does not need to be discipline in the Church, but only the preaching of Christ. Such men are looking for an excuse to sin... And what I just wrote isn't taking away from the fact that repentance is a gift. It is a gift, but it isn't Christ who is repenting, but the sinner. Such work is on account of the Spirit's work, such that God receives all of the glory...but we are working, and yes, our will is engaged. For Christ doesn't need to repent, but sinners do! And repentance happens not as a condition for salvation, but in evidence of salvation. Beware, brethren, of such people who have this kind of monergistic view of sanctification, and who hold onto it when correction in the Truth is given again and again and again. Such are sin minimizers, who without repentance are without hope and without God.

On the flip side, beware of those who argue that the flesh has been changed in salvation and is no longer totally depraved. Such are those who thank God that they are not like other men. These are the Pharisees among us, who see God as their co-pilot, or a helper and facilitator, who in the end take credit for the works they do...

By way of analogy, if we are like dead trees and the Spirit comes into the tree, the tree does not remain dead, such that any good work is literally the work of God alone. Rather, if when we were dead trees the Spirit comes into us, the tree comes to life! It bares fruit!! In fact the tree is better than its state before the fall, because the new state is not mutable, because Christ cannot fail!!! This is more fully realized in glory. Therefore, the good works that we do are our works, but we account for them in terms of what God has done and is doing. Analogies have flaws, but I believe you understand what I am saying.

To continue with the analogy, neither does the Spirit come into the tree, making it alive, then departs from the tree, only working as a helper to the tree, because the tree does ALL the work, thanking God for making it a tree in distinction from all the dead trees that are out there. The problem here is that the tree is still dead, with theology that comes from dead trees. The evidence that it is dead, is that it thanks God that it is not like the other trees... But the truth is that without the indwelling Spirit, a tree is not alive. And if not alive, it can't bare spiritual fruit.

I hope my using this analogy doesn't offend any of you. I have used this analogy in the past when speaking to children and then connected it to its true application.

Hope this is an aid to the discussion.

Bob Foster
Gettysburg, PA