whatever happened to sanctification? (The Cost of Discipleship 31)

Bonhoeffer spends some time at the end of this book on the topic of sanctification. And it is refreshing to go back to other times and see an emphasis that is largely lost in our day and age. We simply do not hear much about sanctification anymore.
Bonhoeffer explains sanctification by linking it to justification and highlighting the complementary nature of both:

Justification is primarily concerned with the relation between man and the law of God, sanctification with the Christian’s separation from the world until the second coming of Christ. Justification makes the individual a member of the Church whereas sanctification preserves the church with all its members. Justification enables the believer to break away from his sinful past sanctification enables him to abide in Christ, to preserve in faith and grow in love. We may perhaps think of justification and sanctification as bearing the same relation to each other as creation and preservation. Justification is the new creation of the new man and sanctification his preservation until the day of Jesus Christ.

Bonhoeffer continues with a much needed correction to much of our thinking today. Today, we are inclined to try to be as much like the world as possible. We want to tell the world, ‘See, we are no different.’ But, Bonhoeffer says, “The sanctification of the Church means its separation from all that is unholy, from sin.”
In a church culture that seems to want to be more and more like the world, it is good to remember that we are the called out ones who must be holy because He is holy.


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